Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tess, Narva Lee, and Elizabeth

Yesterday, I was at home, working on our Romancing the Home Entertaining book that is coming out this fall. Part of the book is a collection of tried and true recipes gathered together from family and friends. Since my best friend, Lynda, is helping me with it, and we have cooked together and shared recipes for over 30 years, it's not surprising that her mom's, my mom's, and my mother in law's recipes show up quite often. They never really met each other, yet they are tied together now forever through this cookbook. I am determined to get a good picture of Lynda's mom, Tess's, Strawberry Tart for the cookbook, as it is a recipe that is used often. We have adapted it to all different types of berries, but today I am using the original version, Tess's version, Strawberry. Tess made a pie, but Lynda and I like to make it into a tart. As I am making the tart, I reflect on these women and their influence on our lives. Still hard to believe, but they all passed away within 6 weeks of each other. But they are still with us everyday as we prepare their food. Try Tess's Strawberry Tart - it's a great summer dessert with the fresh berries readily available. Plan on seeing the entire book, Romancing the Home Entertains, in the store just in time for the holiday season. It's going to be a great gift for friends !

Tess's Strawberry Tart

3 T. powdered sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 c. flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the sugar, butter and flour together by hand until mixture resembles crumbs. Pat into a pie or tart pan with fingers, patting up sides as well. Bake 25 to 35 minutes until lightly browned. Take out and cool in pan.
1 qt. Strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. water
2 1/2 T. cornstarch
1 small pkg. strawberry Jello
Artfully arrange strawberries in cooled crust. Cook water, sugar, and cornstarch over medium heat until clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the Jello, stirring to combine.
Pour the glaze over the strawberries in the crust and refrigerate until set. Remove the sides of the tart pan before serving.
Note: Any combination of fruits and flavors of jello can be used for this recipe. Raspberries and blueberries are delicious. Artfully arranging the fruit is a very important part of making a beautiful tart.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beast Bling

We are just back from the wedding and from the gift show in Atlanta. So it's time to get back into my normal routine and start blogging again. Excited by the home trends shown in Atlanta, we couldn't wait for some of the new merchandise to start arriving. Animals prints and a lot of bling, that's the direction for fall. Bringing back cow rugs and lots of jewelry, we set a table blending the two trends. A black and white cow rug anchors the settings. Vintage gold rimmed dinner plates are set on capiz shell chargers. Sea shells embellish the table and remind us that we are still in summer. Rhinestone bracelets, used as napkin rings, add to the exotic table setting. We call it Beast Bling!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Getting Married in Grand Style

This weekend, Jessica, daughter of Katha, one of the Romancing the Home girls, got married. The wedding was at the University Club in Chicago, a grand old Chicago landmark. Cocktails were in the library, and the wedding and dinner and dancing were in the Cathedral Room. Yellow roses, purple stock, hydrangeas, orchids, and peonies filled the room with color. Jessica's bouquet was created to enhance her beautiful gown, trumpet style with a rhinestone ivory sash and layers of chiffon flounces. Since the cocktails were in the library, we created a place card table using parchment covered books with the wedding invitation and wedding vows. Antique books were folded accordion style to hold the table assignment cards. Small bouquets of flowers and votives embellished the table. It was a glorious night, with an awesome band, and the City of Chicago just happened to celebrate with us with a spectacular fireworks display on the lake front. As guests watched the fireworks display from the Cathedral room , one couldn't help thinking how lucky we were to be at this beautiful occasion.