How It Started

When the gourmet group heard we were going to Sicily for another Foodie Adventure, a request was made for a Sicilian meal when we next hosted.   Lucky I was warned because that made me pay attention to tables and accessories when we were there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt a market I found a cloth which started the thought process.

I was very attracted to ceramic heads which were a reflection of the Moorish influence in Sicily.    I finally yielded to temptation and purchased two small ones that I knew would work into whatever tablescape would eventually evolve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen the time came to put a table together, I brought out the chianti bottles which have been used  many times over the years.  Now I know chianti is Tuscan, but I figured as long as I kept the Italian thing going, it would be OK.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe same thing applies to the handpainted plates which were gotten in Ravello some years ago. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I looked at the table, it dawned on me that citrus was everywhere in southern Sicily, so I went outside, cut a few stems of holly fern and arranged whatever oranges, lemons and grapefruit were in the refrigerator on the table.  They actually play off some of the images on the cloth which is proving to be quite an effective inspiration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA dish towel doubling as a napkin and folded into a pocket for flatware

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand an orange atop the salad plate completes a table that turns out to be very reflective of sunny Sicily.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd to think it all started with a request for a Sicilian dinner which I’ll share next time.

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Centerpiece Wednesday

Tablescape Thursday

Evolution of a Table

Sometimes a table setting doesn’t come easy, and that’s when I look around the house  hoping to find something from which a table can evolve.

tablescapeToday a handcrafted porcelain box, whimsical and alive with color, plants the seed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs they have so many times, these vases of not so real poppies and tulips become part of the evolution and with the box sit on a contemporary Italian design black rubber runner.

tablescapeDishes?  No problem.  Turquoise and green hand painted Italian pottery on alternating combinations of burgundy and gold, is made for this table.

napkinsnapkinsNapkin rings, again handmade, have just right colors, too.    Add the lovely little salt dishes from a forgotten spot in the cabinet, and the table is shaping up!

glasswareglasswareglasswareAt first, etched glass stems were part of the setting, but as I looked again at the box, it seemed very right to have the glassware play off the colors as well.

tablescapeWith all the elements in place, what began as a challenging exercise has become a table full of color and texture, qualities that never fail to excite me.

tablescapeAs the light dims and I take a last look at the table, I see it as part of a whole made up of mainly handcrafted pieces, each of which evokes a memory and is a special tribute to talented people.  Together they evolve to become not only a pleasing table but a very personal statement.

I would love to know what inspires your tables and what they say about you.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

One Last Time

white tablescapeWhen I like something, I really like it!  So it is with the collection of white pumpkins and squash that have appeared here and here.  I couldn’t bear to leave them behind so they traveled from Maine to Houston and have found themselves surrounded by all new things.  

tablescapeFor a different look, the pumpkins and squash rest on a glass top table atop two pieces of burlap used as table runners.    Add a bit of fall colored ribbon and candle holders gussied up with the same ribbon and here is a new look using the whites, now sporting a slight yellowish tint, one last time.

tablescapeAdding a little kick to the table is handpainted pottery from Ravello, Italy.   Each plate has a different critter, but what the plates have in common is a touch of orange that goes right with the ribbon.

tablescapeWith such fun pieces on the table, it need not be fussy so nothing more is added except for napkins that again repeat the colors in the ribbon as well as complement the pottery.

 pumpkin tablescapeLight the candles for a soft glow

pumpkin tablescapeand  there you have it, a table using the whites one last time unless, that is,  I decide to do something with them for Christmas.  Think they will last that long?

As I set the table I was thinking about what to have for dinner.  Chicken breasts are in the refrigerator, and with a little cool snap headed this way, I’m getting out the Cuisinart multi cooker to prepare Moroccan Chicken with Couscous.  It’s simple, tasty and fills the house with wonderful aroma as it simmers away.

Moroccan chickenMoroccan Chicken with Couscous

8-10 chicken pieces, bone in

2 T. olive oil

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

3 bay leaves

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 t. ground cumin

1/2 c. dry white wine

1/2 c. chicken stock

Season chicken with salt and pepper; brown on both sides in hot oil.  Remove and sauté onions, bay leaves and garlic until softened.  Add cumin, 1/2 t. salt,wine and stock.  Transfer to slow cooker and add chicken.  Cover and cook on low setting for about 3 1/2 hours.

Couscous

Bring 1 1/4 c. chicken stock and 1/2 t. salt to a boil.  Pour hot stock over 1 1/4 c. couscous.  Add 3/4 c. raisins, cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until stock is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and add 1 can of chickpeas, well drained,  1/2 c. lemon vinaigrette, 1/2 t. cumin and 2 T. chopped parsley.

To serve, mound couscous in the center of a plate, top with chicken, drizzle with pan liquid and top with toasted, sliced almonds.

Vinaigerette

Combine 1 t. Dijon mustard, 1 T. white wine vinegar, 1 t. lemon zest. 2 T. lemon juice, 1/4 c. olive oil, salt and pepper.

Savor every bite and don’t be surprised if seconds are requested.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

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