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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream by Didi Foth

Summer is finally here!  With all the rain and cold that we had in June, it felt as if it would never arrive.  It is here in its full glory- scorching hot days and warm humid nights.  When I was young, those were the type of days that would send us racing through the streets when we heard the distant music of the ice cream trucks.  The entire neighborhood would go running into the house to beg their parents for money so that we could buy the frozen treats that would cool us off and make us so happy. It was so hard to choose:  a drumstick, ice cream sandwich or Dreamsicle??  It was hard to imagine that anything could ever taste so delicious!

As an adult, there is still nothing better than ice cream on a hot summer day or on the patio at night, although my tastes have evolved a bit from the ice cream truck days.  I now know that ice cream can be made from fresh ingredients and with flavors that are only limited by your imagination – cookie dough, chocolate marshmallow, coffee, mint chocolate chip, etc.  And homemade ice cream- whether it be from a favorite little shop, a restaurant, or made at home-is the ultimate treat.

The flavors are fresh and make you think of berry fields, campfires with s’mores and chocolate shops. I have also discovered that ice cream, with an adult beverage, can be a fun dessert.  A Berry Prosecco ice cream float is as simple as adding fresh berries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a glass and topping it off with Prosecco.  How fun is that?

Making ice cream at home has definitely become much easier than the days churning for hours.  There are a variety of new ice cream makers on the market that allow you to eat a fresh, frozen treat within an hour of thinking of your favorite flavor, which is even quicker than hearing that first sound from the ice cream truck!   Marcel’s carries many of the items that you need to help you make these treats at home.

On Saturday, July 27, Marcel’s will have Guest Chef, Alissa Wallers of the French Pastry School, churning ice cream and making all handmade toppings in the hands-on cooking class, The Ice Cream Bar.  Think Bourbon Vanilla and Coffee ice cream with salted caramel sauce or blueberry compote.  How about a chocolate wafer ice cream sandwich cookie?  What a fabulous way to beat the summer heat and experiment with recipes and flavors.  Kids 12 and older are welcome to join this class so you can start some new family traditions – much better than chasing the ice cream truck!

Marcel’s will also be having a Neighborhood Happy Hour and Grown Up Ice Cream Social on Sunday, July 28 from 2-4 pm.  Come join us for some fun, adult ice cream drinks and a snack to beat the heat.  There is no cost for this event, but please pre-register.

Happy summer and here’s to a big scream for ice cream! 

Fire Up The Grill, Outdoor Entertaining Made Easy by Teri Hiben

It’s time to kick off the outdoor entertaining season! Put up the umbrella, heat up the coals, set out the plates and ice the drinks. Invite someone over and you’ve got a party. There doesn’t have to be a special reason to gather. It can be simply because you’re my neighbor, because we’re friends or family, because we’ve been meaning to have you over…

At our place this summer, meals will center around our new Kamado Joe Ceramic Grill. We’re dreaming up the many ways to enjoy it’s high heat searing and the low temperature smoking capabilities. We have visions of perfectly seared steaks and burgers, but also grilled pizzas, smoked ribs and pulled pork (already requested for Memorial Day weekend). I’m even envisioning the Kamado Joe as my outdoor oven to bake some sourdough loaves one day. And how about some smoked snapper tacos? (Be sure to check on my progress as the summer moves forward).

Just remember, summertime meals needn’t be tricky, complicated or take hours to prepare. Nor do you need to fall into a grilling rut. Try sprinkling a new rub on that chicken or brush a marinade over those veggies. One of our family favorite rubs is the TOSA blend by Lemaster Family Kitchen in Logan’s Square. TOSA stands for Taste of Southeast Asia. Just this past Sunday, we enjoyed the chicken and vegetable kebabs with saffron rice that I’m sharing here. The meal is simple, fast, healthy and tasty.

