I do love a well-set table. But do you know which tables really get my creative juices flowing? Those set for a chic meal for two.
Why are these small dining vignettes so charming? Perhaps it's the intimacy of the setting. What a perfect way to dine with a paramour, a good friend, or a dear relative. It's suitable for a ladies lunch for two, a light supper with a neighbor, or a post-theater snack. (Many cookbooks and entertaining books include recipes and menus for a post-theater supper. What I want to know is how many people actually do this? It sounds quite civilized, but Atlantans don't really go to the theater. Do you think this is a New York thing?)
These small table settings just beg for the good stuff. When you've only got cleanup for two, why not put out the good flatware, the crystal, and the salt cellars? I also think these intimate meals call for something rich to eat.
So, with that in mind, here are some inspiring little tables and a good souffle recipe to boot:
Bill Blass' Sour Cream Souffle (perfect for a supper for two- or more!)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives
7 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the oven rack at the lower middle level. Butter a 2-quart souffle dish and coat it with the Parmesan cheese, knocking out the excess and reserving it.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the sour cream and flour together with a whisk or electric mixer. Add the egg yolks one at a time while continuously beating. Stir in the salt, cayenne, chives and remaining Parmesan.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they reach firm, shiny peaks. Fold the whites into the batter with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour gently into souffle dish and bake for about 35 minutes. Serves 6.
A fantasy table set for Mme. de Pompadour and Louix XV (from Tiffany Taste)
An elegant table set for two in the home of Marilyn Evins (c. 1971; House & Garden magazine) (Evins is a relative by marriage of a fellow blogger. Guess who? You'll find out on her blog soon enough.)
Tea for Two, set outdoors in Bermuda (photo from Tiffany Taste)
Would you have guessed that John Saladino set this table? The table is set for an imaginary breakfast between Saladino and the Doge of Venice. (Tiffany Taste)
Rhapsody in Pink. A little retro dining for your pleasure... (image from House & Garden)
Breakfast set for two in San Antonio (Tiffany Taste)
Image at top: Would you expect anything less from the uber-stylish Babe Paley? Note the copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's .... this was obviously before the falling out with Capote.