Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pear Tablescape and Giveaway

Hi everyone -- welcome to Tablescape Thursday and to my Girard Salad Dressing giveaway at Red Couch Recipes.

Today at Red Couch Recipes, I feature a pear tablescape.

 These are such fun salad plates; I have also used them for a lemon tablescape -- love the double duty of these.  If found a bargain on some Bartlett pears that are just about to ripen.  I plan on making several pear baked goods if the "Food Critics" don't get to them before I do :).

After you view this week's tablescape, I am honored to be giving out a 4 pack of Girard's Premium Salad Dressing to one of my readers.  I received this 4-pack in the mail and some extras goodies, because I am now officially a " Girard Epicurean Expert."  These will be the same 4 salad dressings that will be given to one of my readers.  See below for details.

I picked up an outdoor mum for about $2.00, on sale.  I always bring one inside for an inexpensive splash of color in the fall.  Today it colors my Pear Table on the deck.

These are some of the lovely pears that I purchased.  The bowl is a matching piece to the salad plates.

Seeing life though a bubbly yellow and bubbly clear glass.  Which view do you like best.

The napkin rings add a bit of softness, don't you agree?

Will we have too many more lovely days like this to dine on the deck?

Tablescape Information:
Placemats and Waterglasses:  Wal-Mart
Flatware:  World Market
Brown Dinner Dishes and Yellow Stemware:  Tai Pan Trading
'Lemon and Pear Salad Plates, Large Bowl, S and P Shakers -- Robert's Arts and Crafts
Napkins:  K-Mart
Napkin Rings:  Style Sisters

***Girard Salad Dressing Giveaway Information***

The Marzetti Company, maker of Girard Salad Dressing is giving away a set of 4 of their premium salad dressings.  Marzetti makes 18 different dressings and they are all gluten-free, and are certified Kosher.  The set one lucky winner will receive will be comprised of the following dressings as pictured above and listed below:

***Greek Feta -- It's crying to be slathered over your olives, lettuce and feta.
***Old World Italian -- This is a spectacular Italian -- rich and full of flavor.
***White Balsamic Vinaigrette--see review below
***Light Champagne -- didn't try

It will be delivered to your door -- love getting foodstuff in the mail!
I made the Pear Salad featured on my table today using the White Balsamic Vinagrette.  I drizzled it on the lettuce and on the pear -- delicious!  The White Balsamic Vinaigrette is sweet, yet at the same time the flavor of the balsamic vinegar comes through.  It's full of flavor and could be enjoyed not just on salads, but on tomatoes, beans, and other vegetables.  It's a light tasting dressing, but is also full of flavor.   

The Marzetti Company, in addition to the dressings, also sent me some bamboo servers, a cloth grocery bag, an apron, a recipe card holder.

The yellow mums just brighten up any area.

I found the Pear idea on Pinterest.  See the lovely salad dressing drizzled on the pear?

The pear salad ready to be eaten.  I recommend drizzling a little bit more dressing when you serve it.

If you would like to enter the giveaway, please do the following:

1.  MANDATORY--ONE CHANCE.   Link to Everyday Elegance  -- a site where Epicurious. Com and Girard dressings have teamed up together to bring recipes and lifestyle tips, and tell me in your comment, 1) What recipe you would like to try.  2) What is your favorite Girard's dressing.  If you have not tried Girard's dressing, tell me which you would like to try.

2.  NOT MANDATORY -- SECOND CHANCE.  Join Red Couch Recipes via Google Friend Connect or tell me that you are already a Follower of Red Couch Recipes.

3.  Open to those living in the United States Only.

4.  Giveaway ends on Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 10 pm MST

5.  Winner will be drawn with the assistance of Random. Org. and announced on Red Couch Recipes on Friday, September 9, 2011

6.  You DO NOT have to be the host of a blog to win!  However, I need a way to contact my winner.  If your e-mail is not readily available on your blog or you do not have a blog, please post your e-mail in your comment.

7.  You do not have to post separate comments.

I thank the Marzetti Company for hosting this giveaway.  I have not been compensated for writing this post, I did receive a sample pack of 4 dressings and some other Marzetti - branded items.
Good luck and thanks for visiting Red Couch Recipes.

Posted with the following:  Foodie Friday, Weekend Wrapup

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Martha's Buttermilk Pie

Glad to see you at my Red Couch today where I am serving Buttermilk Pie, which is really one of my favorite pies.  Such simple ingredients combine to make such a flavorful and luscious pie.  I have been making it for many years.  The recipe is one of Martha Stewart's own and is in my copy of her book Pies & Tarts -- real pie and tart eye candy.

