Growing up I always thought that cashmere was for very wealthy people, now every department and discount store seem to have cashmere sweaters for sale. In the past I've purchased several V-neck sweaters from Bloomingdale's and Lord and Taylor, but they don't seem to be of a great quality - there is some pilling and they are starting to look worn - and they seem to have shrunk a bit. How do you know if the cashmere is really top quality? Now, onto entertaining and eating, two of my favorite things in the world. Tomorrow we are having two very close friends over for dinner. We've been friends with this family since my daughter was in preschool - 23 years ago! Many summer vacations were spent together in Wellfleet, Cape Cod since then, in a little house right on Mayo Beach. Liz and Steve introduced me to margaritas, and I still use Steve's very simple recipe to this day, using the can of frozen margarita mix as my only measuring cup for the lime, tequila and triple sec (or Grand Marnier), along with a blender filled with ice. For dinner tomorrow I am trying to blend in my recent interest in Italian aperitivo with a light dinner. First, we are going to start the evening with a walk through our woods - wouldn't it be fun to have a table set up in the woods ahead of time with a warm mulled wine and snacks - what a fun surprise that would be for everyone! For the aperitivo I will be serving three different things: Fresh Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata with Herb Oil (Giada DeLaurentis) * Artichoke-Parmesan Crostini (Martha Stewart) and Fontina Risotto Cakes with Fresh Chives (Epicurious). Dinner will include Creamy Baked Fettucine with Asiago and Thyme and Pollo Arrosto Al Limone (Lemon Roasted Chicken - Williams-Sonoma's Florence cookbook). Liz and Steve both drink red wine - I think we have finally talked Liz into drinking wine without ice cubes! We will probably open several of our bottles of chianti that we purchased this September in Italy. Believe it or not, Liz and Steve are not fans of dessert, so I won't be making any - my husband will be sad but I'll make something sweet for him tonight for after dinner. The place setting above is for tomorrow night's dinner, a little post-Valentine theme so that I can use my pink antique dishes. This table setting is a mix of so many different things; the sterling silver, Irish linen napkins and Waterford water glasses were my mother's, the silver napkin rings were a birthday gift from my friends Forrest and Stephanie; the wine glasses are from Venice (we visited the Murano glass factory this fall and of course had to purchase something from their magnificent collection); and the dishes are antique Johnson Brothers English Chippendale from a full set of dishes that I found at a garage sale in Port Murray many years ago. The sterling silver urn that you see in the center of the table was a 25th wedding gift for my parents many years ago - I plan on filling it with pink tulips and sprays of baby breath tomorrow - I don't want the tulips to open too much in the warmth before dinner tomorrow night so I'm waiting until tomorrow to fill it. The woodstove inside our fireplace is always heating this room, you can see it in the background. Tonight's aperitivo will include a pasta fagioli zuppa made from an aperitivo recipe I made the other day, the Fagioli Cannellini in Umido (Cannellini Beans Braised in Tomato and Herbs). I also purchased two beautiful artichokes yesterday at Whole Foods, so I'm going to stuff them and cook them on the stovetop. I'll try to take some photos of tomorrow night's dinner, but after a glass of wine or two I tend to forget to do things like that! Ciao, Bella!
Welcome to the Frog Hollow Farm blog! I've been blogging since January 2010 and have switched from Blogger to Word Press, but I'm back to Blogger because, for me, it's easier to use. My husband and I live on a little farm in Northwest New Jersey. We have some chickens and a very large vegetable garden with asparagus and raspberries, and rows and rows of sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias. Traveling, entertaining, gardening, spending time with family, studying Italian, blogging and reading keep us busy and happy. With all of this going on, moving towards a simpler life seems almost impossible but it's definitely a daily goal.