Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Romantically, Musically Inclined Tablescape

Toile de Jouy, music, the Violin, English transferware, sentimental inherited items, poetry, antique linens, roses and lace...some of my favorite things are all gathered here for a Valentines Day table.  All of these things, to me, create an alluring table filled with romance, nostalgia, and love of music and family.
I hope they bring some of the same feelings to you.
Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.
~Ronald Reagan~

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
~Maya Angelou~

If music be the food of love, play on.
~William Shakespeare~ 
I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense.
~Robert Frost~

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

  If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
~Henry David Thoreau~

Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows.
~Napoleon Bonaparte~ 

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
~Lao Tzu~
Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.
~Martin Luther~ 

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.
~Soren Keirkegaard~

I call architecture frozen music.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe~
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
~Victor Hugo~

I have a sweet tooth for song and music. This is my Polish sin.
~Pope John Paul II~
A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!
~Oliver Wendell Holmes~
 I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.
~William Wordsworth~
 There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.

Music can change the world because it can change people.

My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.
~Martin Luther~

Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.
~Ludwig van Beethoven~

Music is what feelings sound like
~Author unknown~

You are the music while the music lasts
~T. S. Eliot~

Tablescape Sources:

Sheet Music: At each place setting I displayed an antique, hand written piece of sheet music sent me by a wonderful Etsy shop, La Pomme.  These came from a music school in Aigues Mortes, in the South of France.  They all date to the very early 1900's.  
Toile fabric:  Either Schumacher or Waverly.  This is a large remnant, at least 15 years old, left from some custom draperies. 
Red Transferware Plates:  My Shop,
Creamware Plates: Crown Ducal

Flatware: Barenthal, France 
Violin:  Ashton's ;-)
Wine Hocks: Waterford Clarendon
Tumblers: Indiana Glass, Ruby Flash, Kings Crown Thumbprint
Pink Damask Napkins: vintage and found at a yard sale
Beige cocktail napkins: Cayman Islands gift shop...long time ago
Pink Lace under centerpiece:  Kalyn''s a vest, all scrunched up.
Heart Confetti: Walmart
Silver Heart Shaped Bowls: Inherited from my Great Aunt and Uncle.

I'm joining:

From My Front Porch To Yours

The Scoop
Between Naps on the Porch 
Pink Saturday
Charm of Home
A Stroll Thru Life
French COuntry Cottage

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Antique Dairy Slabs ~ Goodbye Cheese, Bonjour Fromages

Several weeks ago I got an email from a woman in England who specializes in antique kitchenalia.  She had asked me about the cheese slab she'd seen in a post I did a few years ago (HERE) and asked if I'd be willing to sell it. 
As I was reading her message I was thinking to myself that there was no way I was going to sell my cheese slab.  

But then, as I continued to read her email, she made me an offer right then and there for my cheese slab which had me looking like this:

As you may surmise, it was an offer I could not refuse.

 said she'd been looking for a cheese slab for her own home because her kitchen was being featured in a national magazine (in the UK) and she'd hoped to have it in time for the photo shoot. Within 24 hours I'd received her offer, accepted it, sent her an invoice, she paid for it and off to Norfolk my (her) cheese slab traveled.

Goodbye Cheese

 The space where I'd kept the slab next to the stove just didn't look the same. Even though I was thrilled with such a profitable sale, knowing it went to someone who'd been looking for it and that I'd get to see it in the magazine when it would be published,  I was kinda missing it.  Even a couple of the kids commented that they  missed seeing it there. 

I know that there are a lot of you out there who love these pieces as much as I do, and lots of you have been looking for an antique dairy slab.  These English dairy slabs, or counter shop displays were mostly used during the Edwardian period, in the late 1800's to early 1900's, in grocery stores and markets for margarine, butter, lard, meats and cheeses.  The butcher or clerk would measure off the amount desired by the customer, just as they do at delis today.   They are made of ironstone and most often found with black transfer printed labels.

They make beautiful serving 
or display pieces, adding whimsical charm to your kitchen or home.

Wouldn't you love to have a pantry / dish room organized and filled with beautiful pieces like this?

Yeah, I was missing that cheese slab…

  …when what would happen several days later?   I encountered  an almost identical, antique dairy slab!  It was even made by the very same manufacturer as the cheese slab. 

Bonjour Fromages! 

That's what happened!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Superbowl Sunday Garlic Stuffed Cheese Bombs

  Recently Shawn and I ordered a calzone from an  Italian place we'd never tried.  We usually read online reviews before trying a new place out and when some people commented that the calzone had too much cheese, I knew I'd love it.  In my opinion, you can't have too much cheese.

I have been making this bread for many years.  It's a holiday staple  at my house.  Sometimes I make it to serve alongside a lighter salad and soup or chowder.  Honestly, I can just eat this cheese bread as a meal.  

Admittedly, I don't really watch the Superbowl, but that doesn't mean I don't like to eat the foods served at a Superbowl party!   I have been known to whip up some good eats for the guys on that special day and these are on the Super Bowl snack menu this year.  If you love rich, melted gooey cheese, and if you love garlic, then let me introduce you to the bomb…

Garlic Stuffed Cheese Bombs 

Garlic Stuffed Cheese Bombs 

1/2 Cup Salted Butter
2 Tblsp Sesame Seeds
Minced Garlic (from jar) or 6 cloves minced (or more to taste!)
12 Mini Ciabatta rolls or one loaf French bread
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese (cubed)
1 3/4 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Medium or Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 tsp Lemon Pepper
2 Tablespoons Parsley

(optional ingredients that I don't usually use but are very good: 6 oz. pitted sliced black olives, 1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained)

Saute' butter, sesame seeds and garlic 

Slice rolls or loaf in half (you want to use a bread which will be crusty on the outside when baked.  I use a French loaf or mini Ciabatta rolls (our favorite)

Pinch out as much of the inside of the roll or bread loaf as you can to form a 'boat', so to speak. SAVE the bread pieces you pull out in a large bowl.

Line a cookie sheet or shallow pan with your hollowed out bread

To your saved bread pieces, add….
 the melted butter, sesame seed and garlic mixture

 Stir so that the bread pieces absorb the butter
 Add the parmesan cheese, sour cream, monterey jack cheese and lemon pepper
 Stir to blend (note I used shredded Monterey Jack here but normally just cube it…I like it best when cubed as it makes little pockets of gooey, stringy cheese in the bread)
 Fill the bread boats with the cheese stuffing.  You should have enough to really make a small mound in the boats.

 Top with shredded cheddar

 and sprinkle with dried Parsley

 Now, you can bake them or freeze them.  They freeze very well.  I slide them into a zip loc bag and lay them flat in the freezer.  WIn fact, I always make extras and pull them out of the freezer to serve with other meals or as snacks.  No need to defrost, just stick them in the oven frozen and allow a couple of extra minutes to bake.

Bake at 350 until lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes for small squares and up to 30 for a large loaf.  If you're making a loaf, let it set for a couple of minutes before slicing. 
 You won't be disappointed!

Have fun watching the Superbowl, or not, on Sunday!