I love to entertain! Being a farmgirl is not all about perpetually dirty fingernails, loose chickens, and seed catalogues. It is about living a simple life. Living a simple life, however, means I am not off to the theater all the time to see a play (just once in a while) like I used to be and knowing that every time I go out to eat I am spending just a little more of my future homestead money. So, what is a girl supposed to do to have a good time? Have friends over for dinner, drinks, and laughs of course!
My friends from the city will bring empty egg cartons to refill and will bring a dish or a drink. We laugh until our sides hurt. They must like coming here because it is quite a drive but they are here often and I love it. Crossing the bridge into our little town brings instant serenity.
My friends from the country will bring a canned good or a great bottle of wine. We skip down the country roads to each other’s houses often and enjoy a long evening of dreaming up new implements for our farms, what chicken breeds to get next year, and play music on the fiddle and guitar.
It costs nothing to have friends over and it will prove to be more fun than any movie or fancy restaurant. (Don’t get me wrong, when we do go out on a date, it costs a pretty penny. I apparently am spoiled.)
Here are some ideas for a lovely New Year’s lunch or dinner complete with my recipe for Seafood Chowder.
First pick a decorating style:
If you use a regular tablecloth make sure it has a stunning print. Big florals are a bit much, opt for small floral prints to create a country cottage look. Pick up vintage floral plates at the thrift store when you see them. Not a set, just one or two of a great old pattern. The mix-matched look creates whimsy on the table. Use votives strewn across the table for light. Cloth napkins and tea cups with a pot of great tea would make a lovely theme.
You could use a bright oil cloth table covering; they are shiny and fun and add a touch of vintage to your table. Solid plates, earthenware preferably but plain colored dishes set off the colors in the oil cloth. Amusing sayings on cocktail napkins give an element of surprise when folks pick up their napkin. I have a few right now that say, “Can I be the designated drinker?”
How about an Indian blanket like the one shown? It adds a pop of southwestern to the table. Use wood candle holders or faux wood candles and pine cones to decorate the table. Fiesta ware or even toile china looks great on these blankets. Wine glasses add sparkle and cloth napkins will complete the look.
Lastly, a quilt as the table cloth, mix-matched china, small canning jars for drinks, and tall candles with a tea pot filled with flowers create a funky elegance to your gathering.
With this seafood recipe, Champaign would be excellent. So would a Pinot Grigio but being a red lover, I found that a good Pinot Noir fits nicely as well. A loaf of fresh Italian or French bread is a must to sop up the glorious dredges. Happy New Year my friends!
Seafood Chowder New Year’s Style
5 T of olive oil
1 cup of minced onion, 4 celery stalks chopped, and 4 cloves of garlic minced
Saute in oil until onion is just turning brown
Add 4 potatoes chopped up small and 6 cups of broth (I used onion broth)
Boil for 15 minutes and using potato masher, mash potatoes some to thicken
Add 4 cups of corn (preferably that you canned last summer)
28 oz shrimp and 24 oz of crab meat
1 cup of cream
1 t of bay seasoning, 1 t of seafood seasoning, and 1 t of Cajun seasoning (I have way too much fun at Savory Spice Shop, you could use a blend of dill, paprika, salt, lemon pepper, garlic, etc.)
Heat through another 10 minutes. This serves 12 so feel free to pare it down to how many people you are serving!