Smart Women Crave Good Company by Anne Farnum

Last month I hosted Card Club…60’s theme.  What screams vintage 60’s more than my Smart Women tray and coasters? Why, nothing at all! The Smart Women Company, “Wants women to know that the things we do make a difference. By living and breathing our politics and convictions on a daily basis, (whether we’re running errands, running the office, or running FOR office) Smart Women change the world every day.” How perfect is that? 

Smart Women products are my go-to hostess gift.  They are suitable for every occasion and for women of all ages.  They are affordable, fun and unforgettable!  And proceeds from the tray go to the Boys and Girls Club of America!  My tray and coaster supply sit permanently on my dining room buffet with my vintage-inspired cocktail glasses and they put a smile on my face every time I walk by. 

Card night was a huge success.  As the ten of us sat around my dining room table for four hours, playing six hands of cards, we put the worries of the day behind us.  For one evening some forgot about sick parents, others about work, children’s activities and overall day-to-day responsibilities.  In the spirit of Smart Women, we drank, ate, laughed and shared.  And in the end, we realized that we really are a bunch of smart women who do so much every day and who need a break once in a while just to have fun, celebrate and enjoy each other and all of the amazing things we do.  Thanks, Smart Women!  Next month’s card club theme…the 70’s.  Groovy, baby!

The Perfect Registry by Dana Williams


A successful gift registry program is a very important component in the success
of any great kitchen and tabletop store. The gift registry at Marcel’s
launched shortly after our opening in September 2011. Since then, many couples
have come in, walked the floor with one of our staff and item by item, created
the registry of their dreams. In the ensuing months, before their big event,
family and friends stop in to select gifts for the registrants and we all love
not only helping them pick out the perfect thing, but getting to know them as
well! [Read more…]

Cream of Tomato Soup

Cream of Tomato Soup
Serves 16
Served at the 2012 holiday walk
  1. 4 T. butter
  2. 2 onions, small dice
  3. 3 stalks celery, small dice
  4. 3 carrots, small dice
  5. 2 garlic cloves
  6. 4 T. flour
  7. 48 oz. vegetable stock
  8. 2 lbs. fresh or canned whole tomatoes, not drained
  9. 24 oz. crushed tomatoes
  10. 8 oz. heavy cream
  1. • To a large stock pot, add butter
  2. • Sweat onions, celery, and carrots over medium high heat until they are tender but not browned, about 8-10 minutes. Salt and pepper
  3. • Add garlic and cook for an additional minute or two
  4. • Add flour, cook, stirring frequently making a blonde roux, about 6-8 minutes
  5. • Add the stock and blend well
  6. • Add the tomatoes and the crushed tomatoes
  7. • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes
  8. • Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth
  9. • Simmer an additional 15 minutes or so
  10. • Add cream and simmer until flavors have melded
  11. • Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary
Adapted from The Professional Chef, The Culinary Institute of America 8th Addition
Adapted from The Professional Chef, The Culinary Institute of America 8th Addition
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Jill’s Baked Artichokes & Mushrooms

Jill's Baked Artichokes & Mushrooms
  1. ½ cup butter
  2. 1 clove minced garlic
  3. 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  4. 2 cups quartered artichoke hearts
  5. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  6. ½ teaspoon oregano
  7. 1 teaspoon basil
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. Ground pepper
  10. ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  11. 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 1.5 quart casserole. Melt butter in large skillet. Saute garlic & mushrooms, 5 minutes. Add lemon juice. Add artichoke hearts. Cook 5 minutes longer. Add oregano, basil, salt, & pepper. Cook 1 minute
  2. Pour into casserole. Sprinkle with a mixture of cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake 25 – 30 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Jill’s Spicy Mussels in White Wine

Spicy Mussels in White Wine
Serves 6
  1. 1/3 cup olive oil
  2. 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  3. 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  4. 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 2 1/4-inch thick lemon slices
  8. 1 cup dry white wine
  9. 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  10. 2 1/2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  11. 1/2 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and salt; sauté until onion is light brown, about 4 minutes. Add wine, lemon slices and 1/4 cup parsley; bring to boil.
  2. Add mussels. Cover pot and cook until mussel shells open, stirring once to rearrange mussels, about 6 minutes; discard any mussels that do not open. Using slotted spoon, transfer mussels to large shallow bowl. Boil broth until reduced to 1 cup, about 3 minutes; season to taste with pepper. Pour broth over mussels. Sprinkle tomatoes and remaining parsley over.
  1. 6 Appetizer servings
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Kelly’s Pancetta Corn Saute