Recipe for Martha's Buttermilk Pie
One unbaked 8-1/2-inch pie shell, well chilled, plus additional pie crust for the leaves that line the edge of the pie.  You can make homemade crust or buy a frozen crust and some pie crust dough in a box for the leaves.

To make the leaves, I used a Nordic Ware leave cutout; you can also freehand it.

The pie shell with leaves affixed.

 1-1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted then cooled  slightly.  I use salted butter.
1 cup buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste -- or nutmeg from the spice container.  I don't add a lot, but I love it in the pie.

Egg Yolk Glaze:  1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water.

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Affix the pastry leaves around the edge of the pie crust with cold water.  Brush the top of the leaves with the egg yolk glaze.  Refrigerate pie crust until it is ready to be filled.
3.  Combine the sugar and the flour in a large mixing bowl.  Add the beaten eggs and mix well.  Stir in the butter and the buttermilk.  Stir in the lemon rind and juice, vanilla, and nutmeg, and pour in the prepared pie shell.  Place the pie in the center of the oven for 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the filling is set.  Remove from the oven and serve at room temperature.

Red Couch Notes: As all ovens vary, watch the baking times carefully. I baked my pie for about a total of 45 minutes, which is less than Martha indicated. I also put a foil collar on the edges after awhile so the leaves wouldn't burn.
The pie is ready to be served.

You can add some raspberry sauce and raspberries to top it -- yum!
I hope you bake some pie today.  Thanks for stopping by Red Couch Recipes.

Posted with the following:  Rednesday, Wow Us Wednesday, Foodie Friday, Weekend Wrapup

Monday, August 29, 2011

Raspberry Jam Heaven

I did some honest work today; I made some jam -- two batches of raspberry jam.  There IS something so fulfilling about making jam.  I like the process -- the smell and color of the fruit while it is cooking.  I love how beautiful the jam looks in the jars.  I also LOVE the color red.

Look at these jars -- they KNOW they look good.

My kids are wild about raspberry jam -- it's one of their weaknesses.  I WILL have to hide some for a rainy day -- it is like candy for them.  Who wouldn't be wild about jam when it comes from such a luscious fruit -- I even have a teenie bit of guilt eating raspberries because they are soooooo good.

I am sure I helped my mom prepare the fruit for jam when I was a young girl, but I didn't make jam by myself until I was in my 30's.  I was living on acreage in California and we had wild blackberries on our property.  A friend from church, Terry Swarbrick, came home and taught me how.  That blackberry jam -- even with all its seeds tasted so wonderful to me and I was hooked on making jam.

Ten cups of fruit and an obscene amount of sugar yielded me 11 half-pints and 2 pints.

There is no recipe today -- I just used the recipe on the pectin jar.  I just wanted to show off my jars.

Posted with the following:  Ruby Tuesday, Rednesday, Wow Us Wednesday

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Daisy Pie Crisps

On Sunday, I made little individual berry pies for the family.  While I was browsing Pinterest, my daughters -- on their own, were taking the pie scraps and made these cute little bite-sized daisies.  It reminded me of when I was a young girl making cinnamon sugar pie triangles from my mom's pie scraps.  So  I decided to make some more because they were so cute.

I used the medium Wilton Daisy Fondant Cutter.  Using pie crust was way easier to use than sugar cookie dough -- the pie crust doesn't stick on the cutter.  Obviously, the possibilities are only limited by your fondant or cookie cutter selection. 

Lots of little bite-sized daisies.

Talley applied the cinnamon and sugar for me.

Lots of fun for grands and children.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School Ice Cream Table

Welcome to Tablescape Thursday!  Today my table is an ice cream table that my kids enjoyed after their first day of school.  Although hoped for, the first day morning of getting everyone off to school wasn't so smooth.  We stayed up late, again,the night before and things went rough the next morning.  How about you? 

A napkin view. 

At home I have a 12th, 10th, and 5th grader going back to school as well as my husband, a college professor -- a perennial student.  Our oldest is also in school; he began his second year of medical school in Virginia this August.

A larger view of the table.

Which spoon would you like?  This silver-plated spoons were given to me by my sister Jacqueline, Purple Chocolat Home.  Don't you think ice cream tastes better on silver?

These are our everyday glasses; I love them.  They are from Wal-Mart and cheap enough that if you break one, you don't feel badly.

All the ice cream plates were given to me by my daughter Talley for my birthday last year -- they are fun.  Instead of using the plates, my children scooped off the ice cream on the plates and made cones.

 Of course you KNEW I would have ice cream for you.  This is Breyer's Strawberry ice cream;  I love the base ice cream in Breyer's.  I think Breyer's is under a different name in the east.

I hope you enjoyed your ice cream.  My children did.  The table sort of smoothed out a rough first day of school.

