Tag Archives: entertaining

Custom Designed Fraiser Table ~ Evan Berding Custom Furniture

When I was very small I loved to watch TV. I could see the actors on TV so I thought that they could see me too.  All Mom had to do was plunk me in front of the “I Love Lucy” show and I would be good as gold for the next thirty minutes.  I did not  want Lucy to think that I was misbehaving  during her show.

Through the years I continued to be enamored with sitcoms.  One of my all-time favorites is Frasier.  I love the Frasier set with the Steinway piano, Eames chair and the Coco Chanel couch.  My favorite piece on the set sat to the left of the fireplace ~ the three-tiered “twisted table” designed by  Larry Horowitz. I would love to know where the original table is today.  Since I can’t get my hands on the original  I am happy to say that as of this weekend I now have my very own Frasier twisted table!

 

Evan Berding designs and creates fine furniture.  Please visit his website to view examples of his extraordinary creations:

http://www.evanberding.com/furniture/

I commissioned my Frasier table from Evan Berding. The process was fascinating.  First I sent as many photos of the table that I could find to Evan as he did research on his end.  He explained that the original table looked like cherry and that cherry would compliment other pieces in my living room.  Cherry tends to get darker with age so my table will darken over time.

The next step was for me to determine the dimensions of the table. I trusted Evan’s judgement and he was very helpful in deciding exactly what size table would fit in my space.  The original table was a little taller than my table but Evan explained that the Frasier set was much bigger than my Colonial house living room.

The drawers are made of poplar.  You can see the level of fine detail that Evan puts into his work in the dovetailing on the drawers.

We wanted to make the delivery of the Frasier Table into a special celebration.  Evan and Meredith and some bubbly friends joined us for a Frasier themed dinner. Meredith is a high end custom furniture designer. Please visit her website to be wowed!

http://www.meredithhartfurniture.com/

Veuve Clicquot champagne was a favorite of Niles Crane on the show, so we began our evening with a toast which led to the unveiling of the Frasier Table. I was delighted by the finished product.

Our first course was a nod to Frasier and Niles sipping sherry. Sherry is a traditional ingredient in gazpacho and it was a warm summer evening so I made my favorite gazpacho served in chilled mason jars.

Just for fun I took a photo of the temperature in my car earlier that day…thank goodness for air conditioning!

Our second course was a nod to the Frasier theme song, sung by Kelsey Grammer, “Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs”. I scrambled the eggs with portobello mushrooms and Gruyere cheese.  My bubbly friends Kate and Bert gave me Frasier coasters that I will keep in the drawer of my Fraiser Table. They are adorable!

Tossed Salad And Scrambled Eggs!

Our next course was a nod to Martin Crane, Frasier’s Dad on the show.  He loved to grill out on the patio of Frasier’s exclusive loft, much to Frasier’s chagrin. Martin’s love of grilling is included in my favorite episode of Frasier. This episode showcases Frasier and Niles’ long time competitiveness at a silent auction where the two spend eight thousand dollars for a lunch with three Nobel Laureates.  Season 6 episode 19.

Cherries Jubilee!

“The Innkeepers” episode when Faiser and Niles purchase an elegant old Seattle restaurant is another favorite. Season 2, episode 23  As the episode unfolds Fraiser, Niles and Daphne add just a little more Kirsch to the Cherries Jubilee. When they finally flambe the dessert at the end of the episode it explodes!  My bubbly friend Kate made the Cherries  Jubilee for us and she did a fine job of adding just the right amount of Kirsch, leaving our deck perfectly intact. The Cherries Jubilee served over vanilla ice cream was amazing!  The perfect ending to a grand celebration.

Here’s a link to an interesting article about the Frasier set: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2009/09/frasier-living-room.html

Maxine Andrews stayed hydrated during this fun celebration!

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Sparkling Strawberry Shrub Cocktail ~ Just In Time For The Weekend!

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

 A shrub is a vinegar-based syrup, referred to as “Drinking Vinegar”. Drinking vinegar is vinegar which is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.

I was so happy to find the recipe for Front Porch Chillin’” Sparkling Strawberry Shrub in the April/May 2018 issue of Chilled Magazine It is absolutely delicious and fruity. Do not let the idea of vinegar in a cocktail stop you from making this fabulous drink this weekend!

I was very happy to find the Cava that the magazine recommended for this cocktail in my local grocery store. You can always substitute your favorite rosé cava.

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

The wine tastes of sweet strawberry, cherry and citrus and has lots of fun bubbles. In the $15 range.

