Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creating an enchanted holiday dinner for guests

This photo is from Veranda Magazine

Enchanted Entertaining 
By Linda Calder Smith

The guests have arrived, and as they cross the threshold they are greeted by the soft, sweet sound of holiday music and the beauty of the seasonal decoration.  The family evergreen, recently adorned with treasures from holidays past, fills the room with a calming scent that brings back wonderful memories.  As guests make their way down the hall to see the holiday table, they are awestruck my what they see.  

At each seat are small gifts wrapped in silver and gold which contain a gleaming keepsake ornament, napkins have been folded and adorned with ribbons and bells.   The wax dripping from the flickering flame of white candles creates lace patterns as it trickles down the side, and the fresh flowers of the centerpiece add another incredible scent to the room. Visitors feel like children again as they wonder what is inside the little packages.  Better yet, they feel the warmth of knowing that you took the time to welcome each and every one of them into your home.  Little do they know that you were able to achieve this look with just a few stolen moments, and while you were relaxing.    Read More....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Few Christmas Decorating Ideas From New England Fine Living.

A Few Decorating Tips From New England Fine Living

Strapped for time and you need some quick Christmas decorating ideas?  Have the time, but you want a few fun ideas?  Here are a few tips I have used myself that would make an elf proud!

Tie beautiful french ribbons around pillows to make them look like Christmas packages.

Tie candy canes around a short vase and fill with greenery and red berries or more candy canes.

Make luminaries out of paper bags, sand, and votives then line your front stairs for holiday guests

Tie red ribbons the ends of pine cones, spread peanut butter on them, then roll in bird seed, hang them outside for  the birds to enjoy.

Place a large candle in an empty half gallon milk carton (you might need to tape it in), fill the carton with water (do not cover your candle) and cranberries... freeze... and use outside as luminaries or in your holiday buffet.

Using a large decorative bowl, fill with beautiful red apples and glass ornaments for a quick holiday display.

Tuck fresh greens into artificial greens to add volume, scent, and beauty.  Add baubles, ornaments, berries, and miniature wrapped boxes for a festive holiday garland or wreath.

Let children freeze water and food coloring in small or medium sized paper and wax drinking cups... add festive ribbon to the top.... freeze... then remove them from the cups and hang outside on trees for temporary ornaments.

Make a snowman kit.  Gather with the children items for the face and buttons, clothes, and a hat.  Put aside some hot cocoa and wait for the weather man to promise a beautiful snow fall.

Christmas Decorating By New England Fine Living

Here is a little video of some Christmas decorating that has been done over the years by New England Fine Living.  Enjoy and I hope it inspires you for your holiday decorating.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Lazy Christmas Decorator

Lazy?  I think not!  I think these neighbors have got the right idea!  LOL  

 This poor holiday elf gave up just a little too soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Napkin Folding With A Twist (No Pun Intended)

Recently, for an open house at my studio, I showed a few different napkin folding techniques.  Below are a few photos. I am slowly working on adding the directions to my web site, but thought I would start here first.

Table Display and Setting By New England Fine Living's Design Studio
 Custom Napkin By The Write Expression - Middleton, Located In New England Fine Living's Building

A Cute Napkin Jacket.  You can slip a faux shirt inside, place cards, or a menu! 

These Napkin Roses are so easy to make! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A New England Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Recipe

From Celebrity Party Planner, Colin Cowie - Recipe Below

Colin's Roasted Turkey
From Colin Cowie
The Stuffing

1 garlic bulb
2 celery sticks
8 shallots
Sprig fresh sage, plus few extra
12 strips pancetta
3 tablespoons butter
1 stick butter (or more), cut into tablespoons (for under the skin)
Big handful breadcrumbs
Handful dried apricots
3/4 lb pork mince
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 egg
12 small fresh rosemary sprigs, plus few extra

For the turkey
9-10 lb organic free-range turkey
2 carrots
1 big orange
Olive oil for basting
Plain flour, for the gravy
Chicken or vegetable stock, for the gravy
1 cup white wine
2-4 cups chicken broth
1 package cheesecloth
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. To make the stuffing, finely slice 2 garlic cloves, the celery, and 4 shallots. Roughly tear the sage and roughly chop half the pancetta.
  3. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the sliced garlic, sage, and pancetta, then after 30 seconds, the shallots and celery. Fry gently until everything is soft and golden brown. Remove from the heat, add the breadcrumbs, and while the mix is cooling, chop the apricots coarsely and stir them in.
  4. When the stuffing is cold, add the pork, nutmeg, egg, and lots of salt and pepper and mix everything well.
  5. Slice the remaining strips of pancetta in half and slice 1 garlic clove into slivers. Place a rosemary sprig and a garlic sliver on one end of a strip of pancetta, and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the other pieces of pancetta until you have 12 little rolls. Stab the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in 6 places on each side. Push a little pancetta roll into each hole until it just peeps out.
  6. For the turkey, roughly chop the remaining shallots and garlic cloves, and slice the carrots.
  7. Pluck any stray feathers or hairs off your turkey and give it a good wipe, inside and out, with a piece of kitchen paper. Place it on a board, with the neck end pointing toward you. Find the edge of the skin that covers the turkey's breasts, and gently peel it back slightly. Work your fingers and then your hand under the skin, freeing it from the meat. If you're careful, you should be able to pull all the skin off the meat, keeping it attached at the sides but without ripping any holes in it. From the neck end of the turkey, rub tablespoon-size pats of butter into the meat under the skin.
  8. Spoon the stuffing up between the skin and the breast tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop any leaking out during cooking. Weigh the stuffed turkey.
  9. Microwave the orange for 30 seconds to warm it up and stuff it into the cavity. Place the bird in a large roasting tray, season well, and rub all over with olive oil. Surround with the chopped carrots, shallots, garlic, and extra herbs.
  10. Pour the wine and stock into a large bowl. Unfold the cheesecloth and cut a piece large enough to cover the turkey with 5-6 folded layers. Submerge the cheesecloth into the wine/broth mixture to soak completely. Lift the cheesecloth out carefully (do not squeeze), and drape over the turkey. Pour the rest of the broth mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  11. Place in oven and roast for approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160°F. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with pan juices. It's important to keep the cheesecloth moist so it does not stick to the skin. (If this does happen, you will pull the skin off the breast when you remove the cheesecloth.) Check periodically to make sure the cheesecloth is not sticking.
  12. After four hours, gently remove cheesecloth making sure you do not pull off the skin. Baste the bare turkey and continue roasting for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours more. The turkey will become a deep, golden brown. Baste 1 to 2 times more during the last hour. Test for doneness by making a small incision in the deepest part of the thigh. The juices should run clear. (Remember, if your turkey is all-natural or free-range, the meat will naturally be a slight shade of pink. The juices, though, should run clear.)
  13. To serve, remove the turkey and rest on a board for 20 minutes. Put the roast vegetables onto a plate. Skim the surface fat from the toasting tray, add a little flour and stock, and bring to the boil on high heat. When the gravy thickens, strain into a pan. Serve the turkey with the vegetables and gravy.
Serves 10-12. Recipe found on YumSugar.com

For Another Delicious Organic Turkey Recipe, you can visit our site http://www.newenglandfineliving.com/roastedorganicturkey.html  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Visit To Far Niente in Napa Valley

Inside Far Niente Winery
It has been a long time coming, but I have finally put some of my photos to video from my Far Niente press trip in Napa Valley.  I have many more press trips and photos of events that I will be putting to video and getting on line soon.  I hope you enjoy your virtual visit.