So, call your family and friends and share a simple meal in your own backyard. Slow down, linger at the table, enjoy one another.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs
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For Kebabs
  1. ½ cup olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoon Lemaster Family Kitchen TOSA seasoning mix
  3. 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  4. 1 medium onion
  5. 1 zucchini
  6. 1 red pepper
For Saffron Rice
  1. 2 pinches saffron, crumbled
  2. ¼ cup boiling water
  3. 1 cup basmati rice
  4. 1¾ cup water
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Whisk together oil and seasoning mix. Add chicken cut into chunks. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Heat grill to medium high heat.
  3. Cut vegetables into chunks and toss with some more olive oil and TOSA mix to coat.
  4. Thread chicken and vegetables on skewers. Grill until chicken is cooked and vegetables are crisp tender.
For Saffron Rice
  1. In a small bowl, combine boiling water and saffron. Let this steep for 5 min. Rinse the rice under cold water. Combine the rice, water and saffron mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid in absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

BIG, Bold and Beautiful by Jenny Lorish

Springtime: a season to renew, refresh and hit the restart button. Nothing brings a smile to my face like a beautiful springtime day. The birds are chirping, plants are popping out of the ground, the smell of the air is crisp and clean, the sun feels warmer and everyone seems happy.
 
After a long, cold winter, I’m always ready for a celebration. Getting together with friends and family for some of the seasons fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, and libations
is the best way I can think to do a toast and welcome all that is new.
 
Recently, my family went to Newport Beach, CA for Spring Break. Everything was green and lush. The sun was shining everyday and it felt, as my son Thomas says, “like a blanket on my skin”.
 
We had many adventures and saw some beautiful sights. We also ate most of our meals at restaurants. There are many wonderful places to eat in SoCal. Before we left for our trip, we planned out the places we really wanted to hit. Many were recommended by family who live there.
 
What surprised me most was that every restaurant was super healthy and had many vegetarian and vegan choices. Being pescatarians, my husband and I had no problems at all. Fresh fish, fresh veggies, fresh everything.
 
One of my favorite things to do when I return home, is to recreate some of the recipes of the food we ate. Ceviche, salads, grilled fish tacos, etc.
 
At one restaurant we ordered the crudité bowl. When it came to the table I laughed out loud. It was a huge bowl stuffed full of beautiful vegetables with an olive tapenade sauce and a tzatziki sauce for dipping. We devoured it. It was so fresh and crunchy, and with the sauces it had the perfect umami. If you want to get your children to eat their vegetables, this presentation will do it!
 
Now that we are back, I’m ready to start my re-creations and celebrate Spring with my friends and family. First on the menu is sure to be the crudité bowl. Next, will surely be many of the delicious and amazing food and drink we enjoyed. But I really want to share this, oh so easy, but oh so BIG Crudité Bowl recipe with you.
 
It’s not really a recipe per se, as it is an arrangement, customized how you like. I will be sure to make this ahead of time in one of the biggest and prettiest bowls I own.
 
My version will include long leafs of romaine lettuce stacked vertically in the bowl to start. Then, whole peeled smaller carrots, and radishes with some of the tops left on. I will also add spears of cucumber, vertically sliced red and yellow peppers, and one minute blanched green beans. (Recipes for the dips, below) So, I’m going to go ahead, invite my favorite friends and family, set glorious table and go BIG!
 
At Marcel’s, we celebrate Spring with fresh new merchandise for decorating and outfitting your kitchen with style. We have all the kitchen tools and gadgets to help get you started, BIG beautiful bowls included. We also host many cooking classes to help you be the best cook and entertainer amongst your family and friends. Stop in and let us help you with your Springtime entertaining!
Tapenade & Tzatziki Dip
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Ingredients
  1. Tapenade Dip
  2. 1/2 cup black olive, puréed
  3. 3 big bunch basil, puréed
  4. Juice of 1 lemon
  5. 1/2 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  6. Tzatziki Dip
  7. Two 7-ounce containers Greek yogurt (like Fage Total)
  8. 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  9. Juice of 1 lemon
  10. 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  11. 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  12. 1 clove minced garlic
  13. Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tapenade Dip
  1. Mix all ingredients well. Can be made up to a week ahead of time.
  2. Tzatziki Dip
  3. Mix all ingredients well. Can be made 1 or 2 days ahead of time.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Our Chefs’ Favorite Things

Ever wonder what a chef can’t live without in his kitchen? Or the tool, pan, knife that she reaches for every single time? Well, wonder no more. We have polled each of our chefs to share with us the kitchen items they simply must have! From Monday3/25 through Sunday 3/31  we’re offering any of our CHEF FAVORITES at 20% OFF. How’s that for a spring break deal you simply can’t resist! 

