I’m no tablescape designer by any stretch of the word, but when company comes over for a meal I try to make it a special experience for them no matter what the menu may be. I found a recipe for bean and ham soup on a blog I visited and I thought with the weather cooling down it would be an excellent time to have a few people over for some comfort food.
I love soup tureens and I think it’s such a shame people don’t use them anymore. They’re really pretty. I bought one several years ago and I use it to take my next door neighbors soup as a treat in the winter time. They’re elderly and hate getting out in the cold weather. I thought it was a nice idea, but she always says, “Oh, let me dump this in a pot so you can take your pretty bowl back I wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.” Well, my intentions were good anyway…
I have to admit last night the lazy side of me said, oh just leave it in the pot on the stove and dip it out of there. I’ve changed my mentality about that kind of stuff lately, when it comes to meals. I’ve decided to treat myself more often.
I thought far enough ahead to sit the butter out to soften this time. I never seem to remember to do it. I knew I would be having cornbread with the soup so I wanted it to be easy to spread. I thought it would add a nice little bit of sparkle to the table in the candle light.
I have two sets of stainless steel flatware in my closet that I now, never use. The silverware that’s been in the closet for years and years I now use every day. I saved it to use for special occasions and guess what? It was never being used. We fill our homes with this gorgeous stuff and say it’s for special occasions and we deprive ourselves of the pleasure of using it. Not me, not anymore I’m using mine. I have very, very fine Italian china that’s been boxed up for years in the closet. It’s in my cabinet now and I ate lasagna off of it Friday night. After all it is Italian and if I break a piece, I’ll get another one from Ebay or Replacements.com
The dishes I used last night are from the 40’s. The pattern is called ‘Sayonora” and it’s by Nasco. See the little people sitting on the bank watching the person in the boat leave? I’m sure there is a larger story to this pattern but I’ve never found it. I discovered most of these Asian patterns tell a story. I'm certain the majority of you are familiar with the legend of ‘Blue Willow’.
My guest list decreased from 6 down to three before the night was over, but I was okay with that. It actually freed up more room on my small table for the bread and a couple of candlesticks. Something about the dancing flames of a candles just completes the mood for any dinner. Don’t you think so?
The original recipe for the bean soup turned out to be extremely bland in my opinion. I thought it was some great recipe that had been circulating online and it turns out it’s just the one on the back of the bag of dried beans. Here’s the Ham and Bean recipe Randy style:
Sausage and Bean Soup
1- 1lb. bag of assorted dried soup beans
2 quarts of water
1lb. of smoked pork sausage links cut into 1 inch sections
1 large onion, diced
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1- 16oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 large can of tomato paste
The juice and pulp of 1 lemon
4 tbsp. of good Chili powder
Soak the beans in water overnight and cook on medium for several hours until done. I can’t give you an exact time because I started in a crock pot and ended up in a pot on the stove. But it took a loooooooooog time. Next time I’ll just find out what kind of beans are in that bag and buy them canned. I just knew for sure we were going to eat crunch soup, but they finally got fit to be eaten. I added ground red pepper to my bowl and it was really good.