Tag Archives: recipe

A Victorian Thanksgiving

We have the Victorians to thank for our modern day Thanksgivings! Communities across the country had carried out their own Thanksgiving celebrations since the 1600s.  But there wasn’t a unified American Thanksgiving until Abraham Lincoln’s presidential proclamation in 1863 called for an official Thanksgiving Day in all states.  The traditions established in those Victorian Thanksgivings live on today.

Victorian Thanksgiving card

The Victorians loved sending cards, so of course they sent Thanksgiving cards too, just like this one. The cards were often illustrated with pumpkins and turkeys – the same images we have today of Thanksgiving! The tradition of serving turkey for the T-Day meal was quickly adopted in honor of the early settlers who found wild turkey to eat. Even the party games on Thanksgiving night after dinner might include Pin the Tail on the Turkey!

Turkey was first stuffed with simple fillings like seasoned bread and corn meal, but the Victorian cooks got creative with stuffings, adding oysters, chestnuts, cranberries and other fruits.

Photo by A.HICKMAN DesignThanksgiving Table Setting

The Victorians often used natural elements to decorate their Thanksgiving table, such as autumn leaves, ferns, nuts, fruits and grasses. This table setting evokes the style and it is easy to recreate, with its beautiful natural centerpiece, a candle inside a lamp, and your best decorative stemware, and patterned china. It doesn’t matter if the plates or glasses don’t match. A mix of patterns or cut glass stemware creates an attractive vintage look.

Although the Victorian Thanksgiving meal was similar to ours, they also served some dishes that haven’t survived as traditional today, like boiled onions, clams and mincemeat pies! They did love their turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, though, just like us.

You can wash down your Thanksgiving feast with a traditional Victorian punch, like this one created by Charles Dickens. It combines rum, cognac, black tea, lemons and sugar for a very warming treat!

Dessert for Thanksgiving

If you want another dessert in addition to pies, then why not create a festive Charlotte Russe? It was a favorite of the Victorians, and often served at functions in Abraham Lincoln’s White House. Here is a Charlotte Russe recipe from the Great British Baking Show’s episode about Victorian baking!

The jelly and the bavarois filling in the Charlotte Russe is heavy on the gelatin because gelatin was a new discovery in Victorian times, making life a lot easier for cooks. They experimented with many gelatin dishes. And, just like us, they had to get creative with leftovers, resulting in dishes like Turkey in Savory Jelly! Display for desserts

This is a charming way to serve your desserts if you don’t have an antique server or buffet. Empty out a display cabinet or hutch and make a pretty display of your desserts, fruits and candies!

We know that many of our customers live in Victorian homes and love Victorian decor. I hope that this blog post about Victorian Thanksgiving gives you some inspiration for your own holiday feast. Happy Thanksgiving!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Things We Love: German Christmas Markets

One of the things I miss the most about living in Germany, especially at this time of year, is browsing around the Christmas markets, or Weihnachtsmarkte, that are found in big cities and small towns across Germany. You may have even heard of the most famous Christmas markets in Nurnberg or Munich, but my favorite Christmas market is in Cologne.Cologne Christmas Market

Sitting at the base of the huge Gothic Cathedral, the Christmas market fills the large town square with booth-after-twinkling-booth of things to delight your eye!

CologneMarket5

A large Christmas tree stands above the concert stage in the middle of the market, which is always filled with carol singers accompanied by musicians. There are booths filled with sparkling glass Christmas ornaments in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

CologneMarket7

There are booths filled with hand-crafted wooden toys, jolly wooden nutcrackers and smokers, and all sorts of gifts to take home to your family and friends.

Christmas Toys at CologneMarket
There are booths filled with giant cookies that say Ich Liebe Dich! (I love you!) and roasted nuts that smell incredible as you walk by.

CologneMarket Christmas nuts and cookies

Even bundled up in winter coats, scarves and mittens, eventually you begin to feel the cold as you wander through the booths, each more colorful and inviting than the next. It’s time for Gluhwein!