Chef Jamie Bordoshuk loves reaching for the Shun 8″ Chef Knife whenever he’s creating something delicious in the kitchen. Super sharp, lightweight, easy to hold for lots of chopping, slicing and dicing, this knife makes prep work a breeze! 8″ Chef’s Knives of any brand will be on promo this week.

Chef Kelly has several favorites in her arsenal, but she always begins with her Epicurean Cutting Board. They come in a range of sizes, are durable, eco-friendly, non-porous and are knife friendly! After she’s chopped, sliced or julienned her ingredients, she reaches for her Duralex Prep Bowls. With more than 10 different sizes at her fingertips, these bowls help her keep track of all her ingredients, making planning and executing a breeze. But when she needs to scrape a jar or stir a pot, Chef Kelly reaches for her Le Creuset Spatulas. Readily available in a crock on her counter, these come in all shapes and sizes to match whatever job necessary. And no need to worry about it melting if ever left in a pan because these silicone spatulas can handle high heat up to 482 degrees. When she’s adding salt to her cooking, she turns to her Le Creuset Salt Pig because the opening perfectly fits her hand and is parked right next to her cooktop. 

When Chef Robin is whipping up delicious meals in her kitchen, she always reaches for her tried and true Tri Ply All Clad Stainless Cookware. And when she’s in the mood to bake, Chef Robin makes sure she has her Silpat Baking Mat right by her side. Fabulous for complete nonstick baking, roasting or candy making, this mat makes rolling pastry an easy task, allowing you to lift your pastry right onto a sheet pan. Plus they last for years! And Chef Robin’s go to peeler is the Rosle Swivel Peeler.  In both vertical and horizontal formats, it makes peeling even the toughest fruits and vegetables a breeze.

Chef Lynn’s favorite item in her kitchen is her Le Creuset French Oven. It evenly distributes heat for uniform cooking, is designed for “stove to oven” presentation and is super easy to clean. For busy cooks, this is a staple for one-pot meals. And for Chef Lynn, this enameled cast-iron cookware is worth every penny! All Le Creuset ovens will be on promo – in stock only; no special orders.

Chef Paul’s favorites include the Oxo Angled Measuring Cups which makes measuring liquids easier since you don’t need to hold the cup at eye level. And he loves his Rosle Instant-Read Thermometer for the digital read-out on the top, making it easier to read than the dial versions on traditional thermometers. Chef Paul would never dream of making soup or sauces without his Cuisinart Hand Blender. It’s the best time-saver, allowing you to liquify your ingredients right in the pot vs. transferring from the pot to a standard blender. And he wouldn’t ever roast fish or seafood without Marcel’s Cedar Roasting Planks. He loves how they impart an even, gentle heat and smoky flavor to the food. 

The things in Chef Brandy’s kitchen that make life simpler and more efficient, are her Potato Ricer which makes the lightest and fluffiest gnocchi or croquettes, allowing for even strands of boiled, mashed vegetables with a smooth uniform texture. And she would never dare scoop up vegetables or small pastas from boiling water or deep-fried food from hot oil without her Spider/StrainerThe long handle keeps your hands safely away from the heat. To zest citrus, grate hard cheese or spices Chef Brandy always grabs a Microplane Zester

The tools that Chef Kiley reaches for when she’s whipping up delicious meals in her kitchen and those tools include a Flat Whisk and Flexible Fish Spatula. The flat whisk because it deglazes your pots and pans to ensure a beautiful sauce (or roux) with its rounded edge, ensuring it fits inside the corners of your saute or sauce pan. And the fish spatula because its versatility makes it perfect for pancakes, cookies, vegetable fritters and so much more. It allows for delicate and precise turning, flipping and rotating on a hot work surface. Chef Kiley loves to use the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (preferably a 13.25″ or 15″ skillet) whenever she can. These skillets sear any protein or vegetable like no other and can go straight to the oven or grill.

Food Demos, Who Me? by Tania Pasterz

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” – Ruth Reichl

I am the newest member of the Marcel’s retail team: a group of women that love all things culinary and are passionate about cooking. Shortly after learning the retail ropes and just when I started to feel comfortable; I was informed I was scheduled to do a Food Demonstration. A reallife food demo with a TV monitor, surrounded by customers watching and listening to my every word.

