August 9, 2011

Wedding Blessings....On Elizabeth's Ranch!

We now have a date, place and time! Meet me at Elizabeth's in vows will be exchanged between our darling couple, Nick and Catherine. Darling and I are so excited that both boys are getting married next year. This is so much to look forward to we can barely contain our excitement. The boys are only fifteen months apart in age and as we always said, they were like having twins growing up. So, it is not surprising that they seem to have met the love of their lives and are getting married in the same year, just months apart.

Elizabeth's Ranch at Sunset

The wedding is going to take place on Elizabeth's ranch, which is the perfect setting for a Texas wedding in the evening hours at sunset in April. The scenery is spectacular, relaxing, casual and serene. The planning has begun, so we intend to exchange lots of ideas via email and Skype as we prepare for the first family wedding in 2012! They have chosen colors of soft greens and purples.

A Maine House Mosaic

 This also put me in mind of Ina's delicious Italian Wedding Soup, since fall days are just around the corner here in New England. It's always a good thing to have something to look forward to, isn't it? Especially among all the world turmoil we seem to be in.

The Barefoot Contessa's Italian Wedding Soup

For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Love is when reality is better than your dreams

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