Southern Lady - Gracious Tables : The Perfect Setting for Any Occasion

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-01-01
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Entertaining doyenne Phyllis Hoffman shows how to prepare a stunning table for any occasion. So many of the events of our lives, from the formal to the informal, are celebrated by gathering around a table. Whatever the occasion-whether it's a holiday dinner, Sunday brunch, or a casual lunch with friends-the table is the place where we relax and enjoy each other's company while savoring a great meal. No one knows how to dress a table with elegance and flair better than Phyllis Hoffman, publisher of Southern Lady magazine, the quintessential resource for entertaining the gracious Southern way. Now, Hoffman draws upon her years of expertise to create Southern Lady Gracious Tables, the definitive guide to creating gorgeous "tablescapes" for every occasion. Starting with the basics, Hoffman presents a series of breathtaking spreads for a whole range of occasions, from formal settings to casual get-togethers, and describes how to achieve each look, right down to the recipes-55 in total-for her mouthwatering specialties. Enjoy a lovely outdoor lunch of tasty Fried Green Tomatoes with Crab and Green Chile Cream Sauce, or finish off a dinner party with delectable Praline Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. Hoffman then builds a "wardrobe for the table," navigating through the complex world of dinnerware, fine linens, and serving pieces. Each and every element of the table-from fruit saucer to lemon fork to water goblet-is covered in a friendly, helpful way. Finally, there's advice on adding that all-important personal touch, with instructions on how to craft flowers, family heirlooms, collectibles, and other unexpected treasures into the perfect centerpiece, place marker, or accent. All along, her advice includes refreshingly simple techniques for presentation and encourages the reader's own creativity in playing with colors, patterns, and styles. Complemented by lush photography and told in Hoffman's accessible, encouraging, and deliciously Southern voice, Southern Lady Gracious Tables is a must-have for every aspiring hostess, south or north of the Mason Dixon. The perfect gift for any woman who loves to entertain, it has all the tools, tips, and inspiration you need to elevate the ordinary to the unforgettable.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Southern Lady at Homep. 8
Preparing the Table: The Elements of Graciousnessp. 34
Southern Hospitalityp. 36
Home and Hearthp. 68
Sociable Settingsp. 102
Neighborly Get-togethersp. 140
Polite Conversationp. 166
Feeding the Senses: Building a Wardrobe for the Tablep. 192
Dinnerwarep. 194
Crystal & Glasswarep. 202
Sterling Silverp. 208
Fine Linensp. 214
Serving Piecesp. 218
Rewarding the Eyes: Embellishing with Flairp. 222
Artful Flowersp. 224
Family Heirloomsp. 228
Charming Collectiblesp. 232
Unexpected Treasuresp. 238
Finishing Touchesp. 242
Resourcesp. 252
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Southern Lady: Gracious Tables
The Perfect Setting for Any Occasion

Chicken and Dumplings Soup

Serves 10 to 12

At the second house on the tour of family homes, steaming bowls of chicken and dumpling soup is served. This stick-to-your ribs soup is a new take on a Southern favorite.


2½ pounds split chicken breasts
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 onion, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
4 quarts water
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of celery soup
1 (1-pound) package frozen mixed vegetables
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter


In a large Dutch oven, combine chicken, peppercorns, bay leaves, onion, celery, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth; cool, remove skin and bones, and discard. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside.

Strain broth, discarding solids. Return broth to Dutch oven. Stir in soup, vegetables, seasoned salt, and salt. Add chopped chicken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine milk and butter. Heat in microwave on high in 30 second intervals, or until butter is melted. Stir warm milk mixture into flour mixture, mixing with a fork, just until combined. Drop dumplings by tablespoonfuls into simmering chicken broth mixture. Cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until dumplings are light and fluffy. Serve immediately.

Uptown Grits Souffle

Serves 6 to 8


3½ cups water
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup old-fashioned grits (not quick or instant)
2 cups grated fontina cheese
½ cup butter
1½ teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375°. Fill a 13x9x2-inch pan with 1 inch of hot water and place in oven. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking dish; set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Stir in grits; reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese, butter, garlic, and pepper. Stir until butter and cheese are melted; remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Add egg mixture to grits mixture, mixing well. Spoon grits mixture into prepared pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven in center of 13x9x2-inch pan (water bath). Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking 20 minutes, or until set.

Southern Lady: Gracious Tables
The Perfect Setting for Any Occasion
. Copyright © by Phyllis Hoffman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Southern Lady - Gracious Tables: The Perfect Setting for Any Occasion by Phyllis Hoffman
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