Sunday Chat – Oliver, a new recipe, and a tablescape

Oliver has been getting a bit bolder, coming up to sit on the front mat that says Wipe Your Paws to look into the sliding glass door. Alms for a hungry squirrel? Please, nice lady, is there perhaps a peanut butter sandwich nearby? Now, I ask you, could you resist this face?

Well, neither could I. Little beggar. I made him get off the veranda, then he got his sandwich. Bad enough he has learned where to come beg, but I have no desire to have his fleas (if he has any). He has also been on the outside kitchen windowsill as I was cooking a few days ago. Whatever it takes to get my attention!

I was cooking chicken, not My Sweet Babboo’s favorite, so I am always looking for ways to flavor up a chicken meal for him. I had a fabulous meal at a local Italian spot downtown a few weeks ago, and I wanted to try to duplicate it. It is really so simple and easy, yet immensely flavorful. It uses herb goat cheese and fresh spinach. I found this goat cheese at Aldi, and it was perfect.

So, roast a chicken your favorite way. I use a whole chicken and butterfly it, roasting at 350 degrees for 15 minutes per pound. See my post Butterflied Baked Chicken for detailed instruction on how to do this. You could just do a couple of chicken breasts if you’d rather.

The restaurant uses risotto, but I just used Jasmine rice for the base. Spoon a serving of hot rice on the plate. Then stack fresh spinach over the rice, add one or two half-inch thick, round slices of the herb goat cheese, then top with hot chicken. Let it sit for a minute before digging in. The heat in the rice and chicken will wilt the spinach, and melt the cheese into a creamy garlic and herb accompaniment. Yum!! The first time I made this, I wilted the spinach in a skillet, but you don’t have to. It does give you more spinach on the plate, though. Either way it is delicious. Sometimes I warm the plates in the oven, too, which helps the meal retain more heat.

In the garden, my grape tomatoes are coming along. I’ve been able to harvest a few for salads.

The orange tone of the tomatoes in that little golden yellow tomato shaped dish reminded me of my August placemats, and that I was going to do a tablescape with them for you. Once again, the challenge was to use only what I already have in a new way. I’ve done these placemats with orange chargers and green chargers, so it was time to do one with my sunshine yellow chargers. These are so pretty with the lacy cutout edges.

The plate stack has our white stoneware dinner plates, topped with delicate green Depression Glass salad plates in a pattern called Bowknot. Green napkins are held with yellow flower pot napkin rings. Everyday flatware, individual salt and pepper shakers and crystal drink glasses complete the settings.

The centerpiece is a yellow ceramic basket filled with orange, yellow and white silk flowers placed on the Colors of August Improv table topper. I put my grape tomatoes in little green leaf dishes on either side of the basket. On the ends, small green glass votive holders have unscented tea lights for evening.

A quick setting to brighten up our late summer meals.

I worked on my quilted jacket this week, and will continue the sew-along on Tuesday. I have another Project Linus quilt to show you, too, along with the finish of the Mother Goose quilt. I have two meetings and two lunches this week along with a car club run next Saturday that will take all day. A couple of sessions of pickleball for exercise, and it will be another busy week.

What are you working on? Do you have big plans for this week?

22 thoughts on “Sunday Chat – Oliver, a new recipe, and a tablescape

  1. Rita C.

    Your meal sounds great, and I love your table setting. Oliver’s getting bold! And acorns are starting to fall, so I’d say he’s definitely spoiled.
    Dealing with a couple medical issues this week, but hoping for some real joy as we celebrate my granddaughter’s first birthday.
    Have a good week.

  2. Mary Stori

    Such an inviting fall feel to your tablescape…….and when finished your quilted jacket will be just right for the cool off in temps. that are surely coming our way.

  3. Oliver is just too cute…and definitely spoiled! Your recipe sounds good. I love wilted or sauteed spinach, preferrably with onions sauteed in! We will be keeping the grands Monday so they don’t have to go sit in my daughter’s room at school (while she tests students and writes plans) and the Meemaw has them Tuesday. Then car line starts Wednesday for me which is when school starts here. I’ll be working on my project for Melva and my blog hop the first week of September and my September Island Batik project. A busy, but good, week!!

  4. Rhonda

    That chicken looks simply delightful and I absolutely love goat cheese. I’ll be trying this very soon. YUM. I love those yellow chargers! You set such a pretty table!

    Oliver is so cute, we used to have a squirrel we called Shorty because half her tail was gone. She liked peanut butter sandwiches too and would come right up next to your foot and look up at you with hopeful eyes. She must have been around for 10 or 12 years and was very tame.

    I’ve been so busy canning this week, more pickles, most relish, fig jam, rhubarb conserve and yesterday blueberry jam. I’ve also been doing a little strip piecing every day and now have a big pile to cut up so I can start building blocks.

