Lighten Up

Let there be Lights

Photo Courtesy of Maribel Farina Photography

Lighting makes the décor. And while it can be overdone, it can also be overdone right. This lighting arrangement has lights draping from the ceiling beams in big lighting balls as well as hanging lights that look as if they are an extension of the greenery. Additionally, soft cream linens and lighting in the centerpieces give the arrangement a warm glow.

Tip Courtesy of Style Me Pretty

 

Comfort Light

Photo Courtesy of Helene Dujardin

Across the country, temps start falling and we start reaching for the comfort food. And while it may not cool off here in Hawaii, we still have a touch of that cold weather nostalgia. With a lighter version of chicken and dumplings we can dip into that nostalgia without it weighing us down.
Ingredients
Stock:
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
10 cups water
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (about 6 ounces)
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 ounces)
2 bay leaves
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges (about 10 ounces)
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 2 ounces)
Soup and Dumplings:
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup sliced celery
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk
Remaining Ingredients
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Directions
To prepare stock, remove giblets and neck from chicken; trim excess fat. Place chicken, 10 cups water, and next 7 ingredients (through parsley bunch) in an 8-quart stock pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, skimming foam from surface as necessary. Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes.
Remove skin from chicken; remove chicken from bones, discarding skin and bones. Shred chicken with 2 forks into bite-sized pieces. Strain broth through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Cool broth and chicken to room temperature. Cover and chill broth and chicken 8 to 24 hours. Skim solidified fat from surface; discard. Reserve 8 cups of the broth and all of the chicken. Refrigerate remaining broth in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months for another use.
To prepare dumplings, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot to pan; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in 8 cups reserved stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Weigh or lightly spoon 4.5 ounces flour (about 1 cup) into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring until moist.
Drop dough in 24 (about 1-teaspoon) portions into broth mixture. Cover and cook 8 minutes. Gently stir in reserved shredded chicken and thyme. Simmer very low 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated and dumplings are done. Remove from heat, and ladle into shallow bowls. Sprinkle evenly with chopped parsley.

Light Flavor

Photo Courtesy of Elana Lepkowski

This lemon sparkler is light yet flavorful
Ingredients
For the Lemon-Sage Syrup:

6 ounces water

8 ounces (about 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar

2 ounces fresh juice from 2 lemons

Finely grated zest from 2 lemons

10 medium sage leaves

For the cocktails:

6 ounces Lemon-Sage Syrup

1 1/2 ounces Suze

1 bottle chilled Cava or other dry sparkling wine

6 strips lemon zest

6 fresh sage leaves

 

Directions 

For the Lemon-Sage Syrup: Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sage in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, remove from heat, and let stand 1 hour. Strain and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.

 

For the cocktails: The night before serving, combine the lemon-sage syrup and Suze in a large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, add Cava, pouring slowly, and gently stir to combine. Split between six Champagne flutes, twisting a lemon zest strip over each and garnishing with a sage leaf.

Trompe L’oeil

Photo Courtesy of JB Spector

Why go for gargantuan marble statues when you can create the effect through optical illusion. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry projected sculpture images onto cyclone shaped fabric draping’s giving them a larger than life appearance.

 

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