A Warm, Relaxed Autumn Dinner
Nov 24, 2014
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(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

We've been following artists and designers Corrin and Jake as they plan a casual fall dinner party for friends, with a comforting menu that uses dairy-based solutions to feature milk, yogurt and three different cheeses and still be friendly to lactose-intolerant guests. Today, we'll reveal how it all came together, from National Dairy Council's cooking tips to one stellar DIY project.

The Look

Corrin and Jake started with a gorgeous backdrop: their airy and bright Brooklyn apartment, full of their own stunning artwork. (Like the impressive peacock tableau Jake drew on their chalkboard wall.)

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Inspired by their rustic dining table and benches, this creative couple created a tabletop with warm woods, brass flatware, low floral arrangements and tea lights in mercury glasses. (Speaking of warm glows, that gilded fish platter belonged to Jake's grandmother – and made for an amazing centerpiece!) To set it all off, they added table textiles in deep indigo that Corrin tie-dyed herself.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

The DIY Project

Corrin and Jake highlighted their welcoming table setting with a stunning DIY runner. (Get the instructions in our first post.) Don't be scared, newbie crafters: These simple dye jobs are basically foolproof, and use simple materials like cardboard and rubber bands to make a stunning backdrop to a delicious meal.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

The Food

In keeping with this shindig's low-key vibe, our hosts opted for flank steak, an easy cut that cooks quickly. They rounded out the menu with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli and took some cues from our sponsor, National Dairy Council, on how to create a balanced meal while also accommodating guests who may be lactose intolerant.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

First, the potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are heaven on a chilly night, so Corrin and Jake used Greek yogurt, which has live and active cultures to help digest the lactose, as well as lactose-free milk to give their dish that desired silky consistency. The roasted broccoli got tossed with almond slivers and a light coating of grated parmesan, which, like many natural cheeses, is delicious and contains minimal amounts of lactose.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

The dessert — apple pie with aged cheddar — was similarly LI-friendly, not to mention the perfect blend of sweet and savory. (We also love that they went old-school kids' table and served it with lactose-free milk, which is real milk just without the lactose. Everyone wanted a glass!)

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

For their steak accompaniments, Corrin and Jake made two simple sauces, a yogurt-horseradish sauce and a blue cheese sauce, that took advantage of the lactose-intolerance-friendly yogurt and cheese to add some dairy deliciousness so guests could eat confidently, including those with lactose intolerance (check out the original recipe here).

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)
(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Before dinner, guests — cocktails and mocktails in hand — lingered in the open-plan kitchen and dining area, nibbling on cheese and fresh baguette. By the time the steak hit the stovetop, the only thing left to do was gather around that one-of-a-kind table and dig in.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

With such a homey meal in such a cozy atmosphere, the party didn't feel high-pressure at all. In fact, it was just special enough to want to repeat week after week!

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

Visit EatConfidentlyWithLI.org and follow @NtlDairyCouncil on Twitter to learn more about enjoying dairy.

Photography: Pablo Enriquez
Styling: Sara Weissler
Food Styling: Martha Tinkler
Gathering Sponsor: National Dairy Council
Hosts: Jake Messing and Corrin Acome
Guests: Ujjainy Lahiry, Tux Loerzel, Sara Miller, Peter Townsend.

More posts in A Warm, Relaxed Autumn Dinner Party: Gatherings from The Kitchn
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