Friday, December 3, 2010

My Hubby's Made From Scratch Focaccia Bread & A Giveaway!

As you all know from time to time I will feature one of my or my husband's favorite recipes.  If you've followed for some time you have probably figured out that we are both foodies and LOVE to eat great food.  Several years ago following a car accident in which I shattered my arm rendering it totally immobile for several months and practically useless for almost a year, Shawn found himself learning a lot of new things such as how to do our young daughters pony tails, waking up early in the morning to get the kids off to school...a true shock to his system, house cleaning and last but not least, cooking for eight.  He has always been the traditional "grill guy" but everyday cooking was something new to him to say the least.  Much to our six kids and my liking, he absolutely fell in love with it.  

 Shawn discovered a natural inclination to great cooking and that making delicious food is relatively easy.   Anymore it is he who cooks and meal plans most of the time.  I still like to cook, but I gotta say that I like being cooked for even better, especially when I know it's Shawn doing the cooking.    Mexican, Italian, American, German, even a delicious traditional Irish stew...  But our favorites have to be his traditional Italian dishes & breads... which leads me to why I'm doing this post.

When friends and family come to eat at our house they constantly tell him that he should open a restaurant.  Shawn's sister, Kym, finally convinced him to at least sell his Focaccia bread.  It is absolutely delicious and has met locally with success.  Every sale he's gotten has been solely by word of mouth... those are the best kind of sales!  I asked him to take it to the next level and offer these fabulous breads in an Etsy shop, TheBistro2Go, which he has just opened with his sister, who makes some incredible cheeses (pictured below with some of Shawn's Focaccia and grapes, on a transfer ware dish of course, ...the only thing missing is a glass of wine).


Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients.  It's remotely related to the pizza family, but not considered to be the same.

Focaccia is quite popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and sometimes herbs, and may be topped with onion, cheese and meat, or flavored with a number of vegetables.  However, by far the most typical focaccia is simply baked dough topped with olive oil and a simple herb like rosemary or sage and salted with coarse salt.  It is very popular as a snack in Italy and school children will often purchase a slice from a baker on the way to school to enjoy at break time.

My favorite Focaccia that Shawn makes is one he refers to as Herbalicious.  He starts with dough made from scratch and then infuses extra virgin olive oil plus three herbs (Oregano, Basil & Thyme) into the dough.  Just before hitting the oven he covers the top with more brushed-on olive oil, coarse salt, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (you can also order it with Romano or Asiago as well), a generous layer of Mozzarella cheese and caramelized onion bits.
 I asked Shawn to make these adorable, single serving Focaccia bread squares.  I think they are so cute and are a great size for snacks or holiday entertaining!

Shawn also makes his Focaccia in 9" squares.  Equally delish!

Smelling it bake is absolute torture.  The herbs are so aromatic and the smell of bread baking is irresistible.  

To help jump start online sales, Shawn is offering one of my readers either 3 loaves or 24 single serve squares Focaccia bread ...your choice of flavors & toppings.  He will make these fresh to order, and ship Priority right away.  These freeze beautifully, in case you're wondering.

To enter this giveaway all you need to do is:

1)  Visit The Bistro 2 Go and tell me what bread selection you'd choose  (you can convo Shawn about any custom flavors you might desire... I know he'll be adding a jalapeno cheddar soon!)

2) If you're a follower of my blog leave another comment for an additional entry, or feel free to become a follower and leave an entry. 

3) Facebook or Tweet about the giveaway, and leave another comment along with the link 

I'll announce the winner next week!
I'm currently having another French Pillow HERE to enter.


Tempt my Tummy Tuesday,
Finer Things Friday,
Funky Junk Interiors
Food On Fridays, hosted by Ann Kroeker
Tatertots & Jello 
Seasonal Sunday 
Marketplace Monday

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Tablescape with Masons Vista

Click to Enter my French Pillow GIVEAWAY

Bye bye Old Britain Castles.  Hello Vista. 
That was my first thought, over ten years ago, when I was an avid Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles (OBC) collector and discovered Mason's Vista.
I like them both, but
    I love the deep, cranberry tones and the variations in shapes and hollow wares this line offers.   Plus, I like the deeper shade of pink/red.  Vista 
is one of those few transferware patterns I experienced love at first sight with.
I sure am glad I have to be faithful to one man and not just ONE set of dishes!   I don't think that would work out for me.

