Thursday, August 25, 2011

National Banana Split Day!

Did you know today is National Banana Split day?  Almost everyone has fond childhood memories of noshing on a yummy, melty, ice cream treat full of sugar and toppings.  So celebrate the end of summer and bring that feeling back for one day.  Just make sure to give your banana split an adult twist by serving it in a pretty bowl! 

Pictured Above, Clockwise from left: Bondi Beach Small Dish $11, L'Amour Rimmed Soup Plate $25, Pasyphae Green Individual Salad Bowl $23, Gran de Riz Bowl in String $13, Bondi Beach Small Dish $11.

What's your favorite way to make a banana split?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

End of Summer Essentials: Tomato Tote Bag!

Summer soon may be winding down, but the farmers' markets will continue into the fall!  Make sure you're looking smashing and smartly "green" with a reusable tote bag to carry all your goodies.  This cute Tomatoes Tote, $42, goes easily from grocery store to farmers' markets to Target.  It features a durable, wipe clean interior and exterior as well as interior pockets for stashing coupons or small items.  Look for in season fruits and veggies to be even more environmentally the Midwest search for Broccoli, Cucumbers, Garlic, Cantaloupe, Beets and Basil, among others.  What's your end of summer favorite?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Recipe: Sardine Carpaccio

Try this easy appetizer to impress your guests.  Created by Genevieve Lethu in conjunction with their Sardine table top collection.  Serve your fabulous dish alongside these fabulous Sardines Napkins, $11 each, in bold reds, yellows, and greys (shown above).

Sardine Carpaccio
Yields: 4 servings
Preparation: 30 minutes, Marinates 1-2 hours

12 Sardines
1 Shallot
1 Lemon
Fresh Chives
Olive Oil
Freshly ground Salt and Pepper

*Fillet the sardines and remove the skin.
*Place the fillets on a plate and pour over the juice of 1/2 the lemon.  Leave to marinate 1-2 hours.
*Finely chop the peeled shallot and chives.  Put to one side.
*Remove the Sardines from the refrigerator and transfer to a flat dish.  Discard the remaining marinade.
*Lightly sprinkle the sardines with the other 1/2 of the lemon juice, add a good dash of Olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the chives and chopped shallots on top.
*Serve chilled.  Accompany with salad leaves dressed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil if desired.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Color Blocking: Pink

We all know pink is a color associated with love and romance, but did you know poppy pink is a perfect color to accessorize your table?  Pink is fun, youthful, and exciting and like the color red can stimulate your energy by increasing things like blood pressure, heartbeats, and your pulse rate*!  We love the extra punch these bright pinks bring to everything from kitchen measuring, cocktails, or a simple plated cake.  

Here our some of our favorite pink pieces...

Row One (left to right)
1. Bondi Beach Dessert Plates, $70 set of six
2. Un Tresor Poudre Dessert Plate, $20
3. Foison 19x19 Napkins in Hortensia, $11 each.

Row Two (left to right)
1. Un Duecouer Pie Plate, $70  $35 on sale (limited quantity available)
2. Gloss Coffee Spoons in fuchsia, $9 each
3. Elisa Pink Champagne Flutes, $82 set of 6 assorted pink/purple colors

Row Three (left to right)
1. Joseph & Joseph Magnetic Measuring Spoon, $4 each
2. Faux Lotus Flower, $8 each
3. Petale Porcelain Bowl, $14, Petale Porcelain Dessert Plate, $12

Are you bold enough to add pink into your everyday dining?  Check out our other "color block" in Green!

*Online Source:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Presentation Plates for Dishes & Desserts

We all know presentation counts!  Dress up for your big speech at work and chances are if you look good, you'll sound good.  The same is true for your table.  That amazing meal you spent all evening cooking deserves to be shown off on beautiful presentation dishes!  Why not give your family or guests a visual treat as well as something their taste buds will enjoy? 

Here are some of my favorite presentation plates and dishes that give your food a little extra oomph.

Clockwise from top left:
Un Patio Cordoue Dinner Plate, $32
Nature Enchante Large Oval Dish, $72
Mathilde Cake Plate, $52, available in Beige (shown), Blue, or Purple
Bondi Beach Salad Serving Bowl, $84

A great statement dish in complimentary colors makes a nice hostess gift too!  What's your favorite way to make a statement on your table?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tablescapes - The Contemporary Table

Setting a table with a modern, contemporary vibe is easier than you might think.  The rules for a "perfect matching" table don't apply.  Opt for bright colors, bold patterns, and clean lines.  Don't be afraid to mix and match your pieces.  Green and blue plates can live in harmony with saffron and red cutlery as long as they have a bold, unifying tablecloth behind them.  Mix your colors within each individual place setting or keep the setting the same color, but place a few different colored settings on the same table.  Don't be afraid to adorn your table with unusual accents and lots of height!

