Easy, Stylish Entertaining Ideas

Epicure / November 1st, 2010
A  Grape Leaf Platter from Julia Knight’s new line of serve ware make a great platter for appetizers. It’s made from sand-cast aluminum and enamel with crushed mother of pearl.

Product designer Julia Knight, who’s brimming with ideas on how to entertain simply and stylishly, is a firm believer that, when it comes to food, presentation is as important and preparation. Julia recently introduced a new line of serving pieces that make even ordinary fare, like crudités and snacks, look extraordinary.

“I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving, and I love entertaining,” she says. “This is one holiday when it really is all about abundance and food! And no matter what I prepare for the holiday, I want to present it on elegant trays, in beautiful bowls, and arrayed on stunning platters. As we use, share, and enjoy beautiful things for every occasion, our lives and the lives of our guests are made more magnificent, the common becomes special, and life moves beyond the ordinary.”

Here are three of her easy entertaining ideas that can make a Thanksgiving celebration feel special without spending hours laboring in the kitchen:

Tip 1: “Goat cheese is an easy and elegant hors d’oeuvre. Before guests arrive, I top it with a dollop of lemon curd (you’ll find it in the jams and jellies section),” says Julia. “Pair it with a wedge of a local organic blue cheese and a cluster of grapes on a cheese board and you’ll have a lovely presentation of cheeses without toiling all day!” She likes to serve the goat cheese in her 8-inch Amethyst Argento Glass Serve Ware bowl, which is microwave and dishwasher safe, and the blue cheese on her Saffron Cheese Board. “The amethyst and saffron make a gorgeous harvest palate,” she says.

The enameled Lily Bowl from Julia Knight’s line of serve ware is a great container for nuts and snacks.

Tip 2: “I believe that making your guests feel special isn’t so much about the preparation as it is about the presentation. I love using a tiered cake stand piled with vegetables,” Julia says. “I put a simple sour cream and salsa mix in a pedestal bowl on top, place assorted colorful mini-peppers on the next tier, and on the bottom tier I alternate clusters of French green beans with clusters of carrots in four sections.”

Tip 3: “Everyone loves shrimp!” proclaims Julia. And she says her Yin Yang bowl allows you to present it beautifully. “No matter how you place them in the large side of the bowl it looks like you had a food stylist come in to arrange. I add a little Chipotle to the cocktail sauce and call it Bang Bang Shrimp! You don’t have to make beautiful food, you just need to make your food look beautiful.”

For more information on Julia Knight’s line of serving pieces and where to buy them, visit her Web site.

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