Twist Your Puff Pastry with Chocolate & Jam

sweet puff pastry twists

sweet puff pastry twists

And almonds.

I love playing with puff pastry dough. I’ve used store-bought (in the freezer section) often. Making your own puff pastry dough is a major project–one that I usually have no time to do. (But try it at least once…it’s fun and a great learning experience as to what goes into the stuff–think BUTTER!).

I’ve used Pepperidge Farm brand, Dufour, and Trader Joe (which they only sell during holiday season — why is that? I don’t know). And they all work beautifully.

Here is a twisted recipe. You can try this twist with a lot of fillings. I used to make twists like these using biscuit dough and filling it with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Then glazing the finished twists with vanilla icing. A kind of cinnamon bun in a twist.

But here’s how this recipe goes (we did it in class, too).

Roll out one puff pastry sheet of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it till it’s about 30 percent bigger than it started out. Keep the rectangular shape. Spread your favorite jam in a thin layer on top.

Meg & Tim making pastry twists

Meg & Tim making pastry twists

Meg spreading the jam

Meg spreading the jam

Now cut the dough in half lengthwise (I use a fluted cutting wheel). Separate the pieces a bit. On one half sprinkle mini-chocolate chips. Just in a single layer and you don’t have to fill ever spot. Place about a 1/2 cup of sliced almonds in a plastic bag. Roll a rolling pin over them crushing them into small pieces. Sprinkle the small pieces of almond on top of the mini chocolate chips. Place the half with just the jam over the other half face down (so the 2 jams sides are touching) lined up evenly. Now cut across the shorter end into 3/4-inch strips (again, I use the fluted wheel).

Give each strip a double twist and place them on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet.

ready to bake

ready to bake

Continue with the rest of the dough. Egg wash the strips. Sprinkle sparkling sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes until golden. Voila!

pastry twists in Kodachrome

pastry twists in Kodachrome

Next time I’ll show you my fav savory pastry twist…with olive paste, sun-dried tomatoes and sesame seeds. But first: dessert!

 

Good Old-Fashioned Lasagna

Good Old Fashioned Lasagna

Good Old Fashioned Lasagna

Sometimes I’m surprised that people need a recipe to make lasagna. Just shows how sheltered I am. How Italian food is part of my genes. How silly I can be.

Lasagna? You just make it! You need a recipe?

To be honest, I have made all kinds of lasagna from recipes. True Bolognese style. All white lasagna. Polenta lasagna. Spinach and vegetable lasagna. Butternut Squash lasagna. But in my cooking class the other day we made a good old-fashioned lasagna (with a few modern perks). It was so delicious! I wondered why did I ever stray from the classic?

Okay. What’s classic?

Classic is what I grew up with. A classic lasagna has: the pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, and tomato sauce. That’s the classic. But here’s my “modern” perks.

Turn the tomato sauce into a sausage sauce (like a meat sauce but use broken up sausage instead of ground beef. why not? it’s great). Let’s add some sliced hard-boiled egg to give it that Napolitana spin (or so my Sicilian-leaning background labels it). And instead of just plopping the ricotta as is, let’s add a little milk to it. Season it with salt and pepper. Make it smooth, looser, so it spreads more easily. The mozzarella? Not slices, not strips. Let’s grate it so it melts lightly and evenly. AND instead of buying lasagna pasta that you boil, use the no-boil which in the end tastes like fresh-made pasta (yes, it does!).

There. My classic lasagna. With some additions and tweaks. And it’s got the “oh man, this is REALLY GREAT” vibe.

Here are the details. Make it! Let me know how you like it. Grazie!

Lasagna w Sausage Sauce & Hard-Boiled Eggs

For the Sauce:

1 1/2 or 2 lbs. Italian sausage, meat removed from casings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, small dice

½ cup dry white wine

3- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes

salt & pepper to taste

For Lasagna:

1 lb. no-boil Lasagna pasta

1 lb. mozzarella, grated on shredder side of a box grater

1 lb. ricotta., mixed with a ¼ cup of milk, seasoned with salt & pepper

6 hard-boiled large eggs, cut into thin slices

½ lb grated cheese, parmigiano, pecorino or mixture

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the Sauce: Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large sauce pan. Break up the sausage meat into small pieces. Cook until browned. You may have to do it in batches. Add the onion and cook until it softens. Add the wine and let evaporate. Add the tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Make the Lasagna: Spoon a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of a pan that’s about 9″ X 13” and at least 3-inches deep. Place 3-4 pasta strips  in one layer on top of sauce. Coat each pasta strip well with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella. Spoon dollops of ricotta. Place a few rings of egg. Sprinkle some grated cheese and some black pepper. And a light drizzle of sauce. Repeat 3-4 more times until all the pasta sheets and ingredients have been used. Sprinkle some mozzarella and grated cheese on top. Drizzle some sauce.

Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden and the lasagna is bubbling. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. It’s even better the next day.

Lasagna all prepared and ready to bake

Lasagna all prepared and ready to bake

 

10 Kitchen Handy-Dandy Deeds

kitchen

kitchen

I’m sure we all do it. Everyday. A million little shortcuts, tricks, helpful handy deeds in the kitchen. I stopped for a minute to see if I can catch a few of them speeding by. You know…they just happen. You forget you even do them. Try to take note of your handy-dandy kitchen deeds. Let me know yours. We can trade.

(In no particular order):

1. Preserve your green delicates longer.

undo the scallions

undo the scallions

Did you ever have a bunch of scallions or a bunch of parsley start to get all mushy and wet? When you first get them home, before putting them away, take off the rubber bands and twist ties. When they live loose in their bag (while stored) they don’t mush up so fast. (And I collect the rubber bands, which come in handy for all kinds of things.)

2. Magically use less olive oil.

2 olive oil bottles

2 olive oil bottles

A lot of the time we want to drizzle olive oil. Not POUR it. The large pour spouts in most store-bought bottles are pretty wide. So you get a river when you really want a steady creek. Those pretty olive oil decanter bottles you see all the time solve this asap (Trader Joe has millions of them).

olive oil bottles at TJ Maxx

olive oil bottles at TJ Maxx

Pour spouts might vary from one to the next. Some thinner than a drizzle; others just drizzle. So I keep two bottles. One pours faster than the other. I grab the faster one to coat a sauté pan. And the slower-pour for drizzling on top of food.

3. Slice shrimp in half for MORE SHRIMP.

cut shrimp

cut shrimp

Oh so tricky. I love this. Slice them in half lengthwise. Then add them to your dish (sauce? sauté? shrimp cocktail?). Half of a shrimp is just as satisfying to pop in your mouth as a whole shrimp. So you get to multiply them, distributing more shrimp pieces throughout your dish. Ain’t it the truth.

4. Scissors. The hidden hero in the kitchen.

scissor parsley

scissor parsley

Quick and easy. Snip snip snip. Fast-minced parsley. Or almost anything. There’s an ease and child-like play to using scissors. Like you’re getting away with something. Like it’s not supposed to be so easy. I cut sausage, butter, cooked spaghetti, pizza. Any other ideas?

5. Soft butter takes time.

soft butter

soft butter

I leave it out overnight. It’s ready in the morning when I want to bake. And it doesn’t mind leaving its refrigerated home for a dark evening on the kitchen counter. In fact, that stick of butter is on an adventure. It knows what’s coming and can dream about it all night. Transformation into the butterfly of a cake (or some other luscious starring role).

6. Stop your cutting board from running away.

cutting board with damp paper towel

cutting board with damp paper towel

Chasing your board around the table while your hand is busily chopping with a knife is probably not a great way to come up with more ingredients for your new inventive dish. Place a damp paper towel under the board. Keeps it from moving. The photo shows a transparent (yet opaque) plastic cutting board with a square of wet paper towel under it. But same tip works for wood, heavy plastic, etc.

7. Another way to avoid burns.

pot holder alert

pot holder alert

I’m a frittata cooker. Almost all leftovers can be made into a frittata. The last step of the dish is putting the frittata under the broiler. In its frying pan. Of course, when it’s golden and lovely, you take it out from under the broiler. And, of course, you use pot holders to take it out. And then you place the pan on the stove while you go and get a serving platter. LEAVE THE POT HOLDERS ON THE HANDLE. So when you come back and attempt to move a frying pan that you always hold by the handle when sautéing (since you FORGET that this time it’s SUPER hot) the pot holders remind you. (This is very nice of them and I’ve often thanked them for this service.)

