Entertaining

Centerpieces & Meal Service

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Oh we love our tablescapes during the holidays don’t we?  I know I do.  Most of the year, you’ll find a simple bowl of fruit and some fresh flowers on our dining room table but during the holidays, like many of you, I set it with a pretty centerpiece.  Friends appreciate it, and an attractive centerpiece on a dining room table is a great way to creatively get into the spirit of the season. 

bhg fall centerpiece

Better Homes & Gardens

Beckie from Washington sent me this email with a great question about what to do with decorative centerpieces when you’re serving guests a meal:

“Hey Kate. This is one of those questions that I think a lot of people (ok me) have always wondered how to do gracefully but seem too afraid to ask. Real life just doesn’t work the way you see it in a magazine, so here goes.

You go to all the trouble and creativity to set a beautiful table for a special occasion, you set up a nice well thought out centerpiece and you bring out your best dishes and set up the place settings and your nice stemware and everything looks perfect . . . You’ve cooked your meal and now everyone is sitting at the table ready and waiting with baited breath, but wait… there is nowhere to put the food as you have filled your table with beautiful things. How do you deal with that?

Do you set up a buffet?  Remove the centerpiece? Fill each plate and serve each person like a waiter? Am I the only one who doesn’t know how to do this right? Awaiting you answer for the holiday season.  ~ Beckie”

Hey Beckie, great question! I don’t believe there is any one way to “do it right”. There are several ways to work around your table decorations during a meal, it just depends on your preferred method of serving guests.

When it comes to how to serve your meal and where to put the food, you have a few options. You can clear your centerpiece and make room for the food on the table, family style. You can set up a location for the food elsewhere such as a sideboard, and serve buffet style. Or you can choose the formality of serving your guests on a plate one by one. 

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How To Brunch with Simplicity and Style

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Ah, brunch.  Truly, nothing brings to mind relaxation on a weekend morning more than the thought of a leisurely brunch with friends.  If I’m ever on vacation on a Sunday, one question I always ask is “Where should we head for brunch in this town?”   Even at home, and especially at Easter, one of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer is host a brunch. 

Today, Courtney Lake is back for his monthly contribution on the topic of how to stage a simple and stylish brunch for your friends and family.  

Please welcome Courtney on the subject of How To Brunch in Style!

“Summer is the season of alfresco dining.  Simple, easy and care free meals with friends and family at a leisurely pace are one of the season’s little perks.  I can’t imagine a meal better suited for this type of entertaining than brunch -  that wonderful combination of breakfast and lunch.  Brunch is the perfect opportunity to break out of your formal entertaining rut!  Here are a few quick and simple steps to creating an effortless brunch for six on a budget.

MENU PLANNING

Look at the people coming to your brunch and ask yourself a few important questions.  What time does the brunch start ?   The general rule is the later the brunch, the hardier the menu.  Do any of your guests have dietary restrictions?  Food allergies, low-sodium and gluten-free diets are becoming more prevalent, so think about dishes that can hit multiple categories. 

How much food should you prepare?  I go by the rule of having two additional servings for each dish. Since the number I typically expect for brunch is six, I plan that the dishes should feed eight.  It guarantees that those bigger eaters in the group will have plenty, and also that you will not be stuck with a fridge full of leftovers.

When I serve brunch at my own home, I love using this menu for its ease and ability to please a variety of palates:

1) Baked Eggs with Tomato Compote:  So simple and versatile, this dish has earned an honored spot on my brunch menu. It can be morphed into any number of variations but I found this particular version is especially tasty.  Add crumbled feta if you like an extra layer of cheese.

Graphic 1 - baked eggs

Recipe here.

 

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Cheese Course Essentials

Monday, June 13th, 2011

I’m on a bit of a food kick lately, so if you’ll indulge me, today I feel like talking about cheese yet again. I’ll be back to painting something soon I assure you, but today I need to talk about one of the most important things in my life and that is cheese.  Not just any cheese, or your ordinary mass produced American chunks of cheddar, no I’m talking about the cheeses that come from the artisans.  Gather round friends, because I’m about to share with you the secrets to serving a perfect cheese course.

perfect cheese plate cg

 

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