Situated on an estate that dates back to the 11th century, Segura Viudas draws on its rich Spanish heritage, blending its legacy with modern winemaking practices to create sophisticated yet approachable Cavas.  Its award winning Cava uses distinct méthode champenoise sparkling wine by the Ferrer family of Sant Sadurni d’Anola (near Barcelona). Segura Viudas is part of the Freixenet Group, a world leader in sparkling wine production. 

To make a very good sparkly shrub:

  • Invest in a muddler. You can find a muddler for around $5. It will help you muddle up the fresh fruit with sugar and vinegar to make the shrub.
  • Plant fresh mint in your garden to use for cocktail garnishes – I particularly enjoy pineapple mint and spearmint. Fresh rosemary sprigs also make a flavorful and aromatic garnish.

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

To make the shrub:

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar (I like to use extra fine sugar for this recipe because it dissolves very quickly, but granulated sugar works just fine too.)

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

Muddle the strawberries in a large mason jar. Add water and sugar and stir to combine. After the sugar has begun to dissolve,  add the rice wine vinegar and stir to combine all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate. The shrub can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To make the Strawberry Shrub Cocktail:

Makes one cocktail:

1 ounce strawberry shrub

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

2 large ice cubes

Rosemary Sprig or Fresh Mint and Strawberry for garnish

Place all ingredients into a snifter and add ice cubes. Stir and top with Rosé Cava; give it another little stir,  garnish with rosemary sprig or mint and a strawberry.

Saludos!

 

Spring Fun With Champagne And Chocolate Lace Cookies!

It’s Spring…time to get out of the house and have some FUN!

Oatmeal Lace Cookies are THE BEST COOKIES!  Perfect for a Spring picnic.  The recipe is compliments of Gloria Smiley, Food Stylist Extraordinaire.  She served them for lunch when we visited her in Atlanta, Georgia and I didn’t want to look like a piglet, but I just could not stop eating them. They are so GOOD!  Thank you Gloria for sharing your recipe! 

OATMEAL LACE COOKIES

        These cookies are adapted from Nick Malgieri’s Lace Cookies.  There are many variations and substitutions, such as ground nuts instead of oatmeal; maple sugar instead of regular sugar, and sandwiched with bittersweet chocolate, yum.

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup rolled oats, finely chopped – pulse in a food processor

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, stir together melted butter, oatmeal, maple sugar, salt, egg, vanilla extract and orange juice.  Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  1. Using a½ teaspoon measure, drop the batter onto sheet pans either lined with Silpat or buttered foil.  The cookies will spread, so leave at least 2 inches between each cookie.
  1. Bake the cookies for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are brown around the edges.  Remove from oven and slide the Silpat or foil onto a cooling rack.
  1. When the cookies are cool, lift them off the Silpat or foil and store in between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a container with a tight fitting lid.
  1. To make sandwiches, melt 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and spread on the bottom side of half the cookies; then cover with another cookie, top side up.  Store in the same manner as above.

Chambong!

$35 on-line or locally at Wine Gourmet in Roanoke, Virginia.  What is it?!  The Chambong is used for the rapid and enhanced
experience of sparkling wine / champagne consumption.  http://www.chambong.co/about/

Here’s their story from their website…they say it’s magical!

The origins of the first Chambong came about in early 2014, during a moment preempting the Super Bowl. We had an epiphany the week prior of the big event to create a “Super…Bowl.” The resulting device of our imagination harnessed an ability to hold an extraordinary amount of cannabis, however was sadly non-functional as a smoking apparatus. Fortune would prevail several evening later, while onlookers examining the piece remarked at how it looked like a fantastic wine “shooter”.  They promptly filled it with Champagne and experienced the resulting magic…And thus was born the glory that is — The Chambong.

Pop A Ball!

https://popaball.co.uk/

These fun little balls are made in the UK. I found the peach and strawberry flavors to be delightful. I enjoyed watching the balls dance around in my glass, but the set only came with one straw which would be awkward if serving more than one flute at a time. Fun for a one time party trick if you want to spend around $15 for a pack of two. I purchased them on eBay since Popaball in the UK does not ship to the United States.

MIMI ROSÉ SPARKLING WINE 

Grenache varietal. Notes of white flowers, fleshy white fruits, and citrus too. Serve as an aperitif or with dessert.  Perfect for porch sippin’ on a warm sunny day. Available on-line and locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar in Roanoke, Virginia.

