Last week, Jaithan’s family was in town, so we decided to have them over to the apartment for a simple but delectable autumnal dinner. Since they were coming from California, we wanted to make sure the meal was extra seasonal just to give them a real fall feel. I put together a menu of some of my favorite foods to eat around this time of year—wild mushroom quiche made with Boursin cheese and caramelized onions and a French onion soup served with a crispy gruyere croustini.
The day before I entertain, I always prepare the table. This is the fun part! I lay out the tablecloth and play around with different dishes, glasses and flatware, testing which combination of things I like best. I consider an unset table my blank canvas. Trying out several options allows you to see what works and what doesn’t. Doing this a day before the actual event gives you time to really think about your choices, without having to worry about the guests arriving any minute! Though I like setting a formal table, I like to take the traditional look and, shall we say, bend the rules. For example, I love changing up the shapes on the table, Instead of traditional circular shaped plates, I chose to use ironstone oval platters. I think they’re modern and totally unexpected.
On a recent trip to Sage Street in Sag Harbor, I found this gorgeous antique copper pot. As a wise woman once said, “Every good cook needs a copper pot.” Vintage copper has such charm, don’t you think? Though this pot was dusty and tarnished when I found it, I knew it had potential to be beautiful. After using a little copper polish and a lot of elbow grease, it’s totally radiant once again. Now, all I have to do to maintain its sheen is use a halved lemon dipped in sea salt. The tinning inside the pot is in great condition, so I can cook with it as well. Perfect for a French onion soup!
Here’s the copper pot set atop one of my old wooden breadboards I recently brought back to life with a little mineral oil love. Doesn’t it make a great trivet? Using the breadboard provides both beauty and protection for your table.
This is a close-up of the ladle I used with the copper pot. Whenever I’m out and about at flea markets and thrift stores, I love collecting antique utensils, especially ones with my monogram!
And speaking of, I love mixing silverware, all with different monograms, whenever I set a table. Check out this Christophle fork with an elegant "MG" monogram on the back. (My good friend Michael Gorman has been trying to get me to give this set to him for years, but I just can’t part with it!) Doesn’t it look chic on this hemstitched napkin from Target?
A dinner table is never complete without sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. (Remember to remove them before you serve dessert!) I used these little butter pats, which I love. The spoons are antique ivory that I bought in Paris a few years ago. There are so many different kinds of salts and I love to experiment with all the different flavors. Have you ever had smoked sea salt? It’s amazing.
For the color palette, I decided to keep things neutral so that the food would really shine. Of all my collections, a favorite of mine is the mini ironstone soup tureens. When ironstone was produced, they made everything in graduating sizes—platters, plates, pitchers, vegetable dishes. You name it, they made it. And as you know, I love anything graduated! In addition to the Christophle fork, I used an ebony handled knife along with a silver soup spoon with an "R" monogram. For the glasses, I chose pretty pressed glass stemware. Don’t you love the railroad etching on the water glass?
Another of my favorite collections are the Czech 1920’s United Porcelain pitchers I picked up at a thrift store in Bucky’s County, Pennsylvania this past summer. They come in so many different sizes. For this particular table, I thought a smaller one would work perfectly to create a low flower arrangement that wouldn’t overwhelm the table. I especially love it with my turned wooden candlesticks. To me, they just feel like fall.
Here’s the wild mushroom quiche I made with Boursin cheese and caramelized onions. I served it right out of this vintage glass Pyrex pie plate. I love how simple and pretty the white mums look in the pitcher. I think they totally compliment the table without distracting from it. To cut the quiche, I used this antique wooden knife, which worked amazingly well! The towel under the quiche is Swedish linen with an "SK" monogram—perfect for Jaithan’s middle and last name, Singh Kochar! I love when monograms work out that way. That’s why whenever you’re at the flea market and you find something you love with a monogram on it, you never know when it’s going to make the perfect gift.
Nothing says fall like a pumpkin, so I placed mine prominently on an antique ironstone compote. Beneath it are the tasty herb toasted croustini with melted gruyere cheese, which I served on my Spode leaf dish. Then I used these Sheffield ice tongs that were the perfect size for floating the croustini on the soup.
Here I am plating up the French onion soup. I have to say, that copper pot from Sage Street is definitely my new favorite find! And the gruyere croustini was a big a hit!
