Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Of Times Gone By...For Adults Only

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I am sure most of you have not seen this post as it was one of my first when I started this blog.  I will be celebrating Halloween this year, not exactly in this fashion, but greeting kids at the door and later going up to a neighbor's house who also knows how to celebrate it in style.  For those of you who, like me, have doorbells to answer, here's a recipe for an easy, hearty and enjoyable dinner.  Some of us aren't kids anymore and we just can't survive on candy!

Halloween has always been, after Christmas, my most favorite holiday to entertain.  In years past, I did a lot of entertaining and prided myself in setting a beautiful table.  I think I thought of myself as the next Carolyne Roehm, my hero.

 I don't know how I packed so much stuff in my apartment.  There were plates and glasses and tablecloths and flower arrangements hidden all over the place!  I had quite a large archive in my brain of where everything was.  Now, as I unpack in a much larger house, I wonder how I ever did it. I don't entertain like that anymore, just don't have the stamina, or the money, for that matter.  Maybe now that I live with my daughter, the artist, I will get a second wind, but for the time being, here are some of the memories:

For the pumpkin, I usually called a kid, a nephew, a niece, a neighbor, anybody to carve the pumpkin.  Then I started to build from that. On that particular year, I was gaga over my black candles, and I was debuting my new china in orange tones I had literally carried from Gien, France.  Some raffia ribbons, lots of goodies from Marshall's, some old silver, and orange and black M&Ms  in little Halloween clay pots and poof! magic!

The menu was French (my idea of being quirky), and every year I invited only 8 people.  Small, intimate, sit down and easy to cook for. No costumes or funny drinks!  But yes, place cards, and  menu cards staggered around the table.  Champagne with cocktails for those who liked it and a good French wine with the main course.  In those days, with the dollar almost at par with the euro, it was affordable to do so.  Nowadays, it's prohibitive and a little ostentatious, if not politically incorrect!


Creme de Potiron
(Creamy Butternut Squash Soup)

Breast of Duck with Corn Cake
And Spinach Puree

Munster Avec Confiture d' Eglantine

Warm Chocolate Tart Jean Georges

That year I had gone to Alsace and come back loaded with confiture d'eglantine, a jam typical and only found in Alsace..  I really can't describe or translate eglantine, nobody, for that matter, can!.  It;s a small red fruit, not terribly sweet, loaded in vitamin C.  The taste is very hard to descibe, the only thing I can compare it to is guava...same color, but a totally different fuit.  At the hotel where we stayed, they served it with the cheese course which, in that region HAD to be Munster.  Here is a clip of eglantine confiture, in French but easy to follow.

Another year, 2002, I had just come back from Normandy and Brittany so Halloween was spent "in Normandy"


Terrine de Coquilles Saint-Jacques
Sauce Pernod

Soupe au Marrons
Creme Fraiche

Cailles Aux Figues Fraiches et Au Miel 

Puree de Poireaux

Tarte Chaude aux Pommes

Have fun this Halloween, and remember...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Where There's A Will, There's A Fall Front Door

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You didn't think that back surgery was going to keep Lindaraxa from having her Fall decorations up this year, did you? If you did, you don't know her very well....

I have gotten to really enjoy those little electric carts that they have at some stores for shoppers with disability, although I have to say that what I see mostly riding them are really overweight people. Sometimes you see two, one on each cart of course, following the other.  People like my mother, who really need them, for some reason refuse to use them.  I think it's their way of fighting back although once she came to live with us she tossed in the towel.  As for me, if that is the only thing standing between me and my mums, I don't care.   They are really a good device for getting people like me to do what they have to do.

These are really more of an orange than yellow

I'm telling you this because I'm sure you are wondering how I got the mums.  Between us chickens, I sneaked out of the house one afternoon when I heard Costco had them and made up some cockamamie excuse as to how they got to the front door. And part of it is true, for I am lucky to live in an area of the country where gentlemen still open doors for you and bend over backwards when you ask for a little help,  I usually pick a really cute one, particularly when I'm shopping for electronic gadgets or a Christmas sweater for my son and it drives my daughter insane.  Anyway, the mums got here and the new wreath was brought in by the Three Kings.  Now, I have to figure out the pumpkins...

Once I can get a good samaritan to move the fern and the ivy to MM's apt. I will rearrange with a pumpkin or two

Once the mums are done, I have orange pansies in the urn which, with the pumpkins, should carry us through Thanksgiving.  That's as far ahead as I can think right now.
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