River and Rail Restaurant

Cure For Sorrow Cocktail

Coconut Infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Bonal QuinQuina, House Tepache, Banana-Cream Syrup, Lime, Tiki Bitters. Pineapple, Coconut, and hints of spice. Shaken and served over a large ice cube. Grated cinnamon and pineapple wedge garnish. YUM!

Pop over to the Roanoker Magazine blog to enjoy my Beets, Bacon and Blue Salad (blue cheese and blueberries) recipe. Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/beets-bacon-and-blue-salad-with-ingredients-from-grandin-vil/

Happy Spring!

 

 

Fire And Ice Kentucky Lemonade ~ Celebrate Derby Day!

What’s shaken’ at the River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia?!

Find out and enjoy some of Shane Lumpp’s fabulous cocktail recipes 

on the Roanoker Magazine’s Blog:  

 

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/cocktails-with-shane/

 

This year the Kentucky Derby is on May 5, the same day as Cinco de Mayo.  So let’s make “Cinco de Mayo Kentucky Lemonade”!  with Kentucky bourbon of course!

Fire and Ice Kentucky Lemonade 

Makes 8 cups

  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from approximately 6 lemons ~ don’t worry about the seeds, they will be strained out later)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves + a few mint sprigs for garnish
  • 2/3 cup Bourbon
  • cups ginger ale
  • large ice cubes
  • 12 slices fresh Mandarin oranges, cut slices in half
  • Maker’s Mark Bourbon Cherries for garnish
  • 8 very thin slices (adjust the number of slices to taste ~  these are hot, so be careful!) Serrano peppers, seeds and membrane removed
  • Fine sugar for cocktail glass rim (fine sugar is available at Fresh Market)
  1. In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water and heat over medium heat.  Heat until sugar dissolves into water and mixture is clear.  Simmer 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

  2. Add lemon juice, mint leaves, Serrano pepper slices and Bourbon, then let mixture cool.

  3. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a pitcher to remove solid particles and mint leaves.  Rim cocktail glasses with fine sugar.  To rim glasses place fine sugar on a small plate.  Rub the edge of each cocktail glass with a lemon wedge.  Roll the edge of the glass in the fine sugar.  For each lemonade cocktail mix 1/2 cup lemonade mixture to 1/2 cup ginger ale and stir to combine.  Add 2 or more large ice cubes and 2 mandarin orange slices.  Garnish with Maker’s Mark Bourbon Cherries and a sprig of mint.

    April was a happy month of celebrations for our family.  We enjoyed a special food and wine pairing dinner at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia.  My bubbly sister-in-law Kelly is pictured above with a jeroboam of Billecart-Salmon “Brut Réserve” Champagne. (Jeroboam = 4 standard bottles of champagne).  We enjoyed pairing this champagne with a spectacular seafood display…Lobster, American Sturgeon Caviar service, oysters, shrimp, smoked trout rillette. 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Toast To Italian Wine ~ Molto Bene! ~ A Favorite Mamma Leone Recipe

Our recent Italian wine experience with the Angelini family at the Shenandoah Club in Roanoke, Virginia brought back many “bei ricordi d’Italia” (fond memories of Italy).

I love Italian cooking so naturally one of my favorite cookbooks is  Leone’s Italian Cookbook.  The author Gene Leone dedicated his cookbook“to the memory of my beloved mother”.  He was the owner operator of Mamma Leone’s restaurant, which was founded by his mother in New York City’s theater district.  I love the simplicity of the recipes in this book ~ fresh ingredients of the best quality tossed together resulting in amazing flavors. Here’s one of my favorite Mamma Leone recipes…

Mother Leone’s Green-Bean Salad

from Leone’s Italian Cookbook printed in 1967…

1 medium size baking potato

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans

1/4 cup olive oil

6 tablespoons wine vinegar

1 large garlic clove, mashed

2 whole green scallions, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

8 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only, chopped

6 thin slices of prosciutto, diced

Boil the potatoes in its jacket. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice, but keep warm.  Trim beans and cook in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes.  Test to avoid overcooking.  Drain well. Place warm beans in a salad bowl and add potato over top.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper. Mix well.  Discard bits of garlic.  Pour dressing over warm  beans and potatoes.  Add chopped parsley and diced prosciutto and toss at the table. Serves 6 to 8.

“Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.”  ~ Graham Greene

An evening with the Angelini family at the Shenandoah Club in Roanoke, Virginia. Roberto Angelini is the patriarch of the Angelini family and the founder of Enoteca Properzio, a family-owned exporter of fine food and wines located at the base of Monte Subasio in the heart of Central Italy.