So what are you waiting for? October’s upon us, and the weather here in New York has definitely turned cooler. What a perfect time to invite a few friends over, pop open a bottle of wine and enjoy a simple fall dinner.
I’m so happy you’re enjoying today’s post on the dinner party! A little sidebar for all you foodies out there: At this point, I don’t have formal recipes to share. Culinary school taught me all the basics and from there, I’ve always cooked without measurements. In order to give original, reliable recipes, I’d have to do a lot of recipe testing, and with a full-time job at Martha Stewart Living, there just isn’t enough time in the day! One day soon, I hope to do a book in which I share all my recipes and ideas for entertaining! In the meantime, I’d be more than happy to suggest favorite recipes (especially vintage!) from other chefs. I hope you understand, and thank you for all your kind words and support!
Oh,your fall dinner looks simple and elegant. Could you please post the recipe for your wild mushroom quiche. It looks so good. A nice hearty fall meal. Thank you.
The table is just gorgeous. I love the different textures of the textiles in contrast with the ironstone. The Bucks County pitcher is fabulous. I’d love to see the wild mushroom quiche receipe too.
Lovely, I so appreciate your classic style. Your guests must feel so special!
Once again, blow me away with your reuse of traditional items, love the copper pot as a serving piece! You are a real maverick! wink wink
seriously Eddie, you need to get on eBay and start selling stuff. Hi Jaithan SK!
Simple and yet so beautiful..the attention to detail is impeccable right down to the napkins…from TARGET!!! they look vintage!
Can we have a sneek peak in the cabinet/buffet…or wherever you keep all your china, glass ware etc!! it must look like a treasure trove!!
Loving your blog!
Very charming. It’s so good to see someone who still wants to set a pretty table. I love all the natural colors and great texture.
I just recently found your blog and really have enjoyed reading all your posts.
Have a great weekend!
Another request for the quiche recipe please!
Eddie, beautiful post and what a superb setting for an autumn dinner party!
and that wild mushroom quiche looks yummy, you are going to have to post the recipe
For a moment I was terrified you would not mention the pitchers. I adore them. And, particularly charmed by the ironstone platters as plates. Perfection. Thanks for inviting us along.
Fabulous…..warm and personal. Ginny
Love that copper pot. I think that I may need one…
I need to know – how in the world do you store all your items? I have a hard time storing my few pieces…. any tips?
Thanks for having us for dinner! Your table settings are lovely and I will try setting the table the day before what a great idea. Usually I’m ironing the linens in the morning then rushing around trying to get the food prepared, hel-lo just start earlier.
Charming and elegant – and I’m sure that describes the host as well as the food, the table and the company too! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful party menu! Especially handy to see the settings and read about your treasures — so much more personal when you know their stories! Can’t wait for your first decor/treasure hunting/party book! You KNOW that it will be an automatic buy for so many of your blog fans! And yes — I do agree — please could you talk about storage issues too?
Jan at the very small-with-no-storage Rosemary Cottage
I LOVE the little faux-bois pitcher! Is it spode?? I fell in love with smoked sea salt last year and always have both regular and smoked available!
Love it. Love Eddie.
Since reading your blog, I have been bidding like mad on ebay for more silver. Desperately want a mother of pearl fish knife and fork set! Beautiful table!
Eddie, oh my goodness! What a fabulous dinner. Everything looks beautiful and the food looks and sounds absolutely amazing! You are such a lovely host. Your friends and family are very lucky.
Beautiful table and the menu sounds divine as well. I must say that I have been paying more attention to how I am setting my table and even storing and displaying my dishes since I started reading your blog.
Having my husband’s boss over for dinner just 2 nights ago was fantastic and the table and dining room looked great.
Your blog is my latest obsession! The quiche looks so gorgeous, I would have photographed it too.
As Jonathan would say…I “j’adore” you!!! Please write a cookbook for your fans….(table setting sidenotes would be awesome). Your dinner looks amazing!
Eddie, cannot wait for your book! You’re a constant source of inspiration, thank you! :o)
I’m off to the farmers markets this weekend, in search of some beautiful pumpkins. I love those sage-y/silver green ones. Just beautiful.
