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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Shouldn't You Just...?

Purchase delicate bursts of pale salmon amaryllis to enliven your table?

Modern advice on etiquette for the not-so-new millennium.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Oh, Heart of Mine

My mother always used to make these Egg Hearts (perhaps you know them as something akin to a Toad in a Hole) for me growing up for breakfast. She still does when I ask, and it was only over this past Christmas that I watched her closely to see how she actually makes them. The execution is not so difficult after all but boy do I love them and have since made them myself the last few weeks. So delicious and wholly satisfying!

Egg Hearts
Serves one--or naturally the recipe may be increased, depending on the appetites of your eager breakfast or brunch guests
1 extra large egg
1 slice of bread
2 TBS butter or margarine
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter on medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. While the butter begins to bubble, place your bread on a plate and cut out a circle in the center, the "heart" I suppose, with an upturned juice glass. Set the circle aside. Put the slice of bread in the skillet and let it brown for a minute. Crack the egg and drop it in the hollow, breaking up the yolk with a few deft pokes from a knife or fork. Add the "heart" on top of the egg to form somewhat of a seal. Don't let the egg cook too long before flipping the whole thing with a pliable wide rubber spatula. The idea is that the yolks should pour out a golden liquid when cut into eventually. Give it another minute or two to brown in the bubbling butter, flip it again and then serve. I like to spread some more butter on and season it with some sea salt and cracked black pepper. Serve with a simple salad of greens with a shallot vinaigrette if you'd like, pour a glass of freshly squeezed orange or pink grapefruit juice (perhaps with a merry splash of Champagne) and do enjoy this outing!

What Were You Doing New Year's Eve?


Happy New Year! My fella and I had a ball with a cleverly composed collection of companions! I set the table with pink candles stuck into Russian-inspired in tone candelabras with fir boughs draping forth from a homey Burleigh ware pitcher, surrounded by pine cones and dried Victorian blue hydrangeas on a framed antique map over a vintage runner scattered with Japanese tangerines. We selected the red wines ahead of time and placed a host of whites in the refrigerator. Several bottles of Perrier-Jouet Champagne and prosecco joined them in anticipation of a toast at midnight! I don't mind telling you we put out paper napkins, "silver" plastic forks, knives and spoons and Chinet appetizer and dinner plates for our guests. Nobody seemed to mind and my, how much clean-up time we saved ourselves!

Our buffet menu was simple and elegant--links are below.

We started out with duck liver mousse--and do make this the day before you plan serving it, allowing this delicacy a chance to settle in. John Greeley's (executive chef at '21') steak tartare was utterly perfect and was eaten quickly by our guests. A fantastic French onion soup followed, courtesy of Julia Child, poured into cups and topped with individual slivers of French bread toasts covered with grated Swiss, Emmental and Parmesan cheeses. A salad of red and green lettuces is seen here, tossed with shallot vinaigrette and crisped prosciutto. We couldn't find escarole, as suggested in the recipe, so we improvised--improvisation is as much of a necessity as is a skillet or a spatula in the kitchen.

The peas! And mushrooms too went into our penne pasta (instead of garganelli) with cream sauce. Since the recipe called for prosciutto, we subbed wild mushrooms to avoid redundancy while bulking up on meaty flavor. It was delicious!

To Start
Duck Liver Mousse with Armagnac Cream
Steak Tartare from '21'
Julia Child's French Onion Soup (Soupe a l'onion)

A Superb Salad
Red and Green Lettuces with Crisped Prosciutto and Shallot Vinaigrette

The Pasta Course
Penne with Peas and Parmesan and Wild Mushrooms in a Cream Sauce

To Sup
Bloody Mary Steaks--Baby made this up. He marinated several pounds of flank steak with a Bloody Mary mixture overnight and a scoche of Russian Standard vodka. After that, the steaks were a snap to cook, arriving to the table medium rare in less than 15 minutes (including six minutes allowing the meat to rest before serving).

For Something Completely Sweet
Pepperidge Farm Chocolate and Coconut Cakes. Store bought. Love. Colorfully decorated the silver serving tray with more of the tangerines.