Thursday, March 4, 2010

Last chance for Corn Chowder before Spring (served in a transferware tureen of course)

Today, for Foodie Friday, kindly hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum, I'm making one of our family favorites:  Corn chowder.  In fact, this is Jonah's (my 16 yr. old)  favorite and he requests it each year for his birthday.  My Mother in law gave me the recipe about 20 years ago.  Since Spring is just around the corner (I hope), we wanted to have this chowder one last time this Winter. 

(serves 4-6 .... I always double this for my crew of 8)

1 package smoked sausage cut into bite sized pieces (Eckrich, Hillshire Farm and Johnsonville are good)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 med-lg potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cans creamed corn
1 can chopped, diced and peeled green chilies
1 small jar diced pimientos, drained
garlic powder to taste
appx. 2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

First take your sausage and onion and cook until onions are limp

Add the cubed potatoes:

and enough water to cover potatoes:  Turn heat up and boil until potatoes are tender

Once potatoes have cooked, add the creamed corn and green chilies

Next add your pimientos, garlic powder and 1/2 & 1/2. (sorry, these pics were too blurry to post)  Stir thouroughly and heat.
Top with crumbled bacon and serve with crusty bread, cheese bread, salad or just by itself!
I served mine in my Mason's Vista red/pink transfer ware soup tureen.

Enjoy!  Jonah sure did!

A Poem for your Thoughts:

The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.  Lloyd Jones

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blue and Brown Floral Transferware Tablescape

When you're done here hop on over to Tabletop Tuesday & Blue Monday

I’ve been playing around this week with some lovely plates I just got in.   I’m excited because I’ve not had this pattern in stock before. It's called Tapestry by Ridgway.  They are a brown floral toile and I’ve mixed them with some blue floral plates by Myott to create this blue and brown tablescape.

I set up in our tv/game room/teenagers hang out upstairs because it is decorated in blues and browns. Whoo-wee, didn’t realize I’d have to clean so much for this post…thanks kids! I moved a table in front of the sofa and put two arm chairs at each side leaving the front open for pics of course!

I used four blue, gold embroidered organza napkins that I placed at an angle so they would hang over the edge of a table, one at each setting, which makes it appear to be a tablecloth underneath.  I've said it before...I like using things I've already got so, seeing as I didn't have a blue tablecloth...some old napkins sufficed.

I then used round pleather (fake leather) placemats at each setting.  I love the texture of these and use them all the time!  Using various textures, patterns and colors gives depth to any design...including tablescapes!

Next, I used the 10" blue Myott Finlandia plates and topped each with one of the brown Ridgway Tapestry plates.

These blue Myott plates are available for purchase  HERE 

and the brown Ridgway plates are available for purchase HERE

I bought these brown napkins at Walmart for $1 a piece and used blue and brown transferware napkin rings by Royal Staffordshire around each one.

My Mother in law gave me the blue Fostoria stemware some years ago, but I just got these brown tumblers at Walmart for only .77 a piece!  Better deal than the dollar store!

Since I decided to use only floral patterns here, I chose an antique wash pitcher filled with blue hydrangeas for the centerpiece.  I just love this piece.  I have the bowl that matches as well.

Gotta have a little blingage at the table so I added these inexpensive tea light holders with crystalique (plastic) drops and beadwork.  I've had these for years.  They really are pretty and add a nice ambiance to the setting.  I love eating by candle light.

I hope you've enjoyed my tablescape and will post a comment to let me know what you think...then click on over to Tablescape Thursday for more lovely table settings.

A Poem for your Thoughts:

Who among us has never been struck, upon entering a room for the first time, by its particular atmosphere, the undefinable perfume given off by it?  Doesn't this effluvia of sensation seem to carry with it the memory of actions, silences, and emotions to which the room has been witness?  Why wouldn't its walls have recorded and stored away all the emotional vibrations given off by its successive occupants and visitors?  Both metaphor and psychic catalyst, a room always seems to reveal to us a specific psychological and spiritual universe. 
-Robert Polidori

Monday, March 1, 2010

Early transferware designs including Blue Willow

Often, transferware is referred to as blue willow and sometimes, simply blue and white.   This is because the very first transfer ware designs were copied from hand painted blue and white Chinese export porcelains which depicted Oriental scenes and motifs.  Blue was the only color available as it was the only color that could withstand the high temperatures of the firing kiln.   Only the most affluent families could afford the imported hand painted wares which were mainly from China.   Hand painting was very time consuming and laborious.    The invention of the transferware process made it possible for the North Staffordshire potteries to be the first to offer full sets of matching dinnerware on a large scale.  For the first time ever, the emerging middle class families were able to purchase beautiful tableware at affordable prices.   It became immediately popular and transformed not only the daily lives of ordinary households in England, but throughout the world.    The popularity of transferware and of owning a complete set of matching dishes led to England’s world domination of the tableware industry.  

Most of us have, at some point or another, seen, held or owned a piece of blue willow transferware.   It is easily recognizable and is said to be the most collected china pattern ever produced.  There are many variations of the pattern attributing unique elements worked in with the garden fence, arbor, and borders.  Thomas Minton, original engraver of the pattern, and Thomas Turner produced the first transfer-printed Blue Willow at the Caughley Pottery Works in 1780.  Royal Worcester, Spode, Adams, Wedgwood, Davenport, Clews, Leeds and Swansea followed with their own versions of the pattern.

Early Blue Willow platter - maker unknown

Minton tea set for one  Circa 1880



The Blue Willow Legend
There was once a Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter named Koong-se. He employed a secretary, Chang who, while he was attending to his master's accounts, fell in love with Koong-se, much to the anger of the Mandarin, who regarded the secretary as unworthy of his daughter.

The secretary was banished and a fence constructed around the gardens of the Mandarin's estate so that Chang could not see his daughter and Koong-se could only walk in the gardens and to the water's edge. One day a shell fitted with sails containing a poem, and a bead which Koong-se had given to Chang, floated to the water's edge. Koong-se knew that her lover was not far away.

She was soon dismayed to learn that she had been betrothed to Ta-jin, a noble warrior Duke. She was full of despair when it was announced that her future husband, the noble Duke, was arriving, bearing a gift of jewels to celebrate his betrothal.

However, after the banquet, borrowing the robes of a servant, Chang passed through the guests unseen and came to Koong-se's room. They embraced and vowed to run away together. The Mandarin, the Duke, the guests, and all the servants had drunk so much wine that the couple almost got away without detection, but Koong-se's father saw her at the last minute and gave chase across the bridge.

The couple escaped and stayed with the maid that Koong-se's father had dismissed for conspiring with the lovers. Koong-se had given the casket of jewels to Chang and the Mandarin, who was also a magistrate, swore that he would use the jewels as a pretext to execute Chang when he caught him.

One night the Mandarin's spies reported that a man was hiding in a house by the river and the Mandarin's guards raided the house. But Chang had jumped into the ragging torrent and Koong-se thought that he had drowned. Some days later the guards returned to search the house again. While Koong-se's maid talked to them, Chang came by boat to the window and took Koong-se away to safety.

They settled on a distant island, and over the years Chang became famous for his writings. This was to prove his undoing. The Mandarin heard about him and sent guards to destroy him. Chang was put to the sword and Koong-se set fire to the house while she was still inside.

Thus they both perished and the gods, touched by their love, immortalized them as two doves, eternally flying together in the sky.