Living Entertaining:

Simple Ideas, Thoughtfully Executed. Vogue Living

Universally, we are home now more than ever. We are cooking more than ever. And it is essential now, more than ever, to imbue our surroundings with appreciation and beauty— because home and family, they’re all we’ve got. So let’s celebrate them. Let’s design a home experience that sustains us, that feels therapeutic.

As a young mom, isolated at home in my twenties, I turned to cooking and design as a form of much-needed creative expression. Now, here we all are, collectively at home and in need of that same elevation of the spirit. I am acutely aware that now is not the time to be extravagant or fancy. When it comes to executing a beautiful experience in the kitchen and home, here is my belief: simple ideas, thoughtfully executed.  

Simple Ideas, Thoughtfully Executed. Vogue Living
Simple Ideas, Thoughtfully Executed. Vogue Living

Creating a beautiful meal for those we love (ourselves included) and finessing an environment to share are at the core of what I do. Not only because I am a people-pleaser at heart, but also because of the emotion and connection surrounding that shared experience. It is never one or the other, food or design. For me, they are synonymous. Beauty elevates the ordinary–– I will always hold this statement to be gospel.

When Vogue Living asked me to teach a master class that takes viewers from the kitchen to the table, I knew I wanted to make it feel accessible to all. A simple, unfussy summer meal using the freshest local ingredients. Rather than bothering with expensive, store-bought florals for the table decor, I turned to produce for inspiration. The purple and green tones of the eggplant and herbs guided the palette, and acted as sustainable and edible elements to accentuate the tablescape. Not fussy, or precious, but absolutely alluring. We deserve beauty. Now especially.

Simple Ideas, Thoughtfully Executed. Vogue Living

So yes, pull out your linen napkins, even if you’re just serving a meal for yourself. Tie them simply with a string and add a fragrant sprig. What we all might find is that the creative act of making something beautiful brings us joy. Not for any other reason beyond the pure pleasure of home, and of being with family.  

Simple ideas, thoughtfully executed!

Simple Ideas, Thoughtfully Executed. Vogue Living
Simple Ideas, Thoughtfully Executed. Vogue Living

Charred Eggplant With Za’atar, Herbs And Goat Cheese

Athena Calderone

Ingredients

SERVES 4 TO 6

3 Italian eggplants (about 13⁄4 pounds/800 g total), quartered lengthwise

1⁄3 cup (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon za’atar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon sumac, plus more for sprinkling

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

2-3 oz. of goat cheese

1/2 cup arugula

1 handful torn fresh herbs of each basil, mint, and dill

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Method

Preheat the grill over medium-high heat to about 400oF (205oC).

Drizzle the oil evenly over the eggplant and toss to coat. Sprinkle it with za’atar, sumac, and season with salt and pepper. Rub the seasonings into the eggplant, being careful to coat the pieces evenly.

Grill the eggplant on each cut side for 5  minutes. Turn it skin-side down and grill for 2 minutes more, or until the eggplant has nice grill marks and is tender throughout.

Transfer the eggplant to a platter. Scatter with turn herbs, greens, zest and a drizzle of lemon juice. Crumble goat cheese and finish with a sprinkle of sumac and more za’atar. 

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