Artful Hosting

November 4, 2021

The return of gatherings, warm invitations, and welcoming events renews our sense of community and calls upon our hostess spirits.

Elegant tablescapes enhance event

Main Plate: The main plate should be the first thing you set down. It is the centerpiece that indicates where to place the other components of the place setting. It should be placed in the center, directly in front of the dining chair. 

Appetizer Plate: Generally speaking, the appetizer plate is put directly on top of the main plate to save space. Once you conclude eating your appetizer, the plate is taken away so you are left with the main dinner plate.

Soup: The soup bowl and spoon are only needed if soup is a part of the courses in the meal. If it is, place the soup bowl on top of the appetizer plate and the soup spoon adjacent to the normal spoon.

Silverware: Silverware is placed in the order that it is used. The fork is placed to the left of the plate, the knife, cutting edge in, on the right and the spoon is to the right of the knife. Additionally, as the meal becomes a more elegant affair, the amount of silverware utensils used will increase. For example, if there is a formal appetizer, place an appetizer fork and a spoon on the outside, adjacent to the regular fork and spoon.

Glasses: The placement of glasses is fairly simple. They should be placed directly above the knife. When wine glasses, however, are added to the setting, they should be placed directly to the right of the water glass. Although, generally speaking, they can be placed based simply on personal preference.

Dessert: After reading a few articles about tablescapes for dessert, I have come to the conclusion that not everyone chooses to display the dessert plates and utensils in the table setting. Some prefer to just wait until dessert is served to refrain from the table looking cluttered. Others prefer a much more traditional route where both the fork and spoon are placed above the main plate. Here the spoon handle faces the  to right and the fork handle faces to the left.

Charcuterie boards delight guests pre-meal

Kate Rekas

Charcuterie boards delight guests pre-meal

A charcuterie board is a staple during the holidays. Featuring an array of different food items, like various cheeses and fruits, this appetizer is bound to be a crowd pleaser at any holiday gathering.   

A traditional charcuterie board usually consists of dried meats, like salami or prosciutto, various hard and soft cheeses, such as gouda and brie, an assortment of crackers or breadsticks, and finally a dried or fresh fruit, most commonly, grapes. They are versatile and creative. There are no limits to creatively arranging your board. Options include a dessert board, a Mediterranean-esque board with various types of hummus, veggies, and crackers, or even a candy board for an elevated at home movie night. The possibilities are endless. Basically, it’s your very own edible art project. 

To begin your spread, plan your ingredients and theme. Start by perusing Pinterest for some inspiration on the theme and arrangement ideas for your board. I chose to take the classic route, and I made a shopping list with all the ingredients for a traditional charcuterie board. I then ventured to the grocery store to gather my items to  assemble my board. 

Homemade Iced Pumpkin Cookies

The finish seasonal dessert, produced by two first-time bakers. (Karsten Farris)

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

The tartness of the apple and the sweetness of the surrounding caramel blend perfectly to form a delicious treat of caramel apples, providing a tasty combination for a larger party.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups graham crackers, crumbled finely
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups canned apple pie filling;
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup caramel topping
  • 1/2 cup canned apple pie filling

 

Recipe Directions (inspired by I Am Baker)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

Crust:

  • Crush graham crackers in a bag and melt butter in a microwave.
  • Mix together crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a medium bowl.
  • Pour mixture into oiled springform pan and press it down.

Filling:

  • Carefully spoon apple pie filling onto (not through) the crust in the springform pan.
  • Place room temperature cream cheese in a large bowl, and whip with a stand mixer until fluffy.
  • Add sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs; beat until smooth (before it becomes a liquid consistency).
  • Place pan in oven & bake for 52 minutes, until the cake is set.

Topping:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat for 1 min, add apple pie filling and caramel topping. 
  • Spoon the mixture over the top of the cheesecake and spread evenly.
  • Wait for half an hour and then refrigerate until ready to eat.
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