It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, an ideal time for a get-together for family. Since we’ll be hosting some of the same folks for Turkey Day, I wanted there to be a real difference in the way the table looked for the two meals. I chose a Fall theme for this one. No turkey accents or accessories, just pumpkins and pure fall decor.
Since two of the attendees are 90 and one is 88, we didn’t do a buffet, but instead served family style so people wouldn’t have to walk around with full plates. Baked stuffed apples. These were large apples. I ended up cutting them in half. When you have lots of variety, people want to try some of everything. The smaller the portions, the better. Since I had fresh cranberries, I threw them in with the roasted brussel sprouts. As a brussel sprouts expert (I have now eaten them a total of 4 times), I can tell you I much prefer to have them grilled. [Note: I have since learned to pan roast them with bacon in a way that makes them divine and brings out a lovely char.] Deviled eggs are always among the first things to go. Have some stashed away to replenish your platter. Simple side dish — steamed green beans with pearl onions and walnuts, tossed with a little hazelnut oil. This salad really benefitted from a dose of edible flowers. Just beautiful, don’t you think? But here’s a hint. With so much “special” food, people are not typically inclined to chow down much on “everyday” dishes, such as a green salad. Don’t go overboard on your quantity. Also, some people don’t want to get too full by eating soup, so don’t plan for every guest to eat soup unless you put it in really small bowls. Don’t ask me what happened to the messy-looking bowl. The rest were cute as bugs.Since this was brunch, our Southwestern Breakfast Casserole was the main dish. We baked it in two small casserole dishes for two reasons: 1) that allowed us to keep the second one in the warming drawer while we ate the first, and 2) it made for a lighter, more manageable dish to pass around. Fresh berries went well with it. Again, don’t do too much on “ordinary” dishes like plain fruit. People figure they can get that at home, so they won’t eat much of it. Flowers at each place setting dressed up the table and added a wonderful dash of color. Assemble your serving pieces, platters, bowls the night before. Put a sticky note or other little slip of paper in each one to remind you what you’re going to be putting in what so you don’t end up with platter problems. You don’t want to need counseling, do you? Everything was visually harmonious from the vase for the centerpiece to all the dishes and serving pieces. The deviled egg platter was more rust than red, despite how it looks in the photo.
It was a definitely an “Ooh, aaah table” and food that matched the great company.