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.



  1. Can't decide which is more devine..the tablescape or the food

  2. oh mari, i love seeing even more pics! the s&p, napkin rings and linens, just exquisite! you know i love every square inch, you are the top darling baker dear, you always deliver the best in the west! thanks so much darling, it was a heck of fun party!

    ps glad you made more crab, i swore i ate it all already!

  3. A beautiful, beautiful post, Mari. I love it all. Your crab sandwiches look so delicious and I especially like the shrimp garnish. And what a beautiful dessert. Your little crabby-condiment dish is so perfect.

    Please invite me back again soon. I enjoyed my visit so very much.

  4. Well...I had the nicest luncheon I have had in a very long time...anytime I am invited I will be a most grateful guest!
    So beautiful!

  5. Mari, has anyone told you that you're amazing? You could put saltines on those plates & it'd be beautiful, not to mention tasty.

    Answer me this: do you own a store or are you just blessed to own such beautiful things?

    I've said it before -- I'll say it again: you inspire me! I'm going shopping this week for some Mari-ware. :-) I'll post the results, assuming I'm lucky, on my blog. Filled with food, of course.

  6. This is absolutely the most beautiful and perfect blog I have ever seen. You are a wonder!!

  7. oh my gosh! You ladies MAKE my day.

    Thank you for such generous words of praise, you all make my head swell. :)

    It makes me so happy to read your messages. And I think your blogs are beautiful and full of inspiration, too. This is the part of blogging that I really enjoy ~ meeting and keeping up with new and old friends.

    Thank you all! xo

    Carole ~ too FUNNY! "Mari-ware" lol. Yippee, I can't wait to see what you find. I love dishes and kitchen things. :)

    I have a terrible DISHease (as my friend Jain calls those of us with the addiction.) :)
    I think she has more dishware and plates than anyone I've ever known.

    Are you familiar with her blog?

    You must see to believe!

    Thanks again everybody. :)

  8. Hi Mari-
    That has to be the most incredible photographs, not to mention the recipes. Absoultely OUSTANDING! I'm giving you a standing ovation in Kansas! Thank you so much for sharing and setting up the table scape and sharing your wonderful recipes. You should write a cookbook!

  9. Beautiful, Mary, but I have never been to a beach party like that! I think I need to get my black beach dress and pearls for yours..
    Everything looks delicious!
    And we are collectors, not dishaholics..:)
    I hope the outlet gets those shell cake molds soon..well by pretty!

    Thanks for your was good to see you!

  10. Mari, I had goosebumps while reading this post! I felt like I was right there with you eating this absolutely gorgeous and delectable food. The crab sandwiches look so good, and the dessert. Oh, everything is just perfect! This is a wonderful post :)

  11. Mari, everything was perfect!! I love your food - I'm especially fond of crab AND artichokes - and your dishware is beautiful. I love the little silver crabbies. What a great beach party you had!

  12. Sigh Castroville artichokes, I miss them. That has to be one of the most beautiful tablescape’s I have very seen. I would love to pock around you china cabinet ;-p Clarice

  13. What a fun menu and presentation. It's a great foil to the foot of snow piled up against my kitchen door.

  14. Mari - you always do such a wonderful job with your pictures, table settings and food. I could eat the crab in one bite and the dessert - to die for. Very creative use of sugar!

  15. Thank you!!! You all really do bring sunshine to my life with your kind words ( even though it's raining outside!)

    Thanks again for stopping by. xo~m

  16. Wow! Wow! Wow! This is fantastic and I mean both the food and the tablescape...those napkin rings and salt and pepper are fantastic!

  17. Oh, my goodness! I love your table and thank you for the invitation! Your dishes are so lovely and the color is perfect for a beachy theme. Love your jars with the shells. Now, the food! Oh! I'm drooling here! Everything looks and sounds so scrumptious. Can I come over now?
    Be a sweetie,

  18. oh looks fabulous...and the table divine... I think I am staying! I love the little crab dish and spoon!

  19. I am BLOWN AWAY !!! You are talented beyond measure... what a beautiful tablescape and not only that, the gourmet food...gosh...I'm at a loss for words. I will be BACK!

  20. Fun the first time....fabulous the second time!! Love the napkin rings...the little crab dish and well what can I say about the food....what time is lunch??
    Sue....another Darling Baker...

  21. Food, tableware and accessories, everything is so pretty!...Christine

  22. How delightful! You have a gift for presentation. Love the footed glass containers filled with shells. The menu is one to linger over-filled with inspiration. I'll have to spend some time browsing this post. Lovely.

  23. I have certainly enjoyed my first visit to your site and this table scape is lovely! Your menu sounds delish:-)

  24. Oh my! Your presentation is -- goodness -- delightful! Not only does it look delicious to taste - it's beautiful to see - this should be in a magazine!
    See ya!

  25. WOW! doesn't begin to cover it. Beautiful table setting, food, and photography all in one post!! Only problem--now I want seafood. Poor land-locked me !!

  26. Your table is gorgeous! The food, especially the crab sandwiches, look delicious!

  27. Beach themed tablescape, how fantastic! And your food, I sooo wanna be there and enjoy them. What time does it start? ;)
    -marie @ mariesmarche

  28. Gorgeous table and the food looks scrumptious! Great post!

  29. Wow! Great post! Thanks for spending so much time on it and sharing with us all!

  30. This is spectacular! I love your "beachy" themed dishes... fish dishes and other beach shapes are among my favorites; yours are so lovely!

    The food, the menu, the setting, the photographs.... perfection. Wow.

  31. Such a lovely presentation of a gorgeous mouth was watering! Also your tablescape was have many pretty pieces...

  32. What a fabulous spread! My daughter and I are planning a tropical tea party and I found your blog when I was looking for beach tablescapes. Your food inspires me, too.

    Treasuring the Moments

  33. What a fabulous spread! My daughter and I are planning a tropical tea party and I found your blog when I was looking for beach tablescapes. Your food inspires me, too.

    Treasuring the Moments


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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