If I have to choose "fun or formal", I choose fun every time... It only the rarest of occasions that I use "good" china anymore. These yellow plates are vintage and I've collected them over the years. Almost every one is a slightly different color. Cathy K. has the same ones and she got hers as a wedding gift in 1974... Some of mine say buttercup federalist on the back and some say lemon federalist.
The tablecloth, candles, candle sticks, napkins are all thrift stores finds. The white salad dishes and goblets are from the dollar store....my all-time-favorite place to shop for dishes and glasses... They're usually "seconds" of name brands.
The rest of the place setting is "memory lane". When we did travel we didn't bring home souvenirs as such. I allowed myself one nice addition for the table from each trip. So when I set a table many memories return... The gold and clear glass bread plates were from an antique store in NZ.. The butter knives were from a market in Istanbul. The dessert forks were from Paris... The salt cellars from England. But my all-time-favorites are the cut-crystal knife rests I purchased in Amsterdam... Every time I use these special things I can remember that trip, the shop and even the weather at the time...
The one constant is my sterling silverware which I treasure because I bought it a setting at a time when I was still in high school... That was close to sixty years ago and a place setting was about $15 at the time and I was making fifty cents an hour working after school and Saturdays..
At a dinner 2 weeks ago one of the guests was allergic to wheat so I started looking at recipes for flourless chocolate. Most were baked in a water-bath and had 7-8 eggs but this recipe was so simple and easy. AND it was so delicious that I made it again for the dinner party last night.... I served it with fresh raspberries and a dollop of ice cream.... It's very "fudgy and rich"
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Gourmet November 1997
yield: Makes one 8-inch cake
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) (I just used chocolate chips...)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.
Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)
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