Food as decoration - I do it all the time! And not just on the plate!
Valentine's has been gone long enough, and I was in the mood for some red. Maybe it is because Sunday was cold enough to get one last wear out of winter clothes.
Also, I really do try to use each tablescape for a real meal, and this was thrown together for supper. Pardon the lighting, but it was nearly dark outside.
I grabbed the nearest things handy:
More red books. Some are cookbooks, some are just filling in for color.
Campell's soup cans. I love popart. This was the first decision I made. I knew I was making a couscous for dinner, so the table was already set with individual soup tureens (soup terrines). These nifty little items were $2 at BigLots. They are in stores where we live right now.
The rooster plates are from a thrift store in Stockbridge, GA. The plates are a pattern by Maxcera. They say, "Bonjour," "Buenos Días," and "Good Morning!" around the rim. They were $3.03 each. I wonder who priced them at $3.03. Why not $3.00? Or $3.05? Strange.
For depth, I used small glass liqueur glasses in different colors that I picked up at an antique show as a teen. (I guess they are liqueur classes. Or very tiny flower vases. :) )
My fancy $2 red salad plates from Dillard's. The shape is really unusual and they were reduced from $15.
The foreign phrases in the rooster plates got me thinking about travel souvenirs. Along with the popart them, I added the Coca-Cola bottles in Arabic from Morocco.
And I added Emma's little camel. A man we met in the street in Tethouan was so charmed with her that he came and found us again later in the day and gave it to her as a gift.
Emma in Morocco, April, 2006
On the ends, I added red heart-shaped glass votives. But because they are on a high shelf, you can't tell they are hearts.
I added a red glass candy dish and vintage bowl.
For color, I took a plate off of my children's art shelf. Emma made this plate at a friend's birthday party in first grade. And luckily, her kindergarten graduation picture has a red background. The Russian nesting dolls were a gift from my grandmother-in-law, Irene.
On the table, I added a Pier 1 pitcher filled with garden greenery with red placemats and napkins. The white dinner plates are my Dollar Tree specials, and the crystal is Longchamp by Durand. I bought these glasses at Dillard's years ago, but this crystal is very common and inexpensive. You can find a ton of it on eBay.
For dinner, I made a very quick 10-minute couscous. Using some of the left over lemons from my mom's Travelscape this week, I also made some hummus, pita chips, and steamed broccoli. Delish!
Box of pre-flavored couscous
Box of plain couscous
1 can chicken broth
1 can sweet corn and/or miscellaneous veggies you have on hand
1/2 cup of feta (if on hand)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (if on hand)
Ready-to-eat grilled chicken (if on hand)
Cook couscous as directed, adding about 2 T. butter or olive oil if the box doesn't tell you to.
While the couscous cooks (in about 5 minutes), open a can of corn, combine it with the chicken, and heat it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
Rinse and cut up the sundried tomatoes. I actually prefer one of those hand choppers or a food processor.
Combine the corn, couscous, tomatoes, and cheese. At this point, I usually heat it all in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften the cheese, but you can top the warm mixture with the cold feta if you prefer.
This recipe is perfectly fine with just the corn. But the more you add, the yummier.
1-3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped fine OR garlic salt to taste
juice of 1-2 lemons
1-2 cans chick peas (garbanzo beans)
olive oil for consistency
salt to taste
I start with the garlic in the food processor. I add the garbanzo beans and a tablespoon or two of olive oil. I squeeze the lemons separately. (First, I roll them with all of my weight on the counter top. Then, I cut them in half and squeeze. It's much easier that way.) I add the lemon juice. I salt to taste. I like to cut up fresh red pepper and other veggies for serving , though my family also likes melba toast and tortilla chips. Tonight, they were stuck with pita chips, which I love and they tolerate. Hummus is also good on hard bread sandwiches with chicken and lettuce.