8.  Put some salt in the cellar.

salt cellar

salt cellar

We’re always shaking salt from a salt shaker. It’s a nice way to get a gentle sprinkle on food. (And I am certainly a salter while cooking.) But what about when you need a teaspoon of salt? Or a tablespoon? Or when you need a “healthy pinch?” Hence, the salt cellar. It’s at the ready with a small vat of salt for you to poke into. Years ago when I first became fascinated with salt cellars I searched for the perfect one (accumulating non-perfect ones, too). I’ve since lost many from that collection but, in addition to my everyday Le Creuset salt cellar bought at TJ Maxx for a bargain, I still have one that I bought at a Paris flea market.

"sel" cellar

“sel” cellar

It’s got a hinged wooden door on top so your salt is safe from falling sugar, or fruit flies, or dust, or excited spattering stovetop oil. Now I use that one to store tea bags.

9. In the pasta pot: oil and water don’t mix.

IMG_5274

pasta boiling

Don’t do it. You don’t need to. It just gets you some oil-coated American-style pasta. Nah. Spaghetti will not stick while boiling. You don’t need to add oil to the water. Here’s how:

pasta dropped in pot

pasta dropped in pot

I hold the whole bunch in my hand over the center of the boiling water and place the spaghetti upright into the center. The strands will splay more evenly to the sides that way. Then right away get a long wooden fork (or longest fork you have) and poke into the strands, spinning them like you would if you were eating them. Poke in different places and spin to loosen them from each other. This gets easier to do once the noodles soften into the water. Keep poking and spinning now and then until the water comes back to a boil. Now the spaghetti will stay separated as it boils (and you can poke and spin a few more times before done).

10. Not useful. Just pretty

doily dust

doily dust

I just love this trick. When your cake is done and cooled and you’re not going to ice it…just want to dust it with powdered sugar, first place a paper doily on top. I use a small sieve with powdered sugar in it and tap it to dust the whole thing with a good layer of sugar. Then hold the doily with your fingertips on each side and lift straight up. Voila!

I’ve done this in class and students LOVE it. One student came back the next time with a gift: a packet of plastic doilies with many shapes and designs — a Martha Stewart doily-pack. So you can re-use them.

chocolate w doily dust

chocolate w doily dust

Stay tuned for more Hand-Dandy Deeds!

 

The Art (& Heart) of Artichokes

medium-sized artichokes

medium-sized artichokes

I wish I could remember the first time I understood an artichoke. It must have been early on because you would think that first encounter would be memorable. I should ask my mom: when did I first eat an artichoke?

And what a name. Artie Choke.  (Remind me to use that for a character in a story or play I will write.) And in Italian it’s even more fun: carciofo. Either way it’s the thistle I love.

How many times have you wondered: who ever figured out how to eat it? What other food do you throw most of it away? While you’re busy getting at its “core” which is its delectable gold? (Well, okay, a clam comes to mind.)

In my Italian-American family we had 2 ways of making them. Braised-boiled plain with garlic and parsley.

plain cooked artichokes

plain cooked artichokes

Or stuffed with flavored breadcrumb packed between the leaves. And braise-boiled.  We thought of the plain style as Sicilian (my Dad would only eat them that way). And the other style…Napolitana? Maybe.

stuffed artichokes

stuffed artichokes

I used to like just plain. Now I like stuffed. But frankly, I’ll eat them any way you can imagine. Have you had the Roman Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish-style)? The artichokes are smashed flat and deep-fried. If you ever have the chance… ORDER THAT.

How to begin:

Cut off the top third…and the stem at the bottom. I often use a large bread knife to get through the tough leaves.

cut off the top of the artichoke

cut off the top of the artichoke

Snip the outer leaves that have thorns so you don’t get “stuck.”

snip off the thorns

snip off the thorns

I rinse them under cool water while trying to open them a little with some gentle pulls. Then shake them out to get rid of the drip-drops. Here’s my current favorite stuffing: panko, minced garlic, minced parsley, raisins and pine nuts.

stuffing ingredients

stuffing ingredients

Mix that up and drizzle a little olive oil to moisten. Season with salt and pepper.

