"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tablescape Tuesday

I don't have pics of the table from our Halloween party w/ the grands, as promised. We did have the party on Sat but hubby was sick, the boys had football games nearly all day & to be honest, having the table "just so" w/ all the accompanying dishes, is really only important to me. *gasp* Did I just admit that? Well geeez, don't let my hubby here me talk like that! *grins* Anyway, we just watched old scary movies & ate take-out wings on TV trays w/ storebought mini-cupcakes for dessert. And popcorn & candy too, of course! It was still fun & was definitely a lot less work!

We did have a small (very small!) dinner party this week-end though so I'll share pics of that. My husband, & an old high school friend, took our 2 oldest grandsons to the Nascar races this Sunday (in payment for having to dress up as Wizard of Oz characters). I spent my time piddling in the house, making pumpkin butter (will share that recipe one day this week) & getting dinner ready for the men. Hubby's friend is newly divorced & I wanted to have a nice dinner for him w/out making him feel uncomfortable so I kept the table & the menu very low-key. Cause you know how men can be about fou-fou stuff. *sigh*

I got the twig placemats from Garden Ridge & the dishes are Roscher & Co. in the Flower Antique White pattern from Ross, T J Maxx or Marshall's. I also got the twig flatware from either Ross, T J Maxx or Marshall's...those stores are all the same to me so I never can remember what came from where. As I said, I kept the menu very simple....just Salmon Chowder w/ fresh French bread. I love this recipe for Salmon Chowder...the addition of the dill is such a wonderful flavor component!
The recipe is here but I can't recommend using canned salmon. I normally use leftover salmon but if I don't have that, then I use the salmon in the pouches. And I only use canned milk if I am out of half & half or cream.

And for dessert, Spiced Pears w/ Camembert. I often serve poached pears @ dinner parties...they're super-easy, can be made ahead, they can be presented beautifully & EVERYONE loves them. The addition of the spices in this recipe gives them a fall attitude. I used larger pears than called for so I increased the cooking time & I cut the recipe in half ( but left the spice amounts the same). I always core my pears but followed the recipe instructions & didn't this time...next time I will. It's just too difficult to manuever around the core when eating. I wish I had had some cranberries to scatter on the under-dish w/ the camembert cheese...wouldn't that have been pretty? The wine I used was a chenin blanc but just about anything white will do. I've used pinot grigio, gewurztraminer, riesling, sauvignon blanc...just don't use anything oaky like a chardonnay.

Spiced Pears and Camembert
Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 6 minutes Cool: 30 minutes Stand: 30 minutes

3 cups dry white wine
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
12 inches stick cinnamon, broken
8 whole allspice, whole cloves
8 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
8 small firm ripe pears, peeled
Cranberries (optional)
1 8-ounce round Camembert cheese, cut into wedges
1. In a saucepan large enough to hold the pears (but only large enough to hold the pears), combine the wine, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cardamom. Cook, uncovered,* over medium heat to a gentle boil. Add the peeled pears. Return liquid just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered,* for 6 to 7 minutes or until pears are just fork-tender. Let the pears cool in the poaching liquid, turning, if necessary, to be sure all sides are moistened.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a serving dish. Strain poaching liquid (I didn't strain...I left the bit & pieces in to add visual appeal). Serve the pears slightly warm, at room temperature( I served them room temp), or chilled, with the poaching liquid spooned over. If desired, surround the serving dish with cranberries. Accompany with cheese wedges. Makes 8 servings.
*Note: Be sure to cook the wine mixture uncovered to avoid the wine's vapors bursting into flames.

Can't wait to see the other tables! Check them all out @ Susan's place @ Between Naps on the Porch .

And after you do that, please go vote! I don't care who you vote for ...well I do but I'm not going to try & convince you to vote my way ;o).... just GO VOTE!


bj said...

The table looks amazing and the pears...oh, my. They look sooo good. I have never had a spiced pear but i grew up on spiced peaches....yumm

Stacey said...

Very nice. That would be a fancy menu in my opinion.

I'm a Dallas girl too...living in Oklahoma. :)

Linda said...

I want those candlesticks!

Great post, Vinty.

ann said...


tardevil said...

Pretty table & the recipes sound great.

ceekay said...

Absolutely love those twig placemats. We do not have Garden Ridge but I have been to one...they have wonderful items.

Kristen said...

I love your dishes....great table

Liz said...

Those pears look DE-LISH! What a great presentation. I love your soup tureen too!


Bo said...

Small dinner party or not...this is a great looking table and thank you for treating us to your recipe! ;-) Bo

ellen b said...

Hi Cami,
I love the white on white and that table topper is a great addition. The twig placemats are very cool. The chowder looks delicious in the white tureen. Fun setting...

Shelia said...

Hi! Your table looks so lovely. I love those white dishes! The pears - yum - I love pears! Thanks for coming to see me.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

brettinsky said...

I love the dishes that you have the pears in-beautiful! And the platter that you wrote on-super cute!

Oh, and don't ever admit that to your husband! He knows it, he doesn't need to know that you do too! :)

Myrna said...

OOOOh! What a beautiful tablescape! I love those dishes..and the simple but elegant meal was a blessing to your hubby's friend, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing the recipes, too!

Melissa Miller said...

Hi, Thank you so much for visiting my new blog and your kindness means so much. ~Gorgeous~ Elegance with simplicity. Wonderful job on your table! My favorite is the sign. :)
~Warmly, Melissa

Miss Janice said...

Love the table topper, placemats, and dinnerware. And, the menu--sounds delectable! Great job:)
Miss Janice

MizSmoochieLips said...

Oh man, those pears look divine!

Glenda said...

You are so thoughtful to provide a home cooked meal for a friend of your "best friend, DH" I can't see any reason why he wouldn't have felt perfectly at ease.
I recently froze some pears from our tree to enjoy later this Winter. Since we don't spray, I'm not sure that I have any pretty enough to serve this way. They look absolutely delicious.

Carrie said...

Very chic but hearty menu!

bj said...

Cami...I feel the exact way when you say you have concerns about both parties...SO DO I and have, right from the start....I pray I voted wisely......

Happy To Be said...

Yummy not just a great table but dinner also..looks beautiful..Hugs and smiles gloria

laurie said...

What pretty leaf plates. And that tureen of chowder looks wonderful! Love those placemates too. laurie

salmagundi said...

What a nice table and dinner!! The meal sounds wonderful - I'm so tired of a meat and potato- type meal. I can just imagine how good everything was. Sally

Susan (Moonlight and Magnolias on RMS) said...

Cami...the chowder looks amazing! Love the white china, the twig placemats and flatware...so cute! And that adorable little platter with the message is wonderful. Thanks for all the fine details...wish I had time to cook after seeing this!

Jean said...

Great table and a great menu.I would love to share that simple (NOT) meal. WOW. It looks fancy to me.
Jean in Virginia