Setting the table in Downton Abbey style was lots of fun. Hearing from so many of you was wonderful. Having my husband shout at the television last night, saying, “They’re measuring the silverware just like you said!” was even more fun.
And so was actually eating at the table.
I will admit that I took down the big candlelabra and replaced it with a five-candle silver candlelabra so that we could actually see each other. Unlike what happened in Downton Abbey last night — remember when they “turned the table”? — my guests were allowed to talk across the brunch table. It’s just not that big.
We removed all the dishes from the staged table in order to serve the brunch plated. Since there were only five of us, it was easy to plate at my kitchen island and serve directly to the table. My husband made a wonderful footman and we had a relaxed couple of hours. We even broke every Downton Abbey rule by keeping the kitchen television on (muted, of course), so Music Man could keep track of the football games.
We started with Ree Drummond’s Carrot-Thyme Soup with Cream. I had seen this recipe on her show recently and it looked perfect to start the meal off. Frankly, I think it was my favorite. The dollop of honey made everything come together in creamy goodness. I made it on Saturday, cooled it overnight in the fridge, and then just put it in the crockpot on Sunday morning. It was perfect when we got home from church.
Next up was a Sausage and Grits Quiche recently posted by Foodie In WV. I thought it needed a little touch of sweet to go with the savory flavors of the aged cheese, and passed maple syrup at the table. We felt that it set off the flavors very well. Best of all, this recipe is a gluten-free alternative to bread-based breakfast casseroles. (As always, be sure to check your ingredients carefully to be sure there are no hidden gluten-meanies in your dish.) I also made this in advance, as noted in the recipe, and cooked it Sunday morning before we left for church.
Next came the vegetable course; we served a veggie quiche with a small salad. I mixed up a couple of recipes, including Emeril’s basic Quiche Lorraine and Martha Stewart’s Broccoli Cheddar Quiche, and ended up with a mixed veggie quiche with a light Swiss cheese base. We served this course with a small salad made of baby greens, baby tomatoes, diced English cucumber, diced dried figs, and dressed it with Dove’s Chocolate Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Here in the empty nest, we are always looking for ways to enjoy food and friends together in a way that fits into our lifestyle. While this table setting was not relaxed with all of the dishes and silverware, the party certainly was. As we cleared the courses, we stacked up each set of serving pieces so that they were somewhat neat on the counter and I corralled the used silverware in a mug. Because it wasn’t a very large group, it was pretty easy to accomplish and still enjoy the party.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put away some dishes. 🙂