Monday, June 16, 2014


The table is set, the menu planned.
 I have extra leafs for my table but prefer to have the smaller table and a buffet for my dinner.
The little pots turned out to be the perfect size for the place card and do not take up too much room on the table.

Bargain salad (or in this case dessert) plates just say summer.
Buffalo checked black and white gingham was not to be found (fabric for napkins) in my area so I opted for the check and hope my guests will think more MacKenzie-Childs and less Indy 500!

Recipes listed below.

For years I have made it my habit to print out a menu when entertaining.  When family and friends come for dinner I will often find someone in the kitchen looking for the menu to see "whats for dinner." I save these menu cards and it is fun to later pull them out and remember the occasion.  I found this metal "chalkboard" on a sale table for $3.50 and thought it would be fun to post for my dinner.
 Using a liquid chalk pen I just printed the dinner menu (it sits nicely on a metal easel).  I am not an artist (plus I am left handed) so this is not by any means perfect but serves it's purpose and guests can see "what's for dinner." My bargain sign had a scratch which I covered with a star. A wet paper towel will remove the chalk paint.


Jalapeno Ranch Dip - Using the original Buttermilk Ranch dressing packet (small one) 1 C buttermilk and 1/2 C Best Foods (Hellman's) mayo, 1/2 C sour cream and a dash or two of Lawry's garlic salt, add one (or two if your like it really spicy) large jalapeno (remove the ribs and the seeds) finely diced. Mix all of this together and let it sit in the fridge overnight (flavors need to meld). Serve with veggies of your choice. I will also set out a bowl of roasted, salted almonds and a bowl of shelled pistachios.

Marinade for chicken Breasts - Mix together the following:
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/c water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 green onions, sliced white and green part
2 big cloves of garlic, minced
2 T brown sugar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t fresh ginger, grated (or the grated ginger in a jar)

Mix all these ingredients and marinade the chicken for at least 2-3 hours.

Rice Pilaf
1 cup long grain converted rice
1/2 cup coiled vermicelli
2-3 Tablespoons of butter
2 cups good chicken broth (or homemade stock)
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan, break up the vermicelli coils and brown them in the butter, add the rice and saute for a few minutes. Add the broth and the salt and bring to a boil, stirring a couple of times, turn down to low. Cook for 20 minutes DO NOT LIFT THE LID!!!!!!! After the twenty minutes turn off and let it rest for a few minutes.  Then fluff with a fork and serve.  Toasted pine nuts are also really good in this pilaf.

Roasted Asparagus

Wash and trim asparagus and lay on a Silpat lined cookie sheet, spray with olive oil, shake the tray to turn them and spray again. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and put into a 425° oven for about 12-15 minutes until done.  My husband loves almost any veggies roasted this way.

Caprese Salad

Even if you don't have an herb garden basil is so available this time of year.  This salad just says summer to me and is so easy and so good. So many ways to make this salad, sliced tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, different kinds of fresh mozzarella, with balsamic, without, etc.  Here is how I make this salad.

Sliced big fresh tomatoes layered with slices of good mozzarella cheese, then chiffonade fresh basil (fancy word for roll it up and slice into tiny strips), sprinkle the basil over the tomato-cheese, then I like to make a little dressing with vinegar, oil, finely diced shallots, some Edmond Fallot Dijon and some more basil, very finely chopped. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the salad and drizzle a little of the dressing.


This is super easy.  Either bake or purchase an angel food cake - not the loaf and not the little one, the big one that they bake in an aluminum pan.  Remove the cake from the pan and slice in half so you end up with two doughnut looking pieces of cake - the bottom half should be an inch or two taller than the top.  Now dig out a little tunnel (do not cut all the way through the cake) all around the cake. Scoop the cake out of the tunnel and use for something else.  At this point you could use sweetened whipped cream, Cool Whip, whipped cream fortified with cream cheese, whatever you want.  When you have the whipped cream, take out enough to fill the tunnel and add chopped fresh strawberries to the cream and fill the tunnel.  Put the top back on the cake and using the rest of the cream frost the cake. Refrigerate. Because I have strawberries in my garden (unless the squirrels have eaten them again) when serving I will take a bowl of macerated strawberries and pour some over each slice.

I call this my little black dress dessert because if you keep an angel food cake in the freezer you can whip together a dessert very quickly.  You can use chocolate whipped cream and top with toasted almonds, you can use any kind of pie filling and mix some with the cream for the tunnel and then drizzle some on the top, you can add custard (mix sour cream with your milk using instant vanilla pudding) to the top and then frost over the custard - the angle food is just a base.

Garlic Toast
 Find the best french bread you can find, hopefully crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Get fat cloves of garlic and rub them across the bread after you have brushed with butter. Put under the broiler until toasty and slice and serve.
I never put fresh garlic on food as not everyone can tolerate this particular item.


Recipes - these are just some of my old tried and true recipes that we enjoy all summer.

Metal chicken chalk board, HomeGoods
Salad plates, Kohl's
Dinner plates, IKEA
Chargers, Tuesday Morning
Red flatware, Hampton Silversmiths, Argent Sophia pattern
Glassware, Villeroy & Boch, Bernadotte pattern
Liquid Chalk Pen, David Tutera's are my favorite here is a  link, David

"Antique" wine bottles, little pot place card holders, napkins, centerpiece, all previous blog posts with instructions.

Thank you for stopping by.



  2. Why thank you anonymous - a good setting for BBQ chicken and some good old Armenian pilaf! Your comment is appreciated.