BHG Delish Dish

Stirring Up Ideas In The Kitchen

Simple Party Tips from Annette Joseph


Ciao everyone, I’m Annette Joseph and I am so excited to be sharing a few of my style and entertaining secrets with you on Delish Dish today. I am a photo stylist and producer, making pretty pictures happen for magazines including Better Homes and Gardens, and I am introducing my brand new cookbook Picture Perfect Parties (Rizzoli) in this month’s Stylemaker issue. If you know me, you know that I am always up for a party.






What I love about the party I created for the September issue is that it’s simple and gorgeous {my motto}. I encourage people to mingle and be able to enjoy a meal while visiting.



What could be simpler than soup? It’s perfect for easy entertaining (especially heading into fall) because it can be made ahead of time. This White Bean Vegetable and Farro Soup is especially forgiving as a party main course because it comes together very quickly (in little more than 30 minutes), but it doesn’t hurt it at all to stay on the stove and simmer for a couple of hours. In fact, I actually like it better after all the ingredients have had a chance to soften and meld together.  The recipe also offers guests a chance to customize the flavor with the herby chermoula sauce that’s served on the side — drizzle just a little or swirl in a lot, it’s up to them! Get the soup recipe here.


The trick to making a really simple menu like soup and salad into a party is how you decorate the table. And that’s where those secrets I mentioned come in. One of my favorite tricks is to serve things in unexpected ways. That’s why the serving vessels are number one when I plan a party. A salad becomes a decorative element on the table when placed in low glasses, along with dressing in individual bottles. And something as simple as flipping over a tray to create a riser will punctuate your table with a POW!



Another great trick is to make all the necessary utilitarian elements part of decorating the table. Display silverware in mason jars dressed up with a gift tag. Turn an easy appetizer like these prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks into a sort of secondary “bouquet” fanning out of a stemmed water glass. And take a few minutes to give napkins a personal and decorative touch. Here, I folded each napkin in a square, wrapped with linen ribbon, and snapped on a monogram with these pinch-on metal letter tags.


If the table is decorated just right you can make even the simplest fare a celebration. Let’s Party!




For more great stylist’s tips and secrets, as well as recipes, check out Picture Perfect Parties and Annette’s siteAnd get a peek into the book in this video trailer.







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