Revamping a classic: A fresh take on traditional Southern favorites
Before farm-to-table became a trendy movement, there were always hard-working farmers, and farm-style tables, and favorite heirloom plates used to serve fresh food from the garden made from old family recipes. For these folks, farm-to-table wasn’t a trend; it was a lifestyle. And now this provincial lifestyle is being replicated in everything from restaurant entrées to home case goods and details (hey there, shiplap walls and rolling barn doors). Suddenly the simple is the spectacular. Which is quite a relief for those planning to host the family for the holidays.
“My grandparents were from north Louisiana, and they grew everything they ate in their garden,” says Lisa Boudreaux-LeCoq, owner of The Gilded Artichoke Catering Co. “My grandmother set the most beautiful table, even for lunch, and always had family-style meals with fresh vegetables. It was true entertaining.”
Lisa implements the same fresh take on meals in the staples she creates for clients and friends. Her goal is to make spectacular-looking dishes with simple recipes that don’t break the bank or take too much time to prepare. It’s classic meals with a twist, just perfect for the holiday season. And the décor can be simple as well.
“People are leaning to a more casual style, a farmhouse style in their entertaining,” says Angela DiVincenti Babin of Angela Marie Events. “And it’s perfectly appropriate to mix old elements with new.”
For this harvest table, Angela turned to her friend Stacy Harvie, a Baton Rouge native and owner of Capitol Vintage Charm in Washington, D.C. Harvie, who scours estate sales for vintage china, supplied the tried-and-very-true blue and white plates and serving pieces. Angela mixed in vintage-style silver from Sur La Table and blue Depression-style glasses from World Market. This was set against the backdrop of the Kleinpeter House, a recently refurbished 1820s farmhouse in the back of the Settlement at Willow Grove. The table scene would be ideal for a family gathering to celebrate the harvest, or any old Sunday dinner.
“You want to create a table that looks like you have raided your mom’s old closet,” says Angela, in setting a harvest table. “Blue and white is really having a resurgence right now, and it can be used in a variety of ways. Brass candlesticks, also a classic, are perfect for adding height, and foliage that looks picked straight from the yard gives a more farmhouse look to the table instead of a formal arrangement.”
Angela’s table décor coupled with a few of Lisa’s favorite recipes are worth betting the farm on for the holidays. No plastic plates or store-bought food here. Just cooking from fresh ingredients and decorating with items from around the house should do the trick. It’s straight-from-the-farm goodness that makes this style a classic.
“People don’t like stuffy, which is why the farmhouse look is so popular,” says Angela. “With it, you can create an intimate dinner and still have a casual and welcoming feel.”
Event planning: Angela Marie Events
Menu: Margaret Corley Nelson, Proper Prints
Furniture: The Gilded Sparrow
Catering: The Gilded Artichoke Catering Co.
Plates: Capitol Vintage Charm
Florist: Red Onion
Location: Kleinpeter House, The Settlement at Willow Grove
All recipes are provided by The Gilded Artichoke Catering Co.
2 bags fresh organic arugula
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. organic baby beets, peeled, steamed and quartered
1 (12-oz.) pkg. fresh mozzarella cheese, pre-sliced
1 pkg. prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup raw walnuts
1⁄2 cup roasted garlic and onion jam
2 Tbsp. balsamic reduction, store bought
Roasted garlic and onion jam (recipe below)
On a serving platter, arrange arugula, beets, slices of mozzarella, prosciutto and walnuts. Spoon a few dollops of jam over salad. Finish by drizzling balsamic reduction over salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes approximately 10 servings
Roasted garlic and onion jam