CologneMarket11 Gluhwein

CologneMarket9
Spiced warm wine, or hot chocolate if you prefer, in souvenir mugs is just the thing to warm your hands – and, after a couple of mugs, your toes and nose too!

But my absolute favorite is the booth with the chocolate dipped fruit! Christmas-Market-Chocolate Fruit

Skewers of chocolate-dipped fresh fruit – pieces of bananas, pineapples, grapes, strawberries – dipped in white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate – it is divine!

Although not found at the Christmas markets, my favorite meal at this time of year in Germany is Christmas goose.

ChristmasGooseDinnerIf you’ve never had goose, you’ve missed out. It is mouth-wateringly delicious! It tastes similar to duck and is traditionally served with Klopse (round steamed potato dumplings), rotkohl (pickled red cabbage) and roasted chestnuts – my all-time favorite German meal.

Gluhwein recipe

Although I’ll miss out on the Christmas goose and chocolate-covered fruit this year, I’ll be reminiscing while trying out this Gluhwein recipe I found on Pinterest!

It calls for 1 bottle of dry red wine, 1 cup of brandy, 1 sliced lemon, and 3 sliced oranges. To add the spice, stir in 6 sticks of cinnamon, 8 to 10 cloves, and 3 to 5 whole anis. Mix in 3 tablespoons of sugar then simmer for 45 minutes.

Prost!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

 

Traditional Old Country Soups to Warm You Up

I just found out that January is National Soup Month. I don’t know how I missed that before but maybe this is the perfect timing to talk about soup as folks are still digging themselves out from Winter Storm Jonas and it’s still so cold over much of the country. As we are into the final season of Downton Abbey too, let’s take inspiration from The Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by the awesome Maggie Smith) who is a big fan of soups.

Dowager enjoys soup

She was the one who said, “‘Every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.” I don’t have a lady’s maid (I went wrong somewhere…) and probably you don’t either, so here are some traditional Old Country soups from Europe that you can make yourself to get warmed up!

We’ll start with an English Barley Soup creation from Pamela Foster, author of the Abbey Cooks Entertain books. Beef and barley soup is a very old English dish – you’ll find a version of it in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management book published in 1861, but it goes back long before that.  On her DowntonAbbeyCooks.com blog, Pamela offers two variations: cream of barley for the posh family upstairs and a more rustic beef and barley soup for the servants downstairs. I’m with the servants – it looks delicious!

Cock a Leekie soup MSFarther north, Scotland is famous for its Cock-A-Leekie soup, which was first written about in the 1500s. It is often served on Burns Night at the end of January in celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, but it is a year-round warming treat.

The soup is made of leeks and chicken, usually thickened with rice but sometimes with barley. Prunes are traditionally added for extra seasoning or as a garnish.

Try the recipe by Martha Stewart or go direct to the source with the Cock-A-Leekie recipe in The Scotsman newspaper!

French Onion Soup If you’ve been to France, you might have fond memories of luscious French onion soup. It’s a wonderful comfort food, served with croutons or slices of French bread on top, covered with melted cheese and traditionally served in a chunky round bowl with one or two handles. There are many versions of this simple but satisfying soup that dates back to Roman times, but the longer you leave the onions to caramelize, the richer the flavor! Here’s one recipe from Real SImple magazine.

Waterzooi soupWe import quite a lot of antique Flemish furniture and lighting  to our store, so I went looking for a traditional Flemish soup.

This recipe for Waterzooi soup is a great one to try if you want something a little different. The thick stewy soup is traditionally made with fish, although you can substitute chicken. It has egg yolks, cream and potatoes in it, so you won’t go hungry!

