It just occurred to us that Thanksgiving is THISCLOSE to arriving and we are already dreaming of turkey and stuffing and pie, oh my. We love the fact that unlike most other holidays, the dining room table (or rather, what's on it) is really the focal point of Thanksgiving festivities. Creating the perfect atmosphere for enjoying your feast becomes truly important, even if you're not normally a tablescapes queen a la Sandra Lee.
We are happy to report that Thanksgiving tablescapes have come a long way since plunking down a conucopia, raiding the plastic fruit and faux leaves section at Michael's, and calling it a day.
This Thanksgiving, we are really feeling feathers as a unique, chic, and inexpensive way to add a fall touch to your Thanksgiving table. We'd love to welcome our guests to the front door with a delicious wreath, like this one from Better Homes and Gardens....
...or this perfectly fall-ish Royal Pheasant wreath from the Pemberley Collection.
We love the tablescape that Jane Carroll created using small feather wreaths, not to mention the fact she serves salad in a hollowed out pumpkin. What a chic table!
I have a feeling this centerpiece would last about 12 seconds on my table before I'd be surrounded by a tornado of frolicking cats and half eaten feathers.But still, what an easy, inexpensive way to add height to a table. We've noted before that you can buy pheasant feathers on Ebay for a song- throw them in your favorite vase (stuck into some florist's Styrofoam to keep them in place) and you've got a breathtaking centerpiece.
We also love how these branches add height to this rustic, yet charming, table from Country Living.
For a slightly fancier Thanksgiving, break out the orange and yellow taper candles. This table from Country Living captures the right blend of being elegant and inviting.
And finally, Martha Stewart shows us how it's done with an assortment of baby gourds, one of my favorite fall decorating items. Stack a few of these in the center of the table and you can call it a day and move on to more important things...like cooking!
While decorations are key for setting the mood, what everyone really cares about are the edible items on the table. I churned out two of these amazing pumpkin roulades last Thanksgiving and am gearing up for another go-round in two weeks. Trust me, if you set this on the table the pumpkin pie sitting next to it will positively look like a snoozefest! Don't be put off by the fact it requires rolling- all you need is a light touch and it will turn out beautifully (even if the Pillsbury dough boy typically does most of the prep work in your baking!). Give it a go and tell us what you think, will you?
Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream
Recipe courtesy Ina Garten
For the cake:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
For the filling:
- 12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 cup minced dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
- Pinch kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine. Place the eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. With the mixer on low, add the pumpkin, then slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.
While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar evenly over it. (This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.) As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel. Peel away the parchment paper. With a light touch, roll the warm cake and the towel together (don't press!) starting at the short end of the cake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, confectioners' sugar, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in the crystallized ginger, and salt.
To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath. Spread the cake evenly with the filling. Reroll the cake in a spiral using the towel as a guide. Remove the towel and trim the ends to make a neat edge. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve sliced.