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Archive for March, 2010

Thanks to Marge Tudor, with Entertaining At Home, for this cute idea for an Easter centerpiece, one that the kids will enjoy helping you make as well as eat. What’s better than an edible centerpiece!

Supplies needed:

An assortment of Peeps, those of-no-redeeming-social-value marshmallow treats shaped like bunnies, chicks, and who knows what else (I even saw “camo” Peeps this season); skewers (either bamboo or metal, whichever you have works fine);  filler candy (M&Ms or Hershey’s Kisses or Reeses Pieces, or anything else that you can use as the edible equivalent of sand or marbles);and a glass hurricane.

Here’s where the kids get to help. They can separate the Peeps into individual critters. If old enough, they can also impale the little critters on the skewers. Once your “kabobs” are assembled. hold the assemblage of skewers together and have an assistant pour the chosen candy in around the ends of the skewers to hold the kabobs in place. If the candies are wrapped in Easter-colored tinfoil, that will add to the colorful nature of the display and take on the appearance of a floral bouquet.

It is worth pointing out that this can be a very economical though inviting centerpiece. At $.99 a box of Peeps for 3 boxes, and 2 sacks of candies at around $2.50 each, you’ve got yourself an edible thing of beauty. Nothing wasted, or at least not in my family; there would eventually be nothing left except naked skewers.

I hope your kids will enjoy this activity and that they don’t eat too many Peeps!

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If you read my previous post on Sabzeh, you might be interested in the history behind this celebration. A very detailed explanation of the celebration as experienced in Persia (Iran) is found in a great cookbook, entitled New Food Of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, by Najmieh Batmanglij. You can find this on pages 403-408 in the 2008 edition. This is a beautiful book with enticing photos of the prepared food AND ancient Persian art. The book jacket describes the book as “a treasure of 250 classical and regional Iranian recipes. 120 color photographs of food intertwined with Persian miniatures and illustrations together with descriptions of ancient and modern ceremonies make New Food of Life not just a collection of excellent recipes but also an introduction to Persian art and culture.”

The book is lovely and interesting enough to be a coffee table book, especially for foodies, travelers and art historians.

I didn’t buy the book for any of those reasons though. I bought it to explore a cuisine I could cook for my husband who is allergic to wheat. Very few of the recipes use wheat; there is much more use of rice. So if you or a family member have issues with wheat, you might explore Persian cuisine. I’m sure there are other good cookbooks out there. I’m just familiar with this one and it is available in Barnes and Noble  stores. The author does a good job of addressing the issue of specialty ingredients. Compared to Indian cuisine, I think the Persian recipes call for fewer exotic ingredients. Still, you will need access to a middle Eastern grocery store for some of the ingredients. Helpfully, the author includes a list of specialty stores by state and city in the back of the book. The one I explored in Houston, Phoenicia Supermarket on Westheimer, was a true delight to visit. They supply ingredients for many middle eastern cuisines as well as cooking supplies, books, carryout, and a dining area.  It’s a great place to explore.

Naw Ruz being March 21, I wish you Happy Naw Ruz!

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When Entertaining At Home held their Leadership Conference this 2010 in Las Vegas, they treated us to tablescapes designed by Grammy Award winning recording artist,and award winning author and composer Larry Hart and his partner, whose name I’m sorry I don’t recall.

One of the tablescapes was called Pretty in Pink.

Pretty in Pink tablescape using EAH and SLAH products

The criteria for elements on the tables was that they be products sold either in the  Southern Living At Home catalog or the Entertaining At Home catalog. The results were proof positive that the two product lines are going to work well together.

One of the benefits of attending these company sponsored events is that you always get great ideas to take home and share with hosts and guests. Here is a very easy rose floral arrangement using only 4 roses, some decorative “jewels” or clear marbles, and a small square vase.

Take the 4-6 roses and cut their stems  so that their length is clearly longer than the vase is tall, but cutting off most of the long stem. Then, shockingly, put the roses blossom down into the vase. Fill the vase completely with roses, but it is not necessary to wedge them in.

Once the roses are in place, resting against the bottom of the vase, take scissors and cut the stems flush with the top of the vase.

Remove the roses temporarily. Place the “jewels” into the bottom of the vase. Fill to the top of the jewels with water. Reinsert the roses, this time stem end into the water. The “jewels” will keep the roses stable.

The finished result will be roses filling the opening of the vase, but not extending past the top of the vase. This is a striking look, made more so by lining 3 vases down the center of the dinner table or to be an even bigger treat, place one for every guest as a place setting and a gift to take away from the dinner. To accentuate that each vase is a gift, you can tie the vase up with a ribbon.

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