To the Table!

Now that the mantle is done, next up is the dining room table.  Over the next few weeks many a meal will be served there as my gift to friends is dinner at home.  I can promise you the centerpiece will not change every time so the solution is to think of something that will work with different table settings.

holiday tablescapeLike on the mantle, trees are featured, these on a burgundy table runner topped with this always useful gold mesh.

holiday tablescapeIt is tied with the same ribbon used on the candleholders in the living room.  For many years I’ve collected glass and crystal bells and love bringing them to the table for a touch of sparkle and shine.

holiday tablescape There is plenty of time to use Christmas themed dishes, so I’m starting out with the china that once belonged to my mother.  These days I’m trying to use it more often rather than just leave it in the cabinet, and I like setting a table, sometimes casual, sometimes dressy, with it.

holiday tablescapeOn the gold placemats, it looks elegantly festive.

napkin foldingThe napkin, a companion to the runner, is folded simply on the diagonal and the top three layers are folded back so there is a spot of gold at every turn.

holiday tablescapeMy first impulse was to select from my collection of unmatched wine glasses,

holiday tablescapebut with trees on the table it seemed a perfect time to break out the Spode Christmas tree glasses. These will be used again and again the next few weeks, both for table settings and for sipping eggnog.

sundried tomato palmiersThe dinner this time around is  simple Italian starting with the palmiers that were mentioned by Mary here.  They are every bit as good and easy to make as advertised.  

tomato bread soupI won’t share every recipe, but the bread and tomato soup is one you might want to try.  There wasn’t a spoonful left!

Tomato and Bread Soup with Basil Oil

6 c. chicken stock

4 T. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2-3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, chopped

11 ozs. stale ciabbatta or crusty Italian bread, crusts removed and thinly sliced or made into crumbs

3 closves minced garlic

4 ozs. grated Parmesan

Heat the stock in a large soup pan.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Puree and add to stock.  Add the bread and garlic.  Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the soup is thick and creamy.  Stir from time to time to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

While the soup is cooking, process 1/4 c. olive oil, 3 T. basil and 3 T. arugula in a blender until smooth.  

Just before serving, stir parmesan and salt and pepper to tasted into the soup.  Ladle into bowls and pour roughly 2 T. of basil oil on top.  Serve extra Parmesan on the side if desired.

Makes 6 servings

If you serve this soup as a first course, keep the portion small as it is quite filling.  With a green salad, it is easily a satisfying main course and the double bonus is that it’s very easy to prepare.

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33 thoughts on “To the Table!

  1. Simply awesome! I liked this table setting so much that I added the picture to my Pinterest page.

    1. Thank you. I am pleased that you liked the table. When there are pretty things to work with, you can’t go wrong.

  2. absolutely stunning. Your Mothers China is the cherry on the cake of this lovely table. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop xo

  3. What a pretty table and a tribute to your sweet mom. Don’t you know she is smiling down on this one. Love the way you used the ribbon down the center and tied it with bows. Lucky family and friends who get invited to dine at your beautiful tables……….Sarah

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I love using the china not just on special occasions but regularly. You know what’s funny, I don’t remember Mother using it too often, but I remember each piece coming as a gift from my dad.

  4. Love the table setting. A true reflection of the festive spirit of this holidays. Christmas is a time to bring our the best that we have to offer and making unforgettable memories. Wishing you and your family all the joy of this holiday season.

  5. my mouth is watering at this recipe.. can’t wait to try it. Love that you are sharing your mom’s china with us and are using it. I’m sure that she is looking down and is pleased as punch! Love the runner and the gold ribbons. Your trees are now on my wishlist!! xo marlis

  6. Burgundy table runner, gold placements, the trees, gorgeous!! Thank you, Lulu!

  7. I love the vintage dishes. I like to use my old pink rose dishes from my aunt for a holiday tablescape, featuring it with the theme “A Christmas Cup of Tea” book published 20 years or so ago.

  8. Between this post and the previous one, you do have a lot of trees! Your table is lovely – nice use of the material for a runner! And I love those gold trimmed napkins and how you folded them!

  9. Everything is just beautiful. You obviously put a lot of work and thought into it. I bet your guests feel very special!

