Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On the Homefront: Colorful Amateur Artists Table

A quartet of artistic Dalmatian creations on my colorful
amateur artists table!

When we first moved to Georgia, my best friend in Florida sent me four laminated placemats featuring artwork by her son, who was still a child back then (he is a teen now).  I have been thinking about creating a tablescape using these mats as the focal point, and now that spring is here I decided this is the ideal time to do so.  I designed a couple of artistic placemats myself many years ago, and I added them to the table as well.  When I first met my husband, I went through a brief period of creativity that I have never experienced before or since.  I learned to crochet, completed several craft projects, and created these intricately drawn placemats (horses for me and crayfish for him) to fill two clear plastic mat covers found by my husband on his travels.  I like to think that these were all labors of love, which set my inner artist free to soar for a brief period before I reverted back to the rather down-to-earth person I am normally!  A kaleidoscopic mix of plaid, polka dots, stained glass, and rainbow colors join the amateur artist placemats on this table to help celebrate the artistic spirit.  I love the vibrant and cheerful result:

Original artwork laminated placemat (one of three different designs); clear glass soup bowl and dinner plate by Arcoroc (our everyday dishes); red-handled flatware by Anacapa; black napkin; flower-shaped acrylic napkin ring from Pier 1 a few years ago (topped with a Lindt Lindor truffle); Color Dots Goblet from Pier 1 last year; Tuscana Colored Stemless Wine Glass by Home Essentials from Stein Mart this year.

Here are the three placemat designs created by my friend's young son:

Blue bird on branch

Colorful abstract (we have two of these)

Green-haired clown!

The multicolored stained glass candleholder was purchased at a
Christmas arts and crafts fair in Fort Collins, CO, many years ago
(I don't remember where I got the plaid table runner).

My crayfish creation, surrounded by multicolored jelly bean
"shots" (I don't recommend consuming them in one gulp,
though!); I have had the colorful shot glasses for quite a while,
but don't remember where I got them.

Three shadow horses
(the blue glass plates at each end are there to hold bread)

One glass and three ceramic Dalmatians

Rainbow-hued vases filled with orange Gerbera daisies 

Two curious faces peeking in at the back!

A colorful table deserves an equally colorful menu, and I think the one I have chosen really delivers!  It is also a great meal for spring, and is pretty healthy as well (except maybe for the dessert, but we all need a little indulgence once in a while).  A spring green soup is followed by a salad full of rainbow-hued vegetables plus some fruit, nuts, and halibut.  A loaf of bread complements both dishes, and I have linked to my recipe for Cottage Cheese Dill Bread, but any good quality bread would be fine here.  In fact, if you prefer crusty bread and would like to try your hand at making your own, you might want to check out the recipe for simple Artisan No-Knead Bread found here.  It is a quick yeast bread with some clever shortcuts that will yield a tasty and attractive loaf in a lot less time.  The woman who posted this recipe did such an excellent job explaining the procedure that I am simply providing the link rather than the recipe in my post.  The meal ends with a vibrantly-hued dessert sure to please both visual and gustatory senses.

Colorful Amateur Artists Menu:

Color Wheel Salad with Grilled Halibut*

*Color Wheel Salad with Grilled Halibut

1 bag (5 oz.) spring salad mix
2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 carrot, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
2 small avocadoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 C. fresh blueberries
1 small can (about 8 oz.) sliced beets
1/2 C. sliced almonds
lemon vinaigrette (bottled or homemade)
4 halibut fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C. sliced almonds
lemon wedges for garnish

Divide the spring salad mix among four dinner plates.  Arrange the next six ingredients clockwise in the order listed in a circular pattern on top of the greens.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Season the halibut fillets to taste.  Spray the grill pan with cooking spray and cook the halibut for about 4-5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook a few minutes longer, until the fish is opaque and just starts to flake.  Remove the pan from the heat.

Dress the salads with the lemon vinaigrette, then top with a halibut fillet.  Sprinkle 2 T. sliced almonds over each plate.  Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.  Serves 4.

Painting by Brett Longley
(print available from Wild Wings)

May your world be filled with wonderful color, today and every day! 

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