It’s officially holiday season, and if you’re like me, visions of green bean casserole, sweet potato soufflé and pumpkin pie have been dancing in your head. This time of year, I’m always itching to entertain–I spend my spare time planning what to bake and take to Thanksgiving dinner, and conjuring up a few seasonal parties of my own. Continue reading “Entertain with Ease this Holiday Season”
Few things bring me greater joy than entertaining family and friends around my kitchen table. Easter Sunday was such an occasion. I hosted dinner for my parents and sweet in-laws, plus my husband’s beloved Aunt Polly. From Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake to deviled eggs and brown sugar-mustard glazed ham, our celebratory feast was Some Kinda Good, and as Southern and traditional as it gets. Continue reading “Easter Entertaining: Recipes and Recollections”
A well dressed table is like a well put together outfit. It makes the kitchen feel complete and invites conversation. Y’all know how I feel about Table Talk and Family Ties, and no holiday would suffice without a properly outfitted place to dine. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen some really over-the-top centerpieces, and just like Ina Garten says, “When people start talking about tablescapes, that makes me crazy.” My style is mindful of the budget and inspired by nature, with a few items from around the house. In this post, I’ll provide you with a few tips for creating a sophisticated and simple ambiance this holiday season, using my kitchen table as an example.
My table is square, so I used a long table runner right down the center of it. I gathered a few jars of varying heights from my cabinets, like jam and Mason jars, then staggered votive candles on either side of them down the length of the runner. Instead of purchasing flowers, which can be costly and require upkeep, I opted to trim a few stems from my holly berry plant in the yard. I divided the berries and some greenery among the jars. The berries cost me nothing, and they coordinate with my Christmas china and the table runner perfectly!
I layered some of my tree trimmings in between the candles and jars, then tucked in little red and gold ornaments to give the table that extra special touch. Pine cones or acorns would also be fun to include.
These are the most important things to remember about table decor:
1) Always use unscented candles. You don’t want artificial scents competing with the food.
2) Centerpieces should be conversation friendly. Use either low centerpieces like my jars or tall, slender and clear vases that don’t obstruct conversation. There’s nothing like sitting down to a meal and not being able to see the person across from you. Awkward.
3) Leave your guests with room to breathe. If you’re dining family style, be sure to leave room for casserole and side dishes, and the main course. An overcrowded table feels cramped and stressful.
How is your table decorated? What tips would you add to my list?
As many of you know, I had the opportunity to headline a food and style event recently in Centre, Alabama with my good friend, Chad. It’s been one week ago today, and as promised, I’m sharing the recipes served during the event right here on Some Kinda Good. Whether you attended the event or just happened across my food blog, these refreshing grilled desserts, appetizers and warm weather-friendly beverages are tailored for summer entertaining and don’t even require heating up an oven. They’re simple, yet elevated and certainly Some Kinda Good!
Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sliders
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
- 1 12-Pack of Dinner Rolls, such as King’s Hawaiian
- 1 Package of Spring Mix Lettuce
- 6-8 Slices of Hardwood Smoked Bacon, Cooked Crispy
Spicy Pimento Cheese
- 2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
- 1/2 Large Sweet Onion, such as Vidalia, diced
- 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
- 2 4-oz. Jars of Diced Pimento Peppers, drained
- 1/2 of an 8-oz block of Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
- 1/2 of an 8 oz block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 1/2 of an 8 oz block of Cream Cheese, softened
- 3 – 4 tablespoons of Dukes Mayonnaise
- Salt, Pepper and Old Bay Seasoning to taste
In a medium bowl, blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer. To assemble a slider, spread pimento cheese onto dinner roll. Top with spring mix lettuce, one fried green tomato and crispy bacon.
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 3 Large Green Tomatoes
- ½ cup Cornmeal
- ½ cup Self-Rising Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
- Vegetable Oil + Bacon Grease for frying
Slice tomatoes about ¼ of an inch thick. Place them on a flat surface and season with salt. Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and allow them to drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a cast iron skillet or 10-inch frying pan with vegetable oil halfway full and set over medium heat. The oil will be ready for frying when sizzling occurs after gently sprinkled with water. In a small dish, use a fork to combine the cornmeal, flour, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Dredge the tomatoes in the flour mixture on each side. Roll the sides of the tomato in the flour mixture too, to ensure an even coating. Shake off any excess before dropping the tomato slices into the hot oil. Fry the tomato slices until golden brown, turning once during cooking. Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.
