Monday, March 11, 2013


Still going backward in time, to catch up on our little doings, for I seem to have posted only thrice this whole year.   The flowers (beautiful from any angle, and that's a splendid thing, for I cannot make them stand upright, no matter how many times I flip the picture) were a gift from two of the guests, who came down the stairs gleaming and beaming and ready for the party. 

The "dining" table---one of two we use downstairs.   We also added another at the opposite end of the room, for we were eighteen-to-brunch on that cold afternoon.

Fortifications, from left:   Good strong from-the-leaf tea that Chris makes---unsweetened, Southern Sweet, ice water, Peach Tea, and Bloody Marys.

  Breakfast Table under the big sunny lamp.

Above is the view back down the room from THIS table:

 Third table, down the room beneath the torchiere.   Guess who hosted THIS one.    Chris also moved from table to table during the course of the meal, enjoying a course with each group.

As we sat down.    I'd asked everyone to choose a place to sit, take their glass to the bar, and help themselves to drinks.    Each table had its already-set center of needfuls:   Cream and Sugar, Butter, three kinds of jam for the biscuits and rolls (Our Friend Lil's Blueberry jam, her Raspberry Freezer Jam, and some Peach Preserves I already had), with bowls of Paminna Cheese and Crackers for munching.  And just BECAUSE.   It's Paminna Cheese.

That's MY hand---I'm probably waving around, saying "DOOO sit down."

The green pot holds a  pot of daffodils from another guest---we called them the Miracle-Gro Marvels, for they had two buds when they arrived.  By evening, the buds had flowered fully, and by morning, about five yet-unseen buds had sprung upen into a magnificent burst of yellows and golds.   Chris says it's my new "real sunshine" bulbs he put in the lamps downstairs, and I think so, for I've had the very best January and February I can remember in YEARS---lots of energy and very few days of feeling down.   Not to say that I keep up with things any better, or keep things neater, or that there's never a pile of dishes in the sink, but I'm cheerful about it.   

 When it's brunch or maybe a soup supper, I like to serve from the counters and stove---so homey and informal.   Chris had put the turkey on about seven a.m., and it was perfection when he carved it at noon---succulent and juicy, with the waft of smoke.   The rolls had been rising gently for about the same length of time, and he split them for ease of buttering or sandwich-making.  

The forgotten thing was the cranberry mayo---our usual spread for turkey sandwiches, but I just didn't think to make it til it was time to set out the condiments.   We made do with plain mayo and several kinds of tongue-curling mustards.    The salsa and chips were brought by a gentleman guest, who always contributes some kind of chips-and-something to every gathering.    Once it was a CASE of Sunchips Variety packs for Chris' birthday gift,  and we munched on those for months.

 Our mainstay for any brunch---Quiche, crustless and simple.   The front one is broccoli and grape tomatoes, and the back one is crumbled sausage (Hamburger Pie in Sweetpea's parlance).   We've probably made thousands of these things over the years for various weddings and parties.  So easy to make, and so easy to calculate servings---nine or twelve for lunch, twelve to sixteen for brunch, depending on the number of side dishes, and up to 117 neat squares for cocktail bites.

My photography seems to be improving a little bit, but I certainly did not notice the trusty old green-apple handwash bottle so prominent in the shot.    It's been on the sink for probably five years now, replenished every time it runs out, with a quick-shaken mixture of Dawn Green Apple Antibacterial and Sam's pearly-white hand soap.  

Roasted Grape Tomatoes---just popping their juices, with sea salt, olive oil, a little garlic, and just a thought of thyme.

 Caro's magnificent Mac and Cheese, with the tiny fancy bow-ties.   I just LOVE this serving-piece, a gift years ago from DS#1 and DDIL---it's the smoothest pearly foam with a stainless liner and a screw-in lid to keep things cool or hot all day.   It looks like a big white pumpkin when the lid's on.

 Pinto Beans and Rice with Andouille and Cajun seasonings.   It's one of the few dishes which allow for putting the bottles of Louisiana Hot Sauce and the Worcescescester Sauce right on the table.  I love to use these pots for serving from the stove or counters---the set of three were a gift from Daddy MANY years ago.(Along with two matching baking-trays and a lasagna pan).   The thing in back is a marble lazy-Susan with little containers of sea salt, Balsamic, and several olive oils.

 Fruit in my Mother's ripply-glass bowl, from WAY back in the days of the first parties I ever arranged and cooked for.  

Winding down the day.   I DO think these two folks had the best time of all.


Southern Lady said...

What a beautiful party you created, Rachel ... I know Chris (and Sweet Pea) loved every minute of it.

And I love that you used your "hand-me-down" serving dishes, passed on with love from your parents. What a lovely bit of lagniappe!

Linda @ Friendship Tea said...

What a wonderful gatherin for family and friends! I like Sweet Pea's plate best of all.

Kim Shook said...

Everything looks delicious. Having had the pleasure of tasting Chris' ham, I can only imagine how wonderful that turkey was. I love that you know the provenance of all of your dishes. I do too, mostly, and it adds so much to a celebration.

steelersandstartrek said...

I know the provenance of all our dishes too: they're Kim's.

A perfect party! You can come host the next one RIGHT HERE!

jeanne, backyard neighbor said...

As promised, I am catching up and enjoying every post so much. The birthday celebration is wonderful and you had quite a crowd. The table settings look lovely as well. How special for Chris. I know he loved every minute of his birthday. Happy belated birthday Chris.

I love making quiche for a crowd like this. It is much better that the 'pie' way. Great for feeding a crowd. We serve from the stove most of the time. The food stays hotter that way.

I adore The photo of your handsome Chris with Sweet Pea. Not posed and precious.

Love, Jeanne