I am watching the foliage change color and the trees shed their leaves from my kitchen window and thinking that I love the changing of the seasons. Not only do I get to adapt my wardrobe, finding those delightful gems packed away in storage, but I also get to change my entertaining style.
The coming seasons are ones of indulgence and comfort. They also start off the festive season and the wrapping up of yet another year. As it is such a busy time of year I prefer to keep my entertaining style simple.
I browse through the many stores which offer reasonably priced homeware and dinnerware in order to establish the season’s color trend. I anchor my theme throughout the entertaining area by using a neutral color to form the base of the design and interchange deliciously vibrant and warm accent pieces such as lamp shades, table runners, throw pillows and rugs, to suit the event. I also use elements of the centerpiece from the serving area, whether it is the dining room table or the server, throughout the entertaining area to tie my theme together.
Table settings help create the mood. A formal place setting automatically brings pomp and ceremony to the occasion whereas a more casual feeling is created with a buffet. Never underestimate the power of flowers to pull your look together and create a cohesive statement.
The current entertaining trend is towards tradition, authenticity and simplicity and this is a wonderful palette for a warm, cozy, heartfelt festive season. I love the dramatic effects lighting offers, and for me there is nothing more opulent, decadent or inviting than candlelight. Rooms filled with candles immediately evoke a sense of warmth and intimacy.
The Fay Way to entertaining is an opportunity to share, be individualistic and most of all to have fun. It is about preparing what I feel like eating, rather than what tradition dictates. It is about spending time with the people I like and love the most and it is about being comfortable. I happily invite guests to join me during preparations, as nothing is more appetizing than being in a warm, cozy kitchen filled with the aroma of roasting meat and baking desserts. And if something goes wrong, I don’t stress about it. It’s okay to let your imperfections show.
When planning my menu, I think of my favorite things, dishes I make well and meals I have always wanted to try. I serve what I love to cook and eat. I use seasonal ingredients which are readily available and fresh. I don’t have time to reinvent the wheel – a good quality mayonnaise flavored with a bit of wasabi or whole grain mustard tastes just as good. My philosophy has always been, keep it simple!
The coming season is my favorite as it gets dark early and rooms are lit invitingly; fires are roaring, we bundle up and get cozy. Best of all meals are more earthy and satisfying. My best entertaining indulgence during the coming months is going to be a good book, a box of chocolates and my comforter, but here is one of my favorite recipes– for a wonderful autumn soup:
BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH RED PEPPER PUREE
½ stick butter
¼ cup olive oil
6 leeks, green part removed, thinly sliced
4 ½ lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 lb. sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 qt. vegetable stock, heated
a few sprigs fresh thyme
a few sprigs fresh parsley
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cup fresh cream or milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 large red bell peppers, roasted and skinned
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Sauté the leeks until tender, then add the butternut and sweet potato, stirring frequently. Pour in the stock and herbs and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Discard the herbs and puree the soup in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the pureed soup to the sour cream and cream or milk and season to taste.
To roast the red peppers: Place the peppers on the rack of a grilling pan about 4” from the element and grill until black and blistered. When cool, pull off the skin starting at the stem end. Discard the stems, ribs and seeds. Puree the red pepper in a food processor and serve dollops of the roasted red pepper in the piping hot soup.
For more cooking ideas check out: http://faylewis.com.