At the event we were greeted with a bubbly aperitif.  Cantina Novelli Blanc de Blanc NV.  Crisp with notes of apple and citrus peel.  A classic Italian sparkler made with 100% Trebbiano Spoletino grapes.

“What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others.” ~ Diogenes

Our Italian Dinner Adventure begins…

Poderi Morini ‘Nadel’ Ravenna Rosso IGT, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Longanesi and Centesimino grapes.  Blackberry, cherry and currant flavors later emerge along with elegant spice notes. This lovely red wine was paired with lovely Charcuterie…prosciutto in the shape of roses, miniature ripe cantaloupe balls drizzled with olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper.

Sassicaia Bolgheri 2014

Sassicaia Bolgheri 2014

Sassicaia means “the place of many stones,” and refers to the region’s gravel soil.  This Super Tuscan is so successful it was granted its own appellation, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, as of 1994.

Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Cabernet Franc 15%, aged for 24 months in French barrels before bottling.  Paired with a rich lentil vegetable soup. 

Tili 1997 Assisi Rosso

Only 1000 bottles of Tili Assisi Rosso were produced in 1997.    Red Cherry fruit with some notes of vanilla. Medium bodied with a smooth finish. Blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Merlot grapes.

Paired with a creamy Pasta Carbonara with bacon and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese…

Montefalco Sagrantino 2012 Arnaldo-Caprai

100% Sagrantino grapes.  Complex flavors with hints of blackberry jam nutmeg, pepper, pine resin to mint and cocoa.

Paired with the main course…sliced filet mignon served with oven roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted pepper strips.

Pre-dessert…Strawberry Balsamic with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.  Paired with…

Kurni 2015 Red Wine

Complex and full-bodied, with notes of candied black fruits, vanilla and blackcurrant.  100% Montepulciano grapes.

And the Fioritura Finale…paired with…

Per la salute!

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Guinness Black Lager Corned Beef Hash ~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’ll be cooking my favorite Corned Beef Hash this weekend…reminiscing about sitting in my favorite pub with my guy enjoying our hearty breakfast!

Guinness Black Lager  Corned Beef Hash

Makes 6 hearty servings

Place raw corned beef brisket (approximately 2 pounds) in a slow cooker. Cover with Guinness Black Lager (2 – 3 bottles) and sprinkle with spice packet that is included in the corned beef package. Cook on high for 4 hours or until corned beef can be cut easily with a knife.  Turn off heat and allow to cool. Cut corned beef into small cubes (cut off any fat) and set aside.

1 small onion, diced

24  fingerling potatoes sliced into thin slices

4 ounces butter (+ more butter if needed)

freshly ground black pepper

12 eggs

Rye, whole wheat or French bread toast

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté until onions are transparent and starting to brown. Add fingerling potatoes and spread evenly across the bottom of the skillet. Allow to cook over medium heat until potatoes are soft and lightly browned. Add more butter if needed to keep the potatoes from sticking to skillet.  Sprinkle potatoes with freshly ground black pepper.  Keep potato onion mixture warm while preparing eggs.

Prepare over-easy/medium or poached eggs to serve with corned beef hash and serve with your favorite type of toast.

Somebody is looking forward to Corned Beef Hash!

We’ve had an unusually cold March in Southwest Virginia, so we often wake up to a pile of kitties cuddling on the bed.  They get in some fun poses!

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Irish Cheddar And Potato Gratin + Guinness Stout

Irish Cheddar And Potato Gratin

A hearty dish that can be served as a main dish or a side. Perfectly paired with Guinness Stout. Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Recipe compliments of Murray’s Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 lbs. russet potatoes, washed and thinly sliced (soak in water to prevent browning)

2 1/2 cups Murray’s Irish Cheddar, grated

1/2 TBSP Murray’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 tsp thyme, minced

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

(I added some freshly cracked black pepper to the onion mixture)

1/4 lb. bacon, diced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

(I added a little chopped fresh parsley on top)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Butter a square baking dish.  Layer 1 lb of sliced potatoes into the pan. Next add 1/4 cup of grated Murray’s Irish Cheddar. Repeat until all potatoes and cheese are used.

3.  In a medium saucepan sauté onions and thyme in Murray’s extra virgin olive oil.  Once the onions are caramelized, add the heavy cream. When warmed, pour over the potatoes.

4. Place in oven (I put my pan on a baking sheet to catch any cream that bubbled over)  and bake for an hour until the potatoes are tender and cheese bubbly.

5. Remove from oven and top with bacon and scallions.

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