...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Artichokes and a most pleasant evening

The leaves were mostly still on the trees. The weather was perfect. The bugs were at bay. The artichokes were ripe. Can you think of a better way to spend a delightful Saturday evening?

A beautiful stack: rattan charger, bone china and green Portuguese china on a sea of Mediterranean blue.

A well-ed plate especially for artichokes. The center well is for the artichoke, the upper well is for the spent leaves and the lower portion is for the golden hued dipping sauce - lemon butter.

Gentle radiating ridges encircled by small bands and dots are all the adornment that is on the white bone china.

Rosewood handled flatware. Place setting adorned with a simple golden, woven napkin rolled simply and placed across the top of the plate.

 A gleaming copper and brass rechaud to keep the extra golden hued lemon butter at the right consistency.

 French hand-blown crystal hued the faintest green.

A golden olive server. Large portion for the olives, smaller bowl for the pits.

The color of the Mediterranean, clear blue overprinted with black olives - so very Provençal.

Wrought iron centerpiece chandelier with 8 votive cups on two different levels.

Dusk has arrived and so has dinner.
The bewitching blue hour

 As we chatted late into the evening in the glow of the candlelight.

Thanks for dropping in today, I'm glad you could join us.I love to have you come by.
Before we get to the recipe, the players in this evening drama are:
Rattan chargers - World Market
Wedgwood Windsor China
Neto and Gomes artichoke plates 
Rosewood brass flatware - gift from Mom
Votive light chandelier - Mineral Wells, Texas
napkins - so old they could be vintage
French glasses - Santa Fe, NM

How to cook an artichoke:

1. If the artichoke has points on the ends of the leaves, trim off the points with scissors.
2. Slice off 3/4" to 1" of the tip of the artichoke.
3. Remove the smaller leaves toward the base of the artichoke.
4. Remove excess stem, leaving only about 1". I tend to leave less than that so that the artichoke will sit nicely on a plate.
5. Rinse the artichokes in cold water.
Heavy Duty Artichoke Steamer, Stainless Steel6. In a large pot, put a couple of inches of water. Use either an artichoke stand (one per artichoke) or a steamer basket placing the artichokes above the water. Steam for 25-45 minutes, until the lower leaves easily peel off the stem. Length of cooking time is relative to the size of artichoke, the larger they are the longer they cook
How to eat an artichoke:

1. Pull off the outer layers of leaves, one leaf at a time.
2. Dip white fleshy end into lemon butter or sauce of your choosing.
3. Place in mouth, fleshy part down, pull through your teeth to remove the fleshy portion. Discard the uneaten portion.
4. Continue in this manner until all the petals are gone.
5. The heart is left and once the "choke" is removed, it can be eaten too. Take a spoon and scrape out the hairy, soft bristles covering the heart. Cut the heart into pieces and dip into sauce and enjoy!

 Will be linking up with the hostess with the mostet - the gracious Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Be sure to jump over there on Thursday to visit the others and be inspired to take your dishes out of mothballs!

Also, click on over to Creative Journeys too - I'm giving away a Martha Stewart Halloween appropriate edge punch this Monday, October 18th, 2010.


Anonymous said...

The table looks fantastic, and the artichokes look delicious. Have you ever tried them in the pressure cooker?

Marlis said...

No Kuby, I have not. And the sad thing is I have a pressure cooker. Any tricks I need to know?

Martha said...

What a pretty table!

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Marlis, Your table is gorgeous! I love blue and green. And I never knew there were special artichoke plates! I have eaten artichokes (yummy!) but only used plain dishes and little bowls for the butter. Your way is so much more fun! And you always have the most interesting unusual pieces, like the centerpiece votive holder! I want it! Congratulations on winning the give away at BNOTP--can't wait to see what you do with the placemats! I'm sure it will be wonderful! Linda

food for thought said...

love all your pieces, great colors, wonderful tablecloth and candles~

Anonymous said...

A great outdoor setting and table, and on top of that you are a winner. What more could you ask for!

Kathleen said...

Congrats, Marlis! Great prize. Love the table, the candles and the cloth! Just wonderful!

Mary said...

I am coveting those artichoke plates :-) Beautiful setting, love the green & blue...dining under that tree!

Tricia@The Dull and the Dutiful said...

Marlis, this is stunning! I love those artichoke plates, and their wonderful green color is gorgeous with the blue tablecloth. What a beautiful setting! And now I'm craving artichokes dipped in that divine lemon butter!

Dreamgoddess said...

What a beautiful setting and table!

Style Sisters said...

Love this! I really like your evening photos...it just glows!

Entertaining Women said...

This is such an inviting vignette. I could sit under that old tree for hours. Every detail is wonderful...I love this tablescape. Congratulations on winning the peacock placemats...you lucky dawg! Thanks for sharing your charming design and for stopping by my post. Cherry Kay

Alycia Nichols said...

I'm doing a little happy dance! This is wonderful!!! I don't recall ever having seen the artichoke plates anywhere, and I love them!!! They are beautiful AND useful! Fabulous table!

The Tablescaper said...

Wow! Love that artichoke plate. I have some that are all white, not nearly as spectacular as that beautiful green. And the rosewood flatware - such special items.

- The Tablescaper

Deb S. said...

Beautiful table! Love the tablecloth! Your photography is AMAZING! Congrats on the win! So excited to see what you will do with it! Now Im craving artichokes!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Love your blues and greens -- and your pretty blue hour photo too! I really am admiring that olive themed tablecloth! It reminds me of our wonderful trip to Greece this summer and the fabulous olives! Thanks for your very sweet visit and kind comments.

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Marlis...

Oooh...your "artichoke" tablescape is gorgeous! I especially enjoyed all of your evening photos with the candlelight! Your place settings are beautiful...love the pretty artichoke plates!!! Love, love, LOVE your tall, tiered votive candleholder that you used for the centerpiece! That's sooo pretty! Your beautiful blue tablecloth certainly does give your table that Provencal ambiance! Thank you for sharing your lovely table with us, my friend! This was such a treat!

Warmest autumn wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

Sherry said...

This is wonderful. I love your tablecloth and your dishes. It all looks so very nice out back. We won't have many more of those evenings here. Thanks for stopping by.

Anita said...

Wow, you have set a gorgeous table that definitely takes us to the Mediterranean! The tablecloth is just gorgeous as is that beautiful bone china. Beautiful setting!

xinex said...

Everything looks so beautiful, Marlis, so dramatic. I love the colors, the dishes, the centerpiece and the setting....Christine

Bill said...

So beautiful! I like everything about this table -- colors, textures, linens ... and thanks for the tutorial on cooking and eating artichokes. It can be intimidating for the inexperienced!

Have a great week!

Paige Thomas King said...

two new things for me--artichoke plates and how to cook them. Before I got to the end of you post I was thinking, "I'll have to google some instructions," but there they were! Thanks!
The table was beautiful--love that tablecloth!


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