Our Ingredients:  Shown above, Phenome Flatware, $9 and up, Pasyphae Bleu Presentation Plate, $41, Pasyphae Nature Dessert Plate, $24, Pasyphae Bleu Individual Salad Bowl, $23.  Legend Moss Linen Napkin, $11, Wood Napking Ring, $6, Marise Petite Casserole, $34 set of four (top left), Tanganyika Table Cloth, starting at $153.

Add an earthy, fun vibe to the table with gorgeous skewers in a tall bud vase, perfect for roasting smores after dinner.  Shown above: Pico Red BBQ Skewers, $26 set of 6, Euphorie Ribbed Bud Vases, $17-$43.

Small candles add instant table ambiance or work as great place card holders or party favors.  Shown Above: Small Cylindrical Candles, assorted colors $10 each, Marise Petite Casserole, $34 set of 4, Romeo Turquoise Water Tumbler, $24, Romeo Amber Goblet, $19.

Add in even more color with big statement dishes like casserole dishes and water pitchers.  Shown Above: Romeo Amber Bubbled Pitcher, $59, Delicio Cheery Red Oven Casserole, $33, Pasyphae Bleu Salad Serving Bowl $63, Durance Salad Server Set, $37, Tinka Long Green Dish, $14.

Don't forget to see our previous tablescape...The Romantic Table.  What tips and tricks have worked for you when setting a table?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Petite Casseroles & Mini Coquettes

Looking for a way to spice up your dinnerware without buying a whole new china collection?  Add some petite casseroles and mini coquettes into your cooking repertoire.  These petite baking dishes come in a rainbow of colors and multiple sizes and are perfect for any small portion dish.  Impress your family or guests by serving them delicious macaroni and cheese in their own personal dish complete with the lid.  They go straight from oven to table and even to the fridge to minimize clean up!  Above, the Marise Set or four terrines in a cute gift  box, $34.

Le Creuset also makes some gorgeous petite dishes in round and oval shapes.  Purchase as many as you like as they're sold individually as shown above, $25 each, or in a boxed set of three featuring one each in grey, black, and white, $84..Try them with the yummy recipe below or check out their book full of tips and recipes for your mini dishes.  Available directly from Le Creuset or your local book shop (shown below). 

One of my favorite recipes to make in my mini casserole dishes or even ramekins is this yummy Pear Crisp from Kraft Foods.  It also tastes delicious with apples!

Pear Crisps from Kraft Recipes
1 oz. (1/8 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 Tbsp.  brown sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large  fresh pear, peeled, chopped
4 Nilla Wafers, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp.  chopped  pecans (optional) 
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp.  thawed whipped topping
*Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
*Mix cream cheese, sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl until blended. Stir in pears. Spoon into 2 custard cups sprayed with cooking spray.
*Mix wafer crumbs, nuts and butter; sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Place cups on baking sheet. 
*Bake 25 min. or until hot and bubbly. Cool slightly. Top with COOL WHIP just before serving.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flower Arranging Basics

One of my favorite things about summer are farmer's market flowers.  In season flowers are so beautiful and nothing feels better than purchasing them directly from the farmer who cut them.  Kevin Sharkey of Martha Stewart Living Magazine calls them "affordable elegance" and one of his guilty pleasures.  I would agree.  A vase of pretty flowers will liven up any room in your home. 
Don't be afraid to think outside the box when selecting a vase either.  Anything can make a beautiful display vase for your flowers...egg cups, water pitchers, large low bowls, etc.  Don't be afraid to try something different.  Kevin suggests sticking to one single variety of or color of flower in your container.  Try all mini carnations in soft pinks and whites or a vase full of only yellow blooms.  I love this Fig Colored Pitcher from the Mathilde collection, $50, it would look smashing with white or pink flowers. (Shown above, also available in Fennel, Cream, and Nattier/Pale Blue).

Looking for something a little more "artsty?"  Try Real Simple Magazine's technique of "Flower Arranging 101."  Real Simple offers three easy steps.
1.  Create a Foundation with foliage to build a framework.  Keep a pleasing, asymmetrical shape that will create a high point in the back.
2.  Add large "face" flowers.  Cut the stems of these big blooms (like peonies) at different heights so some nestle low to the vase and others reach high.  Use floral foam or tape across the top of the vase to keep the flowers in place.
3.  Weave in wispy elements.  Think climbing flowering vines or ferns.  Place them in three strategic spots, up high on one side, down low to spill out the bottom of the vase, and some in the middle.
Above are some of my other favorites for creating unique flower arrangements.  Clockwise from top right, L'Amour Teapot, $93.  Remove the lid and add any almost any array of colors of flowers to compliment.  Grain de Riz Espresso Tumbler 10cl, $9.  These petite cups are perfect for one giant bloom on a really short stem, also available in Grey, Cotton, or Red.   The Angela Ice Cream Dish, $15 would be perfect with a cluster of carnations or roses.

What is your favorite piece to put flowers in?  Do you stick to a thematic color or flower type or are you more of a wild flower inspired person? 


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