Friday, February 5, 2016

On the Homefront: Colorful Paisley Birthday Table

Paisley the Dalmatian wears a namesake scarf (a Christmas gift from my
husband) and eagerly awaits the birthday bash!

Every member of my immediate family has a birthday at the beginning of the year, and all but two are in February.  I am celebrating a landmark birthday this year, so I decided that this month would be perfect for a birthday table setting.  Since February can be a rather bleak month, I wanted to use a lot of color, so my table inspiration was an inexpensive and colorful paisley tablecloth I purchased from Walmart last fall.  I kept the color scheme for the tableware simple, using shades of brown and turquoise, to let the vibrant tablecloth stand out.

Paisley tablecloth (from Walmart last year); turquoise round woven placemat (from HomeGoods last year); speckled brown dinner plate (from The Cupboard in Fort Collins, CO, years ago); square appetizer plate (from Crate and Barrel years ago); blue dessert plate (from Publix a few years ago); brown cloth napkin; stainless steel flatware; turquoise Artland Iris goblet (from Amazon); moose mug (from Coldwater Creek eons ago); dark brown wood coaster (probably from Pier 1 ages ago).

A closer look at the moose mug.

No centerpiece for this table, but at the head of the table a clear cake
stand atop a square brown platter will hold the birthday Bundt cake.  It is
flanked by two blue pillar candles in dark brown wood candleholders.

When I found out that coconut is the flavor of the year for 2016, I wanted to create a menu based on that flavor.  A cake is of course a necessity for a birthday meal, and since I prefer Bundt cakes to layer cakes, a Coconut Bundt Cake was ideal.  Coconut shrimp is an indulgence that I only eat on rare occasions.  I actually prefer to buy the frozen variety because I really like the Kroger brand, even though they are not especially healthy (hey, I only have one birthday a year!).  A long time ago my husband and I ate at a Red Lobster and I ordered their coconut shrimp.  They served it with a creamy coconut-flavored dip which I realized tastes very similar to yogurt, so now I always serve coconut shrimp with piña colada- or coconut-flavored yogurt.  A coconut curry seemed to be the obvious choice for a main dish, and I modified a recipe that features chicken.

Colorful Paisley Birthday Menu:

Coconut Shrimp/Coconut Yogurt Dip
Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry*/Basmati Rice
Coconut Bundt Cake
Tea or Coffee

*Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry

2 T. oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger (optional)
1-2 T. curry powder (mild or hot, your preference)
zest of 1 lemon
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
2 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
salt to taste
Baked Chicken Tenders, cut into bite-size chunks*
12 oz. baby yellow potatoes, quartered, cooked, and drained
1 C. frozen peas, thawed
4 small tomatoes, diced
2 bags (10 oz. each) microwaveable broccoli and cauliflower florets, cooked
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/2 C. basil leaves, julienned

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, and lemon zest and cook for 15 seconds.  Stir in the coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar, and cayenne pepper.  Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1-2 minutes.  Taste and add salt if needed.  Add the chicken, potatoes, and peas to the sauce.  Gently stir in the tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower florets, and scallions and heat through.  Add the basil and serve immediately over rice.  Serves 6.

*If you prefer, you can thinly slice and sauté the chicken tenders (or 1 lb. chicken breast) in 2 T. oil over high heat until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.


The candy on the table is Lindt Lindor truffles in coconut and hazelnut flavors:

The following image has absolutely nothing to do with my birthday table, but it is a photo of orchids I received in January (I will be getting an orchid bouquet every month, another Christmas gift from my sweet husband).  These colorful blossoms are so cheerful on a gloomy winter day!

Happy Birthday to all, whenever your birthday may be!

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