Do you have any favorite traditional soups, perhaps from old family recipes? Make our mouths water and tell us about it in the comments!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Elegant Halloween Decor: Black and White Thrills

As I said last year in my Vintage Halloween post, Greg and I don’t make a big celebration of Halloween, although we usually watch a creepy movie. But even those of us who don’t want to festoon our homes with plastic spiders can still get ‘into the spirit’ of Halloween with these elegant Halloween decor ideas.

An easy way to create grown-up and elegant Halloween decor is to strip out the orange plastic, the red blood, and the green Zombie brain slime! Go for monochrome with black, white, or black and white.

black and white table setting

elegant halloween table setting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black is Gothic, white is eerie and ethereal, and the two together always look stunning, providing a dash of vintage glamour. The table on the right is very simple, with just empty bottles for candlesticks. To create the look, use as many bottles as you can find of different heights.

Eclectic Living Room by St. John’s Interior Designers & Decorators Seaside Interiors
Here’s another example of how a simple black and white arrangement keeps all the Halloween elements (spider, pumpkin, bat, and boo!) but still looks chic. You probably already have some black and white decor items around the home… just pull them all together in one display.

Elegant halloween batmobileHow about this for a different type of bat-mobile? It’s very easy to make with a branch and card, using the bat templates and instructions by clever Martha Stewart. Hanging in a window, it adds a traditional but still elegant Halloween touch to your home.

I love the nostalgic vintage appeal of this spooky wreath! Make it with some twisted vines draped with white net fabric and old-fashioned Halloween ornaments and sepia photographs. Paint Boo! onto a piece of scrap wood for the finishing touch.

You can even add black and white to the traditional orange pumpkin to make it a bit different. Paint a pumpkin with a circle of chalkboard paint and then let your inner Picasso out! For a Halloween party, it would be fun to have the pumpkins painted with the black, and then give your guests a piece of chalk to create their own fantasy face.

blackberry-mr-hyde-cocktail-elegant-halloweenFor an elegant Halloween cocktail, this blackberry infused Mr. Hyde Potion is perfect for dark and mysterious strangers. It’s not exactly black and white, but it’s near enough. The Mr. Hyde Potion cocktail mixes vodka with parfait amour liqueur, blackberry liqueur, and tarragon and lavender syrups. Wow. You can get the recipe from HGTV. Serve the cocktail (or any cocktail) in an apothecary style jar to add to the Halloween atmosphere.

Or, for a bit more color, you could play Dracula and mix up a Bloody Mary to sink your fangs into. My Uncle Dick’s Bloody Mary recipe is always a monster hit!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these elegant black and white Halloween decor ideas I scared up for you! If you have any more to share, let us know. You can post your photos on our Facebook page too.

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Heirloom Tomato Harvest

HeirloomTomatoesThere are so many delicious ways to enjoy the tomato harvest. Heirloom tomatoes are especially fun to cook with and they look beautiful displayed in a rustic wooden bowl on a kitchen counter. Or if you choose heirloom tomato varieties with different colors, create a vibrant centerpiece just by arranging them in a simple glass dish on the dining table.

Tomatoes have a long and interesting history. The fruit (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit if you didn’t know that already) was already being enjoyed by the Aztecs more than 1300 years ago. The Aztecs called it ‘tomatl’  – that’s where our modern day name comes from.

But tomatoes have also been known as Love Apples and Poison Apples. It’s crazy how the humble tomato can have two such different reputations!

TomatoharvestSpanish conquistadors and explorers introduced the tomato to Europe in the early 16th century, and that’s when rich Europeans started to dub the fruit ‘poison apples.’ People got sick and died after eating them. However, it wasn’t the tomatoes making the rich folk sick. It was the pewter plates they ate from. Tomatoes have a high acidity which reacted with the pewter to leach the lead out, causing lead poisoning.

The French called tomatoes pommes d’amour meaning love apples, because they thought the tomatoes were aphrodisiacs. (Then again, is there ANYTHING that the French don’t make romantic?)

A simple gazpacho with tomatoes is perfect for hot summer days. The cold soup is refreshing and helps keep you hydrated. For extra flavor, it’s great to throw a few heirloom tomatoes in too. There are many gazpacho recipes, but here’s the simple version we like.

