Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DIY Table Decor

Our favorite tabletops are simple, beautiful, elegant, and of course, a bit creative. We love to repurpose and we love to DIY. Here are some of our favorite DIY ideas from around the web.

From Casa Sugar.
Wine glasses, votive candles, vellum paper, scissors. Snap.

Vintage Tins & Free Lables
From I DIY
Soup, Tomato, & Vegetable cans, labels removed. Replaced with vintage labels from this amazing flickr set.

Wine Bottle Torches
 From Design Sponge
A wine bottle, torch wick and some fuel and presto! Even if you aren't having an event, these torches are great for your outdoor space!

Wine Bottle Vases
From Citified.
Wine bottles, candles, Beautiful!

Also try Flea Market & Yard Sale Finds
Spring is the time to pound the pavement. Hit the yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores in search for unique pieces that can be used in a variety of ways.Teapots, mason jars, glass vases, even old ashtrays can be repurposed into something beautiful!

Remember, variety is the key. Make sure you get different sizes, textures, and colors. We like them to hold flowers, candles, flatware, dipping sauces or just by themselves!

or if you can't find unique looking pieces...make 'em! With this tutorial:
Erica's Faux Porcelain
From Design Sponge.
So cool!

Vintage Book  Table Numbers
By Bird and Banner on Once Wed
You can always find old looking books in thrift stores. A really cool cost conscious craft!

A little bit of thought, a lot of time and a couple of supplies and you can mold your own dream night!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Good Thing

You've got to see this gem we found in the back of our book shelves. 
From, 1984, Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres.
In classic Martha-esque perfection, "Mrs. Stewart", as the book calls her, describes the cocktail party as her favorite way to entertain. And shares recipes, presentations, and trade secrets from her catering firm, Martha Stewart, Inc., in Westport, Conneticut. Loaded with gorgeous photos, and amazing recipes, Martha contines to remind us that even in 1984, she was still the queen. 
 And get a load of that dress! 
Laura Ashley eat your heart out!

The book is divided into different types of cocktail parties. The first one is
Tea in the Library

The tea table is crowded with goodies including pickled quail eggs with seasoned salt, heart shaped shortbread flavored with cayenne, scones with herb jellies, biscuits with whipped creme fraiche, cream puffs with powdered sugar and jam, and dainty open faced tea sandwiches. Martha used her grandmother's silver pieces and repurposed the ashtrays into jam containers. 

Christmas Cocktails
 You must love the mismatching bowties! Left: skewered tortellini were piled onto silver trays, served with Parmesan dipping sauce and garnished with whole heads of roasted garlic.Right: Baked oysters set atop wilted spinach leaves and decorated with a red strip of sun-dried tomatoes.
Left: A savory wreath of olives, cornichons, and roasted peppers arranged on sprigs of rosemary and fresh basil leaves. You could also add quartered baby artichokes, marinated mushrooms, or any other pickled or marinated vegetables. Right: Red, ripe cherry tomatoes filled with a mixture of smoked salmon and cream cheese rest on a bed of dill. The tomatoes were hollowed with a melon-ball scoop and the filling was piped in with a decorative tip pastry bag. We've filled these tomatoes with a mixture of goat cheese and pesto as well.

Country Kitchen Hors d'Oeuvres
A sun filled kitchen is a delightful setting for this party. The buffet table is laden with cheeses, fruits, and a bright yellow platter heaped with asparagus.

Champagne & Valentines
 An herb-flavored coeur a la creme is surrounded by heart-shaped cucumbers on an
eighteeth-century English mahogany tray.

Here, cucumber slices are shown prepared in a variety of ways. Left: Biscuit cutters can vary the shape, and a melon-ball scoop can make a small hollow to hold the filling. Center: Different pastry tips can also be used to change the look. A star tip of salmon mousse, a rosette of herb cheese, and a leaf of trout mousse. Right: A lengthwise slice of pear is the perfect foil for tangy Gorgonzola-Stilton, either sliced or softened and piped.

