1 I was excited to host my new business partners, the Hallmark Channel, at the farm for a pre-Easter dinner. I decorated the house as if it was Easter and in fact, this gave me the impetus to host Easter lunch at my house - I had been vacillating.
2 A new form of ranunculus - green - looked good in one of the many silver basket containers I placed on my dining table.
3 We keep the great decorations year to year and store them in our 'holiday basement' archives - believe it or not, these golden eggs are about 20 years old!
4 One table was decorated with bunnies. The stuffed toy bunny from Jamali and the porcelain bunny from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's. The wonderfully fragrant pink sweet peas were arranged with some leather leaf ferns.
5 Another bunny dish - great for candy - looked wonderful on a table with deep orange ranunculus.
6 My lady slipper orchids - many of which I have raised using tissue culture methods - were in full bloom.
7 Another orchid in bloom - we brought in the best to beautify the rooms.
8 More bunnies on another demilune table - shaded by lavender sweet peas from Italy.
9 Deep purple tulips on the table
10 Pale blue grape hyacinths
11 Double orange tulips - they looked a bit like ranunculus.
12 The table was lovely - set with white linens from my antique collection, old silver, and vintage Wedgwood embossed dinner plates.
13 The small dining room was also set up for the editorial guests. We used a vintage green and lusterware service and my favorite cut glass goblets.
14 This is the 'brown room' where we can seat up to 16 guests at the table.
15 Vivaldi has found the chicks - unfortunately for him, they are spun cotton antiques and of little interest.
16 My housekeeper, Laura Acuna, set the tables - she is a true maestro.
17 The coarse sea salt was served in chick egg cups.
18 Spun cotton nests, embellished with tinsel and tiny birds, sat on the table and were filled with blown out real eggs.
19 Alabaster eggs were arranged in glass compotes.
20 Tweetia and purple hyacinths in old shaker white glass goblets
21 Tweetia is a lovely shade of blue!
22 I oftentimes prefer lots of small colorful arrangements on my table to one larger arrangement - these take fewer flowers and the combinations can be more experimental.
23 My favorite arrangement was in the green room - gloriosa lilies, in pure yellow, with deep blackish purple fern stems in my old Chinese glass ginger jar.
24 Yellow tulips and leather-leaf ferns looked great in the green room.
25 Shaun, my gardener, brought in lots of beautiful begonias to place on pedestals - many were in full bloom.
26 More golden eggs - these are blown eggs that are actually gold leafed - an easy process.
27 An antique beaded basket filled with straw and assorted blown and dyed eggs from years past.
28 A closeup of the marbled eggs - this technique was adapted from the old Italian art of paper marbelizing.
29 Another bunny with goose and ostrich eggs
30 Peas in a pod - real peas, that is - spring peas, part of Chef Pierre's menu for dinner.
31 Fresh morels - these were added to a most delicious risotto. Pierre washed and washed these lovely fungi before sauteeing.
32 Spring asparagus tips
33 Peas waiting to be shelled
34 Baby turnips in need of hand peeling
35 Sugar snap peas trimmed and washed
36 These carrots came straight from my cold house greenhouse, where they grow directly in the ground.
37 Fresh herbs - chervil, rosemary, and young parsley - also from the cold house.
38 Fava beans, peas, and sugar snap peas all ready to cook
39 The souflee dishes buttered and sugared with Demerara sugar
40 Baby lamb chops browning before roasting in a very hot oven
41 Pierre added butter and rosemary.
42 Pierre made puff pastry cheese straws - they were delicious!
43 My professional range makes cooking for twenty easy - fresh spinach from the cold house - sauteeing alongside turnips and carrots.
44 Our recipe for cheese puffs - they were so good! (see the Baking Handbook)
45 The unbaked cheese straws
46 Robin Marino - our CEO - was one of the first guests to arrive - she oohed and aahed!
47 The red canaries sang all night long.
48 Lettuce baskets - artificial, of course - filled with more blown eggs
49 Pierre was so happy and so organized that day.
50 Here I am with Robin - just back from a week in Cabo - and Barbara Fight, who is producing Marc Morrone's new animal show for Hallmark.
51 Golden eggs in golden vases with lots of little chicks
52 Hannah Milman - crafts guru at the company - with Barb, Pierre, and Robin
53 Barb and Sharkey on the kitchen floor
54 Kevin Sharkey with baby Ghenghis - Kevin is in LOVE!
55 Chocolate bunnies, glittered birds, and flowers
56 Colorful chicks under a giant glass dome
57 Candies in antique Wedgwood drabware leaf plates
58 Silly egg cups with blown eggs in front of the Paris porcelain tea set
59 Another egg display in Paris porcelain
60 I took our Hallmark friends on a tour of the greenhouse.
61 Palms, African bulbs, aloes, and agaves
62 Everyone loved the fenced vegetable garden.
63 The horses were in for the windy night and they got a lot of petting as we stopped at the stable.
64 I was given a wonderful gift of Cristal champagne by one of the guests.
65 the drink of the night was blood orange and lemon bourbon sours- everything fresh except the Maker's Mark of course
66 We always print menus for the guests - we were fortunate that there were no dietary restrictions that night.
67 Marc Morrone brought Harry and Coral Ann to keep him company as he discussed his new Petkeeping show, produced by Barbara Fight - Francesca really wanted to 'play' with Harry.
68 Coral Ann kept me company during Marc's presentation - she showed off regally.
69 The risotto with asparagus and morels - utterly scrumptious
70 Plating is an art, especially when the food is to get to the table hot and fresh.
71 The lamb glistened - the vegetables were perfectly cooked.
72 Long boned chops like this are known as Frenched.
73 Dessert was springlike also - freshly made rhubarb sorbet, a tiny dollop of whipped heavy cream, and........
74 What is in the oven, Pierre? Should you be peeking?
75 Vanilla souflees with sugared crusts - so very very good.
76 The plates were wonderful.
77 My Empress Tang is exploring all the tabletops.