I love to entertain. Whether it’s a casual picnic on the beach, or a formal dinner party – I enjoy nothing more than sharing delicious food and tasty drinks with friends. As a Designer, it’s second nature to add whimsical touches to my soirees. One of my favorite ways to spice up a party is to put together my tabletop using design elements in unique ways – urns as vases, lamps ON the table and special finds as centerpieces. Here are few photos that have inspired me!
This color combination is so classic! The blue and white stripes provide a crisp nautical feel while the touches of pink soften the look. I love the blue and white vases, and the concept of taking a collection you would typically see indoors on bookshelves and showcasing the pieces on the center of the table.
Bringing a substantial furniture piece outside can set the stage for your outdoor soiree. Add lamps, and your guests will feel right at home!
The lamps and bold pillows add a whimsical touch to this table.
This tabletop shows how ‘simple’ can be oh so sophisticated. Planning a scheme around one color (or white!), and then adding a pop of color with beautiful flowers is a great way to make the (sometimes overwhelming) task of setting a beautiful table easy.
I can’t help but to take home MANY of the wonderful tabletop treasures which come into the J Banks Retail Store on a regular basis! A few of my favorites which add whimsy and charm to my parties are:
My Dransfield & Ross crab, gator, flamingo and fish napkin rings are always a conversation starter and they look fun on a formal table. On my list (of one million items) of things to purchase from J Banks, are these great wavy dinner napkins, also from Dransfield. I think everything that Dransfield & Ross comes out with for tabletop is so much fun!
These are my favorite cocktail napkins. The custom monograms by Julia B look like antiques! (But the initials are mine AND pink!)
These bud vases are also placecard holders! I recently used them at a 5 year old birthday party – perfect for little ladies and women alike!
In the summertime, these acrylic wine glasses are key to all of my outdoor entertaining.
This book makes concocting your signature cocktail a breeze!
Summer is one of my favorite times to entertain, and with so many delicious finds from my garden and the local farmer’s market, the menu is always easy to plan! Here’s a little inspiration for you in the form of my favorite summer recipes…
- 1 cup red grapes, diced
- 1 cup blue and/or black grapes, diced (I used all red grapes)
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley (I used Cilantro)
- Fresh cilantro or parsley leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 slices whole grain bread, quartered (I used a baguette – but needed 1-1/2)
- 6 ounces herbed goat cheese, slightly softened
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1. Combine grapes, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro and vinegar in medium bowl. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Let stand at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange bread on large baking sheet in a single layer and bake, turning once, 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crisp on both sides. Remove and let cool.
3. Combine goat cheese with mayonnaise in small bowl until smooth. Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Evenly spread cheese mixture onto crostinis, then top with grape salsa.
When it is hot and the tomatoes are bountiful, Tomato Pie is my ‘go to’ recipe. It’s the perfect way to use a plentiful harvest of tomatoes, and great for a luncheon.
Tomato Pie (Serves 6 to 8)
- 9 inch pie shell (Baked)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Spread the pie shell with Dijon mustard.
- Layer the sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cheeses in the pie shell ending with the cheese.
- Mix together the mayonnaise and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
- Spread on top of the pie.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until bubbly.
- Let cool and serve at room temperature.
- Greens of your choice – for this salad, I love butter lettuce tossed with red leaf lettuce.
- Sliced strawberries
- Slivered almonds (toasted)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Your choice of dressing. I love Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette
I love doing variations of this salad (in the winter, I substitute sweetened dried cranberries for the strawberries and do more of a rustic dressing (stay tuned this fall)
Cold citrus delight! The perfect compliment to the rich Tomato Pie.
Frozen Lemon Souffle (Serves 4)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus 3/4 cup lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
- 8 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups raspberries (6 ounces)
- Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
- Wrap outside of a 3 1/2-cup souffle mold or four 6-ounce ramekins with parchment, extending 2 to 3 inches above rim (it should fit snugly). Secure with tape; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice, egg yolks, and salt over medium-high. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and small bubbles form around edge of pan, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Immediately remove from heat while continuing to whisk. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl, pressing on lemon curd with a rubber spatula.
- Place plastic wrap directly against surface of curd and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes (or up to overnight).
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form, 2 minutes. Gently fold egg whites into cooled lemon curd. In the same large bowl, beat cream on high until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into lemon curd mixture. Pour into mold and freeze until firm, 6 hours (or up to overnight). To serve, remove parchment, top with raspberries and dust with Confectioner’s sugar.
I hope that you have been inspired and, will have fun setting your table!