    I received a message from the Iowa Quilt Museum and one of my quilts has been chosen for the “These ARE your Grandmother’s Quilts” exhibit. I am so very excited. This is the king size star medallion quilt that I designed and won a blue ribbon on at the Iowa State Fair a few years ago. They will have it from December to March so I’ll have to use a different quilt this winter – it has wool and cotton batting and is usually my winter quilt. I need to get busy and make a hanging sleeve for it.

  5. Julie

    Sounds like a busy week for you. Oliver may have to learn how to make his own sandwiches! He would get a handout at my house too, too cute to resist.

  6. Oliver has gotten really brave! You got a great photo of him! The chicken recipe looks yummy. I haven’t roasted a whole chicken in many years – I’ll have to try your method. Pretty table – I love the addition of the green glass dishes! Enjoy your busy week! We have some plans with my mom to go up to a quilt exhibit at a gallery in Ft. Collins. Should be enjoyable!

  7. LOVE Oliver! And you table looks so pretty — and all the more so, I bet, when that fabulous sounding chicken dish is served. Rick’s mom is coming and is diabetic. If we change out the rice to brown rice, I bet that would be a tasty one for her. I know it would be for me!

  8. Just think in a few more weeks you will be settling into football season. We have had some really hot days, and yesterday, finally a break in the weather. Makes me want to go outside again. I’m still playing with scraps. New blog post just went up. Sorting with my new co chairs and trying to clear out 2nd Time Around. They take over next month. 🙂

  9. Joan Sheppard

    Oliver, oh Oliver! Soon you’ll be asking for a vest and watch fob! Thank you Carole for taking the time and love on these little guys.
    Love the green depression glass (and all the rest) and so glad you use it. So many people “stash” it. I love all the color, makes my PBJ look festive! Thanks

  10. Rosemary B

    How sweet Oliver is such a good looking fellow, I agree, how can you resist??!
    I like the chicken recipe, I might try it.
    Of course your table settings are lovely

  11. Cathie J

    I just can’t stomach goat cheese. I don’t know why, but it turns my stomach. Your places settings are so pretty. Oliver is getting bold. I am looking forward to seeing your jacket. Have a great week!

  12. Wow, I can’t believe the squirrel comes begging! That is amazing! Your chicken dinner sounds so good, how smart and easy to use the chicken and rice to melt the cheese and wilt the spinach! Lovely summer table, we’ll be seeing pumpkins before too long~

  13. Patty Brenner

    That chicken dish sounds delicious, I want to try it! I’m thinking herbed feta might also work. I’m on the side of pre-wilting the spinach so I can have more of it 🙂 We’ve often cooked chicken and turkey that way, I heard it called ‘spatchcocking’. It’s wonderful for Thanksgiving turkey as long as you don’t care about the presentation of the whole bird. I like to make a bed of onions, carrots and celery while roasting this way. Once we pull the meat off, I roast the bones on the veggies and remaining juice and then make a really tasty broth from that mixture. Your table setting is very pretty, I love the little lattice basket. I never collected enough cherry tomatoes to make a display, the heat stunted them somewhat so that I ate most of them straight off the vine, lol. Oliver is so adorable, I couldn’t resist him either. I have quite a few whitetail deer on my place in Texas, one of them will come right up to be hand fed. I didn’t train her for that (and agree that we shouldn’t), but I can’t resist giving her treats. She gets watermelon chunks and veggie scraps (which I spread out for the others to share), and occasionally a small handful of chicken feed, since it has the right amount of protein. I feel so bad for our Texas wildlife, it’s a tough year with the drought.

    1. Niki B

      Looking forward to working on my jacket this week. We are heading to St Louis for a couple of days to see some baseball games. Next Sunday will be belated family celebration for my hubby’s birthday. Busy week.

  14. lois92346

    The chicken dinner looks delicious and so easy to prepare! I love your photos of Oliver. I grew up in the city of Chicago and we had tons of squirrels in the neighborhood but I’ve lived in my California home 48 years and have never seen a squirrel in our area until this year. i have to wonder where he came from. He’s enjoying the figs as the ripen on my little tree. I’m sure various birds are getting their share as well. I toss the half eaten figs on the ground nearby as I harvest some for myself so they are readily available to them. I’ll have to come up with a name for my squirrel. Charlie comes to mind.

  15. Busy week here over the pond….I’ve finished an EPP 3/4 inch hexie table runner, made a large quantity of pasta sauce with our home grown tomatoes, and picked our raspberries and blackberries….all excess going in the freezer to enjoy another day.
    Love your tablescape and the chicken recipe. My favourite with spinach is to pile a load in an oven proof dish, place two pieces of fish on top and then cover with a cheese sauce and top with some grated cheese. Pop in the oven and bake. Serve with new potatoes. Scrummy!

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