Behind the Lace Curtains-Tuesday Table Setting No. 42, Tuscan Retreat, 2020 Table Setting Challenge #2 and Bonus Split Pea Soup Recipe!

Winter can be cold and brutal here in North Central Montana, and in January we received the coldest weather so far this season. On a day like this, hot soup is always the perfect meal.

It's no secret I'm a soup eater. I have several books on soups and stews, plus clippings from newspapers or recipes jotted down on scraps of paper. The same goes for casseroles, but more on those later!

For this Monday dinner and the second in the 2020 Table Setting challenge, I decided to try English Pub Split Pea Soup with some fresh rye bread baked by hand at Grateful Bread in downtown Havre, which is just across the street and through the parking lot from The Cottage. Recipe is as follows:

1 ham bone (I used one from last Easter's ham
1 1/3 c split peas
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 c water
12 oz. beer (I used a Scotch Ale)
1 T English Mustard (Coleman's)
1/2 c 2% milk (I used whole milk and it worked fine)
1/4 c minced parsley (I used Italian flat leaf)
1/2 t kosher salt (I did not use because of the salt in the ham)
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Place ham bone, vegetables, water, beer and mustard in a Crock Pot for 5-6 hours or until the peas are tender. Remove bone and cut up meat. If you want, puree some of the soup with an immersion blender (I did the first time and it was good, but didn't the second time and it was good, too, your choice). Add the ham and the rest of the ingredients, tempering the milk with a little of the broth to bring it to temperature as you don't want the milk to curdle.

I found this recipe while searching online for diabetic soup recipes, so to make it totally diabetic friendly (I am a diabetic), use the 2% milk. I didn't have any on hand and the temperature was hovering around ten below with the wind at about 15-20 mph, it was just too darned cold to go to the store for only one thing. For diabetics (if made per recipe instructions): 1 cup per serving; 141 calories, 1 g fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 193 mg sodium; 25 g carbs, 6 g sugar; 9 g fiber, exchange- 1 1/2 starch, 1 lean meat.

The dinnerware is Tuscan Retreat by Better Homes and Gardens. The dinner plate is more like a big pasta bowl, which is why I bought four of them. I thought they would make good "go with" pasta bowls for Italian Villa. The table setting is simple; just the bowls (Wal-Mart), my everyday flatware (Woolworth's), tablecloth is a hemstitched linen look one I bought at Walmart years ago, napkins in Yellow in the Smithson pattern by Excel in a "store shelf" fold (more on that later, Herberger's), antique yellow banded lusterware plates for the bread (thrift store), Central Park drinkware by Anchor Hocking (Wal-Mart), the GurglePot in gold for water (Pizzazz, Great Falls, MT), Fiesta P86 Yellow bulb style salt and pepper shakers (Dillard's, Helena, MT) and the rye bread (Grateful Bread) on an antique light yellow oval platter by W. S. George (thrift store). Centerpiece consisted of my Spanish candelabra (thrift store) and Thanksgiving/Harvest centerpiece bowl by Waterford (eBay).

Tuscan Retreat, 2020 Table Setting Challenge #2

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