I must confess, being a lover of all things food and entertaining, it is something I’ve dreamt about. Standing alone at my kitchen counter pretending to be some variation of the Barefoot Contessa. That said, just the thought of it gave me anxiety. Pretending alone in my own kitchen was one thing – but real customers, an audience other than my family? What if my food tasted horrible? What if I didn’t have enough? What if I couldn’t talk and cook at the same time? Despite some serious trepidation, I came up with a recipe that I thought would be good and began planning.

The day finally arrived. My food was prepped, my recipe tested and it was time for my own little cooking show to begin (still scared to death mind you). The customers showed up, they asked interesting questions, and liked my dish (Root Vegetable Salad with Fried Eggs)! In fact, one tiny patron (age 4) said, “excuse me but can I say something, this is very artistic.” Literally out of the mouths of babes. My fear melted away and I knew I was hooked.

Almost every Tuesday a member of the retail staff at Marcel’s does a food demonstration. We prepare simple, fast and delicious food designed for busy people. The team member’s name and dish appears on our quarterly calendars for you to pick and choose which demonstration best fits your schedule. There is no charge and no sign up. And you get to leave with a new recipe!

All you need to do is show up, sit down, maybe learn a tidbit or two and taste. 

Root Vegetable Salad with Fried Eggs
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Ingredients
  1. 4 carrots, diced
  2. 4 parsnips, diced
  3. 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  4. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  5. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  6. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  7. 6 slices bacon, diced
  8. 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  9. 1 5-ounce package baby arugula or mixed greens (about 8 cups)
  10. 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  11. 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for topping
  12. 4 large eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the carrots, parsnips, red onion, garlic and two tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Roast, stirring half way through, until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon; discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.
  3. Whisk the remains 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the vinegar in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables, bacon, arugula, parsley and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
  4. Heat the reserved bacon drippings in the skillet over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs and fry until just set, about 4 minutes. Serve over salad and top with more parmesan.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Mandoo Mania by Jenny Chang

My fondest memory of food always centered around making mandoo (aka. Korean dumplings or potstickers). Perhaps that’s the reason I love to eat them so much.  However making them always seemed like such a chore. I didn’t appreciate the labor of love that my mother always put into the vat of filling she made every holiday season, particular for New Year’s Eve.   

Our entire family would gather around lunchtime every New Year’s Eve and devour a big bowl of rice cake soup (made with pure bone broth, of course) to satiate us before beginning the process of filling hundreds of dumplings. My mother made the dough early in the morning and portioned it out into big round dough balls. My father and uncles would each take turns rolling out each rested dough ball into the largest round sheet of dough that covered our entire kitchen table. Then, using an upside down stainless steel rice bowl, cut out each individual dumpling wrapper from the gigantic sheet of dough. With a pile of dumpling wrappers ready to go, my aunts and all of us kids would gather around the huge bowl of mandoo filling and begin the process of filling each wrapper to make the prettiest dumplings around. We would have contests to see who could fold the prettiest dumplings. My older brother always won. To this day, he’s still the best dumpling maker.

Because our extended family was so big, we often needed to make several hundred mandoo to enjoy in our dumpling rice cake soup, a Korean tradition always consumed on New Year’s Day. Plus a bag of frozen mandoo for each family to take home and enjoy at a later time. It was the highlight of my entire year, more so than Christmas or Thanksgiving. You see, New Year’s Eve was the one time a year that our entire family gathered together to laugh, tell stories, and make dumplings for hours on end, much like the scene in the movie… Crazy Rich Asians.

Dumpling making was always a family tradition and one that involved all of the children. That is why, though I don’t like to have other people cook with me in my kitchen because truthfully, I can’t stand to have the mess, I try to include my three children in the mandoo making process and see who folds the prettiest dumplings. Although, these days we don’t roll out our own dumpling wrappers anymore – store bought ones suffice just great, I still take the time to make mandoo for those special occasions. Though one thing does remain. When we make mandoo, we still make at least a hundred or more.

Brussels Sprouts?… Yes, Brussels Sprouts! by Denise Stano

I might be one of the newest members of the Marcel’s retail staff, but I have been a Marcel’s supporter for many years.  You cannot help but look twice at the eye-catching window displays (how about that Snow family and the gorgeous Simon Pearce trees!!), walk into the store and are greeted by the aromas coming from the chef’s cooking classes, you are immediately hooked.

