Comfort Food Texas Style with Lisa Hilderbrand

When native Texan designer Lisa Hilderbrand entertains no detail is missed. Her design work is often featured in many magazines and design blogs. Like her sought after comfortable and elegant interiors, even her most impromptu get togethers with friends, look like they have been well thought out weeks in advance. Her easy going nature and sense of classic southern hospitality is seen in this fun weekend lunch for "friends with kids" that she and her family host with some regularity. The large well equipped kitchen is the hub of activity. Since she loves to cook she makes everything herself.

A spread of comfort food is a feast for all ages. Buffet style is the 
easiest way to serve a large group. 

Tell me about the occasion and the meal you made.
This is a snowy winter lunch for friends with kids. Since we have a large yard its great for the kids to play in the snow.  I served an easy to prepare menu of butternut squash soup, three cheese grilled sandwiches on sourdough bread, great organic chips with blue cheese dip, salad with tomato and figs and S'mores by the fire outside for dessert.

 For the adults there are Bloody Mary's and crisp organic bacon for all to nosh on 
while the meal is being prepared. 

What influences your menu choices when you entertain?
I always keep in mind who is coming to dinner and what type of occasion its going to be i.e. formal or casual and of course time of year and I let those be the guides. Since I am from Texas summer is all about cooking outside and using charcoal as the heat source.  I gave my husband a Blue Green Egg smoker and we cook everything on that. Some of our favorite things are smoked salmon, turkey and of course super seared steaks to name a few. 

Designer Lisa Hilderbrand serves the soup she just made. 

What has most inspired your entertaining style?
Texas and the southern sense of graciousness are embeded in my entertaining spirit. I love to have dinner parties and very impromptu get togethers with friends. 
Even the most last minute party requires a wow factor like a flaming dessert - would be typical.

Ready for a feast. Plates and bowls ready to go.

Lisa's 3 Tips
When I am making a new recipe I always make it once in advance to try it.
Set the table a day or two in advance- it's one less thing to think about the day of the party.
Choose a great play list of music in advance- nothing breaks the mood of the occasion faster than a odd song in a good mix.

What child, or adult for that matter, wouldn't want to dive into Lisa's 
gooey grilled three cheese sandwiches?

Has there been a single experience or aha moment that has set your entertaining style?
When I was about ten years old I saw the Martha Stewart Entertaining Cookbook. I remember how wonderful her table looked and her beaming smile on the cover and that inspired me. I subscribed to the magazine because it seemed approachable to do the things she was doing. I still use her pancake recipe today. I like Ina Garten cookbooks and recipes as well. My mom was a huge influence on me. I followed in her footsteps and try to make everything myself like she did when I was growing up. 
 Yummy figs added to the salad for a mediterranean touch.

Buttery cheesy goodness paired with crisp salad and crispier bacon with a side 
of delicious squash soup.  

Do you have a favorite china or tabletop item that you collect?
My favorite dinnerware was a lucky find from an auction at Christies. I was able to purchase a very large set of hundreds of pieces of green Chinese Export with many types of accessory pieces. For everyday I use Blue Willow all the time.

To finish the family friendly meal Lisa likes to serve S'mores by the outdoor 
fireplace off the ballroom.
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