Birthday Time

Tonight we are celebrating Alex’s birthday and after we have dinner out we are back here for presents, cake and champagne.

I never tire of setting a gorgeous table.

Here it is waiting for us when we arrive home.

Happy Birthday Alex – what would I have done without you these past six months!

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Birthday Cake

Every January 28th my middle daughter asks for a chocolate cake. This one is a chocolate genoise with a chocolate mousse filling, mocha chocolate glaze, slivered almonds and sliced strawberries.

Hope it tastes as good as it looks. This is best done in stages. I made the chocolate mousse on Tuesday, the genoise on Wednesday and the glaze this morning. We are serving it tomorrow night and I find that if the cake sets overnight, the flavors are even better.

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Another Project

Today I went to the fabric store to purchase some fabric to recover the vanity bench in my bedroom so that it would match my new Roman Shades which I made last summer. I came across this beautiful provencal fabric and immediately thought “table cloth and napkins”.

My sewing leaves a lot to be desired, but with a good iron and a simple singer sewing machine, I made the table cloth and matching napkins in less than two hours.

If I can do this, anybody with a sewing machine can do this.

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Scones

My daughter made a batch of these last night using frozen blueberries. I decided to make them with dried cherries since last night’s batch is all gone.

2 cups (8.8 oz) all-purpose four
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
4 oz cold butter
1/4 cup of milk
2 eggs
1/2 (3 oz) currants, blueberries or dried cherries

Preheat oven to 400

Sift dry ingredients and place in bowl of mixer. Add butter and mix until butter is the size of peas. Mix milk and eggs with a fork and add to mixture. Do not overbeat. Use mixer on lowest speed.

Roll dough to about half inch thickness and cut into desired shape.

I made an egg wash with 1 egg beaten with a tbsp of cream which I brushed on top of the scones.

Bake for approximately ten minutes.

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Grown up Mac and Cheese

Last night I decided to make this recipe. Unfortunately, I was out of bacon so I used diced pancetta which was delicious. I also used Panko Crumbs instead of homemade bread crumbs.

I didn’t use individual gratin dishes, but as you can see from the photos below, I used a large Apilco scalloped baking dish which looked beautiful on the table.

This was quick and easy and so delicious. You could absolutely make it ahead of time and bake it when you need it.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/grown-up-mac-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

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Arugula and Blood Orange Salad

Tonight I wanted a simple and refreshing salad to have with my quiche. I had some baby arugula on hand and some blood oranges from Italy. I segmented the orange, squeezed the juice from the membranes over the arugula, added some really good French olive oil and tossed it.

It was so light and delicious. What a perfect winter salad. Blood oranges are in season now and a great substitute for tomatoes which are not really worth eating during winter.

Take advantage of the blood oranges in your market. They have an amazing flavor and texture.

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Veal Marsala

I haven’t made this dish in years, but I thought what a perfect winter dinner even though today felt like early spring for a few hours.

I did the mushrooms ahead of time and set them aside as the recipe instructed.

I am serving it with some shredded cabbage braised in butter.

You could easily serve this to guests and they would be so impressed.

Here is the recipe which I halved because there are only two of us eating tonight.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Veal-Marsala-106274

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