filling

filling

Pile a handful of stuffing on top then pull open leaves here and there getting the mixture to drop in. Or just push it in. But go easy, you don’t want to break the leaves. It’s a balancing act. Open the leaves…don’t break the leaves. The enigma of artichoke-stuffing.

stuffing artichokes

stuffing artichokes

Set them upright in a pot with a little heft to it (they will be simmering for a while). Add water till about halfway up the artichokes. Then drizzle olive oil on top of them and some for the water, too. Season the whole thing with salt.

artichokes in the pot

artichokes in the pot

Heat till the liquid starts boiling, then lower to a simmer. I set a cover on askew. Cook for 40 minutes to an hour. If you can pull a leaf off easily they are done. I like the hearts to get real tender.

Alternate tip. My mom is not a big garlic-in-your-food fan. She’ll smash a clove to start a tomato sauce, but then take it out before serving (it’s a common Italian move). So for less garlic impact, instead of adding minced garlic to the stuffing, just add some crushed cloves to the cooking water.

Don’t know how to eat an artichoke? Here’s a primer (I wish I could draw diagrams). Pick off the leaves (one by one), scrape off the bit of heart-meat at the bottom tip with your teeth. Yum. You can’t eat the whole leaf because it’s tough. As you get deeper into the artichoke the leaves get more tender and you can eat the whole leaf. Continue until you reach the spiky small leaves at the center. Scrape them away along with the fuzzy “choke” covering the heart at the bottom. Then you have the heart. You gotta have heart. And you especially gotta eat this whole entire heart.

Also. Those stems you cut off? If you want to get meticulous, there’s a little bit of heart in those, too. It’s the white center.

there's even heart in the stem

there’s even heart in the stem

You can trim the stringy green all around the white center and drop the trimmed stem into the cooking liquid surrounded by its big brothers.

heart in the stem

heart in the stem

It’s just an added hit of yummy heart.

When I shared an apartment with my pal, Ginger, back in my theatre days, we ate artichokes all the time. She’s from California so she was as artichoke-crazy as me (you know, Castroville CA is the artichoke capital of the US). Her version was to boil them, then dip the leaves in melted butter as you nibbled. That’s another happy choice.

Once we drove into NYC to see a Broadway play (we lived in Huntington and worked at PAF Playhouse). Since we were budget-conscious we brought our dinner with us to eat in the car before the show. I have a dim memory-short-movie of us in the front seat of her VW van, in the dark, parked on a city street, hungrily scraping the leaves of our artichokes. But I have no idea what play we went to see.

at PAF Playhouse-my stage managing days

at PAF Playhouse-my stage managing days

Backstage at PAF Playhouse with 2 other PAF-ites: Christine & Bill. (Me, on the right.) Quite likely I had an artichoke for dinner.

Fav Nashville Eats: Beacon Light Tea Room (Bon Aqua)

On the Road

Beacon Light Tea Room w Duane

Last Sunday, when the first spring air breezed on by, we decided to drive miles away. In the opposite direction of downtown. We wanted to be in the middle of lots of new spring greenery, feel the warm open air, trace the avenues of not-our-usual Sunday. And have breakfast.

So we went to the Beacon Light Tea Room in Hickman County.

Beacon Light Teahouse

Beacon Light Tea Room

We’d been there once before a few years ago. On a Sunday. For breakfast. It’s a drive but the ride is smooth on Highway 100 and there’s enough to entertain out the windows along the way.

For us Sunday breakfast is around noon or 1 o’ clock. And we usually want eggs.

The Beacon Light Tearoom is the place for eggs. They serve them all day long with their full menu of serious eats. The Beacon is also the place for biscuits. And for the trimmings that go with eggs. Like bacon. Ham. Sausage patties. Hash browns. And homemade jam for biscuits.

Beacon Biscuits

Beacon Biscuits

What I love about the biscuits is their saltiness. Yep. They got a saltiness. Which makes the jam you put on them *POP* with yum-ful taste.

Beacon Biscuits w Jam

Beacon Biscuits w Jam

Scrambled eggs are rich. Almost creamy. My plate of breakfast arrived from Central Casting. A movie star.

