Posts Labeled ‘trends’

Ombre details and accents

Ombre — gradation of the same color — has been a rising wedding trend recently. Here are some of the many ways that the concept can be incorporated into a wedding or other celebration.

Maggie Austin Wedding Cake

Martha Stewart ombre centerpiece

ombre runner - photo by Johnny Miller via Martha Stewart weddings

ombre tablecloth via Pinterest

Ombre umbrella from Green Wedding Shoes via OneWed

Reception Banner - Shannon Lee Images via Style Me Pretty and OneWed

Food Trend: Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs, a comfort food staple, are making a grand resurgence this year. Many restaurants are serving both classic deviled eggs and tasty variations. The eggs are also very popular as passed hors d’oeuvres at events. A bride I am working with this month has included them in her menu; when we tasted them with the caterer, they were divine!

A beautiful food blog, Tastespotting, has a great photo montage of deviled eggs, many photos linked to their respective recipes.

If you are inspired to make a platter of deviled eggs, here is a recipe from Food & Wine with an elegant twist.

Deviled eggs via Food & Wine magazine


  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 3 cornichons, minced
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons snipped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ounce thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto, torn into 20 pieces


  1. In a large saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to an ice water bath until chilled, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cornichons, goat cheese, mustard, shallot and 1 teaspoon of the chives. Peel the eggs and halve them lengthwise. Add the yolks to the bowl, mix until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Set the egg whites on a serving platter. Scrape the egg yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe the filling into the whites; alternatively, spoon in the filling with a teaspoon. Top each egg with a piece of country ham, sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of chives and serve.

Making a comeback: Lace

A client of mine has been hunting for the perfect lace tablecloths for her upcoming wedding. Her vision for using lace is on the cusp of a rising trend of incorporating lace elements into entertaining and wedding designs.  Here are some beautiful examples.

wheat bouquet with chocolate lace wrap, via JL Designs

doily runner via Donna Hay

lace clip art-wrapped napkins via Martha Stewart

lacy tablescape via Style Me Pretty

lace tablecloth over pale blue cotton cloth

Chantilly lace table linens via Neiman Marcus


Top 5 Entertaining Trends for 2011

photo by Freed Photography

I am still in disbelief that 2011 is here. How did a whole year pass by so quickly? As we start the new year, many of us make resolutions to spend more time with family and friends. At-home entertaining is always a great way to extend gracious hospitality as we gather together those we love.

As you entertain in 2011, keep in mind these five trends that I see emerging for the at-home entertainer in 2011:

1. Pies

Pies are by far one of the hottest trends for 2011. They are the epitome of dessert comfort food — is there anything we remember more fondly than mom’s apple pie? When entertaining this year, try serving individual pies. If you live in the DC area, great ones can be found at Mom’s Apple Pie in Leesburg, or try making them with Breville’s new individual pie maker or individual pie molds.

Runners up for trendy sweets are gourmet ice pops and macarons. (Notice that I did not say cupcakes!)

2. Gourmet Hot Dogs

Trends that we see in restaurants often trickle over to the home cook. Gourmet hot dogs are one of those. People are craving things that aren’t fussy and complicated (e.g. the appeal of sliders, gourmet popcorn…) and what can be less fussy than a hot dog?

But in 2011 hot dogs get a bit of a makeover. Try setting up a hot dog bar for guests to create their own custom dog. Serve a variety of hot dogs from all beef, to kielbasa, to chicken sausages and set out accompaniments including standards like mustards and ketchup to more unique toppings like gourmet cheeses, cider braised leeks and apples, corn relish, chopped scallions, feta, olives, chili… Think hot dog toppings with international flair like Greek, Mexican, Italian…

3. Simplicity and back to basics

As we crawl out this recession, we find ourselves still wary of anything that screams luxury too loudly. That applies to at-home entertaining as well. Hosts are opting for simple meals with friends and back-to-basics cooking. (Why do you think Barefoot Contessa’s last two books are doing so well?!)

When menu planning for a dinner party, return to simple meals and ingredients. Try roasted chicken, which is easy to prepare yet so satisfying. This recipe is on of my favorites.

4. Korean Food

Ethnic food of all varieties is on the rise but none is hotter than Korean food right now. Bulgogi, bibimbop, kimchi… Korean food is making its way into the recipe books of home cooks. Try hosting a Korean barbecue this summer featuring kalbi or bulgogi, rice, panchan like pickled radish, kimchi, seaweed salad, and of course, kimchi.