Gazpacho Soup Recipe:

5 pounds ripe and juicy tomatoes
1 cup of diced red onions
1 large cucumber
1/3 cup of chopped basil leaves
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Salt, pepper, and finely diced chile peppers to taste.

Skin the tomatoes. (Drop them in hot water for a few seconds till the skins wrinkle and you can slip them off with your thumbs.) Then core and seed the tomatoes – if you do that over a sieve over a bowl, it will catch the seeds but let the juice go through. You don’t want to waste a drop of that delicious juice! Roughly chop about half of the tomatoes. Put the other half in a blender and liquidize to soup consistency.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and take out the seeds with a spoon, then dice the cucumber. (Skin the cucumber first with a potato peeler if it is very rough skin.)
Then combine all the ingredients, and let chill for an hour or overnight. Go light on the seasoning – once the flavors have blended you can taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Caprese in a shot glassAlthough these don’t look like heirloom tomatoes, these mini insalata caprese in shot glasses are so adorable. They’d be great for a party or a wedding. Just pour some tomato juice in a shot glass (spiked with vodka or not!) and then add the skewered tomato, flourish of basil leaves, and mozzarella ball.

If you like a Bloody Mary, then also check out my Uncle Dick’s Bloody Mary recipe.

There are so many different types of heirloom tomato, and the colorful ones often seem to be the most tasty. Try the black-tinted Black Prince tomato, the stripy Green Zebra tomatoes, or the golden pear-shaped Beam’s yellow pear heirloom tomato, which dates to the early 1800s.

red and yellow heirloom tomatoThe Italian word for tomatoes – pomodoro – actually means golden apple. Some say that is because the earliest types of tomato taken to Italy were the golden yellow varieties. The red tomato became more popular later.

You say to-MAY-to and I say to-MAR-to….. However you say it, I hope you’re enjoying the tomato harvest this year. If you have any heirloom tomato recipes you love, share them with us in the comments box below!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Christmas Cookies and Franklin Nut Cake

We are so lucky at this time of year! Kathy makes tray after tray after tray of Christmas cookies – she likes to give out gifts of cookies to the neighbors. Kathy is Greg’s mom and also our Mrs Fixit who handles all our restorations. Of course, she can’t stand the idea of her family not being able to eat as many cookies as humanly possible.

Kathy makes sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter blossoms, magic cookie bars, gingerbread, the Christmas cookies list goes on and on. However, Greg’s dad John and I agree on our favorite cookie – the white chocolate peanut butter sandwiches. In case you have never tried this scrumptious treat, here is Kathy’s recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Christmas Cookies

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Decide how many cookies you want to make – you’ll need twice that number of Ritz crackers. Spread peanut butter on half the Ritz crackers and use the other half as sandwich tops. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Carefully dip each peanut butter sandwich into the melted chocolate until it is coated, then set on wax paper and top with a pecan. Allow to dry. (Hide them from the family until you want to serve them as they tend to disappear quickly.)

Magic Christmas Cookie BarsGreg’s favorite Christmas cookies are Magic Cookie Bars. These are also pretty darn good, especially if you like coconut.

Kathy’s Magic Cookie Bars

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for a glass dish). Melt the margarine in the oven in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle Graham crumbs over the margarine. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the crumbs and then top evenly with remaining ingredients. Press down firmly and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store the cookie bars loosely covered at room temperature.

Franklin Nut Cake

However, Kathy doesn’t stop at just Christmas cookies. She also makes fruit cakes and my favorite, Franklin Nut Cake. Greg’s sister Laura and I agree that Franklin Nut Cake is fantastic for breakfast with a steaming cup of coffee – especially if you want to curl up with a good book while you nibble and sip. Franklin Nut Cake is actually a very old family recipe, handed down from Kathy’s mother, Margaret.