Beacon Scrambled Eggs

Beacon Scrambled Eggs

Duane’s eggs over easy with sawmill gravy and sausage patties beamed happily… congratulating him for requesting this perfect combo.

w sawmill gravy

w sawmill gravy

The Beacon Light Tea Room started out in 1936 across the street from where a lighthouse stood to guide prop planes around the area. The Beacon thanks the Loveless for following in their footsteps and keeping up the country cooking tradition.

The Beacon Story

The Beacon Story

The Beacon Light Tea Room is the smaller, less Disney version of the Loveless. It’s sincerely un-fancy; authentically homegrown.

sign at the door

sign at the door

road sign

road sign

And, for us, a perfect destination when the wheels of the car need to roll around new territory. And when our brains need to be swept of cobwebs. And when our palates are longing for straightforward delicious.

on the road

on the road

along the road

along the road

(The Inevitable) Sausage and Peppers

sausage and peppers. you know you love it.

sausage and peppers. you know you love it.

It’s the quintessential Italian-American classic. Grilled, broiled, or pan-fried Italian sausages, with sautéed peppers and onions. The flavor (and the aroma) are exactly what it means to be Italian-American. It’s the “national” dish of the immigrants from Italy (especially Southern Italy) who made their home here in the “New” World.

For me, sausage and peppers originate on Mulberry Street during the San Gennaro Festival. The length of Mulberry Street is blocked to traffic. Arches of red and green lights shimmer over the pavement. Sidewalks are lined with overflowing food counters cooking and selling pizza, zeppole, cannoli, calzone, and sausage and peppers.

San Gennaro photo by Ed Yourdan via Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/15402247580/in/set-72157648479562970

San Gennaro photo by Ed Yourdan via Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/15402247580/in/set-72157648479562970

I think I must have been a teenager when I first pushed through those crowds. A group of us with a bottle of red wine in a brown paper bag in tow. Of course, I’ve been back many times throughout my NYC life, but in my later years it was actually a festival to avoid. Crowded. Touristy. The same ole, same ole.

San Gennaro photo by Ed Yourdan via Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/15402247580/in/set-72157648479562970

San Gennaro photo by Ed Yourdan via Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/15402247580/in/set-72157648479562970

But that doesn’t stop memories from glowing. And the sense-memory of downtown NYC air permeated with sizzling sausage, peppers and onions on a flattop–the ghost-taste of San Gennaro–gets me right into the kitchen to make some at home. An irresistible “gotta-have-it” urge.

When the urge strikes, I want this dish to cook fast. Here’s the fastest way I know how.

Slice 2-3 sweet peppers– red, green, orange, yellow, what you prefer. I think green has always been the standard, but I’m a fan of the other colors (green peppers have a lot more punch). And slice 2 medium onions. We’re looking for thin wedge-like slices.

cut up peppers & onions

cut up peppers & onions

Saute in a large saute pan with a little olive oil until softened. About 10-15 minutes. You don’t want it to cook forever because the peppers and onions will really start melting and attempt to disappear. Season with salt & pepper.

Meanwhile, get the oven to about 400 degrees. Poke 4-5 sausages in a few spots with a paring knife. Place them on a foil-lined sheet pan and roast until browned well on each side.

Sausages half-way browned

Sausages half-way browned

When they are cooked through, cut them in half with a diagonal cut. Add them to the already softened peppers and onions…

sautéed peppers and onions

sautéed peppers and onions

Let the sausages hang out in there for about 5 minutes or so (as you sauté on medium heat) until everyone gets acquainted and the flavors decide to get married. Then you’re ready to indulge. Of course, on Mulberry Street they will pile this concoction on a big Italian hero roll. I take the trying-to-avoid-bread-so-I-can-still-fit-into-my-jeans route. And just eat this wonder on a dish. Up to you!

sausage and peppers without the roll

sausage and peppers without the roll

My Tasting Spoons

my tasting spoons

my tasting spoons

I never intended to have a gaggle of tasting spoons. They just sprouted into a collection over the years.

I’m such a fan of “little.” Small bowls, small plates, small glasses. I like bites rather than gulps. Espresso in a demitasse cup rather than a mug of American. And that’s just where this started. I had 2 demitasse spoon collections. These spoons were my go-to tools for tasting or stirring small amounts. In stores and food markets and flea markets I always get drawn into sets of small spoons. And forks. Those seafood forks or appetizer forks. Everything seems to sparkle more when smaller. And sparkle cuter.

