Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Add A Burst of Spring

Here in central Pennsylvania, spring is definitely on the way.  But of course it's still March and that feeling could change tomorrow.  I think for most of us, spring can't come fast enough after the brutally cold winter we all experienced  this year.  To make it feel more like spring, I enjoy forcing Forsythia blooms.  If you have never done this, it is an early "spring fix".  Simply cut stems from your Forsythia bush to the desired length and place in a vase of water.

And after a few days to a week or so,  you'll have very cheerful bright yellow blooms to embellish your home and teatime.  Do you force flowers to bloom?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St Patrick's Day Dinner & Tablescape

For many years my husband and I have belonged to a wonderful gourmet dinner group. There are 6 couples in the group.  We as a group  have experienced many major lifetime events. Some among those have been   births, deaths, graduations, engagements, weddings, divorce, and job transfers. One thing remains, we are all great foodie friends.  We meet once a month from September thru April.  For our May meeting , the men treat the ladies and take us out to dinner to a fabulous restaurant of our choice.   In September we have an organizational meeting where we decide dates for the coming year, who will host, the theme, and who will bring appetizer, salad, main course, vegetable and dessert for each meal.  The host provides, the wine, bread, and clean house. 

 Pictured is my table scape for St. Patrick's Day.  The ribbons, beads and shamrocks were purchased at JoAnn's Fabrics. The glass vases and green glass pebbles purchased at Pottery Barn. The fresh flowers came from the Giant.

 The candy bags and gold wrapped coins were bought at a local candy store.  The china  pattern is Bennington  by Mikasa.  I'm proud to say it is my wedding china and is decades old.

At this dinner, our menu consisted of  Mini Potatoes stuffed with Salmon Mousse, Irish Spring Salad*, Corned Beef with Brown Sugar Glazed Brussel  Sprouts and Carrots, Baked Potatoes,  Birthday Cake and Irish Cream Tea  for dessert.

*Irish Spring Salad
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced to be used as garnish
8 asparagus spears, par boiled and sliced
1 C salad greens, spring mix
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 t finely chopped onion
1 heaping t mustard
1 t red wine vinegar
1/2 t light brown sugar
1 T low-fat mayonnaise
1 t low-fat buttermilk

Serves 2

Arrange salad ingredients on 2 salad plates.  Combine and mix dressing ingredients and spoon over salad.  Garnish with egg slices

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lenten Meat Alternative for Your Tea Time

Mini Shrimp Tartlets are a delicious Lenten Meat Alternative for Your Tea Time.  They can also be served as an appetizer or light meal.

Mini Shrimp Tartlets
1 package 8oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
2 t Worcestershire sauce
3 T finely chopped onion
1 t garlic salt
1 t lemon juice
2  packages minature phyllo tart shells
1/2 C cocktail sauce ( I used Kerchner's)
30 peeled and deveined medium shrimp, (50-60 count) steamed in Old Bay Seasoning

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.  Spoon into tart shells.  Top with cocktail sauce and shrimp.  Garnish with chopped parsley. Refrigerate before serving.