Margaret’s Franklin Nut Cake

1 lb. butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb. chopped candied cherries (red and green)
1/2 lb. chopped candied pineapple
1 lb. chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla
NOTE: Save a few whole cherries and pecan halves to decorate the top of the cake.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the beaten eggs. Add 3 cups of the flour sifted with the baking powder and salt. Mix remaining cup of flour with chopped cherries, pineapple, and nuts. Stir into batter and then add vanilla. Pour into a tube pan that has been heavily greased and floured. Decorate with saved cherries and nuts. Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 3 hours. Let the cake cool in the pan.

This cake is really rich, moist, and tasty! Even people who don’t like fruit cake love this. John is a case in point.

If you try these Christmas cookies and cake recipes, we’d love to know if you enjoy them! Tell us in the comments box below… or share your own Christmas cookies recipes.

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Best of November 2013: Holiday Gifts, Folk Art & French Inspirations

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving! Don’t forget that our 20% discount on everything in our EuroLuxAntiques.com inventory continues until December 3, and we include free shipping too – just as we always do. Now there’s a holiday gift to make Santa smile! Simply enter the coupon code at checkout: HappyHolidays

This month on the blog I’ve enjoyed getting my fix of French inspirations, writing about Beaujolais Nouveau Day for starters! At this time of year Greg and I are far too busy to take one of our antiques buying trips to France. We’re a regular Santa’s workshop here, packing up all the orders for holiday gifts. I’m also on the phone a lot, talking with our customers about their selections, especially with the fine antique furniture. They want to be sure they’ve found the perfect match for their home and I want the same thing.

Maybe we should wear Santa hats!  I’ll try to talk Greg into that. Meanwhile, let’s revisit some of our most popular November posts.

Château de Bagnols fireplaceChâteau de Bagnols in France was built in the 13th century, but now it’s a castle hotel where anyone can stay. After a $16 million restoration it is kitted out with stunning interiors, including tons of original antiques. The grounds are as gorgeous as the inside of the castle, with medieval towers, formal French gardens and a 100-year old lime tree terrace. See a panoramic view of the castle and more inspiring rooms in my Château de Bagnols post.

Antique chinese screen over the mantel
Our client Chris is retiring with her husband to a new house. Chris wanted a large and unique piece to decorate the mantel in the new living room. She chose a 1900 Late Qing Dynasty Chinese window screen. The folk art screen is ornately hand-carved with symbols of good fortune and prosperity. We hope those good fortune symbols are lucky charms for Chris and her husband as they enjoy their retirement! See more photos and what all the carved symbols mean in our client spotlight on the antique Chinese folk art screen.
holiday gift ideas: antique French clockCheck out my holiday gifts suggestions post if you’re looking for unique gift ideas for your loved ones. Or even if you are just taking advantage of our 20% discount for new additions to your own home. You’ll find even more ideas in our recent EuroLux Antiques newsletter. While we’re best known for our “fine antiques for regular folks” we also carry some unusual and exquisite home decor accents in the gallery, as well as newly-made, antique-inspired furnishings.
Oysters and Bloody MaryWe can’t wait to enjoy my Uncle Dick’s Famous Bloody Mary as part of our family Thanksgiving feast! It’s usually served with our appetizer of oysters on the half shell. Next day we relish yet more oysters when my grandmother Elsie dishes up her traditional delicacy: Elsie’s Oyster Stew. If your mouth is watering as much as mine is, I shared the family’s culinary secrets in my Bloody Mary and Oyster Stew recipes post!
Happy Thanksgiving!

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Things We Love: Elsie’s Oyster Stew Recipe & Uncle Dick’s Bloody Mary

Thanksgiving dinner with Elsie's Oyster Stew Recipe for breakfastI love spending time with family during the holidays. This Thanksgiving, Greg and I look forward to traveling to Maryland to visit my family. We’re looking forward to it so much, I want to share my grandmother’s Oyster Stew recipe with you and my uncle’s wonderful Bloody Mary!

