Darling Bakers and Tablescape Thursday ~ Beach Party!

Hello my friend ~ Thank you for coming to
Click here to go to Susan's wonderful Blog
"Between Naps on the Porch"
for links to other to other participant's blogs.

Beach Party!

The weather today in Oregon isn't quite conducive for a party at the beach, so we'll have this party at my house instead. Please make yourself at home and let the party begin. My party is all about the food, so I hope you brought your appetite.

Please come on in to the dining room ~ we've been looking forward to seeing you!

Here's your place at the table~

Go ahead and take a look at the menu while I get the soup.

I understand you like seafood as much as I do. That's great, because that's what I'm serving today.

I try to prepare food grown or produced in Oregon whenever possible. The salmon and crab are from the beautiful Pacific Ocean, right off of the Oregon coast. The dairy products and wine are from Oregon, too.

Although we couldn't get to the beach, I pulled some things together to help us imagine we're at the coast.

Please just visualize that the view out of the big dining room window is actually the ocean, and not the pitiful winter rose garden and a bunch of towering Douglas Fir trees.

I knew you'd like to sit across from my great-grandmother, Angelique.

She's my father's grandmother ~ from Marseille, she moved to San Francisco from France before I was born.

Although she speaks very little English, I know you'll like her she's sweet, good natured and very friendly.

Please make yourself at home and take a look around, I'll be right back with the food for our party.

Some pretty sea shells, a few from French beaches (Merci pour
les petits trésors Grand-Mère!), but most were gathered in Mexico.

I set this Fish platter from Portugal on the old cement pediment shelf for today, I always switch accessories around throughout the year, do you do that in your home, too?

The platter was a steal, from either
TJ Maxx or Ross if I remember correctly ~ under $10. I love finding bargains like that. I'll share more about the pediment shelf in an upcoming blog entry.

Oh, you like the crab napkin rings? Thank you!

Yes, they are Arthur Court Designs, as are the little Salt and Pepper Shakers ~

I have a small collection of them, perhaps I can share them with you at another time, if you'd like.

I'm always up for a bargain, and was able to find a
gift ware company online which offers them for a few dollars less than anyplace else I've found. I'll try to remember the name, in case you're interested. :)

Well, silly me ~ doing all of this talking! The soup is on!

Here you go~

I make it just like you would a tomato-based Manhattan-style clam chowder, except I use diced smoked salmon (the firm kind, sold in the form of small
filets) in place of the clams and I add more vegetables.

Oh, thank you! I'm so happy you liked the chowder.

Let me go get the next course, I'll be right back...

You know, artichokes have been one of my favorite vegetables since I was a little girl. I just love them, and wanted to make sure I included them on the menu today.

The sauce? Oh, it's a simple one ~ maybe you've made something similar? It's just Best Foods/
Hellmans mayo, a little tomato ketchup, Worchestershire sauce (and optional a little fresh lemon juice, and garlic powder.)

If I'm having a small party, like today ~ I like to serve it in this little crabby-condiment dish. Yes, it's Fitz & Floyd, it was a gift from a dear friend who has a home on the coast. Seems to me that was about 10 years ago, the company may still make them ~ I'm not sure. If you like it, you might check

Okay ~ the Crab sandwiches are piping hot and ready!

This is an old and simple recipe, one of my favorites.

It brings back happy memories for me.

You see, my mother and I would often have a "girlie" day on Fridays, shopping, visiting art galleries, museums, etc. and the day always included lunch out.

In crab season, a favorite restaurant of ours would serve hot crab sandwiches like these ~ we would make it a point to have them once or twice while they were available.
At the restaurant they would serve the sandwiches with potato salad. I made sea shell pasta salad with a very light dill dressing instead, with crisp-tender broccoli, minced red onion and capers.

And when you make them at home you can pile the crab on as high as you like! I always sprinkle a little cayenne on to finish, or in this case a bit of Basque or as
arrière-grand-mère would say:
"une pincée de piment d' Esplelette"!

I usually don't garnish them with a shrimp on top, but hey ~ This is a PARTY! :)

I love how food can evoke special memories of special people, places and times.

Are you ready for some salad? I know it seems unusual to some to serve the salad at the end of the meal but that is the French influence, from that side of the family and that is how we always served it while I was growing up, and most of the time I still do.

I thought a light Oregano and whole mustard seed vinaigrette would be nice with the marinated Greek olives, and Pink Peppercorn Feta cheese cubes.

Normally in winter I skip the fresh tomatoes, but I am so pleased with the smallish tomatoes "on-the-vine" available in the grocery stores these days.

And Great Grandmother agrees, so that makes me happy!

Ahhh... are you feeling a little full? Would you like to take a little stroll through the back garden while I whip the cream for dessert?
Please go right ahead.

Just follow any of the pathways and you won't get lost.
Unfortunately the garden isn't at it's peak right now, but some of the early bulbs are blooming, and you can see the buds have swelled on all of the Rhodies and Azaleas, they'll be in full bloom around Mother's Day.
So you'll have to use your imagination, and then come back in a couple of months to see it in full bloom.

You might just like wandering under the canopy of those huge fir and pine trees ~ but you won't want to wander too far, the forest is thick and untamed at the back of the property.
I call it my enchanted forest.
I'll strike the rooster bell on the back porch when dessert is ready, okay?


Dessert Time!

Shortbread Sea Shells with "Black Sea Pearls"


No, you don't have to eat the Demerara Sugar, I just sprinkled some on the plate to represent sand. :)

I baked the "Sea Shell" shortbread in a pans (plaques), I believe they are manufactured by Nor-Pro.
I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma, but you probably could find them elsewhere as well.

This time I filled them with lightly whipped, Vanilla cream, slightly sweetened.

The "shells" are really good with ice cream filling as well, but today is a little chilly so I thought the whipped cream would be best.

Well, I cannot believe how the time has flown by!
I know you have quite a drive ahead of you to make it back home before dark ~ so I guess it's time to draw our little party to a close.
Yes, Of COURSE ~ You're always welcome here.

See you next Thursday
~and our next Darling Baker event will be on

March 17th, for St. Patrick's Day !

You're invited, so please mark your calendar.

But please don't wait until then ~

Come on back and visit often, I've always got something cooking and I love to share.



Foodie Friday ~ Designs by Gollum!

Thank you, Michael for hosting your wonderful


~click to go to Design's By Gollums blog and see all

the marvelous participant's entries!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

I'm sharing my cupcakes this week~ this is a short summary. I lost a bunch of them when my old computer crashed.

Please feel free to do a search here for "cupcakes", (far upper left-hand corner) and it should take you to the cupcakes on my blog.

Just randomly...

The Napoleon Cupcakes, which I learned from darling Em, at her blog

And the mini Lemon-Cream~

The Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cupcakes ~

My take on Nigella Lawson's Fairy Cakes ~

you can do them a number of ways:

With fresh, organic flower decorations, from my garden~

... Pink Rose Fairy Cakes ~

and for Autumn ~

Pumpkin-Spice Cakelets with Brown Sugar Icing

And then another "cupcake" baked in molds as well, heart-shaped this time.

Brownie-like with Chocolate Ganache, and garnished with more edible, organic flowers from the garden.

Thank you so much to Michael at

Designs by Gollum

for hosting Foodie Fridays!

Please come on back to visit, add me to your favorites list, or subscribe to my feed. You are always welcome here and there is always something cooking.

Pssst.... I LOVE comments!

Please introduce yourself and leave a message so I can add you to my list of FAVORITES,

and come visit your blog!

I welcome the chance to meet friends from near and far.

Have a wonderful day everybody! ~xo

A Sampling of my food . . .


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