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AT THE TABLE WITH TREANA: THE AUTUMN HARVEST TABLE

Nilotica Shea Butter by Obakki

No matter what part of the world you are from, friendships and connections are solidified around the table. Our 'At the Table with Treana' series shares these moments where recipes, conversation and culture intersect.

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, we can look forward to roaring fires and rustling leaves. And sleeping under the covers. The fall harvest and change of seasons are marked by celebrations around the world, starting with the Autumn Equinox in September and continuing through to the end of November. From the Asian Moon Festival, featuring soft glowing lanterns to light a path to good fortune, to the Cornucopia that represents the abundance of harvest during Thanksgiving in Canada and the US – you’ve got a lot of inspiration for entertaining.

AN AUTUMN DINNER PARTY

Autumn is the perfect time to celebrate community and friendship. It’s harvest season and the markets are full of new colours and the bins are overflowing with fresh fall vegetables. The season is a time for reflection, a time for gathering, a time of gratitude for friends and food.

HOW TO SET THE TABLE WITH AUTUMNAL STYLE

Set the table with fall in mind – your colour palette should be that of nature. Use placemats and napkins in earth tones, made from natural fabrics. And for table décor, you’ve got a ready-made natural helper if you live in a climate where your deciduous leaves turn delicious shades of burnished red, orange, and yellow. And candles – never forget the candles. With night falling sooner, they will invite your guests to the table with a warm, welcoming light.

Dining is family-style – serve the food on platters and in large bowls – encouraging interaction as your guests serve themselves and pass food to their neighbours. Your food should be local – and sustainably produced. Bonus points if it’s farm-to-table.

Include a craft cocktail to start off the evening, with local wines on the table for pouring during dinner. Use a nice decanter for your wine service, it will add a layer of elegance to your harvest dinner.

Organic placemats and tablecloths, in muted tones are, are a perfect backdrop for autumn colours and flavours. And they’ll make your autumn table feel cozy.

A HARVEST TABLE DINNER MENU

Lively conversation should always be on the menu so sit your most interesting people in strategic positions, to keep the dialogue and exchange flowing while plates are being passed. Here is one of Treana’s favourite fall recipes for your autumn dinner party menu.

Creamy Polenta With Sautéed Mushrooms, Asparagus And Poached Egg

Creamy Parmesan polenta with beer sautéed mushrooms. A delicious smooth polenta with beer sautéed mushroom gravy and caramelized onions, served with a poached egg and crispy sage. Sounds like a lot, but this topper pops up on your table in less than half an hour.

INGREDIENTS

PARMESAN POLENTA
1 1/4 cup/400 ml milk
1 1/2 cup/350 ml water
1 1/2 cup/250 g polenta
1/2 cup/120 g Parmesan
2 tbs butter
sea salt + black pepper


FOR SERVING
4 poached eggs (optional)
1 bunch steamed asparagus
fried sage leaves chopped chives
flaky sea salt + black pepper

BEER SAUTEED MUSHROOMS
300 g/3 cups mix of mushrooms, roughly torn
3 small onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup/100 ml dark beer
3/4 cup/200 ml vegetable broth
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil1 tsp dried thyme
sea salt + black pepper

PREPARATION

1. Start with the mushrooms. Heat butter and oil in a skillet set over high heat. Add mushrooms and fry until lightly browned. Add onions and cook until they start to soften, stirring occasionally, over medium heat.

2. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add cornstarch and toss until the mushrooms are evenly coated. Add beer and cook for 2 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, make the polenta. In a medium saucepan, bring water and milk to a boil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta, stirring continually, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 2 minutes. If the polenta thickens too much, thin with some additional milk.

4. Add broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisk continually until the gravy starts to boil. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer the gravy thinner add a little more water.

5. Prepare the asparagus. Steam asparagus for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks until asparagus is tender.

6. Prepare the poached eggs. Fill a saucepan with 1/3 water, add a good splash of vinegar and bring to a boil. Break each egg separately in a coffee cup. Turn down the heat and keep the water just below the boiling point.

7. Pour the first egg very carefully into the water, start pouring as soon as the cup touches the water. Repeat this with the second egg, and cook on a very low heat for 4 minutes. Carefully fish out the poached eggs with a slotted spoon, place on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Cut away any loose egg whites.

8. Divide the parmesan polenta between bowls, spoon the sautéed mushrooms, top with asparagus, poached eggs, and fried sage leaves. Sprinkle with chives, flaky salt and black pepper. Enjoy!

OF GRATITUDE AND CONNECTION

A harvest table dinner should be a culinary feast, with lots of sharing and caring and food. The most important element is the celebration of friendships – new and old – and the celebration of the abundance we have all been lucky enough to experience. So as autumn falls upon us, gather some good friends, some good food and make some good memories.

SHOP AT THE TABLE

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