Thank you for all your wonderful tips & for inspiring me to host a festive fall dinner party. The wild mushroom quiche sounds truly wonderful! Please share if you ever have the time–I’m amazed with everything that you do now while working full time. Can’t wait to see what you planed next!!! Happy Fall
You are absolutely putting me in the mood for Fall! You really make the simple things in life stand out. Thank you for making us stop and smell the roses. Your blog is getting better every day! Keep up the beautiful posts!
Culinary school? Is there anything you don’t do? I’m amazed! I love your tablescapes with a passion.
If you ever need inspiration for something to blog about – I’d love to hear your ideas about decorating for a baby shower. I’m hosting one October 25th, and I am planning on a chic, modern party – with no diapers or silly games! The colors are a soft mint green and brown. I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have!
Just looking at this gorgeous table I am ready to pull up a chair – Beautiful- Keep posting – I cant say enough- Love your blog
I can’t stop looking at the ivory salt and pepper spoons.
Oh my god, I am virtually bowing down to you!!! Everything about that dinner party looks impeccable- including you! Absolutely gorgeous, thanks so much for sharing!
Eddie! The food, the table, the ambiance — absolutely swank! And you are incredibly dapper! You make life feel so good.
What will you be selling when you open your online store? I can’t wait!
Looks delicious, Eddie!
I have a passion for ironstone too! I would LOVE to find some soup tureens like yours. You table is just perfection. It looks very well thought out: all of your guests’ comforts were thought of. Yet it is relaxed as well, so everyone feels right at home. Pampered, that’s what they would be feeling. And that is what makes it so perfect! (I use my stack of oval diner plates almost every night. I love how food lays out on an oval plate.)
Me again — I was cruising through some fav blogs and do check out this one for its amazing food ideas — especially the Oct. 2/08 posting with the Sweet Potato Creme Brulee …. might be just another way to end a wonderful fall supper!
Jan at Rosemary Cottage
I love those monogrammed silverware pieces. I’ll be looking out for some this weekend when I hit up some antiques stores with my sister!
It’s like looking at myself in the mirror!
I’m an expat New Yorker, and I have many nice things from Sage Street (and Ruby Beets)!
I have a huge collection of white ironstone, and I use butter pats for salt and pepper at each person’s place setting.
Always enjoy your work.
Everything looks so elegant without being formal. I love and cannot believe that you got those hemstitched napkins which look like old linen at TARGET! The smallish ironstone platters is pure brilliance, which I am going to steal right now on ebay. Thanksgiving plates never have enough room. I’m also going to borrow your pumpkin idea to sit on my Great Grandmother’s cut glass cake stand.
One last thing.. I have a copper pot that’s similar. I have looked up and down the aisles in the supermarket and online and I cannot for the life of me find a bottle of elbow grease. If you find a supplier, please let me know!
Thanks for sharing all your great ideas. I ALSO “cook by ear” so I can put that quiche together. Mmmmm.
Wow Eddie is all I can say. I love your monogrammed silver and your soup tureens. Way to cute. And the copper pot is to die for. I’ve been looking all over for one with no luck. Some day though. Your meal sounded perfect. Just one thing…I didn’t receive my invitation!!
I LOVE your ideas…the dinner setup was beautiful and you looked ADORABLE!
Hi Eddie, I love everything you create. Its classic and charming with a fresh young twist. I like to stay current but have a very traditional bend. You show me how to mix it up beautifully. I am so going to target for the napkins. I chose a white on linen pallette for my Thanksgiving table and I am pulling together ideas now. Where did you get the natural linen table cloth, that is exactly what I am looking for. Thankyou so much for all your inspiration. Keep posting we all want more!!! smiles Kathysue
I’m dying for some mini Ironstone tureens! Yours are great!
I’ve started watching Top Design and love the work you’ve done on the show. I’m happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I love having friends and family over for autumn dinners, and it is always my goal to prepare the meals, the ambience and the decor with panache. I am adding you to my blog roll, and I look forward to reading more!
I just found your blog, I did not know you were on TV, I shall be sure to watch the show now. I love your tablesettings I am a bit of a fanatic about tablesetting myself, so it is so much fun finding another table setting enthusiast! I will be back to check your blog 🙂
I would love to have a book written by you.
I am really enjoying reading your blog. And I am going to concoct a mushroom, carmelized onion, Boursin cheese quiche.
I am inspired.
Oh, PLEASE do a book, as soon as humanely possible! I just discovered your blog and am so inspired! Thank you for sharing your talents.