Now in my cooking classes, the little spoons and forks are engaged throughout class to taste our concoctions. Students have been inspired to start their own collections.

Of course over the years I’ve lost a few here and there so now my assortment is a ragtag mismatched bunch. Here are the last remnants from my first two demitasse spoon sets.

my oldest demitasse spoons

my oldest demitasse spoons

I think my mom had given them to me. The one with the red color in the handle was part of a set where each spoon had a different dot of color. I love these little guys but now only have one. (Do they fall down the drain of the sink?) The longer one is my favorite for making a quick vinaigrette (drizzle a few rounds of olive oil in a small bowl, add some salt & pepper, a few tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice – or both – and about 2 tablespoons of grated parmigiano- whisk vigorously with a little spoon until combined).

I think these colorful plastic spoons are meant for ice cream.

plastic ice cream spoons

plastic ice cream spoons

There was a set of six originally, but somehow three got spirited away — my favs are lost: the red, the yellow, the dark blue. They’re from that fun store that used to be in Grand Central Station (can’t remember the name) with whisks that had doll heads and staplers shaped like crocodiles. When I last lived in NY I lived in Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx and took the commuter rail at Grand Central to get home. While waiting for my train, I usually browsed this store, or ate a slice of pizza from Two Boots (thin with a crunch of corn meal).

These are plastic, too, and from Eataly in NYC.

spoons from Eatlaly

spoons from Eatlaly

There used to be six of them (where DO these spoons get lost to??). They’re so tiny but I find myself grabbing them first for tasting the tomato sauce or the crazy grits I make every Monday morning (crazy because they’re filled with an assortment of chopped leftovers) or stirring my caffe latte in the morning. My mom has a set of red ones. She still has all six.

When the spoons run out in class (because we taste, then throw the spoon in the sink) we move on to small forks. This is the only fork left from a set I bought at a flea market in Madrid, Spain.

fork from Madrid, Spain

fork from Madrid, Spain

I spent a week in Madrid after doing a stint with an archaeological team in Burgos, Spain. We were digging up the stage of an ancient Roman theatre. In the Madrid flea market I bought a pretty belt that was several looped chains together (perfect for the belly dance classes I used to take), a set of these tiny forks, and a set of tiny spoons. Only the fork remains. (I can’t seem to find the belt either.)

I love these scalloped-bowled spoons from an antique store on Cape Cod.

scalloped spoons

scalloped spoons

I don’t use these for tasting. They come to the table to accompany condiment dishes, like the extra grated cheese for pasta or the arugula-pine nut pesto to go with the pork tenderloin or cocktail sauce for shrimp. There was always just the two.

Not sure where these two came from but I love their soup-spoon-like shape.

soup spoon-shaped

soup spoon-shaped

There’s a restaurant store in town. Half the warehouse is filled with the contents of old restaurants. The other half, new appliances and tools. I got this set for just $2 there!

restaurant store set

restaurant store set

These forks were from TJ Maxx…

TJ Maxx forks

TJ Maxx forks

And these my mom gave me a million years ago…

seafood forks

seafood forks

I put them out when we’re having clams on the half shell, but no one uses them, they just slurp.

Speaking of TJ Maxx. I find all kinds of Italian imports in their housewares section. Beautifully painted ceramic dishes and bowls. And even pasta tools and colanders. I found these Italian tiny wooden spoons at TJ Maxx.

Italian wooden spoons

Italian wooden spoons

They had a tag in Italian telling of the type of wood and where they’re from (tag is gone and I don’t remember!), and a rustic string that held them all together by the holes in the handles.

My friend Peggy Cosgrave gave me the little cauldron where I keep the spoons.

Peggy's cauldron

Peggy’s cauldron

It doesn’t have a flat bottom so it tends to rock from side to side. But now that my spoon-fork collection barely fits in there, the copper cauldron stays pretty steady.

Oh, and I just found these at the dollar store yesterday. Packs of tiny spoons and tiny forks.

dollar store spoons and forks

dollar store spoons and forks

They’re really thin plastic made to look like silver flatware. I won’t add these to the collection but they’ll get used somehow. They just look so cute in the package!