My grandmother, Elsie, lives in Westminster and I’ve always loved going to her house. As a child, it seemed like it took forever to get to Grandma’s house on the long drive from Florida. But Grandma was always waiting for us with open arms and some home-made delicious treat. She always let me lick the beater – even if it was a cherry pie filling that got all over my white jumper.

Grandma is famous for her Oyster Stew recipeAimee and Grandma

As I child, I didn’t realize how hilarious my grandmother is. She is quite the family clown and especially loves to tell stories. Even though we’ve all heard the stories many, many times, I still love to hear them again. At 87 years young, she’ll still climb up and hang from the tree branches with her grandchildren or strike a pose with a Rasta hat. (She claims she didn’t know I put that hat on her head – not true!)

GrandmaRastaGrandma

Oysters and Bloody MaryMy Uncle Dick and Aunt Leigh host the big Thanksgiving meal and they surely know how to put on a gourmet feast for a crowd. The table is spread with all of the traditional favorites. Of course, my favorite part of the meal is when they serve the oysters! My Uncle Dick actually raises oysters in the Chesapeake Bay and lovingly tends to them all year long. We feel so blessed that he shares his bounty with us! Oysters on the half shell are served as appetizers with Uncle Dick’s Famous Bloody Mary cocktails. I am a huge Bloody Mary fan, so I will share this fantastic family recipe with you.

 

Uncle Dick’s Bloody Mary recipe

2 cups Clamato juice
1/2 cup vodka
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

If you want a spicier drink, add more hot sauce or Old Bay Seasoning. (I do both.) Serve over ice.

Grandma after frying the oystersUncle Dick actually puts the oysters on the grill for a few minutes, which makes shucking easier. Grandma is in charge of making fried oysters – also a family tradition that I love. After the big meal, we all sit around digesting, watching football games, and catching up with the latest family news. I snapped this photo of my dad and grandma kicking back – she still has on her chef’s coat from frying the oysters!

Uncle Dick always brings enough oysters to make Elsie’s Oyster Stew recipe for breakfast the next morning. If you’ve never had it, you might think it sounds gross. (Greg won’t even try it!) But if you like oysters, it is heavenly.

Elsie’s Oyster Stew Recipe

Stick of butter
1/2 pint of shucked oysters
Milk, enough for everyone to have a bowl
Salt & pepper to taste
Old Bay Seasoning

Bring the milk, butter, and spices to just below boil. (Don’t boil it or the milk will scald.) Take it off the heat and add oysters and juice. Let the stew sit for a few minutes until the oysters curl up on the edges.

Aimee&Grandma2013I always look forward to spending time with my family, and especially my grandmother, as you can see from this photo taken this year.

Do you have fond memories of your grandparents? Tell us about them in the comments area below, or share some of your favorite family recipes!

 

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Things We Love Right Now – May 2013

Our rose trellis in Newberry South Carolina. EuroLuxAntiques.comHere in Newberry, South Carolina, Greg is enjoying getting the yard cleaned up and ready for the growing season. Last year we built a trellis on the side of the porch and planted a climbing rose bush and jasmine vines. The rose bush is blooming like crazy! It will take a while for the jasmine to fill in, but we’re pleased with how it turned out.

 

 

We also plantedFuzzy young peaches on our tree in Newberry South Carolina. EuroLuxAntiques.com 2 peach trees and a fig tree last fall and the peach tree has quarter-size little fuzzy peaches coming in. (We’ve had so much rain lately in South Carolina that the grass is really growing too.) Did you know that peaches as a decorative motif on antique furniture represent longevity? I talked about Symbolism and Chinese Antique Furniture in a previous blog post.