My first class experience at Marcel’s was a private party in 2012.  I was working at another retail store in town (aka AliKat) and we decided to hold our Christmas party in mid-November.  Holiday retail hours can be brutal and exhausting, so beginning the season early with a fun party seemed like a good idea…especially in case any Scrooge-like temperaments emerged as the season progressed!

We gathered with spouses and significant others on a Saturday evening with Chef Paul. He worked out a delicious menu for us to prepare and we read the recipes with anticipation…Beef Tenderloin Medallions, Wild Mushroom Ragout, Brussel Sprouts with Anchovies, Capers and Walnuts…what?  Brussel sprouts…??

He inquired as to how many of us liked the tiny cabbage-shaped veggie ….. and of course, no one raised their hand.  He assured us that after preparing this recipe we would all become Brussel sprout converts.  We smiled politely at his statement though I know we were all very doubtful.  We followed his instructions for our cruciferous side dish while secretly looking forward to the Baby Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting dessert that was to follow.  But guess what? After roasting those little cabbages and tossing them with Chef Paul’s amazing dressing, we all were in agreement that it was our favorite part of the meal. We unanimously said YES to Brussel sprouts.

Many of us served them at our Holiday table the next week, and in my family it has officially become our most requested side dish.  So if you are like so many and turn your nose up at the thought of Brussel sprouts on your menu, do yourself a favor and give these a try.  I promise you will love them and you might just have a new family favorite.

And when you stop in to thank Chef Paul, please pick up the new schedule of classes for the next quarter.  I know you will enjoy a fabulous evening making new friends, learning new cooking techniques and discovering new tastes no matter which class you choose.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Anchovies, Capers and Walnuts
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  2. 3/4 cup olive oil
  3. salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
  5. 2 shallots, peeled and trimmed
  6. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  8. 2 tablespoons honey
  9. 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  10. one, 2 ounce tin anchovies, drained and rinsed
  11. 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine Brussel sprouts and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss to coat. Divide Brussel sprouts evenly onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and charred in spots. Shift the pans in the oven halfway through the roasting. Remove from oven. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Place steel blade into the work bowl of food processor. With motor running drop the garlic and shallots through feed tube and process until chopped. Add the vinegar, mustard, honey, capers and anchovies. Process to combine. Add remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and process until fairly smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the warm Brussel sprouts and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter walnuts over the top. Serve right away.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Thanksgiving Countdown by Jennifer Dorn

We are a few days away from many peoples’ favorite holiday – Thanksgiving. We celebrate with our families and gather around tables across our community – we are thankful for our bountiful harvest and blessings.  It is a wonderful day and meal. But …yes there may be some stress for cooks out there on this final countdown.  I am lucky to work with many talented cooks that have shared some ideas with me – I have added a few of my own to allow you more time relaxing with family and friends.

First of all, a few things can still be purchased: 

  • Appetizer – order a Cheese & Charcuterie Board from Marché.
  • Dessert – order a delicious locally baked Pumpkin Pies from Marché. Call (630) 790-8890 no later than Saturday, November 17th.  
  • At Marcel’s we are stocked with brining mix and bags for your turkey and we are always available for your last minute kitchen and meal prep needs.

The few days leading up to Thanksgiving can be used to chop ingredients – yup this could take hours so go ahead and start early.  My co-worker Sharon chops the onions, celery and carrots and places them in labeled zip lock bags for time saving minutes on the big day.

Let your slow cooker do some extra work for you. Use it to keep extra side dishes or an extra turkey breast warm.

The day before, make many of your side dishes.  Bake your potatoes the day ahead and use the Powder Horn Potato recipe below.  It is one of our family’s favorites.  Did I mention that at our house it is all about the sides?!

Set the table early. My sister-in-law is so organized that she sets out her serving dishes/utensils and labels each one with a sticky note for use on the big day. This way you know what will go where and whether or not you need to make a last minute trip to Marcel’s for that one servingware piece still needed. One year we took old family photos/school pictures and made them into place card settings. Make it FUN because now you are ready and will have time for the details.

