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Food Styling for Entertaining

Expert Advice from Joi Sanders

The Fall season is the perfect time to plan a dinner party and the perfect place to start is to determine the theme. Depending on your style, it can run the spectrum from simple to elaborate. Just remember, though, you will want to plan efficiently and in advance so that you can enjoy the evening as well as your guests. Inspiration for this article comes from Joi Sanders, co-owner of the Richter Boerne. She and Stephanie Anderson create beautiful settings for themed events at Richter Tavern. Jac's Personal Touch on Main Street provided the soup tureens, butter dishes, bread plates, napkins and platter. You can find many beautiful items in Jac's.

With a Fall theme for eight to ten guests, we’d use decorative platters to dress up the table as centerpieces. Fruit and colored unscented candles will add to the ambiance of the seasonal décor. Use white plates for the food styling so the beautiful food you’ve prepared is highlighted when serving. Fancy-folded cloth napkins and place cards can be used for adding that something extra.

It is best to send out the invitations at least two weeks in advance and collect RSVPs the day before the dinner. Be sure to check on dietary restrictions and make sure the guests get along so that the conversation is friendly and enjoyable. Never try a new recipe for a dinner party. Shopping ahead of time for the ingredients and sticking to your budget will ensure a less stressful day of preparation. When preparing the food, plan to multitask, and selecting items with short and long cooking times will help to spread out the tasks. Feel free to purchase the bread and dessert from a local provider instead of making it yourself. Richter Bakhaus is an excellent place to shop.

Arrange the table ahead of time and select the wines with the menu in mind. You can welcome your guests with a glass of sparkling wine. If you are serving a white wine, be sure it is completely chilled before the guests arrive. If serving a pinot noir, it will take about four hours to breathe after opening. All of the wines in the photographs are sold exclusively at Richter Cork & Keg. When estimating the quantity to buy, note that a 5-oz pour will net four glasses of wine from a bottle. Finally, have a station for water or place carafes on the table. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (10 cups)

1ea (3 ½ #) Butternut Squash, peeled

1ea Carrot, peeled 

5ea Garlic Cloves

1ea Medium Onion

½ t Fresh Nutmeg

½ t Fresh Cinnamon

Pinch of Ground Cloves 

1t Salt

4cups of Chicken Broth 

1ea can of Coconut Milk

Rough chop the butternut squash, carrots, and onion. Place on a sheet pan with a little oil. Add garlic and spices. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes. Add to a pot with chicken broth and coconut milk. Cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Blend until smooth. If desired, pour back into the pot and add about 2 cups of heavy cream, which is optional but adds a creamy texture.

Honey Curry Lamb (8 6-oz servings)              

Approximately 3 lbs Rack of Lamb or Lamb T-bones (3 per person)

3/4 cup Honey

1/2 stick Butter

Curry rub - grind together and coat lamb: 1-1/2 teaspoon each of yellow curry powder; peppercorn blend, with extra pink peppers, salt, coriander seed, turmeric powder, onion powder, garlic powder

Sear lamb in butter or grill for approximately 1 minute per side on high heat until brown. Remove, coat lamb with honey on a sheet pan and bake at 425 degrees in the oven or on the grill until desired temperature (we prefer medium rare 130-140 degrees).

Serve immediately on mashed potatoes, polenta, or risotto.

Seared Scallops with an Apple Slaw (8 Portions)

24ea U10 (Large Sea) Scallops

Salt and Pepper

Apple Slaw

8ea Granny Smith Apple, julienned

6ea Red Bell Pepper, julienned

12 T Fresh Mint, julienned

4ea Juice of Lemon

Salt and Pepper

Lemon Butter Sauce

2 cup White Wine

12 T Lemon Juice

2 cup Heavy Cream

6 oz Butter, Cubed

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a bowl add the apples, red bell pepper, mint, salt, pepper and the lemon juice. Set aside until ready to use. Heat a saute' pan on medium heat. Season the scallops with the salt and pepper. Add the scallops to the pan and cook for about 2 minute per side. To make the sauce add the white wine, lemon juice to a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until reduced to half. Add the heavy cream and cook until the cream is thick and reduced to half. Add the butter and let it melt until incorporated. Bring it to a boil then remove from the heat and season if necessary.

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
  • Soup Tureen provided by Jac's
  • Seared Scallops with an Apple Slaw
  • Seared Scallops with an Apple Slaw
  • Honey Curry Lamb
  • A wonderful Fall-themed dinner
  • A 4oz pour yields 4 glasses of wine
  • Seared Scallops with an Apple Slaw
  • A wonderful Fall-themed dinner
  • Bread and butter dishes provided by Jac's
  • Seared Scallops with an Apple Slaw
  • Joi Sanders will provide wine pairing tips
  • Selection of wines only available at Richter Cork & Keg
  • Enjoy a beautifully themed meal with friends