Corn Sauté with Pancetta, Potatoes and Peppers
  1. 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1-1/2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (4 to 5 slices)
  3. 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 1 cup diced peppers, color of your choice, or a variety
  5. 1 teaspoon kosher salt; more to taste
  6. 2 cups medium-diced red potatoes, par-boiled, skins on
  7. 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 medium ears) or frozen corn
  8. 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  9. 1 to 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme or oregano
  10. Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until light golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the fat in the pan.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and add 1 Tablespoon of the butter to the fat. When melted and sizzling, add the potatoes. Sauté potatoes until they begin to brown. Add in peppers and continue sautéing, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits from the pancetta, until the potatoes and peppers are golden brown. Add another Tablespoon of the butter; add the corn. Continue sautéing until corn also browns slightly and is cooked through.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat; add the fresh herbs, a few generous grinds of pepper and salt. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, or herbs.
  4. Crumble the reserved pancetta over top and serve warm.
  1. Main Dish: 4-6 servings, Side Dish: 6-8 servings
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Anne’s Asian Style Fish Fillets with Fresh Spinach

Anne’s Asian Style Fish Fillets with Fresh Spinach
  1. ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  3. 1 lb thin fresh fillets such as trout or tilapia
  4. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  5. 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  6. ¼ cup soy sauce – may be reduced sodium
  7. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  8. 2 teaspoons minced bottled ginger
  9. 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  10. 12 cups loosely packed fresh prewashed spinach leaves, tough stems removed
  1. Place the flour, black pepper and fish fillets in a Ziploc bag. Shake to coat.
  2. Heat the oil on medium high in a sauté pan. Add the fish to the pan and cook on the first side until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the fillets and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until lightly browned on the second side and the fish is opaque and begins to flake easily with a fork, about 3-4 minutes. When the fish is done, remove it to a serving plate.
  3. Pour the vinegar and soy sauce into the skillet and stir to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Add the fresh spinach and toss to coat in the sauce and to wilt. You may have to cook the spinach in batches, removing the first batch with a slotted spoon to leave the juices in the pan for the second batch and place with the spinach.
  4. Place all of the cooked spinach and fish back into the pan over medium low heat and cover. Cook 1 – 2 minutes to reheat. Serve at once using tongs to place spinach on each plate, topping with a fillet. Drizzle remaining sauce over fish.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Alton Brown’s Cast Iron Steak

Alton Brown's Cast Iron Steak
  1. Steaks of your choice
  2. Olive oil
  3. Seasoning
  1. Place a large well-seasoned cast iron fry pan in the oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Keep pan in oven 10-12 minutes after 500 degrees is reached; pan should smoke lightly. While pan is heating, lightly oil top and bottom of steaks with a good olive oil; season top side to taste. Turn gas cooktop on high and move pan from oven to burner. Place steaks seasoned side up in pan. The steak should sizzle immediately. Brown 30-60 seconds depending on the thickness. Flip the steak and repeat same length of time.
  2. Remove from stove top and return to oven; cook 6 – 10 minutes depending on thickness for medium; a bit less for medium rare.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Deb’s Herbed Tomato Tart

Deb’s Herbed Tomato Tart
  1. 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  2. 4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  5. 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  6. ¼ cup chopped onion
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. ¼ cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (or 1 Tbsp mixed dried herbs)
  9. Olive oil
  1. Place tomato slices in a single layer on paper towel, sprinkle evenly with salt. Let stand 20 minutes.
  2. Roll 1 pastry sheet to the size of the baking sheet being used on a lightly floured surface. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Cut four 1-inch strips from remaining pastry sheet and place along edges on top of first sheet, forming a border. Reserve remaining pastry for another use. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Sprinkle with mozzarella and feta cheese, onion and garlic. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on top. Sprinkle with herbs, drizzle with oil.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Deb’s Paella with Vegetables and Orzo

Deb’s Paella with Vegetables and Orzo
  1. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 cup onion, diced
  3. ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
  4. 2 gloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 lb. Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  6. 1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained
  7. 2 cups chicken broth
  8. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  9. 1 teaspoon paprika
  10. ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  11. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  12. ¾ cup uncooked orzo pasta
  13. 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (GOYA brand if possible)
  14. 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  15. Freshly grated parmesan for serving
  16. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in nonstick skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook and stir about 2 minutes more. Add chicken broth, tomatoes with liquid, chili powder, paprika, cumin and black pepper. Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add pasta. Cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking. Add beans and peas to skillet; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/