- 1 whole Pineapple, Cored, Peeled and Diced
- 1 whole Mango, Diced
- 1/2 of a Medium Red Onion, Finely Diced
- 1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded and Diced
- Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
- 1 whole Lime, Juiced
- Dash Kosher Salt
Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Serve with tortilla chips. This salsa is also refreshing alongside or atop grilled meats such as chicken or fish.
Grilled Pound Cake Served with Macerated Berries
- Store-Bought or Homemade Pound Cake
- 1-2 Pints of Strawberries or a combination of Mixed Berries
- 1/4 cup of Sugar or more to taste
Remove stems from strawberries. Slice lengthwise. Pour sugar over berries and mix until coated. Set aside and let stand at least 30 minutes. Slice pound cake. Lay on an oiled grill grate just until heated through and grill marks appear. Serve macerated berries over cake. For major indulgence, dollop with fresh, sweetened whipped cream. Any combination of fresh berries can be substituted. Blackberries or blueberries would work marvelously! Always use what’s in season and available.
- 2 large bell peppers (any color), quartered
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 Medium Onion, cut in half
- 1 cucumber, sliced into half-moon pieces
- 3 medium tomatoes, halved
- 1 loaf of ciabatta or Italian bread, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Brush grill with olive oil, season vegetables with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill bell peppers, zucchini and onion for about 4-5 minutes, turning once until grill marks are visible. Chop the grilled vegetables into bite size pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, drizzle the bread with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cucumber into the same bowl. Remove bread from grill, cut into cubes and toss together with the vegetables. Drizzle the mixture with equal parts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, just enough to dress the salad lightly, and season with more salt and pepper. Squeeze about 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice over the mixture. Toss in fresh basil. Devour!
- 4 cups of sliced seedless watermelon, rind removed
- 1 16-oz carton of Lemon Sorbet
- The Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- Watermelon wedges and mint, for garnish
In a blender, combine the first four ingredients until smooth. Pour over ice and serve immediately or refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh mint and a wedge of watermelon. If you’d like to make this recipe a cocktail, vodka is a great addition. Recipe inspired by Paula Deen.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
- Seedless Watermelon
- Feta Cheese
- Fresh Basil
- Balsamic Vinegar
Using a small melon baller, scoop out 25 balls of fresh watermelon. Cut feta cheese into medium size cubes (You don’t want them too small because they will crumble when skewered). Pick 25 small basil leaves from a basil plant. Skewer ingredients on wooden skewers in this order: watermelon, feta, basil. Pour about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar into a small bowl. With a grill brush, dip the brush into the balsamic vinegar and gingerly brush the skewers with it. If the feta cheese gets too damp, it will crumble and fall off the skewer. Serve in a tall flower or frog vase for an interesting display!
A special thanks to all who attended “Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh!” If you make these dishes at home, please let me know how they turn out. To see photos from the event, visit Some Kinda Good on Facebook. Now you’re set on the menu for your summer party, but don’t forget to check out The Stylish Steed for tips on what to wear and how to decorate!
Cheers…to good food and good company.
With the dog days of summer comes trips to the beach, picnics, grilling out with friends and family, baby showers, weddings, you name it! Summertime is entertaining time and I couldn’t be more excited to announce “Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh!” a food and style event I’m hosting with my longtime friend Chad Steed, in his sweet home of Alabama.
Tailored for entertaining, the event boasts Southern recipes and innovative style ideas for hosting the perfect summer soirée . I’ll share dishes you can prepare with minimal effort that are big on flavor and presentation! Guests will sample bites of my bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato sliders with spicy pimento cheese among other refreshing grilled desserts, appetizers and warm-weather-friendly beverages. In addition to my live cooking demonstrations, Chad of “The Stylish Steed” lifestyle blog, focused on living well for less, will bring his creative taste to the table teaching guests how to personalize parties with custom cloth table linens, unique lighting elements, painting techniques and easy floral arranging.
You may remember Chad from our brief appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. We met on the mission field in the summer of 2002 during college and have been the best of pals ever since. We always have a good time together and this event will be no exception. I’d like to personally invite you to join us as we sing, laugh and demonstrate how to entertain with ease on Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena. Admission is $5 in advance or $8 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at the Gadsden State Cherokee Campus.