Hip hip hooray! It’s October 1st and I’m so excited to finally get to share the shoot I styled for ONEHOPE’s 2014 Fall Entertaining Guide perfectly captured by Brian Tropiano Photography. At work, I feel like we’re always flying by the seat of our pants and putting together content like this ahead of time has been a struggle. This year, however, we managed to stay ahead of the game and shot everything in July to use for the remainder of the year. Trying to determine what is going to be “in” before anything holiday related is even advertised or released in store is tough so instead I just decided to stick with my gut and curate items and elements that I really, truly love. I wanted the room to feel like a forest so I incorporated a lot of wood textures, ferns, (faux) antlers, geodes and quartz tea lights down the center of the table. On the wood backdrop behind the wine, was a wreath with an antler to tie the look together with an additional leather fern garland with bistro lights strung above the table. We brainstormed for days on what to do instead of traditional place cards before we finally decided on stones – gold calligraphy on stones – to keep with the forest theme while adding a touch of elegance to each setting. The overall messaging behind the day was “Hope, Thanks and Dreams” so Beth hand crafted an amazing dream catcher where guests’ thanks, hopes for the future and dreams were shared and attached with tiny clothes pins. Menus were printed on archival matte paper with hope, dream or thanks hand inscribed on the top and florals were kept to a minimum with wooden vessels and a casual/handpicked mixture of dahlias, garden roses, viburnum berries, artichokes and greens.
Since the entire purpose of the shoot was to show how to integrate wine into your fall, Thanksgiving or holiday gathering, the day wouldn’t have been complete without some absolutely delicious and gorgeous fare crafted by 24 Carrots Catering. 24 Carrots is one of the biggest catering companies in the business and their food has never, ever disappointed at any event I’ve ever attended. I was so impressed that they took our direction (a classic Thanksgiving meal) and creatively modernized it a bit while still staying in theme. For example, I loved the juxtaposition of a modern beet dish served on a raw wood platter that you’ll see below. Lastly, each of their dishes paired perfectly with one or more of our wines so find pairing suggestions and a few wonderful recipes below! CHEERS!
DECOR TIP: Chairs can make or break a look. This shoot took place in our conference room and it’s usually filled with white task chairs that are functional for work, but we opted to replace them for this shoot and I’m so happy we did. Using these metal industrial chairs from Found Rentals kept the look casual, but also uniform, which I loved.
DECOR TIP: When designing a table on a budget, not only are garlands beautiful and always on trend, but they’re also the best bang for your buck. Seeded eucalyptus, lemon leaf, leather fern and bay leaf are all great options to consider. Contact a flower mart or district in your area for bids, but depending on the greens you go with, garlands can run as little as $2.50-$7.00 per foot!
DECOR TIP: Menus aren’t always necessary, but they really add to a place setting and are so simple to create. We whipped this one up Illustrator (but can easily be replicated in MS Word), printed it on nice paper and applied it to a piece of recycled kraft/corrugate paper that we picked up at Michael’s to tie in with the rest of the theme. Menus are not only great for making pairing suggestions, but they are also the perfect place to tie in your theme or messaging of the evening. Beth hand wrote thanks, hope or dream at the top of each menu to reiterate why we were all gathered that day.
DELICIOUS Sauvignon Blanc can be found here.
PAIRING NOTES: Pinot Noir and Turkey are a natural pairing. The savory herbs and spices on the roasted turkey are complimented by the spice-infused influences of the French oak in our Pinot Noir.
DECOR TIP: Since turkey is usually the main food element during Thanksgiving meals, I love that 24 Carrots used this legged platter to give it some height. Pieces like this are readily available at Cost Plus, Pottery Barn or can be rented for the day from Found Rentals.
PAIRING NOTES: The creamy texture and toasted oak notes of our Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay pair perfectly with the rich butter and cheddar cheese of this twice baked potato.
PAIRING NOTES: Eggs and Pinot Noir are a guilty pleasure not to be missed and Pinot is the perfect partner in crime for ham.
PAIRING NOTES (recipe below): The rich fruit and lively spice of our Pinot Noir adds some brightness to the earthy quality of these savory vegetables.
Thyme Infused Roasted Root Vegetables by 24 Carrots Catering
Yield: 4 servings
2 lbs mixed root vegetables (we use baby carrots, the smallest parsnips you can find and a mix of yellow and red beets)
Olive oil, to taste
Salt + pepper, to taste
Balsamic Thyme Vinaigrette Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons thyme minced
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons miso paste
Gently peel the carrots and parsnips. Leave them whole if they are all the same size – if not, chop the larger veggies to equal the size of the smaller ones. Peel and chop the beets into rough cubes, about 1-inch all around.
Place all the vegetables onto a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place in a 400°F degree oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, shaking them periodically for even cooking. Remove from oven when soft, slightly brown and caramelized.
Meanwhile, prepare the balsamic thyme vinaigrette. Place all the ingredients aside from the oil in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine. Season to taste.
Drizzle dressing all over the vegetables to coat, return to the oven and caramelize for five more minutes.
PAIRING NOTES: The savory, meaty essence of the sausage pairs perfectly with spicy and herbal characteristics of our Zinfandel.
Apple Sage Cornbread Stuffing by 24 Carrots Catering
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Cornbread, recipe follows
10 slices oven-dried country white bread
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 granny smith apples ¼ inch, diced
1 lb apple sausage
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup Heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sage
1 tablespoon thyme
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown, then add the celery, onions and apples and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Pour the mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock and cream, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and thyme.
Add beaten eggs and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Cranberry Lemon Herb Butter by 24 Carrots Catering
1/4 cup mixed herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon, and chives, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1 teaspoon cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Chop cranberries then add herbs on a work surface. Add butter cranberry sauce and lemon zest. Finely chop together until well combined. Season with salt.
Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper, placing on edge closest to you. Fold paper over and roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends; wrap airtight in foil. Chill until solid.
DECOR TIP: Use as many potted plants as possible to achieve your look. Mixing in small potted ferns, rosemary plants or succulents to your tablescape will keep the look interesting and will also make great favors to your guests. While fresh cut flowers are always beautiful, they’ll also perish a few days later while a potted plant will flourish and will serve as a happy reminder of your gathering with loved ones. While not for everyone, trees also make a huge statement. The cedar tree pictured behind me in the photo below was purchased from a local nursery for $20!
PAIRING NOTES: The earthy tones of the beets and the tartness of the goat cheese are complemented by the lush, dark berry fruit of our Cabernet Sauvignon.
PAIRING NOTES: The candied red fruit characteristics and the bright acidity of our Merlot help cut through some of the richness of this luxurious pie. The bright acidity and zesty citrus notes of our Sparkling Brut would be a fantastic match for the rich, sweet character of the pie.
DECOR TIP: To keep your look interesting and “collected” opt for pieces that still fit your aesthetic, but aren’t too “matchy matchy”. I love this vintage galvanized pie/cake stand 24 Carrots used for their Pecan Pie. That tiny hint of metal tied in perfectly with the iron chairs we selected from Found Rentals.