Thursday, December 31, 2009

Turkey Doodle Soup?

It's time for Foodie Friday with Gollum! Check out all the great foodie posts HERE.

I haven't joined in lately (too busy tablescaping, shopping, Christmas-ing, and ... squeezing in a full-time career here and there). If you're interested in tablescapes, you can see my latest "And a Hummel New Year" HERE.

Today I thought I'd share a great (I think) way to use leftover turkey from holiday meals. I don't mind leftovers at all ... I enjoy sliced turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, etc. When I was a child, I remember my mother concocting a version of turkey soup that we all liked. Since it began with boiling what was left of the bird after it had been carved, she dubbed it "Turkey Carcass Soup" (OK, her sense of humor WAS a little twisted at times). I recall her saying how amazing it was how much meat came off the almost-bare bones when they were boiled.

I decided to give it a try with my Christmas turkey's ... well ... the carcass. It was true about how much meat appeared (and you can always add more leftover turkey if you like your soup extra hearty). I did a variation of the famous Doodle Soup that's celebrated with a festival every year in the West Tennessee town of Bradford. That's doodle as in "cock-a-doodle-doo."

Here's a quote from

"If you drive by Bradford in September, you will more than likely see a sign proclaiming
this small West Tennessee town to be the “Doodle Soup Capital of the World.” At the
end of September the residents of Bradford come together for a weekend of festivities
including a quilt show, baby crawling contest, street dance, and, of course, a Doodle
Soup supper. No one really knows the origin of Doodle Soup, and there are nearly as
many different recipes for it as there are residents in Bradford. Here is a recipe from
Betty Jo Taylor, a Bradford resident who considered quite the chef by attendees of the
Doodle Soup festivities."

1 broiler chicken, 2 tablespoons cooking oil
2/3 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar to taste
salt to taste
dried cayenne pepper to taste
Before putting meat in roaster, add cooking oil
and 2/3 cup vinegar. Roast chicken in oven until done.
Remove chicken and allow broth to cook on top of stove.
Add 2/3 cup vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and cayenne
pepper. Gradually stir in flour until it begins to thicken.

Here's the soup I made:

It's traditional to serve the soup over biscuits or crackers. I prefer biscuits. In the picture above, I used leftover ones I'd made (from scratch) for breakfast. I've also used drop biscuits and frozen ones from the supermarket. All seem to work equally well.

I don't include the sugar or the flour called for in Ms. Taylor's recipe. I've made it with fresh red pepper, but dried seems to taste about the same. I always add black pepper to taste. When I've needed to prepare a meal in a hurry, I've made it with a roasted chicken from the deli and added unsalted broth from the supermarket. The overall flavor is vinegary and peppery so, if you like those ingredients, you'll probably enjoy Doodle Soup.

Below are photographs from Doodle Soup Days in Bradford:

From the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development's website:
Bradford is the "Doodle Soup Capital of the World". No one knows the exact origin of this hot, spicy, savory dish. Some say the recipe was brought to Tennessee more than 150 years ago; others say it originated here. People from the entire area, as well as all parts of the nation, come to Bradford to sample the famous soup.The Bradford Doodle Soup Days are held annually - the third weekend in September.
For information, contact:
Bradford City Hall207 East Main StreetBradford, TN 38316Phone: (731) 742-3465

Monday, December 28, 2009

And a Hummel New Year!

Depending on where you live and what/how you celebrate, I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, St. Lucia's, and Yuletide! And now it's time for New Year's Eve Dinner!

We're in the solarium again, and the table is set on a beautiful, sunny (but COLD) afternoon.

I'm still in Christmas mode, so I selected a warm shade of gold for the tablecloth. It has a woven holly & poinsettia design, and it's the perfect size for the table ... or is it? I bought two of them a couple of years ago at an antique mall. They were new in the package and on sale. I put one on the table today, and it barely covered the length! Then I remembered that the table always has the expansion leaf in now. I took both tablecloths, folded under the ends that face the center of the table, and covered the "seam" with an ivory-colored runner from Dollar Tree.

The centerpiece is recycled from last week's holiday dinner. I replaced the evergreens with dried roses, ornamental grass plumes, and dried hydrangeas from the garden. I placed the ivory and gold holly-patterned oval ceramic container (99 cents at Goodwill) on a decorative mirror ($5 at an estate sale).

