One of the most exciting aspects of growing up and having your own space is being able to entertain guests and create memories with them in that very space. From dazzling tablescapes and delicious entrees to the smaller details, like what kind of music will be playing in the background, I've always dreamed of hosting intimate gatherings of my own. This year, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner from my new apartment in downtown Seattle. Beyond the occasional mixed drink and charcuterie board, I've never attempted making an entire meal for more than one person in my spacious studio, so this seasonal supper was destined to be a major undertaking.
With the help of my mother (a seasoned cook), tabletop essentials from West Elm and recipes from Whole Foods Market, I was able to create an elegant experience that my family and I will cherish for years to come. I'm delighted to share my tabletop aesthetic—that can translate to just about any holiday celebration you might have this season—in addition to my favorite new recipes that will elevate your next event.
The best place to start with any tablescape design is the plate. I have organic-shaped blue crackle dinnerware from West Elm, which I love because each plate has a unique, imperfect circular shape and a modern color palette. From there I added fresh white linen napkins and matte black flatware, both from West Elm. Continuing the blue-green color scheme, I arranged an inexpensive mix of fresh holiday greenery from the grocery store on my table amongst a few sea glass and concrete candle votives. I placed my framed glass butterfly I got from a specialty home store in Portland and a bottle of sparkling wine on the shelf above my table. For the final touch, I put a single branch of greenery on each place setting. I love how the greenery adds just the right amount of holiday embellishment—perfect for a Thanksgiving gathering, a Christmas party or a January dinner—to my table.
Here's what you'll need to create this amazing appetizer:
- ½ baguette (or 1 demi-baguette), cut into 24 slices
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 ripe but firm pears, halved, cored and cut into 24 wedges
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
- ¾ pound leftover spiral-sliced ham (or prosciutto), cut into bite-sized pieces and warmed
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush baguette slices all over with oil and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake, flipping halfway through, until just crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Toss pears in half the dressing and arrange in a single layer on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast, flipping pears halfway through, until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Toss parsley with remaining dressing. Top each crostini with a piece of ham and then a wedge of pear and few leaves of parsley.
cidre 75 RECIPE
To create this spectacular spirit, you'll need:
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ¼ cup dry hard apple cider
- ¼ cup dry sparkling wine
- 1 strip lemon zest
Combine lemon juice and honey in a champagne flute or white wine glass. Using a long, thin bar spoon or a chopstick, stir until honey has mostly dissolved. Add hard apple cider and stir once or twice, and then top off with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon zest and serve.
Good food pairs well with good company and I was so grateful to have my mother and sister join me for an candlelit meal complete with all of the Thanksgiving fixings. With these simple recipes in my entertaining arsenal, I can take on any holiday celebration I may unexpectedly be invited to. In the meantime, I'll be drinking a Cidre 75 by my Christmas tree.