Two Girls, Two Guys, Two Dogs, and a Messy Italian Kitchen
September Theme: Tuscan Picnic
I was ecstatic about the September Supper Club. Italian just so happens to be one of my favorite cuisines and my husband just so happens to be part Italian. While I am Irish/Swedish, I often betray my homeland for a big bowl of pasta or a platter of Bruschetta. Maybe that is why I love wine so much? You can’t eat Italian without a nice glass of red!
There is something so cozy, homey, and romantic about sitting around a big table, sipping a glass of red wine, and chowing down on italian food with those that you love. I can’t help get a feeling of euphoria when I eat italian food. It reminds me of my husbands great-grandmother, Mama. She was a teenager in the 1920′s who met her husband in New York City. They were both originally from Italy, and they brought with them years of italian traditions. Whenever we make pasta at home I think of her slaving away in the kitchen, covered in flour sipping on straight gin, while Papa sipped bourbon in the living room listening to the radio.
For our italian themed Supper Club we decided to make it a picnic, a Tuscan Picnic.
A picnic in the Living Room turned-out to be my favorite tablescape I have created. I wanted a casual atmosphere where we sat on the floor, passed dishes around the table, drank wine, and laughed the night away.
To start my tablescape I covered my Coffee Table with brown packing paper. On each side I drew a ‘placemat’ with a black crayon and completed it with white plates and purple napkins. To bring a bit more rustic to the table we served sparkling water in half-pint mason jars, and red wine in italian wine glasses. The table was completed with white unscented candles and a bouquet of white flowers. I tied kitchen yarn around the vase, candles, and silverware for a Tuscan country feel. The table was perfect!
Tuscan Picnic Menu
- Antipasti: Tomato Bruschetta, Buckwheat Mushrooms, and Chicken Liver Pate Canapes (Washington Ave)
- Entrée: Braised Short Ribs and Five-Herb Ravioli with Mushrooms and Roasted Tomato Coulis (ME)
- Side: Risotto with Baked Sole and Hollandaise (Mr. Washington Ave)
- Dessert: Galette des Rois–King Cake (The Hubby)
Of course keeping with the pattern of supper club, we made too much food and became stuffed and sleepy. Even with full bellies and a messy kitchen, this was our FAVORITE supper club yet.
Let the Supper Club begin…
4 o’clock: Glasses of bubbly Prosecco (poured from a Magnum bottle) were in hands and the juggling of two hyperactive pups, who were begging for our attention, began. We decided to spread the courses out instead of having one right on top of another. 5 o’clock: Italians have a passion for slow cooked tender meats that cook for hours. The Braised Beef Short Ribs required at least three hours of cook time. Once browned on all sides the short ribs simmered in a Mirepoix with diced Italian Tomatoes, a bottle of Italian Chianti, bay leave, and rosemary. Yummmm, the kitchen smelt amazing!
6 o’clock: Tomatoes were diced and bread was sliced. Liver was seared and garlic was peeled. Buckwheat puffed and mushrooms were stuffed.
Washington Ave. did a great job with all of the appetizers, they were exactly what we needed; finger foods to scarf our faces with while the rest of the meal was prepared, and the drinking continued. I enjoyed the Bruschetta (known as ‘cappone’ to the common people). Thank you Washington Ave for making it for me! The boys devoured the Chicken Liver Pate.
7 o’clock: I got a little swept-up in the fun of the night and before I knew it we needed to be eating dinner. The only problem was I had not started creating the ravioli yet. Oops! In a mad dash around the kitchen I started putting others to work as I covered the counter in flour and went to work making the homemade ravioli dough, roasting tomatoes for the Coulis, and blending herbs with Ricotta. The kitchen was a messy blur, I felt like an Italian superhero for getting it done so fast!
The Ravioli was great, but unfortunately it was served cold by the time we got around to eating it. I loved the earthy combination of the herbs in the ravioli, but the Marscapone did create a sweeter tasting filling.
8 o’clock: Mr. Washington Ave. baked small pieces of tender Sole while blending a creamy hollandaise and simmering a pot of risotto. A small fire broke-out in a pan, but it was quite beautiful and it did eventually go away! Oh what an exciting night it was, my kitchen was NOT the same the next day.
9 o’clock: We finally sat down at the adorable coffee table to enjoy some authentic italian cuisine and sip glasses of italian wine. The entertainment through dinner was a mix of bad, bad 80′s unknown hair bands mixed with Band of Horses and the best LP of the night, Mamma Mia.
10 o’clock: My hubby got-up to get dessert ready. A Frangipane (a creamy mixture of almond, pistachio, butter, eggs, and sugar) was wrapped in puff pastry and brushed with egg-wash, then baked in the oven. The dessert was creative and authentically Italian. How could you go wrong with almonds, pistachios, and puff pastry anyway? To top it off a balsamic reduction of dried figs was added to accompany the nutty concoction.
11 o’clock: Through many hours of cooking, eating, drinking, music, and an Italian movie; we forced ourselves to end the evening. After all, it was a Sunday and we all had to work the next morning.
The September Tuscan Picnic was fabulously fun and the food was a success. We are even more excited about our late October Supper Club: Murder Mystery! Costumes might even be involved in this one.