Table Information:
Placemats, napkins, glasses   -- Wal-Mart
Dinner Plates -- Tai Pan Trading
Napkin Rings:  Bed, Bath and Beyond
Ice Cream Bowls and Plates:  -- Robert's Arts and Crafts
Flatware -- Plated Silver from my sister

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Economical Elephants

Welcome to Tablescape Thursday!  Today I bring to the table my Economical Elephants table.  Why Economical Elephants you may say?   I have been to a garage sale. THAT is a big event - in fact I went to the same sale twice!   I never go to garage sales, but this time I drove by one and there was a lot of glassware.  "Grandma" was from Spain and loved to entertain -- yes, that does rhyme ;)  The grandkids had no interest in her glassware -- isn't that sad!  Anyway several of the elephants  elements are from "Grandma."  Truth be told most of my tablescapes are economical ones....

The stars of this table, of course, are the elephant plates -- love it that they are square.

I placed the fruit in the terra cotta baker.  Shhh!!  Don't tell anyone, but when I bought the Asian Pears, I thought they were yellow delicious apples ;)!  I can't wait to make some roasted vegetables in the baker in the fall.  "Grandma;s" roaster, with a cover, was $3.00.

I love "Grandma's flan dishes.  Most like creme brulee will be served in these bakers.  I recently saw some bakers like this in a Spanish importing catalogue.  They sold "Grandma's" for 5 for $2.00.  Love the pop of the orange napkin which provides a tropical feel, don't you think?

The green goblets are plastic and were on clearance for a dollar at Wal-Mart this spring.

I set the new orchid plant my husband brought home for me.  Better get a shot of it now, it will die soon, under my care ;).

Economical Elephants Table
Placemats and Green Stemware:  Wal-Mart
Flatware:  World Market
Napkins:  K-Mart
Napkin Holders:  Bed Bath and Beyond
White Square Plates -- A gift from my sister Jean who when she found out how much she would have to pay to take them home on the plane, she gifted them to me at curbside parking.
Elephant Plates -- Ross -- a gift from my son Skyler
Flan Dishes -- "Grandma"
Terra Cotta Baker (the fruit basket)  -- "Grandma"
Pineapple Dishes -- TJ Maxx -- a gift from my daughter Tati

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recipe From the Hood: Nectarine Trifle

Here's a sweet no-bake dessert for these hot summer days!  It's perfect for those days when you don't want to turn on the oven and still have a great tasting and looking dessert.   It was my daughter Tati's 15th birthday, we had this for dessert instead of our traditional Ice Cream Cake.  It  is sweet and tart and oh so delicious.  Just layer the ingredients in a glass and your are done.

I was inspired by a recipe (thus, a Recipe from the Hood) posted by Mary at Home is Where the Boat Is for this dessert.  Mary posts excellent book review and tablescapes and makes tempting desserts.

First of all, I want to say that this is one of  "those desserts," that doesn't have an exacting recipe -- so just go with the flow.

1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped and flavored with sugar and vanilla
5-6 nectarines, cut into slices
1 package Sandie's Pecan Shortbread or any shortbready cookies, broken into small pieces -- each glass will take about 4 cookies -- 2 in each layer.
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 cup pecans, broken up in small pieces and sugared.  See directions below.

Place crushed cookies into glass and cover with nectarines (about 1/2 of a medium nectarine).    Add 1-2 teaspoons lemon curd and 2 tablespoons of whipping cream.   Repeat.  Top with sugared pecans.

Red Couch Recipes Note:  Yield:  This recipe made 6 desserts.  To sugar pecans, place 1 cup pecans in small sauce pan, add about 4 tablespoons of sugar and cook on medium heat until sugar melts, making sure your stir constantly.  Quickly take off heat and turn pecans out on foil and allow to cool before using.

Thanks to my sister Jean who lives in San Antonio for the wonderful Trader Joes's Lemon Curd used in this recipe.  She recently made a trip to California and picked me up four bottles.  There are no Trader Joe's in Utah where I live or Texas where she lives.  Trader Joe's Lemon Curd is a weakness. 

Posted with the following:  Wow Us Wednesday

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spicy Spanish Sausage Ragu

So glad you dropped by today.  Come take a rest on my Red Couch.  On a return from a family camping trip, I made Spicy Spanish Sausage Ragu which is a soothing and soulful dish -- it pulls together easy and makes for a memorable delectible meal 

This was the sweetest campground ever!  I love the red rock ledge that protected us from the sun.  The campground had flush toilets, a damned creek to swim in and a congenial campground host. 

I  based the ragu on some chicken chipotle-jalapeno sausage that I had in the freezer.  For any of my Utah readers, I purchased this from Sunflower Markets.  I can't describe to you how soothing and soul filling this was after eating camp food for a few days.  As my family would love to tell you, I am not a great camping cook, so this tasted especially good after days of camping food.

