Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shrimp, Pineapple Pasta in a Tomato White Wine Cream Sauce w Asparagus and all kinds of other delicious things.

This is my favorite summertime dish. You could easily substitute the shrimp with chicken or scallop or just vegetables or whatever your imagination can think of, but i prefer Shrimp today. 

{For this recipe i used fresh basil, oregano and thyme from my garden}

Angel Hair or Linguine or your favorite pasta
Dozen Shrimp {uncooked, de-veined, peeled} 
{Shrimp AND Scallop is also great}
Asparagus {break stalks in half naturally}
Fresh Pineapple {cut into chunks}
2 Medium Whole Tomatoes {smashed, sliced and all that stuff}
6-8 Cherry Tomatoes
8 oz. Mushrooms {sliced}
4 Shallots {minced}
3 Garlic Cloves {minced}
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
3/4 cup White Wine {or whatever white wine you are drinking with dinner}
2 Tablespoons Half & Half
Parmesan/Romano Grated or Shredded Cheese
Crushed Red Pepper {to taste}
Salt {to taste}
Pepper {to taste}
Italian Seasoning or your preferred spices {to taste}
Garlic Bread {optional}
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees for garlic bread
 - In large frying Pan, heat olive oil and shallot over medium high heat {5 minutes until shallot is translucent}
- Add garlic & bring to medium heat{5 minutes}
- Add mushrooms, some wine, lemon juice, spices, salt&pepper, crushed red pepper  {5-10 minutes}
{If juices ever start to run dry, add more wine, olive oil &/or lemon as needed}
- Add sliced/crushed tomato, stir {few minutes}
- Boil water for Pasta
- Add asparagus & pineapple and squirt some juice from pineapple into pan {5 minutes}
- Garlic Bread in Oven
- Add shrimp and cherry tomatoes, squirt lemon, stir everything around gently to get juices on veggies and fruits {cover on medium/low heat for another 10 minutes}
- Add Angel Hair to water till tender {3 minutes}
-Remove and strain pasta
- Prior to serving, add half & half slowly to center of saucepan and stir in to sauce gently to let mix in thoroughly
- Add Grated Cheese and stir
- Pour sauce over Pasta and SERVE
- Sprinkle additional cheese cause cheesy is good. 

Serve with White Wine.  
My selection today is Cambria 2007 Chardonnay 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A D.I.Y. French Bohemian Farm Wedding!

Photo by Cindy Alderton

I had the honor of hosting and designing a French Bohemian Farm wedding for my very good friends Antonette & Clément Vasseur. I knew from the day i moved into this farm, that it would be the most wonderful location for a wedding.

Well it just so happened that they needed to have one, a French Bohemian one. On a Farm.

I worked over the course of weeks - hand making special items and collecting various vintage items from thrift & antique stores that i thought would represent the French, the Bohemian and the Farm, not to mention this beautiful couple and all their glory.

What is French Bohemian exactly? Romantic + Hippy + Farm = French Bohemian. I let my imagination go wild and my creative side followed. The following is the design and creation of a wonderful theme in a beautiful country setting and how to Do. It. Yourself...... if you are ever in the need for one :)

The wedding was extremely cheap to produce. It was super casual. There were no chairs at the ceremony. They didn't walk down an aisle. The guests were asked to each bring a dish and beverages. The decor was purchased at thrift stores and the wildflowers were picked at a local farm.
I started with an invitation. The idea of a postcard all began because Antonette and I both stumbled upon another French Bohemian Wedding online. I must mention it as it had so much to do with  the inspiration for the design of this wedding. Tahni & Joseph's Bohemian French-Inspired Wedding! Tahni & Joseph decided to have their guests write notes on the back of postcards instead of doing a guestbook. We both loved the idea as the thought of a guestbook just wasn't fitting. So to play with that, i went to and downloaded some vector files of a vintage postcard and some stamps, put it together in Adobe Illustrator, added a few custom touches to bring France {Clément} & Italy {Antonette} together.

I found a ton of these old wooden boards lying around the barn, so i hand painted {ceremony}. I originally wanted to do more of these, but time got away from me.

