Our Top 4 Elements of a Tantalizing Tablescape

Recently, our own Jill McKenzie was quoted for a holiday tabletop article for the AJC by Merlisa Lawrence Corbett. The article shares some fantastic tips and ideas for creating the perfect setting for all of your holiday tables… And, as you’re surely aware, we’re in crunch time for holiday gatherings!

fancy-royal-crown-derby-china-baccarat-glass-reed-barton-cutlery-vintage-brass-cadles
In this luxe tablescape, we used Royal Crown Derby china, Baccarat glassware, Reed and Barton cutlery and vintage brass candlesticks.

So, if you’ll be hosting any seasonal soirees, read below to learn what our top four elements to any tantalizing tablescape are:

  • THE Tablecloth – it’s the base of your entire tablescape and sets the mood for the entire gathering. Anything from fine linen textiles to an antique quilt may be used. Just make it interesting and make it YOU.
    • An easy formula for a classic tablescape is to begin with a white or cream tablecloth then dress it up or down with runners, squares, etc. Le Jacquard Provence Strawberry square
    • Linens from Le Jacquard Francais, such as their 69″x69″ squares are a fantastic addition, when placed as a “diamond” in the center of the table. The offer wonderful color and interest!
  • Individualize Place Settings – add a personalized touch to your table by using different pieces at everyone’s place. And be sure to pull out the fancy china for these gatherings! After all, what are you saving it for?!
    • It’s also a smart idea to use little place cards, especially for a larger group, as this makes selecting a seat effortless and you can assist with the flow of conversation by specifically selecting who will sit where.

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  • Considerate Centerpieces – the formula for a sensational centerpiece is simple = keep it low or very high, not in between. You want to ensure your guests can see each other across the table!
    Teak and resin candle holder - use with taper candles or votives!
    Teak and resin candle holder – use with taper candles or votives!
    • Add a “wow factor” with fabulous candle holders and candelabras, mix in natural elements and create a few simple floral arrangements with grocery store flower or even greenery cuttings from your own backyard.

      Ivory and gold "fishnet" tapers
      Ivory and gold “fishnet” tapers
    • OR, if you have simple candle holders, a fabulous set of taper candles may be all you need to add a bit of oomph to your table!
R. Wood's Chartreuse colorway
R. Wood’s Chartreuse colorway
  • Unexpected Colors – add a third color into your holiday tablescapes to shake things up a bit… Try green, red and gold or green red a silver. OR, consider a unique hue of green. We love R. Wood’s super saturated chartreuse color, which really adds a lot of brightness to a tabletop.

*BONUS TIP: Set your table in advance – at least a day prior to your event. Take this opportunity to play around with your tablescape and even “audition” different centerpieces or serving pieces. Layout a place setting then walk away. As you move throughout the space, you’ll know how you like it or how it could be improved.

new-years-eve-fancy-buffet
This New Years Eve buffet is fit for a celebration, thanks to the beautiful Match Pewter, stunning (yet care-free) acrylic glasses and original works by Steve McKenzie.

As our favorite, festive time for the year quickly approaches, an organized mindset will be your best friend. So, get to organizing those holiday tablescapes now! See other inspirational ideas in the AJC article and for some hands-on assistance, come into the steve mckenzie’s showroom today, where our team can help guide you to a sensational seasonal tablescape for your gathering.

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Lite Fare Favorites!

You guys… The folks over at Cooking Light have seriously outdone themselves with some of their recent published recipes – so much so, we had to share one of our top favorite finds from the May 2015 issue with you!

When warm weather hits the city, we really don’t want to weigh ourselves down with rich, heavy meals, not to mention all those added calories that come along with them. Lightening up our evening meals has been a goal of ours as of late and this dish makes that super simple – it’s the latest addition to our rotation of lite fare favorites:

Pork Medallions with Spring Succotash

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1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
1/2 cup dry white wine 
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup halved and thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup finely diced white onion 
3 tablespoons water 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1/4 cup chopped green onions (white and light green parts)

 

1. Gently pound pork slices to 1/2-inch-thick medallions with a meat mallet or the heel of your hand.

2. Combine garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes without turning. Turn and cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan; keep warm. Return pan to medium heat. Add garlic mixture; sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Add wine and stock; cook 30 seconds or until reduced to 1/2 cup, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter.

4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add carrot and white onion; cook 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons water, and pepper. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender. Stir in edamame and green onions; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Divide edamame mixture among 4 plates. Top each serving with pork and sauce.

*Jill’s Tip – Make sure the pan is quite hot when you initially add the medallions. This will ensure proper browning of the protein and give you all those leftover brown bits in the bottom of the pan, ensuring excellent sauce flavor! 

Not only is this a super tasty, hearty meal, it’s a fantastic use for frozen edamame, one of our favorite, versatile ingredients for any time of the year!

DSC_0025We served this up on our new/old Asian-inspired blue and white china and it truly popped. A treat for the eyes and mouth!

Hopefully this inspires you to try this dish, or another lightened version of your favorite weeknight dinner – you may even feel good enough for a nice, leisurely post-dinner walk after such a smart and healthful meal!