Monday, May 6, 2013

Mexican Themed Brunch for Six

Bright Colors as a Backdrop for Great Food

For our Mexican themed brunch, I started with a burnt orange base cloth on our oval breakfast table that's between the family room and kitchen.  Layered on top was a brightly colored vintage 40's cloth which is in 12 blocks of pattern.  The first dish layer was a Ringware cookie platter that I used as a charger.

On top of the glass charger is a 10" dinner plate in a pattern called Vistosa by Taylor, Smith, and Taylor.  It was produced beginning in 1938 to compete with Homer Laughlin's Fiesta, which had begun production in 1936.  Production was discontinued in the early 40's, after only three or four years, making it somewhat rare today and much harder to find than Fiesta, which is still in production, though in different colors.  Although the original colors of Fiesta and Vistosa are very similar, Vistosa is easily recognized by its pie crust edge.
The next layer is a 6" Vistosa bread plate with a ringware bowl for the first course fruit salad.  I mixed dish colors at each place, but I could have alternated colors - all yellow for one, all cobalt for the next one, all green next...
"Accessories" for each place included 1940's ringware glasses.  They come in many ring color combinations.  Some have smooth glass and some have rings in the glass itself, not just in the colors.  One was for water and I served juice in the wine glass.  Also, new royal blue napkins with three vintage Bakelite napkin rings each stacked like bangle bracelets.  I kept the rings in two colors and used the same at each setting because I thought there was enough color changes already in the dishes.

Even when there are only 6 guests, I like to use more than one set of salt and peppers.  I used two sets of matching Vistosa ones for this brunch.

Other Vistosa pieces I used included the ball jug for water, the tea pot, and the cream and sugar set.
I used two-tone Bakelite flatware with yellow at the top and green at the bottom that is clear Lucite, darkened by age.  Our centerpiece was red and white Gerbera daisies.  I felt they went well with the bright, solid color Vistosa and put them in a ringware ice bucket.  I used a ringware carafe for juice and a center-handled cookie platter for muffins.

Recipe for a Simple Citrusy Salad

A combination of any or all of the following fresh fruits, amounts depending on the number of guests:
Grapefruit supremes
Orange segments
Tangerine, or "Cuties," segments
Starfruit slices
Pineapple chunks

Simple syrup (equal amounts of sugar and water, heated so the sugar melts into the water)
Disk of fresh ginger
Fresh lemon juice 
Fresh lime zest
     Drop ginger into warm simple syrup and let sit to infuse at least 30 minutes.  Remove ginger and add juice and zest in appropriate amounts.  (Make apx. 1/2 cup dressing for every 6 cups of fruit using a 2:1 proportion of syrup to lemon juice.)  Toss and serve.

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