Blog by Beebe Cline

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8 Creative Accents to Set Your Holiday Table Apart

It's that time of year again, when dried leaves crunch under the soles of your boots, the evening air is crisp and it's time to gather with family and friends for food and drink.

I recently asked some experts — including a stylist, a florist and a chef — to share their insights and tips for hosting this season. Their simple, low-cost projects can brighten any holiday get-together and add a personal, fresh touch to your fall table.
Project: Dipped Spoons

Give your serving pieces an update by painting the handles. I followed this detailed online tutorial from House of Earnest. Use them to serve something like this fall-perfect side dish:

Roasted Carrot and Beet Salad With Feta, Pulled Parsley and Cumin Vinaigrette
(from A New Turn in the South, by Hugh Acheson)
Serves 6

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound baby carrots, peeled, ½ inch of green top left on
  • 1 pound baby beets, cleaned but not peeled
  • ¼ pound feta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup cumin vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, pulled
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil, add ½ teaspoon of the salt, then the carrots. Blanch for 1 minute and remove the carrots, placing them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once they're cool, remove them.

2. Place the beets in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and simmer until the beets are tender. Strain the beets and peel them using paper towels to rub off the skin. This is easier when they are still warm. Crumble the feta and set it aside.

3. Toss the carrots with ½ tablespoon of the olive oil and place them on half a baking sheet. Toss the beets with the remaining olive oil and place them on the other half of the baking pan. Roast for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the beets and carrots from the oven and place them in separate bowls. Add 1 tablespoon of the cumin vinaigrette and ½ cup of the parsley to the beets and toss. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette, the remaining parsley and the feta to the carrots and toss.

5. Divide the carrots evenly among 6 plates. Then divide the beets evenly among the plates and gently mix them with the carrots. Drizzle with a touch more of the vinaigrette.

Cumin Vinaigrette
Makes ¾ cup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted in a dry pan and then pulverized
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Place the Dijon mustard in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil, then the lemon juice and the sherry vinegar. Add the cumin and the mint. Season with salt and pepper.