So, this week, here's another favorite pattern of mine set to a Christmas table. And...hooray, this tablescape was just featured in a local publication today in conjunction with an open house I'm having at the shop on December 11.  If you're in the Tulsa area, please come by.

About the Vista pattern:

Vista is widely popular amongst serious collectors and novices alike.  It is easily recognizable by it's castle and park like scenes with oak leaf borders.
The Vista pattern is by far the most popular that Masons ever produced.  It is attributable to Francis Morley who purchased from Charles Mason his business and factories in 1848.
Vista was largely made for export to the United States beginning in 1890, of which brown came first, followed by blue.  Pink/red is the most sought after, most common and most produced color.  Vista can also be found in green (dating to about 1900 with a short lived production) , purple, and multi-colored (dating between appx. 1918 and 1944), though they are harder to find in these colorways.
Vista was also produced in other variations such as Oak Vista where there is no oak leaf border but rather an embossed, non colored border. 

About my tablescape:

The centerpiece begins with a pretty runner of gold, olive, red and burgundy.  In the center is a Walmart angel I purchased some years back and added a little embellishment to.  I added ribbon, miniature ornaments, beads and wires to her dress.  I placed the angel on a wreath I decorated with glittered berry bunches, wire edged gold organza ribbon and lights with miniature pine-cone covers over them.  To either side are gold candelabras with votive candles and a few Christmas bulbs scattered around the base.

These Waterford Clarendon wine hocks have have been packed in a box for over four years.  They are all placed on hand beaded coasters that match the chargers. The thumbprint glasses are Kings Crown and I purchased them about 10 years ago in an antique shop.  I was so fortunate to find some with no, or very little, wear to the pink rims.  We have amber and olive thumbprint tumblers as our every day glasses.  They just feel right in your hand.

At each place setting, instead of placemats I used gold linen blend napkins with beading around the borders and placed them each at angles, corner to corner, allowing them to drape over the table.  Hand beaded chargers from Always Elegant were placed directly on the napkins...then came the Vista plates.

The pretty flatware is Barenthal which I sell for $67.50 for a 20 pc service for four in green or this burgundy color.  I think the marbleized handles are so striking.

I used two organza napkins, inside is a golden bronze and outside is an embroidered burgundy color.  The beaded napkin rings have long tassels.  The napkins and napkin rings both come from Always Elegant, a site I love, love, love for pretty table linens and accents.  I clipped glass bird ornaments to each napkin ring for an extra touch of Christmas.

The cups and saucers were each adorned with a trio of berries swathed in faux ice crystals.

Red and gold is a favorite color combination of mine.  

To each dining chair I tied gold organza garland with filled burlap and toile Christmas stockings to be taken home by the guests after dinner.  I just love all the burlap things being made now.  These darling stockings were hand made by DAnnAccessories, an Etsy shop specializing in Christmas stockings.  She's got various colors of toile combined with muslin and burlap. 

 I tucked floral picks into each stocking along with an all natural, hand made soap of goats milk, aloe vera and lavender essential oil in little organza bags. 

The little soaps make great stocking stuffers or small thank you gifts.  These also come from Always Elegant...where I get all my organza and beaded table linens.

This is the soap outside the comes sealed in a plastic wrap and embossed with a lovely design.

On the buffet table I scrunched up a runner and ran a simple garland of berries with sparkling, faux ice along with added Victorian pillar candles from Zest Candles Christmas candle line.  I also permanently display a large Vista soup tureen and two smaller Vista gravy tureens here.

Here are a couple of pictures taken at night.  Speaking of night, it's time for this gal to go night night.