Pipi's ready for the wedding.
Isn't she ethereal?
TAKE a LOOK:
My daughter's wedding is approaching... approaching quickly. I wake in the middle of the night far too often, thinking about everything that is still on my to-do list. And as you can see... Pipi's dress has yet to be finished. It's still in the planning stages.
Hmm... just a skirt? Or do I add a tulle bodice? Lots to think about. Little time. Whatever the end result, I'm certain she will be ravishing.
TAKE a LOOK:
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My ANTIQUE-of-the-WEEK sister Susan flew into town to host a bridal shower for my daughter. I made the food...
My daughter was greeted with congratulatory kisses by the guests.
Appetizers were served on the deck.
The table for dining was set up on the patio and crowned with a canopy to protect the guests from the slight possibility of rain.
• Melon, Prosciutto, and Fresh Mozzarella Skewers
• White Bean Spread with Pita Crackers
• French La Petit Crème with Sour Cherry Spread and Walnuts
• Iced Tea and Lemonade
• Cuvée Catherine Rosé d Anjou
• Radish Sandwiches
• Seared Haricot Vert
• Chicken Salad with Wild Rice and Watercress
• Lemon-Lime Mousse with Fresh Strawberries
A beautiful day spent with wonderful friends!
The main course was a salad of chicken, wild rice, and watercress with a tarragon vinaigrette. I have been making it for years with no recollection of where I found the recipe.
:: Chicken with Wild Rice and Watercress
• 1 cup wild rice
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 3 cups diced, poached chicken
• 1 cup watercress leaves
• 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onions
• 1/2 cup diced celery
• 1/2 cup toasted, blanched almonds
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Rinse the rice under cold water. Place in a saucepan of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 25 to 35 minutes. Rinse the rice under cold water and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken, watercress, green onion, and diced celery, mixing gently. When ready to serve, top with the toasted almonds.
TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE
Slowly whisk the oil into the vinegar. Stir in the tarragon, salt, and pepper. Pour a small amount of the vinaigrette over the chicken salad and mix gently. Add additional vinaigrette until the salad is evenly coated. You will probably not need all of the vinaigrette.
SERVE THE SALAD SLIGHTLY CHILLED
TAKE a LOOK:
I love my dog. The French love their dogs. I have never had one person in France tell me "no" when I ask if I can photograph their dog. Isn't this a sweet little guy, hanging out on rue St. Paul in the Marais?
If French dogs are not shopping with their owner...
waiting for their owner...
questioning their owner...
strolling through the market with their owner...
or manning the shop with their owner...
well, then... they are probably relaxing at a café with their owner.
Ahh.... the feel of the wind blowing through your fur while driving down rue St. Dominique on La Rive Gauche.
I have the feeling this dog leads a very nice life in Paris.
I think many dogs lead very nice lives in Paris.
I'd like to request being a Parisian dog in my next life.
He seems happy.
I am certain the French would not subject their dogs to this kind of humiliation.
My Pipi won't even smile for the camera. Is it really that painful?
Oh Pips... you just have to wear the triceratops costume for a few hours on Halloween! That's it! I'll put it away after that. You never have to strap this to your head again! Promise.
TAKE a LOOK:
My almost ripe tomatoes (that I wait all year for!) are missing!
One guess who did it.
Pipi has guilty written all over her face!
TAKE a LOOK:
You knew this would be coming; it was inevitable. You may have seen this first course of Sautéed Frog Legs with Tomato Garlic Butter written on my kitchen chalkboard; part of the menu for my recent fall dinner.
(Pipi will be a frog prince(ess) for Halloween this year. What are the chances of that ?!)
The fact that these frog legs reminded me of the hind quarters of my French Bulldog, Pipi, did not deter me. I took a deep breath and forged ahead. Actually... these frog legs were excellent; the result of a great recipe, I'm certain. The fact that every one of the 6 people seated at the dinner table cleaned their plates, strongly confirms this.
And, I was still able to use summer heirloom tomatoes for this dish!
÷ Sautéed Frog Legs with Tomato Garlic Butter÷
adapted from a recipe by Emerille Lagasse
• 1 pound of large frog legs
• Essence, recipe follows
• 1 cup flour
• 1/4 cup of Garlic Butter, recipe follows
• 1/4 cup minced shallots
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. Cut the frog legs in half. Season the frog legs and flour with Essense (I didn't use quite all of the Essence. It's your call on whether or not you want to use all of the seasoning). Coat the frog legs with the flour, shaking off any excess. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the garlic butter. Add the frog legs and sauté until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for 1 minute. Add the wine and continue to simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Remove from the heat and serve.
Essence (Also known as Bayou Blast)
• 1 1/4 tablespoons paprika
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon garlic powder
• 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
• 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
• 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1. Combine all of the ingredients.
• 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/8 cup finely chopped garlic
• Freshly ground pepper
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and garlic until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the garlic butter to a ramekin and refrigerate until needed.
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Miss Pips and I are packed, have said our good-byes, and are headin' down the road. Who knows where this adventure will lead us? And, since Pipi insists on driving the first leg, I'm going to get a little shut-eye (Gee, I hope she remembered to bring a map!). Here's a tasty recipe to tide you over while we're gone.........
I used Acini di Pepe, a very small tubular pasta, to make this delicious side dish. If you are unable to find it in your grocery, substitute orzo.
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Ancini di Pepe with Tomatoes and Corn
loosely adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine | June 2001
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup Acini di Pepe or Orzo
• 1/4 cup finely diced onion
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1 1/4 cup organic chicken broth
• salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
• 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
• 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil leaves
• Salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the small pasta and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the onion and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring for half a minute. Add the chicken broth, cover pan, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
2. Stir the tomatoes and corn into the pasta mixture and season with salt and pepper; cook over low heat momentarily to warm the just-added ingredients. Gently stir the chopped basil and parmesan cheese into the pasta. Serve immediately.
Pipi was just told by her doctor on Friday that she is overweight. Please support Pipi in her quest to shed those 2 ugly pounds by January 1st.