Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bon Voyage...In your Backyard

With the April showers FINALLY coming to an end..all be it a few weeks late.. we are so very ready for the May flowers!  More importantly, it's time for outdoor entertaining again! 
As far as I know, there is no 'rule', or at least one that I would abide by, that you can't use your indoor furniture out of doors.  In fact, I think it's very refreshing to change your space up when the weather does.  With that being said, lets talk about your table.. this is a piece of furniture that is definitely versatile throughout your entire living space, and you should take advantage of that!  Feel like you are living the luxe life everyday throughout spring and summer by dining al fresco for all your home meals. 

From Left: ApartmentTherapy, MarthaMoments, MegMcGhee

To accomplish the full effect of this ambiance you need a table that is more champagne and caviar ..and less ketchup and mustard.... In non-figurative terms, your table should be made of real, natural wood, one that's solid, a  distinctive design, and maybe even a conversation piece in and of itself.  It should almost make you afraid to put it outside for fear of what the elements, neighbor kids, or stray cats will do to it.  Have no fear, we've got that covered...really well actually, with an obsessive amount of non-toxic, non-yellowing, polycrylic.  Outside of the durability we've achieved with this protection process, the best part is that we've made it look like it's not under layers and layers of that stuff!  There is no glossy finish, thick coating look, or plasticy feel, in fact you can't see that it has this much protection on it!

 I don't like to limit my options of what to do with anything, be it furniture or empty toilet paper rolls (more to come on that at a different point in time), which is why we at La Dolce Villa finish our furniture well, so you can take it indoors or out, have poker night on it, tap dancing toddlers, or feed a group of vikings at it!  But in between these events you will have a table that looks gorgeous and unique, is a work of art, and the envy of the neighborhood!

Tuscan Table/Chair Set ON SALE: $340 (sorry, this has sold since orig. posting)

 Get ready for your summer soirees this year that will be remembered for a lifetime. Gather around this table in your backyard suburban oasis, that makes you and the lucky ones you invite over feel like they are on vacay somewhere in Europe.  Somewhere where a guy name 'Jaques' is serving you endless amounts of artisan bread. For that, we've got the PERFECT bread recipe below, it's soooooooo incredibly easy (and super fast), and you can serve it straight from your oven.  If these things don't earn you the title of Hostess with the Mostess, then you need to get new friends!  ..Kidding of course ;) 

Quick and Easy Artisan BreadRecipe from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes"
(makes about 4 medium loafs)

3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1) Grab a very large mixing bowl, or a large container that you can cover. In it, mix the water, yeast, and salt. Just let that sit together for about 5 minutes. Then dump the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to knead this, and you’re not looking to make it come together into a dough ball. You just want everything mixed well, with no streaks of flour left, and you’re done.

2) Leave it in your container, covered (but not airtight, or it’ll pop), for about 2 hours. When it has risen and then deflated a bit, your dough is done. It’s ready to be used or stored in the refrigerator.

To bake the Bread:1) Just grab a chunk of dough (they recommend a chunk about the size of a grapefruit, but you can use larger chunks). Dust your hands with flour to help prevent sticking, dust the dough with flour and gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. It should only take you about a minute or less to do this. The dough won’t be entirely in the bottom, where it may look bunched up, but don’t worry about it.

2) Put the dough onto a baking sheet or tray that’s been dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and let it rest for at least 40 minutes. No need to cover it. If the dough has been refrigerated, it helps to let it rest a little more, until it’s no longer chilled.

3) Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a pizza stone or baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven, and put a broiler pan in the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust some flour on the top of your loaf, and make some slashes on the dough, about 1/4-inch deep. (Unfortunately I didn't slash deep enough which is my the end result looks flat)

4) After twenty minutes of preheating, it’s time to bake. (You can put the bread in after 20 minutes, even if your oven hasn’t reached 450 degrees yet.) Slide the loaf onto the baking stone or sheet, and then quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan. Then quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam inside.

5) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. It tastes best when you let it cool completely. Don’t worry if your beautiful crust seems to soften a bit. It will harden again.

For the Visual Learner (like me) Here is a link to the Video demo from the chef:

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