A Magical Tabletop for the 2017 Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

This past June, Steve had the opportunity to style a private dinner for 70 as part of the 2017 Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.

The theme of the dinner, “Dining by Personality,” was conceived by the talented Jason Tesauro of Modern Gentleman, also our host for the evening.

Also making the evening supremely memorable were four incredibly talented chefs – Asha Gomez of Spice to Table Cardamon Hill and Third Space, Kevin Ouzts of The Spotted Trotter and The Cockentrice, Kevin Ashworth of 610 Magnolia and Milkwood in Louisville, and Kelly Fields of Willa Jean in NOLA.

The dinner concept was loosely based on the Myers Briggs personality test, and each guest actually took at test at the beginning of the meal, which determined what they were served for each course, as well as what it was served on.

When Steve first encountered the concept of the dinner, it reminded him of the Rorschach (ink blot) Test – that’s where his styling began. He set about painting 70 individual paintings for the guests, using his ink drawings. Here is Steve’s Styleguide for the dinner, designed by Dena Verdesca and Erin Weston:

Steve was lucky enough to partner with Mayesh Wholesale, who provided the floral for the evening, along with Erin Weston of Weston Farms to provide the greenery Рthe beautiful plaster vases are from Accent Decor.

The natural, country feel brought to the tables is much thank to these cases, along with some of Steve’s favorite florals from the night, lilacs, peonies and budding magnolias.

The base of the tablescape was Steve’s gingham fabric, translated into a custom black version, adding another layer of comfort to the decor for the evening.

Perched at each place setting was a black napkin folded to showcase the menu, and then sitting atop this was the painting done for each guest. This really created an elegant atmosphere for the evening.

This truly translated into a magical evening – it was a dream come true to be partnered with so many talented friends and partners. Absolutely inspiring!

Click here to view the complete Atlanta Food and Wine Styleguide and enjoy tablescapes from other dinners by Erin Weston, Dena Verdesca, Natalie Reddell, Windy O’Conner and Mary Catherine Folmar. Such fantastic company to be in!

 

It was such a treat to be able to style a tablescape for the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival and we feel so fortunate to have been able to enjoy it with so many friends and colleagues!!

*All photos by Bertrand Ducuing

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A Guilt-Free Dip for the BIG GAME!

If you’re hosting or attending a Super Bowl party this Sunday have we got THE dip for you! And, it not only hits the spot, but it light too… It’s Virginia Willis’ “Sinless Seven Layer Dip.” It’s out standing and will be the hit of your get-together, even if it’s only you and your significant other.

Read below for the full recipe, from Willis’ cookbook, “Lighten Up, Y’all,” which we conveniently have in stock at the steve mckenzie’s showroom… ūüėČ

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Sinless Seven-Layer Dip:

  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can low-sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp. dried red chilies, ground
  • Juice of 1 lime, separated
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • ¬Ĺ cup broccoli florets, shelled English peas, or shelled edamame
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chunky salsa‚Ä®
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • ¬Ĺ cup light sour cream
  • ¬Ĺ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 (4-oz.) can chilies, chopped
  • ¬Ĺ cup (2 oz.)reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and chopped

Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the ground chilies and half of the lime juice. Pulse until smooth.

Using a spatula, place the puree in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish to make the first layer. Set aside.

Make sure the processor bowl is mostly clean, then add the avocado, broccoli and the remaining lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth, making guacamole. Spoon on top of the beans to create the second layer.

In a small bowl, stir together the salsa, cilantro and jalape√Īo. Pour the salsa mixture over the guacamole for the third layer.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and yogurt. Spoon the mixture on top of the salsa for the fourth layer.

Pour the can of chopped chilies on top for the fifth layer. Top with grated cheese and chopped green onions for the sixth and seventh layers. Serve immediately.

This one is a winner, y’all. Just like our Atlanta Falcons will be come Sunday night!!

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Now, the only thing that would make this dip even better is a stylish – and durable – way to serve… Enter our Melamine Oval Serving Bowl. Not only is it beautiful, it’s break resistant, triple weight and dishwasher safe! As are our Melamine Serving Pieces. This duo makes a memorable combination, and when matched with this sinless dip, well, let’s just say, we know what folks will be asking you to bring to the Super Bowl party each year!

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So, are you watching for the actual game or the commercials?!? Either way, it’s sure to be a “SUPER” night… Enjoy all!!

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!