The tall crystal/silverplate salt and pepper shakers are "Diamond Fire" by Mikasa, a new in-the-box-bargain from a local thrift store.

The napkins were purchased at Belk on clearance (70% off). I folded them into the shape of roses and placed crystal tealight holders in the center. If you don't know how to do this particular decorative fold, you can see a video tutorial HERE. It's really easy and works well with a small wrapped gift in the center ... or an ornament, a painted pumpkin, a flower, a roll, a cupcake ... whatever you choose will look great!

Did you happen to notice that there are tiny people on the table? I hadn't expected that, had you? I'd like to be able to say that they're the staff of Affordable Accoutrements, and they're the ones who set tables for me week after week. But ... I guess none of you would believe that ...
Would you?
Now that the leaves have fallen and days are shorter, the golden light of afternoon seems to come earlier and earlier ...

The flatware is "Garland" by 1847 Rogers Brothers (1965-73). This service for 12 was purchased on eBay from a listing by a California pawn shop. It was in the original silver chest and appeared never to have been used (not a single scratch on it).

The Hummel figurines belong to David. They were his mother's, sent to her through the years by a sister who lived in Germany. I must admit that I'd never really looked at them before. They sit in their lighted case (rarely lit) in the sitting room.
The table seemed unfinished. I looked around for something small and decorative to add ... and there they were. I impulsively grabbed a few of them, scattered them around the table, and decided I liked the effect.

Why have I been ignoring them? They're really rather charming, aren't they? You can read about Hummels HERE.

This young fellow (and his little dog too!) ... enjoying a nice afternoon stroll ...

The china is "Trudy" by Noritake (1971-86). A young bride and I chose it a very long time ago. I'm hanging on to it in case our little granddaughter wants it someday. The background is ivory, but it looks white in the photographs.

The iced tea and water glasses are "Puritan" by Fostoria (1957-71). I'm using what was intended as a tea glass for water and the tall water glass for wine. I've added an inexpensive champagne flute to each setting.

Looking down the table (and this the pre-champagne view!) ...

I like the twisted, sparkly stems of the flutes. I see these at thrift stores frequently, usually priced from 49 to 99 cents each. I enjoy mixing newer thrift store glassware with vintage pieces. It helps keep things from getting too serious, lets us be more creative in our table settings, and allows our guests to feel more relaxed.

Placing sugar bowls and creamers on both ends of the table is a nice courtesy for guests. It helps miminize interruption of (fascinating ... one hopes) conversations.

The champagne bucket is waiting in the "pass through," ready for the ice and chilled bubbly!

The center of the table ...

A closer view of the flatware pattern ...

I hope you don't mind seeing these brown flowers once again!

We didn't want the wedding guests to spend a lot of money on us (crazy kids!), and Noritake was a lower cost alternative to a similar Lenox pattern. I think the quality of Noritake china is excellent, however. In this shot, you can see how transluscent the cup is.

The light is changing ...

Looking out across the deck into the garden ...

It's my favorite time of day, with the dramatic light casting long shadows ...

The little postman seems to be looking up at something special ...

The votive/tea light holders are readily available at thrift stores. I think I've seen them at every Goodwill store I've ever visited. I assume they have some lead content; they're heavy and clear, with a lot of sparkle.

He seems to want to tell us something ...

The little band leader may be my favorite. Why have I never looked at these before?

The little girl (and her bird) singing for their supper ...
The butter spreader is a different silver pattern, King Cedric (1933). It's OK to mix silver patterns on the table. Older guides said to mix serving pieces, but NOT to mix within a place setting. I ignore the latter guideline ... frequently.

Another look at the glassware. Puritan is such a clean-lined pattern that I think it can work beautifully in almost any table setting situation.

The imaginative detail of these little figurines is really rather amazing. When a boxful of them came into his life, my friend, Julio of Beaux Mondes Designs, was even less intrigued with Hummels than I have been (until I played with them today). Read about his funny/awful learning experience HERE!

With the candles lit, she seems to be warming her hands by the fire ...

And warming her feet ... and her bird ...

This one must be playing "Koom Bah Yah!"

The view from above ...

Ready for the guests to arrive.

When they're seated, guests can blow out their candles and make a wish. It could take the form of a New Year's resolution ... or just a dream ... a hope for a loved one ... or for a better world.

