The leaves have turned and the temps have dropped. Meaning? It’s time to make the stockpot a permanent fixture on the stove. Warming us this week? Curried Sweet Potato Soup. Blogger Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons dishes, “We’ve been eating this one all week. It’s so hearty, warming, and surprisingly easy.”

BLG-SundaySupperHarvest

Photos by Jeanine Donofrio

We’re convinced. With a hint of spice and a few handfuls of the season’s freshest veggies, this cilantro-topped side (or main) dish hits the spot.

Our Sunday Supper: Serve Up Fall Flavors Boutique opens Sunday, October 27, at 11AM ET.

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October 27, 2013

Turning Thanksgiving dinner into a buffet-style extravaganza is a surefire way to ease tension when you’re home (and hosting) for the holidays, especially when the meal itself takes days to prepare. Spend less time cleaning and more time eating – and let guests fill up on as many waistband-stretching helpings as they please – with these self-serve tips.

Location, location, location.
Be creative with your table placement. If you have both a kitchen and dining room, it’s easy to create separate zones for serving and eating. If not, you can host the buffet on a wooden sideboard, a dresser, a desk – or even a door propped up on sawhorses and covered with a floor-length tablecloth. Just try to keep the table away from the wall so guests can access it from all sides, and set up the décor and serving dishes the night before.

Define your color palette and style it seasonally.
Floral arrangements need not apply. Instead, take cues from seasonal bounty and style the table with gourds, grapevines, or crab apple branches. You can also place clustered vignettes (try any combination of rose hips, artichokes, beets, eggplants, mini pumpkins, and sweet peppers) between your serving dishes for a dazzling, colorful spread. If you’re craving candles, choose the flameless variety – no one wants a side of smoking sleeves with their sweet potatoes.

To create additional serving space, stack vintage wooden cheese boxes or bricks wrapped in cloth napkins, then place your platters and décor on different heights to spur visual interest and increase functionality. Just keep it classy, not cluttered, and make sure everything is stable. You can even move décor to baskets on the floor, mantel, or side tables to make more room for the all-important food.

Continue reading “Holiday Entertaining: Thanksgiving Buffet Tips” »

November 21, 2012

The Vanderbilt Grace Hotel in Newport, Rhode Island, has luxurious living down pat. And the historic mansion’s new culinary experience, Muse by Jonathan Cartwright, is a reason to visit in itself, featuring international food and wine with a decidedly New England flair. Here, I caught up with Chef Jonathan on all things Thanksgiving – from cooking the perfect turkey to preparing for the big meal (and even got a recipe for a downright delicious pumpkin soup).

 


Instructions

1. In a thick-bottomed pot, cook the pumpkin, carrot, apple, onion, garlic, and thyme in the butter for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine and cook until it has all evaporated.
2. Add the chicken stock and simmer until all the vegetables are soft, approximately 30 minutes. Blend the soup and strain it. Add the cream and season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
3. Sear the seasoned scallops in hot olive oil on both sides until golden.
4. Place the seared diver-harvested scallops in a soup plate, cover with the velvety soup.
5. Garnish the soup with some whipped cream, flavored with a little five-spice powder.
6. Sprinkle the top of the soup with some crisp fried ginger strips.

Rue La La: Let’s talk side dishes. What’s your personal favorite holiday dish?
Jonathan Cartwright: Brussels sprouts blanched then cooked with shallots and butter.

Rue La La:  Sounds delicious! You cook for lots of people all the time. What’s the trick to cooking for a big bunch?
Jonathan Cartwright: It helps to be organized and do the preparations in advance.  Also teach your children to help and ask family to make sides or dessert!

Continue reading “Meet the Chef: Jonathan Cartwright of Vanderbilt Grace Hotel” »

November 19, 2012