Friday, February 14, 2014

On the Homefront: For the Birds Valentine's Day Table

Cutie Pie the Dalmatian has a special Valentine's Day wish!

My frequent flyer husband will be out of town for Valentine's Day, so as far as I am concerned, this year the holiday is for the birds!  (For those who, like my husband, are not familiar with this idiom, "for the birds" means "pointless".)  However, in an effort to put a positive spin on a less than ideal situation, I decided that if life gives me the bird, I would take that bird and turn it into a tablescape!  February is also National Bird Feeding Month, so it makes sense to do something in honor of our fine feathered friends in addition to feeding them.  I gathered up all of my bird-themed table décor in a Valentine's Day color scheme, and here is the result:

Round red woven placemat from KMart; white dinner plate (Tivoli by Studio Nova); Red Bird Plate from Pier 1; vintage red flatware by Anacapa Corp.; bird and berries Holiday Linen Napkin from The Company Store; Red Beaded Rock Napkin Ring from Pier 1 (no longer available); Birdy Napkin Ring from Crate and Barrel; Oldham Harper Bird Glasses from Signals; red-stemmed wine glass from Target (I think!) years ago.

The complete set of Oldham Harper Bird Glasses.

Sweetie Pie the Dalmatian has a very special
Valentine's Day wish of her own!
(White Bird Salt and Pepper Shakers from Pier 1;
 Red Bird Filled Candle from Pier 1 -- no longer available in Red).

A simple centerpiece (left over from my Chinese New Year Table)
flanked by a scattering of Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts.

Close-up view of the napkin and two napkin rings.

Our Valentine's Day dinner will be postponed until my husband's return from his trip a week after February 14th, but I am including the recipes for the menu I intend to serve.  All of the recipes are new to me and as yet untested (although I have made a version of the dip without crab meat and a similar mousse with white chocolate).

Valentine's Day Dinner Menu:

White Wine
Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip*/Butter Crackers
French Bread
Green Salad with Tomatoes/Balsamic Vinaigrette
Chocolate Mousse**

*Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts
1 C. mayonnaise
1/2 C. grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 can (6 oz.) crab meat

Drain and quarter the artichoke hearts.  Combine the mayonnaise, cheese, and garlic.  Fold in the artichoke hearts and crab meat.  Spread the mixture in a pie plate.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly (or microwave on HIGH for about five minutes).

**Simple Chocolate Mousse

3/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 C. heavy whipping cream, very cold
1 T. confectioner's sugar

Microwave the chocolate on HIGH, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted.  Set aside.  Whip the cold cream until stiff peaks form.  Quickly add the sugar and cooled chocolate and fold in until well blended.  Spoon into individual serving dishes and chill until ready to serve.  Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired.  Serves 2-4, depending on how decadent you wish to be!

My husband and I love mussels, and dunking the French bread in the leftover wine sauce is the best part!  The dip is my favorite appetizer, and the dessert is my husband's favorite, so both of us should be very happy when we finally get the chance to share this meal.  Chocolate candies will of course be on the table -- Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts are strewn about, and a bowl of milk chocolate Lindt Lindor Truffles sits at one end:

And even though this table is for the birds, Dalmatians naturally make an appearance as well:

A red heart-shaped basket full of pink-nosed Dalmatian puppies
cheers up even the most frustrating of Valentine's Days!

Happy Valentine's Day to one and all!

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