5. Cooking sous vide

Sous vide is a cooking process that has long been used by chefs in kitchens of the very best restaurants. Now, it is possible for home chefs, as well. Cooking sous vide slowly heats vacuum-sealed food in a water oven. Natural juices and flavors are locked in making it a very healthy way of cooking.

While not cheap, a SousVide water oven can make meal preparation even easier while producing incredible flavor.

Some trends can continue from year to year. Two trends that I see that have staying power from 2010 are:

1. Mini courses

2. Artisan cocktails

Over the coming weeks, I will dig deeper into some of these 2011 trends and share tips and ideas for how to feature them in your entertaining plans for the year. Stay tuned!

Mobile culinary delights hit the streets in the nation’s capital

Mobile food has long been chic in L.A with countless trucks cruising about the city serving up anything from Korean BBQ to sushi to grass-fed hotdogs.

Food trucks have skyrocketed in popularity even beyond LA recently and are on their way to becoming a huge culinary trend. Even cable has gotten on the bandwagon, with The Food Network launching “The Great Food Truck Race,” featuring culinary sensation Tyler Florence.

Not to be upstaged, DC has started a mobile food truck craze of its own.

Curbside Cupcake was one of the first mobile treats in DC. Fans follow the truck’s whereabouts via Twitter (how most of the food trucks attract their customers), stopping at select locations around the city to peddle a variety of cupcake flavors. What a treat (no pun intended, I promise) it would be to have the truck stop by your next party!

yummy cupcakes from Curbside Cupcakes (photo via Curbside Cupcakes)

One truck I am salivating over is Takorean, a truck selling Korean-inspired tacos. Tell me how good a Bulgogi taco with a side of Spicy Kimchi Slaw would be right about now?! Dee-lish!

Takorean's three signature tacos; photo by Alexandra Boule-Buckley

One word. Lobster. If the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck, which recently expanded to DC from NYC, doesn’t knock our seafood-loving socks off, I am not sure what can.

A beauteous lobster roll! (photo via Red Hook Lobster Pound website)

So hit the streets to pick up lobsters or cupcakes for your next party or take an out-of-town guest on a hunt to find the trucks and share a taco or two… Enjoy!

Woot! Woot! for Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies (image via Williams-Sonoma)

Whoopie pies (image via Williams-Sonoma)

A few friends recently shared with me that Williams-Sonoma is now carrying whoopie pie pans. If this isn’t a sign that whoopie pies are trying to go mainstream, I don’t know what is!

Whoopie pies are just one in line of many recent nostalgic treats to make a comeback. We all know about the cupcake craze. Marshmallows are another one. Returning to the simple treats of our childhood reminds us that food and entertaining need never be complicated. Simple things can be luxuriously good.

If you want to make your own whoopie pies, the Williams-Sonoma pan will certainly make it easy (there is also a whoopie pie mix should you want to go the box route.

Williams-Sonoma Whoopie Pie pan

Williams-Sonoma Whoopie Pie pan

Beloved Gourmet magazine has what looks by all accounts to be a wonderful recipe for the classic whoopie pie.

Gourmet magazine recipe for Whoopie pies yields the classic version of the treat

Gourmet magazine recipe for Whoopie pies yields the classic version of the treat

Martha Stewart has a similarly classic recipe.

Martha Stewart's version of the classic whoopie pie

Martha Stewart's version of the classic whoopie pie

Locally, you can purchase whoopie pies at an increasing number of places, including at Corner Bakery!

B. Hall Baker, based in DC, specializes exclusively in whoopie pies, including fabulous flavors like dulce de leche, and ships them around the country.

Finally, for more on the history of the whoopie pie and its current resurgence, check out this New York Times article.

Enjoy this delicious trend!

Top Five Trends in Entertaining for 2010

I am so excited to be a guest blogger on the fabulous new blog, DC Ladies, which covers wedding trends to restaurant reviews to interior design all from DC bloggers. My first guest post on the site deals with the top five trends in entertaining for 2010. I’ve posted it here also. Be sure to visit DC Ladies often!

Casual entertaining takes center stage in 2010.

Casual entertaining takes center stage in 2010.

