1 My Skylands house in Maine has a large assortment of beautiful table settings- china, glassware, flatware and linens. We try to set very different tables for every meal and have calculated that we rarely set the same table twice!
2 This luncheon on the Western terrace used Bar Harbor scenic plates, Martha by Mail flatware, and old Waterford glasses on straw mats.
3 The Bar Harbor series of plates were made by Spode/Copeland in England in the mid 20th century. The F.E. Sherman Company in Bar Harbor commissioned the Spode Centurion series of plates (three sizes, several colors including black, red and green).
4 The plates feature the most interesting scenes of Acadia Park and the coastline of Mount Desert Island. I have been collecting these plates for many years and have enough to set a large table.
5 For a quick lunch we offered our guests roasted chicken, bacon and tomato "BLT's", Peekytoe crab salad, garden lettuces, and homemade pickles, and of course, avocado!
6 For a more formal dinner we set the faux bois dining table with straw mats, glassy baby pink tumblers, Chicago silverware from the 1920's and many brass candlesticks and a large brass basin for flowers.
7 Three impeccable lily flowers floated in the brass basin.
8 An overhead view - sometimes simpler is better.
9 For cocktails we used the old Baccarat saucer champagnes. We served Dom Perignon's new P2 'plenitude' vintage 1998.
10 My martinis are very good, especially when shaken, not stirred, in these large silver shakers.
11 We use proper martini glasses to serve the drinks- with a twist of lemon or olives. Which do you prefer?
12 Dan Hinkley sent my 10 giant Dungeness crabs- they came cooked from his purveyor in Seattle and we served them well cleaned and cracked for easy eating as the first course. Each guest had one, accompanied by a Meyer lemon mayonnaise- Thank you Dan, they were delicious! We missed you and Bob, however.
13 The main course for that dinner was Cioppino, a San Francisco fish stew. The recipe is in my American Foods cookbook. http://goo.gl/i6Ayjb First saute onions and garlic in olive oil.
14 Then add a bit of red pepper flakes.
15 Have ready peeled plum tomatoes, fresh thyme, parsley, clam juice, salt and pepper.
16 White wine is added to the sauteed onions and garlic.
17 Add the fresh herbs.
18 Then the canned, peeled plum tomatoes- San Marzano are best.
20 Then the beautiful seafood is assembled- fresh shrimp- use large peeled shrimp, tails intact.
21 Cherrystone clams are very good!
22 Fresh halibut cut into large chunks.
23 Shallow soup bowls are best for serving.
24 We always wrap our lemon halves in cheesecloth. It's "fancy" and no seeds get into the soup!
25 The clams are added to the tomato mixture first and cooked until just opening.
26 It takes about 6-8 minutes for the clams to open.
27 A small amount of cooked, dry spaghetti is put into the bowl for each serving.
28 The shrimp are added and cooked until pinkish.
29 Then the halibut, which cooks in about 3-5 minutes.
30 A generous amount of cioppino is ladeled into each bowl.
31 Make sure every bowl has enough of everything.
32 Then the fresh garnish of parsley and a dollop of mint pesto is added.
34 The crabs came back from the table looking like this! One guest ate three small bowls of lemon mayonnaise!
35 For desert we made fresh blueberry tarts. The blueberries were from my Bedford farm and also from my garden in Maine. We had Meyer lemon curd ice cream with our tarts.
36 The "S" plates are old dinnerware I found in Maine. I love the shell monogram!
37 So many blueberries and so many pies, tarts, crumbles and crisps!
38 For another lunch we had fresh beet salad - red, pink and yellow beets from the garden, baked, peeled and dressed with a mustard vinaigrette.
39 A roasted pepper and string bean salad - all the beans from my garden, of course!
40 And a tender lettuce salad. We grow many varieties of leaf lettuce in the garden in Maine as well as in Bedford.
41 MSLO test kitchen chef, Thomas Joseph, came to Maine to cook for a few days. He made delicious fried eggplant.
42 And I foraged for the first chanterelles of the season in my woodland and we made a tasty risotto served with lots of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
43 On another evening, we of course had classic Maine lobster - succulent and delicious!
44 My birthday cake was baked by Thomas - vanilla sponge/chiffon, and frosted with a Swiss meringue butter cream by my daughter, Alexis. The filling was passion fruit curd. It was the very best birthday cake ever!
45 A perfect slice!
46 A portrait of the beautiful birthday cake! This is the year when I start using just one candle!
47 I made a giant arrangement of the new PeeGee hydrangeas.
48 Another table setting the following weekend - using straw mats, we set the table for Couscous Royale with silver flatware, Peruvian pottery dishes and cups, and grey pillar candles.
49 I brought up lots of orange lilies from Bedford and arranged them in copper pitchers.
50 The stone squirrel sculpture sits in the window in the dining room. I have yet to identify its origin or maker.
51 White lilies from the Maine garden were arranged in vases in the living room.
52 The white casa blanca lilies were superb this year!
53 The Couscous Royale was succulent, juicy and ultra delicious! The first course was cold sorrel soup with tiny croutons. I grow the sorrel in the Maine garden.
54 Another table setting using large pink Limoges dinner plates with pink depression wine glasses and pink pillar candles. Since there are lots of children in the house we kept the table settings on the simpler side.
55 The children also had very cute table settings. Kevin often treats the kids to stuffed animals.
56 Pink napkins from Italy, pink Glassybaby tumblers, and pink candles all went well with the pink granite terrazzo table top in the dining room. The table was made by Carlos Cortes in San Antonio, Texas.
57 For dessert we had meringues, fresh raspberry ice cream and raspberry sauce, served with a dollop of whipped cream!
58 After dinner we all went up to the roof of the house - situated high above Seal Harbor - to see the Super Moon, or the "moona-luna", according to the children. It was an amazing starry night!
59 The luna-moona was very large and very bright! Without a proper tripod, however, I got a very inadequate photo of this gorgeous sight.