Good night and Happy New Year to you all!!!

It's almost time for another Tablescape Thursday with our gracious hostess, Susan of Between Naps on the Porch! Make sure to visit Susan and all her talented tablescaping participants! Again, Happy New Year! Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Dinner! For Ten? Tomorrow???

'Twas the weekend before Christmas, and I hadn't done ANY holiday decorating. Unless you count last week's Tablescape Thursday post, "Fire & Ice, a Holiday Table" (HERE). That table setting had been disassembled, of course, and its various components had been put away.

On short notice, I agreed to co-host a holiday dinner party for ten people on Sunday night and provide the setting (as in venue). The co-hostess offered to bring the main course, and others provided delicious homemade rolls and wonderful appetizers. With Christmas music playing softly in the background, I put up the tree (artificial) on Saturday morning. It's one of those old-fashioned ones with color-coded branches that have to be inserted in the trunk. Unfortunately, the colors had mostly worn away, so it was a challenge to keep things looking symmetrical. But I persevered!

More on the tree later, but here's the table in the dining room. It's much simpler than what I usually do for Tablescape Thursdays. When it's an actual dinner party, I like giving the guests enough space to enjoy the meal in comfort ...

After I finished decorating the tree, I selected the china and crystal. I decided to use salad plates, bread plates, cups, and saucers in the Bellevue pattern by Lenox (1939-1975). I thought the bright maroon and shiny gold leaf pattern had a festive, holiday look. I recently found 49 pieces of Bellevue at an antique mall. It was all in mint condition. I was able to negotiate the price down to around $50. Lenox china for Dollar Tree prices! Not a bad deal, was it?

The crystal pattern is Holly (1942-1980) by Fostoria. I've been collecting it for a couple of years now. Some of it has come from local estate sales; the rest was found on eBay. I carefully hand-washed all the pieces I planned to use, and polished the silver.

I decided to do a mix-and-match look with three Lenox patterns. The soup bowls are Monroe (1983-2003), from the Presidential series. It's a more contemporary pattern than Bellevue, but still has the cream body and maroon/gold coloration. The crystal compote from last week's table was used on the kitchen island as a serving dish for an appetizer.

A closer look at the pattern of the rimmed soup bowls.

The Holly plates were ready, along with vintage forks and demitasse spoons for after-dinner dessert and coffee. I used my new (well, new to me, from an estate sale) KitchenAid mixer when I made the cake. This cream-colored one was around $60 on day two of the sale. I also have a classic white one I bought for $8 at a local charity thrift store. Both just needed a good (exterior) cleaning and work perfectly.

Here's the finished lemon curd pound cake. What a mess! If you want to see how it's supposed to look, visit Martha at Lines from Linderhof, HERE. I used a new bundt pan, sprayed/floured as usual, baked the cake, tested for doneness, and allowed it to cool (long enough, but not too long).

Then I bumped the sides of the pan, shook it slightly, and was ready to flip it onto the Holly cake plate. But ... when I shook it, nothing moved. It was STUCK. I tried carefully separating the edges of the cake from the pan, but it only helped a little. Finally I just went for it. Two-thirds of the cake landed on the plate. The rest remained in the pan. What to do? Make a trifle?

I managed to get most of it out. Hoping to avoid toothpicks during the re-construction, I just pressed it back together and hoped all the butter in the recipe would act as "glue" while it finished cooling. I drizzled the lemon curd topping here and there and less-than-artfully stuck bits of rosemary and cranberries along the "fault lines."

The cranberries were not intended to have popped open. I turned my back for a second (or maybe several seconds), and they started boiling away in their sugar/water bath. Again, go to Linderhof and see how it's supposed to be done! The good news is that the guests loved the cake, asking for the recipe and taking extra slices home (supposedly for spouses!). There was a little of it left. I put it in the refrigerator, and it was even moister the next day.

The salad is ready, and the cheddar broccoli soup is almost done. I combined elements of recipes by Martha Stewart and Emeril, reduced the sodium content, and made approximately half again the amount (to end up with enough soup to serve ten). David made the salad with baby spinach, grated parmesan cheese, and English walnuts. The dressing's extra-virgin olive oil and rice vinegar.

A vintage Hazel-Atlas Colonial Swirl punch bowl was just about the right size to hold the salad. Hazel-Atlas was an American glass company. During the 1930s, their factories produced huge quantities of depression glass pieces. At that time, they were the largest glassware manufacturer in the world.

