Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let the Gratitude Begin!

Fall Colors at French Hollow
Autumn at French Hollow - need I say more?  Well, yes, I think I do!  I would like to say that I am grateful for all of my followers, both the newest ones and those who have given me encouragement from the beginning. I think we sometimes skip right over Thanksgiving rushing to Christmas from Halloween - just thought I'd start being thankful early so I would have enough time to show gratitude for all of the wonderful people, things and events in my life! Thanks - and blessings to you all.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Souper Sunday Recipe

Remember this cute baby squash?  It came from the one butternut plant that survived both the birds and the baby rabbits. I got about 6 squashes from my plant. I split a couple of them in half, scooped out the seeds, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with kosher salt and roasted them in the oven – yummy. The rest of them made a beautiful butternut bisque. I used fresh herbs from my garden, but dried herbs can be used as well.
This recipe makes six servings.
 2 T good olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk finely chopped celery
½ t fresh thyme or ¼ t dried
½ t fresh rosemary or ¼ t dried
1 fresh sage leaf, finely chopped
1 t salt
¼ t ground black pepper
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream (leave out the cream for a vegan version)
In a large saucepan over medium, sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the herbs and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the butternut squash, stock, salt and pepper and bring the soup to a simmer. Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the squash is tender. Puree the soup in a countertop blender or with an immersion blender until it is completely smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and heat through.
If you wish to increase the recipe and freeze some for future use DO NOT add the cream before freezing. Thaw completely, then add the cream and simmer just until heated.
Silly me, I forgot to photograph the finished bisque before we enjoyed it for dinner, but it looked just like this:
Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
and tasted fabulous!  Enjoy! And thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Restoration - a matter of preference or preservation?

Silver Coffee Service
 I’ve seen lots of silver and silver plate at antique shops and flea markets lately that is darkly tarnished and unpolished. I enjoy the shabby chic look, and there is certainly beauty in allowing a vintage piece to be highlighted by leaving darkened areas within the pattern.

Lots of us are “aging” furniture and decorative items or collecting chippy, rusty home décor pieces; however, blackened silver is simply not attractive in my opinion. Not to mention that tarnish can eventually ruin the silver altogether. When allowed to tarnish to black, it takes a good quality polish and lots of elbow grease to turn this:
Into this:

Polished Silver Coffee Service
The best way to avoid tarnish is to use your silver regularly and wash it with mild dish detergent. Make sure to dry it completely with a soft dish towel. If you save your silver for special occasions, store it in one of the many commercial bags or boxes made to prevent tarnishing. You really don’t want to have to polish often – both because it is a LOT of work and because each time you polish you actually rub off a little of the silver. I highly recommend enjoying those lovely pieces. Have coffee with friends!