  10. Opps! Just re-read the recipe and of course you have directions for the basil oil! Thanks!

  11. A beautiful table and dinner is such a wonderful way to give a holiday gift to friends and your table is gorgeous. I definitely want to try the tomato soup, sounds really delicious, do you make your own basil oil? I’ve GOT to try those palmiers, I’ve had that recipe in my file forever, and if you and Mary both recommend, they are officially on the Christmas Eve menu! Love the napkin folds too, everything is so pretty!

    1. Oh good, I’m glad you’re going to give the palters a try. They were a big hit and you can be sure I’ll be making them again.

  12. Your table is stunning! I love the center runner with the trees. They are so unusual and elegant. What pretty placemats. They add such a fun softness to the table. Isn’t it wonderful to use such meaningful items from loved ones. I just love that. Hopefully, someday someone will want to use some of my things!

  13. What a beautiful table, Linda. I love your centepiece! And what a neat way to fold the napkins!..Christine

  14. I am in total agreement–the glittery placemats are a wonderful background for your mom’s beautiful dishes! Thanks for sharing your very inviting table with us!

  15. Linda, your table is so beautiful and elegant. My mother had a crystal bell collection that my sister now has.

    1. I am hoping someone in my family will want my bells. I love each and every one.

  16. Your. mother’s Richelieu china is beautiful with this centerpiece and I can’t wait to try the soup. Thanks for sharing. This china also reminds me of my sweet Mother who gave me the set as a wedding gift. Although I had already chosen a pattern called Turquoise and got place settings for 12, I actually love the Richelieu more. It is so versatile as you just demonstrated with this lovely tablescape, and can be dressed up or down. You are an inspiration to me, Linda!

    1. I remember that we share the same pattern which is special to both of us for similar reason.

  17. Another great post, Lulu! Your table is gorgeous and very festive. I love that you use your good dishes on a regular basis, your mother’s china is beautiful. I have to try that napkin fold, too.

    I’m going to try your soup as well, I have never heard of it. Thanks so much for the recipe!


    1. Thank you, Jane, for stopping by. The soup is as easy as it is good so do give it a try.

  18. Just simply beautiful!!

  19. Beautiful Linda! I love your gold mesh running down the center of your table and your creative napkin fold revealing the gold embroidered edge! Your mother’s china is beautiful on your table…I’m a fan of using a pattern different ways, casually or dressing it up! Ina’ Palmiers are so good aren’t they! The kitchen smells so wonderful while they’re baking they’re hard to resist right out of the oven 🙂

    1. Thanks for putting me onto the palmiers. There wasn’t a single one left.

  20. Cant wait to try the tomato soup!

    1. When you do, let me know what you think. I’ve been trying to recreate some bread soups that I enjoyed in Italy.

  21. Hi Linda, I love your centerpiece and the gold mesh intertwined down the runner. Your Mom’s dishes are so pretty and look great with the pretty folded napkin. Mmmmm the soup sounds wonderful and heartwarming!

  22. Oh, Linda…you made my small Grinch heart grow three sizes this day when I saw that you are using your Mother’s china! I remember how this time last year was very difficult with her passing. I don’t know if this was an intentional shout out to your Mom or not, but it sure felt that way to me. On to more pleasant conversation! You have me rethinking the ribbon on my dining room tree right now. I may add some small bows at the “divets” as you have here on your gold mesh. That really looks pretty. I wonder how it will look if I’m not using a different ribbon than the one I’m tying the bows to? Hmmmmm….I’ll know pretty soon because I’m going to head down there to try it out as soon as I finish chatting with you! 🙂 I like your napkin treatment, too! Now about this bread in soup…whazzup with that??!?! That really sounds different! You said there wasn’t a drop left over, though, so I guess I will have to give it a try this winter when the cold winds blow. We’re still fairly warm here with daytime highs in the 60s. All that should change on Monday, though! OK…I’m off to try the bows and to start dinner. I’m hungry now after looking and and talking about that soup! Have a good weekend, sister!

    1. I love using the china and it’s so not me that it makes it fun. I’m glad I have it as a reminder of Mother and one of these days it will pass on to my daughter who it very much looks like. Crazy weather we’ve been having here as well but most of it has been good, warm enough to eat on the porch.

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