This year I’ve heard from many people that their New Year’s resolution is to entertain more.  Opening up one’s home is not only a gesture of hospitality and graciousness, but it also provokes an intimacy that can’t be had at a noisy, crowded bar or restaurant. Around the table, we have real conversations and authentic community –- things that everyone seems to be craving right about now.

At-home entertaining doesn’t need to be daunting or overwhelming. Simple food and casual presentations are all it takes to create a comfortable, chic atmosphere.  As we look at entertaining in 2010, one of the most commonly cited and important trends is locally-sourced and sustainable foods. Here are five more trends I’m seeing for the year ahead:

1.) Micro courses.

Outlandish portions are out the window. Smaller, more manageable plates allow guests to savor the ingredients and enjoy the taste and flavor of each dish. Courses need not be complicated (think mac-n-cheese served in a demitasse cup); a series of several simple offerings creates variety and livens the mood. Finish the meal with a sampling of bite-sized desserts.

2.) More sweet treats.

Dare I say it? Cupcakes are so 2009. Move on to the new trends in satisfying sweets: whoopie pies (gooey marshmallow sandwiched between chocolate cakelike cookies) and homemade marshmallows in every possible flavor.

3.) Potluck dinners.

They’re certainly economical, but potluck dinners can also be stylish, sophisticated, and fun.  Ask each guest to prepare a dish featuring the same ingredient a la Iron Chef.  Or have everyone cook a dish from the same cookbook (Thomas Keller’s new Ad Hoc at Home cookbook would be perfect) and compare notes on the preparation.

4.) Culinary cocktails featuring fresh ingredients.

We’re done with crazy, over-the-top cocktail concoctions.  And energy drinks?  Those should not come within fifty feet of a highball glass. A well-stocked bar in 2010 will include classic spirits and fresh, natural ingredients — things like organic agave nectar, freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, or homemade grenadine (recipe via cocktail expert Jeffrey Morgenthaler.). Cheers!

5.) Casual chic wins over stuffy and formal.

Put away your Haviland china. Formal entertaining is out in 2010. Instead, think no-iron organic cotton napkins and bright white dinner plates.  Casual is in.

All these trends speak to an appetite for simplicity and community in 2010 and a desire to shift our investments toward things that last -– like spending time at home with friends and family.

Wishing you a year full of fabulous parties!

Pop, Pop, Pop. Popcorn!

Let it be known that my love affair with popcorn began decades ago, long before this new gourmet, artisan popcorn trend starting popping up (pun totally intended).  So I am not a recent convert. Instead, my popcorn roots run deep and I love it almost as much as I like ice cream (and if you read this post you know how very much that is).

At dinner at Blue Ridge recently I was greeted with a small bag of expertly seasoned popped kernels as a starting “snack.” The W Hotel served it fresh and seasoned at an event I recently attended. Popped kernels are even making their way onto entrees as garnish. Yes, popcorn is everywhere.

By gourmet, artisan popcorn, we aren’t talking about the stuff you might find in large, colorful tins walking along the boardwalk in the summer. This new popcorn trend focuses on the optimal ways to pop the kernels and creative ways to season it — say with a little brown sugar, paprika, sea salt, or cinnamon.

Artisan popcorn would be a great starter for an engagement party, birthday soiree, or even at a relaxed wedding.

To make popcorn at home, Alton Brown’s recipe for Perfect Popcorn is a great reference for the basics. I’d also highly recommend purchasing a Whirley Pop — the secret to the great popcorn in my home.

Whirley Pop

Whirley Pop

Great kernels are also a must. We buy the 50 pound bag from Amish Country Popcorn. (You heard me right, 50 pounds. No judging, please.) But they sell it in one pound bags also.

Should the thought of trying to create the perfect popcorn on your own overwhelm you, don’t fret. The fabulous 479 Popcorn is just the solution for you. They offer fabulous flavors like black truffle with white cheddar and fleur de sel caramel.

Artisan popcorn from 479 popcorn (image via 479 popcorn)

Artisan popcorn from 479 popcorn (image via 479 popcorn)

So tap into this new party trend for your next gathering. Guests are sure to love the whimsical treat. Enjoy!

Entertaining with Animal Prints on Second City Soiree

Animal prints are everywhere this Fall — from gorgeous Donald Pliner shoes to Fendi bags to Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses. But why should this trend be limited to just our wardrobe?!

Check out my guest post on Second City Soiree for tips on how to incorporate this fashion trend into your Fall entertaining plans.

Animal print tablescape