You've seen the dinner plates before. They're Lenox Essex Maroon (1938-1978). The pattern incorporates design elements that are very similar to its "cousin," Bellevue. The place card holders also serve as small vases. Purchased at a recent estate sale (around fifty cents each), they remind me of Christmas ornaments.

Looking past the table toward the finished tree. Keep in mind that I haven't wrapped presents yet ... so nothing's under the tree. Are you getting the idea that I enjoy the excitement of the last minute holiday rush???

I made the centerpiece quickly using evergreens from the yard/garden. I used a container from Goodwill (99 cents) and placed the cuttings in oasis I had soaked in water. I used wired gold ribbon for bows and added a few picks with gold ornaments and flocked pinecones. An arrangement like this should easily last a week or two.

Here's a closer view of the Holly pattern. Some people use theirs only during the holidays, but I enjoy it year round. It's such a stylized pattern that I don't view it as representing holly. It's basically a laurel design. All the major glass companies seemed to produce a laurel variation during the Deco period. Fostoria's Holly includes an alternating cutting and etching, which I think adds interest and beauty.

I like the simplicity of the candleholders ...

A closer view of the place card vase, holding acuba leaves, boxwood, and holly berries.

A closer view of the china patterns.

The alternating red and green glass above the front door gives a feeling of Chrismas all year round!

The table for four in the breakfast nook. It was jokingly referred to as the "children's table" by the adults seated there. Based on the laughter emanating from there during dinner, I'd say the children played well together! The small arrangement contains just boxwood, holly, and a candle (all in floral oasis). The single candleholders are also Holly. The flatware on both tables is Jamestown (1916) a silverplated pattern by International. Notice the shape of the knife blades and the fact that they're plated rather than stainless. Most flatware (whether stainless, sterling, or plated), has featured stainless knife blades since the 1920s.

The wreath is artificial, but I attached cuttings from the Virginia pine tree. I also simplified it by removing several artificial burgundy-colored poinsettias, red berries, and little packages. I left (and reshaped) the wired gold ribbon. The black metal urns contained kimberly ferns that just finally "went South" a week or so ago. I quickly stuck pine branches (with cones) into the ferns to create a more welcoming look for guests. Looking at the photograph, I see that they're not particularly symmetrical ... still probably better than dead ferns ... don't you agree?

Come on in ...

Again quickly, I draped artificial garland across the mantel, added a string of bell-shaped clear lights, and inserted pine cuttings. I think next year, I'll use a longer garland that reaches the floor on each side.

Our sweet neighbors gave us this beautiful flocked (living) poinsettia. It's surprising how adding just one plant can give an entire room a holiday feeling, isn't it?

Here's a view of the tree in the sitting room from the entry hall.

The tree, wired ribbon, and most of the ornaments came from Hobby Lobby's after-Christmas sale several years ago. The sticks at the top came from there too. I spray painted them gold. It's starting to peel off, and I like the look better now than when they were freshly done. Wrapped presents coming soon ... very soon!

If you're interested, here's how I made the soup:
5 cups unsalted chicken broth (in a carton on the soup aisle of the supermarket)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound package frozen chopped broccoli (or one head fresh)
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup half-and-half (optional) stirred in just before serving

Melt butter in pan. Stir in chopped onion and cook until translucent. Stir flour into broth and heat. Add onions to broth and simmer about ten minutes. Add broccoli. Cooking time will depend on whether or not broccoli is frozen. I let it thaw first and cooked until it was crisp/tender (about ten more minutes). Add pepper to taste.

Next, pour soup into blender or food processer. I did it in two batches in a blender. I blended it very briefly. Most recipes suggest blending it thoroughly and putting it through a sieve to remove all solids. You can do that if you like, but I prefer the soup to maintain its body and texture.

Return blended soup to pan and simmer while stirring in cheese. You can whisk in a splash or two of cream (or half-and-half) at the end if you like. Some recipes call for garlic and/or nutmeg, but I decided not to include either.

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think.

It's almost time for Tablescape Thursday with our charming hostess, Susan of Between Naps on the Porch. I'll be traveling, but I'll try to link to this always-fun weekly event. Thank you, Susan, for your friendship and your warm Southern hospitality!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!