A Spring Wedding Reception
Martha's favorite weddings are those that adhere to tradition and have a feeling of simple elegance, restrained formality, and a friendly family atmosphere. On white linens from the brides collection a crudite of thin asparagus and long, tender haricot verts (green beans) in a stemmed candy dish with a lemon-flavored dip; cucumber rounds with smoked salmon mousse and a watercress leaf garnish; Ultra-thin pastry shells were filled with Oriental-style chicken salad; Boat-shaped pastry shells called barquettes with leek and creme fraiche filling; and tiny orange muffins with smoked turkey and quince jelly; served on silver borrowed from family members.

Oriental Cocktails in the Parlor
One recipe jumped out at us from this section...
Tea Smoked Eggs with Sesame Salt
These easy-to-make marbleized tea eggs are beautiful inside and out. smoky, and flavorful, they are centuries old in culinary tradition. Martha served them cut in wedges with sesame salt but we think they would be beautiful piled in a bowl at the center of the buffet. The shells are just too pretty to discard. Here's the recipe:

 Tea Smoked Eggs with Sesame Salt

8 eggs
2 tablespoons coarse salt
4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 whole star anise
2 tablespoons smoky tea (Earl Grey or Hu-Kwa)

Sesame Salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons coarse salt
large pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Boil eggs 20 minutes over a low flame. Cool in cooking water. Drain the eggs, and tap the shells all over with the back of a spoon until each shell is completely crackled. Return the eggs to the pan, cover with cold water, and add the salt, soy sauce, star anise, and tea. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer very slowly for 2 to 3 hours. Turn off the flame and leave the eggs in the liquid for 8 hours. Drain the eggs but leave in shells until ready to use. They keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week. 
To make sesame salt, lightly toast sesame seeds in a hot frying pan, tossing gently over high heat. Combine toasted sesame seeds, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. To serve, carefully peel the eggs The whites will be marbled with dark lines. Cut the eggs into halves or quarters, and serve with sesame salt.

The Grand and Elegant Party
Oysters with white wine and shallot butter

From top: Oysters with orange butter, Iced oyster with dill and sesame seeds.  
Left: Magenta butter turns its brilliant color from balsamic vinegar and red wine, Right:  Lime Butter

Fancy Cocktails
 Mache leaves and enoki mushrooms garnish an Irish treamer that holds two types of skewered hors d'oeuvres: egg and spinach tortellini, and bite-size chunks of chicken and peppers.

From her introduction:
 "The hors d'oeuvre party is truly an opportunity for a host or hostess to be imaginative. Creating finger food with care and attention to detail, developing ideas for unusual  combinations and variations, using serving pieces, glassware, flowers, and other decorations in an original way-all of this makes hors d'oeuvres a fascinating art, and one, I find, that guests always enjoy and appreciate"

It never hurts to peek back at your roots, huh? Especially when they are this pretty.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring has Sprung

 And thank goodness for that!

This weekend's beautiful weather got us inspired to create a brunch menu. The charm of brunch lies in its versatility and character. You can literally design your event from the ground up! Or you can sit back, relax, and let us do all the dirty work. Our menu, which features treats like smoked salmon and avocado pinwheels and the traditional New Orleans brunch item, Grillades and Grits; was in part, inspired by this collection of gorgeous photographs found on tastespotting and photograzing. Yummy filled goodness awaits!

Click on the thumbnail below to download the .pdf menu!

Post Script:
Wanted to share this beautiful looking recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.
Behold: Fried Green Tomatoes with Jalapeno Cheese Grits!

Happy Brunching!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Come See Us Tonight!

Come see us tonight at the New Orleans Museum of Art at New Orleans Wedding Magazine's Bridal Event 2010! We'll be serving up our infamous Crabmeat Charlene chilled on french bread rounds and giving away a gift certificate to Earthsavers! All you have to do is sign up! A mock wedding is set for 5pm under the tent in the sculpture garden, and the museum opens at 6pm with tons of vendors in one convenient place! We'll be in the McDermott Lobby next to the elevator. Pictures to come tomorrow.
See you there!

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