Aimee and Mom, from EuroLuxAntiques.com in Newberry South CarolinaI’m looking forward to spending Mother’s Day with my mom, Linda. We’re going out for brunch and then will spend the afternoon chatting and catching up. She lives about an hour away from me, so I try to go over to see her every three weeks or so. I plan to surprise her with a pretty hanging basket of hot pink geraniums for her back porch. Isn’t it funny how the older you get, your mom becomes more of a best friend than a mom? At least that’s how it feels to me. We’ve shared so much through the years – the ups and the downs – she has always been there with a shoulder to cry on or to cheer my success. I love you mom – thanks for everything.

Lever Farms Strawberries in South Carolina

Lever Farms Strawberries

Therese is loving the beautiful 70 degree days and opening the windows to bring in the fresh air. She has especially enjoyed some lazy weekend mornings, eating breakfast out on her screened porch. Her favorite thing to make? French toast with fresh sliced strawberries! Strawberry season is in full bloom here in Newberry. If you’re in the area, be sure to visit Lever Farms as you can pick your own strawberries. Their fields are ripe for the picking, or you can buy baskets already picked if you don’t want to do it yourself.

 

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar and pepper recipeIf you’d like to try something different, Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar taste amazing! The dish is also amazingly simple to make. Sprinkle 16 ounces of strawberries (hulled and chopped in half or quarters, depending on the size) with about 2 tablespoons of good quality balsamic vinegar, and a quarter cup of white sugar. Stir lightly, and for an extra touch of spice, add a few grinds of black pepper! Marinade for an hour or more, so the balsamic and pepper can mingle and really bring out the flavor of the strawberries. Serve in a green salad, or as  dessert with ice cream, whipped cream, panna cotta or mascarpone. This strawberry sensation also tastes great drizzled over pound cake. It’s fun for a dinner party. Guests wonder what on earth you are serving up…. until they take the first bite!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her husband and best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Serve Up Summer Herbs in Style…The Old-Fashioned Way

Many of our customers have traditional-style kitchens, and we know many are keen gardeners too. So let’s look at some traditional ways to serve up summer herbs in style! Many of these old-fashioned ideas for culinary herbs are great for entertaining – they’ll look charming on your dining table. Or just enjoy them for a meal with the family.

These gourmet treats can cost a fortune if you buy them ready-made in the store, but they’re easy enough to make yourself. Plus, it’s fun – and very fragrant!

Chill out on a summery day! Chill out on a warm day by sipping iced mint tea. Just steep a generous handful of mint leaves in hot water and refrigerate. Strain the mint before serving in a pretty glass pitcher. Add a dash of sugar to taste if you have a sweet tooth, or squeeze a spritz of lemon for a really summery zing! Garnish with a couple more mint leaves. You can also make your own sparkling herbal water with summer herbs including mint, lavender, and lemon verbena.

Summer herbs are fantastic in oil and vinegar infusionsHerb-infused vinegars and oils are delicious in salad dressings. Pop aromatic summer herbs such as rosemary, thyme, tarragon or dill into a sterilized jar with a nice quality vinegar, like red or white wine vinegar. Be lavish with the herbs – if the flavor is too strong you can always dilute it later to taste. Leave for 24 hours to two weeks in a cool, dark place. An occasional taste test will tell you if it’s ready to rock your romaine or put a frisson in your frisée!

Cooking with summer herbs, the traditional wayFor a herb-infused oil, opt for a good olive oil and follow the same method as for vinegars. Basil and chives are especially lovely summer herbs to give a punch of flavor to oils. You can use the oils too in marinades for meat or to cook vegetables, like these tasty and colorful roast beets with herb oil.

 

Summer herbs in the gardenIf you’re not sure which herbs grow best in your area, many public gardens have kitchen gardens and herb gardens, so you can see what flourishes there. This Friday May 10, 2013, is National Public Gardens Day. Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens magazine and the American Public Gardens Association, you can get free admission to participating public gardens and botanic gardens across the country for up to 10 people. Just print out your free tickets here.

All this talk of summer herbs is making me hungry. As the saying goes: So many herbs, so little thyme!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!