New On The Blog

At Lisa Lou’s we believe no table is complete without a decorative charger! These underplates, along with napkin rings, are the go-to accessory every tablescape needs. They can dress up, or dress down, the simplest of dinner plates. Just as we can change the look of a black dress by the accessories we choose, we can do the same to basic pottery with the chargers and napkin rings we use.

What is a charger plate and why are they used? Drop into any boutique that sells place settings, and you will see tables decorated with, what appears to be, exceptionally large dinner plates. Chargers, sometimes called an underplate or service plate, can set the tone for your entire look. This is the one piece in your setting that will stay on your table throughout most of the meal, and it is the item that will be most visible to your guests once they are seated.

“I don’t know what to say when I enter a room full of strangers!” I hear this quite often from people, including some you would never suspect had any type of social anxiety. Knowing how to engage in small talk is an essential tool we need to increase our soft skills. But before we learn a few tips, we need to change our psychology.

A duck on water. On top, it appears to glide gracefully over the pond, but underneath you see webbed feet paddling energetically towards its destination. When hosting a party, we may feel more like the duck under the water than the duck on top of the water. Throwing a gathering takes time and can be stressful, but our goal should be to reduce as much of these feelings as possible. Is this realistic? It can be if we get our priorities right.

When I read the words, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” I am reminded that as a spouse and a parent, our homes and families come under our leadership. We cannot control whether those under our roof accept Christ, but we can control how we act within those four walls.

Have you attended a party where you were enjoying (or maybe not enjoying) a conversation with the people around you, but you needed to remove yourself to speak to someone else? How do we graciously extricate ourselves without seeming rude. Here are a few tips to help you exit a conversation with style.

4. No one wants to hear your conversation. When you must speak on the phone in public, remove yourself and take your call in private. If you cannot find privacy, step at least ten feet away so you minimize the chance of disturbing others. No matter how private we try to make our call, our body language speaks volumes. Patrons enjoying a dinner out do not want to be disturbed watching someone throw their arms around while arguing on their phone.

​I am convinced we need to start thinking of our phones as a human persona. I do not care if you make it look like your spouse, mother, or college roommate. If we were to add eyes, a nose, hair, and a big smile to the front of our phones, we might begin making the connection that every time we converse with someone via text or email, we are allowing them to become a part of whatever we are doing.

  • Prostrate on the ground praying earnestly for those in his life.

  • Living on 3 hours sleep for months to build something special to improve the lives of thousands.

  • In all his busyness, never making me feel I come in second. Even when it means sacrificing himself.

  • Alina Gersib

Severed Beef Wellington Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


I try not to pick favorites often, but my goodness, this meal is a new favorite. The flavors play off of each other in the most wonderful way. From the tanginess of the mustard to the earthiness of the mushrooms and the crunch of the puff pastry, this meal gets 10s across the board. Both my fiancé and I went back for seconds, we could not get enough. A favorite show of ours is Gordon Ramsey Uncharted. If I received this meal in one of his restaurants I would be absolutely blown away, that is how good it is. The best part? It is not too difficult to prepare.


If you follow the recipe closely and plan things out well, it will flow seamlessly. A few suggestions, start the mushrooms early as they need to chill for an hour before being placed on the puff pastry. Also, the puff pastry takes about 40 minutes to thaw so make sure to pull it out early.


I started by making the Mushroom Duxelle. While it was chilling I washed all of the dishes I had accumulated from the mushrooms. When I hit 40 minutes left on the mushrooms I took the puff pastry out to thaw and measured out all of the ingredients for the next steps. After prepping, searing, and covering the meat with mustard, I was ready to start assembling the ingredients on the thawed puff pastry. Once the beef Wellington was in the oven, I washed up all of the dishes and started making the sauce and a side of asparagus. With working while things were cooking (or chilling) everything was ready right at the same time for this delicious meal!


Severed Beef Wellington



Severed Beef Wellington
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.32MB

Makes 5 servings

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Cooking Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

*2 pounds beef tenderloin

*1/2 cup yellow mustard

*2 cups Mushroom Duxelle (recipe follows)

*Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed and rolled out 10” x 10” x 1/8”

*Salt and pepper, to taste

*1 whole egg, beaten, for egg wash

*1/4 cup olive oil, for searing


Preparation:

*Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste, and sear to golden brown on all sides in a pan on high heat.

*Take it off the heat and reserve on the side.

*Preheat oven to 400F.

*Spread the Mushroom Duxelle over the prepared puff pastry making sure to leave 2 inches free on all sides.

*Brush the egg wash on this 2 inch free space of pastry.

*Brush the mustard all over the seared tenderloin, and place tenderloin on top of one end of the prepared puff pastry.

*Now, carefully roll meat and dough, making sure it is nicely tucked in. Keep rolling until meat is fully incased. Pinch and press the ends to seal meat, making sure there are no openings or gaps on either end.

*Carefully place meat/dough on a sheet pan and brush egg wash on all sides.

*Put in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, then remove and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

*Slice in 1 to 1 1/2 inch thickness.

*Accompany with grilled asparagus and Marsala Wine Sauce.


Mushroom Duxelle (for Beef Wellington)



Mushroom Duxelle
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.32MB

Makes 5 servings

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Cooking Time: 35 Minutes


Ingredients:

*2 pounds mushrooms, minced in a food processor

*1 cup onion, finely chopped

*2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced

*1 tablespoon butter

*2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

*1/4 cup dry white wine

*1 teaspoon salt


Preparation:

*In a large sauté pan, place the butter, onion and garlic and cook on medium heat until onion is translucent.

*Add the minced mushrooms, rosemary, wine and salt.

*Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is completely dry. (Mixture should have absolutely no

moisture.) This entire process should take about 15 to 20 minutes on low to medium heat. (It took mine about 35 minutes but my pan does not have a huge surface area)

*Turn heat off, spread onto a sheet pan, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

*Mushroom Duxelle is ready to use.

Marsala Wine Sauce



Marsala Wine Sauce (for Beef Wellington)
.
Download • 2.32MB

Makes 1 Cup

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes


Ingredients:

*2 tablespoons olive oil

*2 tablespoons fresh onion, grated

*1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

*1 cup Marsala wine

*2 cups beef or chicken stock

*2 tablespoons cornstarch slurry, or as needed for thickening (A cornstarch slurry is equal parts water and cornstarch mixed together. I combined 2 tbsp of each and used almost all of it.)

*2 tablespoons butter

*Salt & pepper, to taste


Preparation:

*In a medium saucepan heat the oil to low smoking point.

*Add the onion and garlic, cook until translucent.

*Turn heat to high and add the wine.

*Reduce to half, then add the stock and reduce to half again.

*Turn the heat back to medium and add cornstarch, whisking as needed to lightly thicken the sauce.

*Season to taste and add the butter.

*Whisk to melt butter in the sauce.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib