Sunday, May 8, 2016

On the Homefront: Birds and Butterflies Table

Marjolein Bastin Nature's Jouney Collection Plates
(from Signals -- no longer available)

I've had this table set up since mid-April, but due to a variety of plumbing-related emergencies, have not had a chance to get these photos posted until now.  This table was meant to be the setting for our anniversary dinner last month, but the aforementioned emergencies meant that the dinner did not happen, although I did cook the dishes meant for the meal after our anniversary.  I liked the look of this table for spring, so I've mostly kept it set up.  The cheerful yellows with the lovely butterfly plates (shown above) and colorful bird glassware (shown below) lifted my spirits every time yet another plumbing disaster occurred, so even though no anniversary dinner was eaten here, the table settings did serve a useful purpose!

Charley Harper Birds Glasses
(from Bas Bleu)

Now let's take a look at the table!

Dark brown wooden bead placemat; yellow dinner plate (Block Basics by Cerind of Portugal); Marjolein Bastin Nature's Journey Collection Butterfly Plate; Yellow Dots Flatware (from HomeGoods); yellow napkin; Charley Harper Bird Glass; yellow mug; dark wood coaster.

Bright yellow tulips in a yellow vase, and white bird salt and
pepper shakers from Pier 1.

Gold foil-wrapped chocolates in a dark bowl set inside a
decorative platter filled with glass beads in warm colors
serve as the centerpiece.

Yellow egg-shaped salt and pepper shakers, plus one of our
favorite decorative plates ready to hold the bundt cake.

Since the predominant table colors are yellow and brown, I thought it would be fun to focus on a menu featuring these colors.  Mole sauce is an appropriate brown color, so Mexican-inspired dishes were chosen.  Yellow rice accompanies the chicken mole, and the mostly yellow vegetable dish is modified from Guy Fieri's Corn con Queso recipe.  The bundt cake is obviously not Mexican, but the colors of lemon and chocolate fit right in to this theme, and the flavors taste great together.

Birds and Butterflies Table Menu:

Easy Chicken Mole*/Yellow Rice
Squash and Corn con Queso**

*Easy Chicken Mole

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T. olive oil
1 box (9.5 oz.) Dona Maria Mole Ready to Serve
chopped cilantro (optional)

Cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise into two chunks.  Put the oil into a 13x9-inch baking dish.  Add the chicken pieces, turning to coat both sides with oil.  Pour the mole sauce over the chicken.  Turn each piece to coat both sides, then turn the chicken so that the smooth side faces up.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, turning the pan once halfway through the cooking time.  Check the chicken to see if it is cooked through (if not, bake for 5 more minutes).  Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.  Serve the chicken with rice, spooning some of the sauce over both.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.  Serves 4-8, depending upon appetites.

**Squash and Corn con Queso

2 T. butter
2 medium yellow squash, halved and thinly sliced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. smoked paprika
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 C. frozen corn, thawed
2 T. chopped cilantro leaves*
1/2 C. crumbled queso fresco
Lime wedges

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the squash and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the corn and cilantro and heat through.  Remove from the heat and stir in the queso fresco.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

*If you do not like cilantro, substitute another herb (such as parsley, chives, or basil) or just omit entirely.


The candy on the table is Hershey's Nuggets Milk Chocolate with Almonds, wrapped in gold foil:

Goldy the Dalmatian wonders what happened to the
anniversary dinner!

Here's hoping that our plumbing problems are over now, and that next year our anniversary dinner can proceed without a hitch!

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