Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Table Talk - Autumn Apple Centerpiece

I love my new centerpiece.  I found it on Pinterest, a new website I've joined...and yet another internet distraction in my life!  Anyway, it is good for ideas of all kinds, and this is an example!

A couple weeks ago my husband and I traveled to beautiful Hood River, Oregon to take in the Heirloom Apple Festival.  It was a wonderful day...full of fresh fruit, gorgeous scenery and great food!  After stuffing ourselves with cherrywood-smoked ribs, Hood River pear coleslaw and cider baked beans, we walked along the river on a woodsy path deep in crunchy, colorful leaves.  We took lots of pictures on my old broken camera and Jeff's cell phone.  We toured the Apple Valley Country store and bought a pint of the very last picking of raspberries and sampled all kinds of jams and apple varieties.  We took a whirl on the tire swing hanging from a big maple tree, then we drove up the mountain and down the other side into the valley and headed to the apple orchard.  We picked a big metal bucketful of apples and pears fresh from the tree and ate yet more food...apple cider donuts and one of those fresh-picked apples.  From there we drove a winding road up to a view point where we should have been able to admire both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, but they were both wearing a thick cloak of cloud that day, even though the weather itself was quite warm and mostly sunny.  Then back down, down, down into the quaint little town of Hood River for a coffee and shopping as we walked up the main street and back down.  I picked up some unique fall napkins for my Thanksgiving table at one cute shop and picked up ideas at another.  We decided to make one more stop before hittting the highway, so we purposefully crossed the highway and drove down to the mighty Columbia River.  I love the Columbia River Gorge...always have, even before Jeff proposed to me there beside a romantically lit waterfall on a blossom-scented spring night many years ago.  We took more pictures and admired the view from the banks of the river standing in the fierce wind until we were too chilly, so we climbed into the car, which by then felt good to sit and be warm, and enjoyed the rest of our coffee and conversation on the drive back to Newberg.  Once home, I made an amazingly delicious Bavarian Apple Torte from those perfect apples and then kept the rest of them in a box in the cool garage to enjoy through the fall season.  I used a bunch of them for this centerpiece, and when I am done with fall decor and move on to Christmas, I will eat them...no waste!

The week after the apple festival was my foraging foray.  It was then that I gathered so many colorful leaves and berries.  They too went into my centerpiece.

So here it is, the culmination of two wonderfully woodsy, fun-filled fall days, on my table to enjoy all through the autumn season.

So I set the table for Sunday dinner and served cranberry-ginger pork roast, smashed Yukon Gold potatoes and parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower with sesame, warm kalamatta olive bread, and salad with paper-thin pear, crumbled bleu cheese, green onion and maple-glazed hazelnuts.  Dessert was amazing, if I say so myself!  It was a pumpkin roll, which is a super-moist pumpkin cake filled with a deliciously rich cream cheese filling, rolled into a log and sliced to form a beautiful spiral.  Everybody went crazy over that one, so I may just do it again for Thanksgiving and include the recipe and photos here!

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