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Friday, August 31, 2012

JUST A SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN AUGUST

My husband and I decided to host a small cocktail party in August.  About two dozen people attended.  Most were former friends and acquaintances that we had established almost thirty years prior to moving to Minnesota.  Now that we are spending our summers at Lake Okoboji, we wanted to entertain these friends again.

Here are a few photos from A Sunday in August:






 I always pre-set the table before a party.  I choose the serving pieces and place them on the table to see how they will fit.  I put post-it notes on the serving pieces to remind me what food is going on which plate!





I found the ceramic gourds at a junk shop here at the lakes.  I thought they would fit perfectly with my majolica in the autumn.  I also reused the Potter Barn silk flowers in pots and my really old Pottery Barn urn, that has been outside for years, to hold more fresh sunflowers.





This is a small snapshot of the food.  A friend reminded me to take a picture, after about half of the food was gone!


One of my favorite hors d oeuvres are curried sweet potato cups.  I make them all the time!





 I also made a crostini with ricotta, sliced pears, walnuts and a honey drizzle.




The last photo is another favorite which I rely on a lot.  It is a Pesto Pie.  This is all that was left!




We had trouble with the oven, and I didn't get two recipes made in time, but all in all, it was a great party.  I even got to use my "lemonade urn" riser from Pottery Barn in a new way.  (under the platter.)

Happy Labor Day weekend, everybody!



Monday, August 27, 2012

CHICKENS, HENS AND ROOSTERS!

A few weeks ago, I hosted a luncheon for some of my friends who appreciate antiques.  I was inspired by finding several chicken chocolate molds at a local antiques store.




I served a wonderful smoked chicken salad from the local deli that I embellished with red grapes and cashews.  I also served a mini artichoke-spinach blue cheese cheesecake over a bed a greens with blue cheese dressing.


I also made Parmesan chips and made "Chicken" shaped tortilla chips using an vintage chicken-shaped cookie cutter and baking them.


I made my daughter's favorite chocolate spritz cookie recipe (but I rolled the dough out) and cut the dough with fabulous copper chicken cookie cutters that I found at My European Treasures in Excelsior, MN.   http://www.myeuropeantreasures.com/met_excelsior.html


World market had pre-made meringue "nests" that I filled with chocolate mousse. and I used a vintage chocolate mold to mold chocolate "chickens."  (Yes, the plates are printed with four different chicken patterns.  Have you seen them?)

The decor was just fresh sunflowers in the living room!  (Although, the centerpiece had Pottery Barn sunflower pots from this fall's collection.)


My table had a few other chickens, as well.  Larger milk glass "hen on nest" boxes held dressing for the cheesecake and salad and a tiny "hen on a nest" box held salt.  The pair of baby chick egg cups held salt and pepper!  Oh, and the the napkin rings were chicken shaped ones that I have had for 30 years.  I used my green Majolica-type plates that I bought at Target, 20 years ago, too!


Here is my recipe for my salad.  Enjoy using it!

MINI  ARTICHOKE-SPINACH BLUE CHEESE CHEESECAKES from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cooking

Makes 12 servings
Prep time 10 minutes
Bake 40 minutes
Cool 30 minutes
Chill 2 hours
Freeze 30 minutes
12 Saltine Crackers, finely crushed
1 Tbs melted butter
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
8 oz of Robert Rothschild Farm Artichoke Spinach Dip
1 (8oz) container sour cream
1 (4oz.) package of blue cheese
1 Tbs all purpose flour
1 5 oz. bag mixed greens
1 12 oz jar of blue cheese dressing

Garnish:  Fresh oregano sprigs

 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line one 12-cup muffin pan with baking cup liners.  Spray paper liners with cooking spray. 

2. In a small bowl, stir together cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Spoon cracker mixture evenly in the bottom of the liners, pressing to form a crust.

3. In a mixing bowl, place cream cheeses, 1/2 Cup sour cream, blue cheese and flour.  Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until the yellow disappears after each addition.  Spoon cream cheese mixture over cracker mixture, filling the lining papers until completely full. 

4. Bake for 40 minutes or until set.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan to wire rack and let cool completely (about 15 minutes.)  Cover and chill for 2 hours.  Freeze for 30 minutes, or until paper liners can be completely removed from cheesecakes.  Remove and discard paper liners.

5. Serve cheesecakes over greens.  Drizzle with desired amount of blue cheese dressing.  Dollop cheesecakes evenly with remaining amount of sour cream.  Garnish with oregano sprigs if desired.