All of us here at Marcel’s are very thankful for our loyal customers and we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Powder Horn Potatoes
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 10 medium potatoes
  2. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  3. 8 ounces cheddar cheese grated
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops or chives
  5. 2 cups sour cream
  6. salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bake Potatoes in their skins at 400* for 40 minutes or until slightly firm. Cool overnight.
  2. Thanksgiving morning peel and grate potatoes mix together butter, cheese, onion, sour cream, salt and pepper and stir into potatoes. Pour mixture into lightly greased 2 1/2 quart casserole baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 mins or until lightly browned.
Notes
  1. From: Creme de Colorado Cookbook
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Summertime Sales and More by Teri Hiben

Summer slows us down. The days take on a casual and fun-loving flavor. We’re ready to jump in and get outside to go for a bike ride and stroll around the farmer’s market to pick up some of summer’s bounty. We enjoy outdoor concerts, parades, food on the grill, lightening bugs…

In Glen Ellyn, one sure sign of the middle of summer is the annual Sidewalk Sale (this year from July 26-28). And the weather forecast is looking good! Historic Main Street is closed to traffic, there’s music in the air, tents and tables full of bargains line the street. The stage is set for a Glen Ellyn street party! It’s a great time to grab a friend, put the kids in the wagon and head downtown to wander among the tables loaded with discounted merchandise. You’ll run into friends and neighbors and have time to catch up for a bit. Maybe you’ll discover a new store or two in the process.

I know at Marcel’s we’ve been carefully selecting merchandise for the sidewalk sale this year. We’re motivated to generously discount items to make room for fun new merchandise coming this fall, so our tables will be full of bargains. We’ll be offering some summery accents for your home you can use right away for the rest of the summer or you may find seasonal decorations for the holidays ahead. Be sure to stop by our tent to discover some especially tempting surprise discounts awaiting you. You’re sure to find a few treasures for your home.

Don’t miss the fun! We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Dining Al Fresco by Didi Foth

Definition of al fresco: taking place or located in the open air: outdoor, outdoors. An al fresco lunch, an al fresco café, dining al fresco.

One of the things I look forward to most when summer arrives is being able to eat outside. All my friends know that if you make a reservation for lunch or dinner with me, a request for an outdoor table is a must, even on the warmest (or coolest) days. I feel the need to take advantage of every beautiful day since our warm weather is limited here in the Midwest.

My favorite place for al fresco dining, though, is on my own patio. I love sitting in my garden on a beautiful night with a summer menu, a pretty table, candlelight, and a great playlist. Nothing could be better! Over the years I have learned a few things to make the dining experience fun, beautiful and not stressful.

1. Keep the recipes simple: Food always seems easier in the summer. A trip to the farmers market can be the inspiration for the menu. A colorful summer salad and freshly picked local vegetables are perfect to accompany my husband’s pick on the grill. A freshly baked baguette and cheese (from Marché) and fresh fruit for dessert and the menu is set.

2. Bring the inside outside: I love bringing my dishes and glassware outside to set the table. It makes everything feel more special than using paper or plastic. My tablescape is often dictated by what is blooming in my yard. I enjoy cutting flowers and picking the tablecloth or placemats that best match the colors in my garden at the time. (I have Juliska Berry and Thread dishes in Whitewash and these go with any color scheme that I choose to use.)

3. Add some light when it gets dark: Candlelight makes everything prettier! I use candles everywhere while entertaining. Votives, hurricanes and lanterns all create a wonderful summer atmosphere.

4. Make a playlist: Have a playlist set before the evening starts so that it creates the mood or theme you have in mind. Music can get a party started and keep it going.

5. Have a signature cocktail or drink: It’s always fun to have a drink waiting for people when they arrive.

6. Don’t forget the bugs: Make sure to find a way to limit bug bites – citronella, candles, fans, bug spray. Nothing can push people inside faster than pesky mosquitoes.

Enjoy your summer nights entertaining al fresco. It makes summer so much more enjoyable and a welcome memory when the days get colder. Stop by Marcel’s and we can help you set the perfect summer table with beautiful tablecloths, placemats, napkins and candles!

Also, we are having our Juliska Placesetting Completion Event –thru June 30th!
Purchase 7 pieces of dinnerware, glassware or flatware and receive the 8th piece free all month long!