The first and most important detail of the wedding, for me, was to make the couple a special Wedding Gift. Something that could be a major decorative piece for the reception, but also something they could take home. The latter was fairly challenging as most people wouldn't want something "weddingy" in their house. So it had to be formal enough for the reception and casual enough for their {simple & classic} home. I pondered this project for some time and then it came to me. 

Make a framed cork board covered in natural linen - celebrating the couple that people can also use to display their postcards.

The piece is made from a 4'x4' piece of plywood, Whitewood Chair Rail moulding and some detail pieces to finish it off {all stained black}, 6 packs of cork tiles from craft stores, 1.5 yards of natural linen, photos of the couple from Zebra Giraffe Photography {clipped to twine with clothespins}, some clippings from a French inspired " craft paper pack" bought at Michael's for $24.99, a peacock feather i bought at an Antique Shop for $1, vintage postcards that Antonette found on Ebay for $7, decorative thumbtacks and a custom sign asking guests to write messages on the postcards. 

Using the same graphic from the invitation, i added text in both French and English, printed it on a special linen paper and pinned it to a felt decorative backing.
I found the bottles at Past and Present Antiques in Brunswick, MD. It is an amazing store. Each beautiful vintage bottle was only $3!!!
I wrapped the green bottle with one of the craft papers and tied it with twine. 

The books were borrowed from Beans in the Belfry - a charming coffee house in an old church in Brunswick, MD. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry was a little touch i added from my own personal collection. Antonette brought over the tea kettle. Her mother put the lanterns together with moss & wildflowers. The candles, which say, Papillon {butterfly} were another wonderful find @ Michaels for $4 each.

Special touches for the corner - my picnic basket, 2 baskets purchased at Goodwill for $1.80 each, some twine, decorative wicker balls, & flowers.
I hand made the monograms out of thin wood, using a jigsaw, twine and ebony wood stain. 
 The drink table was filled with a variety of knick-nacks from various thrift stores as well as jars, bottles and other odds and ends from Antonette & Echo's homes.

I wrapped the candles with some of the craft paper from the French Inspired pack i used on the cork board. 
The wildflowers were picked from a local farm in Purcellville, VA {}. They give you a bucket and a floppy hat and let you pick your own until you fill the bucket for $30. Wildflowers are officially my favorite arrangement. You don't even need to do much. Arrange them according to  height and their beauty does all the work. 
Bouquet designed by the bride's mother :)

The sunsets on the farm are breathtaking. I hand made swings out of wood i found in the barn, twine and a tree that just so happens to bask in the glory of the sunset on any given evening. 
I wanted to capture vintage farm. I found the old window frame in the barn. That barn is a treasure box, i tell you. :)
That is my chicken. Love her. 
Antonette's beauty and style is breathtaking. She hand picked her accessories and dress. 
Antonette's dress is from Christin Tina on Etsy {}
Headband from Lucia Bella Handbags & Accessories on Etsy {}
The reception/party took place on my screened in patio and outdoor deck. For the evening's festivities, i hung lanterns in turquoise, orange and white over the deck. I strung Christmas lights inside them to keep costs down.  The 10" lanterns were $20 for a dozen from Ebay. Lanterns are an affordable way to create ambient light.
 On the porch, i used red up lights in corners for the plants. The mirror tube {above} is one of my older handmade pieces from my nightclub days. It is made of pvc tubing and broken mirror pieces. Hung from a mirror ball motor and illuminated with 2 pin spots, it creates a wonderful party atmosphere. 
The guests {who were almost all French}, were asked to bring a dish. I love the Frenchies and their amazing food. It was heaven. 
The Croquembouche wedding cake was from a local bakery in Martinsburg {Sweet Inspirations} This one, slightly different than the traditional, had larger cream puffs. It was AMAZING.
For a late night treat, we opened some champagne and served chocolate fondue with strawberries and bananas. 

Congratulations to you both {Clément & Antonette}. You are a beautiful couple and i was honored to be a part of your unforgettable day. 

Photos by me, Rania Peet unless otherwise noted by Cindy Alderton of {}
Cindy specializes in Boudoir photo shoots and her wedding site is under construction. 
Thank you for all the wonderful photos Cindy!