Recipe for Spicy Spanish Sausage Ragu

1 large red onion, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sausage
1 can petite diced tomatoes (28-ounce), undrained 
2 pounds uncooked sausage
1/3 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In dutch oven add onion, pepper, garlic, and olive oil and saute until onion and pepper are soft.  Add sausage, tomatoes, cilantro, and freshly ground pepper.  As sausage cooks, cut into medium-sized pieces.  Cook ragu until sausage is done.

Red Couch Notes:  I did not add any salt, as the sausage I used contained salt.  If you cannot find a seasoned sausage, you will need to add a little jalapeno and chipotle pepper. 

Talley, 10 Years Old, Foot in the Damned Creek

One more view of our stupendous camp site.

It was wonderful having you here!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Slot Canyon Mud Fun

Come with me on a muddy trip through one of Utah's world famous slot canyons; Utah has the highest concentration of slot canyons in the whole world.  This slot canyon is called Peek-a-Boo and is located near the town of Escalane, Utah on the famous Hole-in-the Rock road in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  Peek-a-Boo and its cousin Spooky are non-technical slot canyons, which means we won't be needing ropes or other canyoneering paraphernalia on our hike.

To get to Peek-A-Boo, you must travel down the Hole-in-the-Rock road for 26 miles of unpaved road--- bump, bump, bump.  When you reach the Dry Fork Trail, you then drive over a 1.7 mile dirt road, bump, bump, bump.  Whew, you made it.  Now go to the trail head and see this wonderful view. 

 It's about a 20 minute hike to get to Peek-A-Boo and Spooky.  Don't worry cairns will lead you to the slot canyons.  I hope you brought some water, you will need it.

Some cracked mud -- I love to walk on cracked mud, crack, crack, crack.  This was a warning to us:  THICK MUD ahead.

Inside the canyon it can be very shady which was helpful as it was really a scorcher that day.  My husband is fashionably carrying a J C Penney reusable bag because we forgot a backpack -- can you believe it?

It rained the day before.  You NEVER enter a slot canyon when it is raining or when there is rain in the forecast.  Even 1/4-inch of rain can prove hazardous as all the rain flows into the canyon and quickly can rise up the canyon walls and there is no way out for hikers.

As it had rained the day before, there was MUD, THICK, OOEY, GOOEY,  MUD.  I think Earl the pig, Lynn's pet, the hostess of the blog Happier Than a Pig in Mud, would have enjoyed it...I DID NOT! 

A picture of my shoe; my leg is at the bottom center and my shoe is covered in mud in the center.

Yes, this is a picture of my SHOE.  I did have a new pair of shoes I was contemplating wearing that day -- thankfully, I stuck with my old shoes.  As we walked, my shoe kept on getting stuck in the mud; my husband, the kind fellow that he he, kept on pulling it out for me.  If you went barefoot, you would run the risk of walking on sharp objects.

My daughter Tati went barefoot for awhile until she DID hit something sharp.  Okay, while we are on the subject of mud, oink, oink, I preferred the thin mud over the thick, clay-like mud.  Earl, what do you prefer?

Tati's leg in the mud.

Nearing the end of the hike, my son Skyler is seen negotiating a boulder that is in front of a big mud hole.  I must tell you he fell in the mud hole....(yes, we did laugh after asking if he was okay).  Apparently, we weren't thinking clearly after all the mud, we thought that Spooky would have just as much mud as Peek-A-Boo, so we didn't enter Spooky; we turned around and went back through Peek-A-Boo -- GLOP, GLOP, GLOP!   We were wrong, apparently Spooky had no mud that day...

A leg portrait of my family at the end of the hike.

Hot from the hike and CAKED WITH MUD we walked into the small grocery store in Escalante to get some slushies.  The workers there asked, "Playing in some mud?"  We told them about Peek-A-Boo and they responded with, "Well, it did rain yesterday, " and what was left unsaid was, "what do you expect tourists it rained?"  But, we were tourists and you have to go when you can!

En route to home we passed by Julie Harwood's, Circle Cliff Views beautiful home.  You can see her beautiful home on her blog header and it's for sale.  She and her husband have big plans for retirement.  Her gorgeous home is located in some of the most beautiful country.  We stumbled upon her home by accident, but I recognized it from her blog.  Do you think Julie wanted MUD CAKED visitors?  No, we did not visit, maybe the next time we pass by.

Thanks for dropping by my Red Couch for my Slot Canyon Mud Fun adventure.

Tati left her signature, in mud of course, on the canyon wall and with that we are signing off today.

Posted with the following:  Wow Us Wednesday