Friday, December 25, 2015

On the Homefront: Park Avenue Puppies Christmas Table

A sweet little Dalmatian Christmas ornament presides over each
place setting at this canine-themed holiday table.

My inspiration for our Christmas table was obviously the Park Avenue Puppies dishware I got from Pier 1 this year.  I also wanted to do a table that paid tribute to our beloved Dalmatian Gia, who we lost to cancer in January of this year, as well as all of the other sweet pups we have had the privilege of welcoming into our lives.  I kept the color scheme fairly low-key, as the dishes are rather subtly colored, but made sure to include some standout red here and there (Dalmatians look good in red!).

Twig stick table runner and place mat (from Crate and Barrel ages ago); square white dinner plate (from HomeGoods); green salad plate (from Target eons ago); Park Avenue Puppies Mug for soup; Park Avenue Puppies Treat Platter for desserts; red-handled flatware; White Pine Paisley Holiday Napkin (from Amazon); very pale green goblet; Home Essentials Tuscana red stemless wine glass (from Marshall's this year).

The Park Avenue Puppies serving platter sits on a display stand until
needed, fronted by a cute pair of kissing Dalmatians salt and
pepper shakers (from Amazon).

A ceramic Santa Dalmatian shares plate space with a red votive
 candle holder.

The simple centerpiece consists of a large white candle on a red glass
plate surrounded by tiny pinecones.

A closer look at the Park Avenue Puppies mug.

A closer look at the Park Avenue Puppies treat platters.

I managed to add a bit of paisley (my latest design obsession) to the table
with napkins in Christmas colors.

I had a seafood craving this year for our Christmas dinner.  My Seafood Boil is based on Ina Garten's recipe for a Kitchen Clambake, but since I do not like clams I leave them out and substitute oysters if I can find them.  I did not add any lobsters since we were having lobster bisque, but feel free to add them and any other seafood you prefer.  I like to throw in some corn on the cob, fresh if available or frozen if not.  The simple salad consists of greens, pistachios, and dried cranberries, topped with a store-bought balsamic vinaigrette, but a homemade version of the dressing is easy to make.  I used a Williams-Sonoma mix for the peppermint brownies, but any basic brownie recipe with a little peppermint extract added would work.

Park Avenue Puppies Christmas Table Menu:

Easy Lobster Bisque
French or Italian Bread
Seafood Boil*
Red and Green Salad/Balsamic Vinaigrette
Peppermint Brownies/Assorted Chocolates
Hot Chocolate or Tea

*Seafood Boil

1/4 C. olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 lb. small new potatoes (red, white, or yellow)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 ears of corn, broken into thirds
1 lb. kielbasa, cut into 1-inch slices
12 fresh oysters
2 lbs. fresh mussels
1 lb. large shrimp in shells
2 C. dry white wine

In a large stock pot, sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes.  Layer the ingredients on top of the onions in this order: potatoes, salt, corn, kielbasa, oysters, mussels, and shrimp.  Pour in the wine.  Cover the pot tightly and cook over medium-high heat until steam just begins to escape from the lid, about 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 15 minutes.  Poke the potatoes with a fork to be sure they are tender.  Discard any oysters or mussels that did not open.  Remove the sausage, seafood, and vegetables to a large bowl.  Season the broth in the pot to taste and ladle over the seafood, being careful to avoid any sand on the bottom.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.  Serves 6.

Note: Always discard any uncooked shellfish that remain open, and any cooked shellfish that remain closed.


A mix of peppermint white chocolate, peppermint dark chocolate,
and milk chocolate Lindt Lindor truffles.

The dessert for this Christmas feast is a tasting plate of brownies and various chocolates, mostly Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark chocolates because of the Dalmatians on the tins, but also some Lindt Lindor Truffles.  It is served with a peppermint-flavored hot chocolate from Williams-Sonoma, again mostly because of the adorable Dalmatian-themed tin, as well as White Christmas Tea from Harney & Sons for those who might not want hot chocolate.  I don't know why I always end up serving chocolate desserts on dog-themed tables when everyone knows chocolate is toxic for dogs.  Maybe because that way I have a legitimate excuse not to let our dogs have any!

The Dalmatian on the dinnerware sports a warm winter scarf, so I chose
two similarly attired Dalmatian pups to adorn the credenza (I've named
 the pair Isadora and Duncan -- I know, I am just a terrible person).
A candy cane glass plate with recumbent porcelain Dalmatian completes
the doggy décor here.

Dalmatian Hermès wears his holiday scarf with appropriately
insouciant flare!

Our Christmas has gone to the dogs this year, and we wouldn't have it any other way!  I hope you (and your pets) have a wonderful holiday!


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