Entertaining: A Post-Christmas Celebration for JMD

When a new cookbook comes my way (as a few wonderful ones did this year under the tree),  I devour it the same way I devour the design magazines that are shoved through my mail slot.  There’s nothing better than hearing the dog bark, realizing it’s the time of day for the mail drop, and then hearing that undeniable thump of a heavy design magazine.  Life comes to a halt while I sit down in a sunny spot and admire the combinations of gorgeous homes, bounteous gardens, and original ideas my design peers continue to impress me with.  Now you know what my husband thinks, cookbooks and design magazines are my porn. Guilty as charged.

But back to cookbooks…I generally go all-in, one cookbook at a time, experimenting with recipes and I’m making some good headway working through a darling cookbook called Confessions of a Serial Entertainer by Steven Stolman.  Stolman offers a lot of practical and sage advice. The recipes definitely have a vintage 1960’s simplicity about them.  Most have less than 7 ingredients and are peppered with refrigerator staples…this is not the book for the faint-hearted cook who avoids butter and mayonnaise!  But the recipes are tried and true, uncomplicated and unpretentious, which turns the host’s attention to her guests instead of her kitchen.


Our JMD Christmas gathering is always between Christmas & New Year’s.  I love to host and cook for everyone at home. My newest cookbook was the source of several dishes for our post-Christmas menu.   We started with Palm Beach Cheese Puffs:


Next was Karen’s Special Baked Shrimp & Feta, Tomato Pudding, and Pureed Broccoli.



A group of Interior Designers are highly sensitive to visual stimuli so I made sure I had plenty of time to think about my table. At work, we mix textures and patterns all day and it’s fun to do the same on a tabletop.  Below are different vintage styles of crocheted placemats (somehow my husband & I both ended up with the ones our Grandmothers made),  several silver flatware patterns, multiple stemware styles, and 2 colors of antique transferware plates:



 Place cards at seated dinners make it easy for everyone. These pomanders also smell great and I noticed a few went home in my guests’ pockets.


Roses are reliable but need cajoling to open fully.  I pick them up at least two days ahead and begin the process of trimming the stems and adding warm water a few times…a sunny window helps too.


The right container makes everything easy.  I own these zinc container below in a few sizes.  They  are great for lower arrangements for a seated dinner or for serving a sliced baguette. Containers available through Nest, Manteo, North Carolina (252) 473-5141.


Sticking with a drinks theme or color is festive.  Two favorite “pink” drinks:


Co worker Mary Buford stayed with the pink theme with one of my favorite gifts below. It was a fun night to be the BL!


Happy New Year!