Friday, May 31, 2013

Dinner Party for Old and New Besties

A grin spread across my face this morning when I read Mandi Smith T's "Interior Design Musings: Thinking Outside the Box". In this post, Mandi encourages creative living this summer. Her third of five suggestions is: "Host a dinner party and invite two couples you've never invited to your home. Don't stick with your besties on this one - step out." This is precisely what we are doing this evening.

First, we wanted to invite Bill's first and "bestie" partner, Dick,  and his wife, Ruth. Since Dick's retirement, we see them far too infrequently. As we were thinking about who else to include, we decided on two colleagues and their wives who have been fun social friends at various functions over the years. Profesionally, Dick and Bill worked with Alan and Brian daily, but we have never had them in our home for a meal.

I always tell myself to keep such an evening simple, but then when I scour food blogs and pull out possible table cloths and placemats, pottery and china, I usually end up using my best china and silver. After all, why not use it? I use the pottery everyday, and it is fun to enjoy the gifted finery.

That's how I ended up with my tablescape for this evening. As a base, I am using a ecru spread crocheted by my husband's aunt. What a treasure this gift of love is. I have never used it on a table before, but if Carolyn Roehm can repurpose matelasse spreads and wool paisley shawls, I can enjoy this handmade treasure in my dining room.

For china, I am using my husband's grandmother's plain white with gold banded china. No wonder brides are often encouraged to select a plain table service. Like a little-black-dress, classic white china is fabulous for any occasion and with any color scheme.

With tablecloth and china chosen, I next decided on the flowers. Thinking about the room as a whole, I decided the ecru spread with white flowers would play off the dining room's color scheme.

Daisies, azaleas, and spider mums fill in my brass footed cooler.

Three limes added to the foliage give a hint to a menu item to come.

I love arranging flowers, but they can be pesky at times. Last night quite late, I began the arrangement. When it was done, I placed it on the table and gave it the sight-line test. Oops, it was too tall to see over. So I began again. By this time the oasis had too many holes, but I managed to cut several inches off the stems and get the flowers into a semi-pave form.  The arrangement isn't my best, but it will pass-with-a-push.

What to serve is always a debate. Yesterday, I spent hours pouring over cookbooks and blogs, before arriving at a menu. Here's what's cookin':

Appetizer--Tomato juice cocktails, snowpeas filled with herbed cream cheese, cherry tomatoes stuffed with guacamole, and cucumber slices topped with humus.

From:  The

Bread and salad course--homemade bread compliments of an Amish farm in Gap, PA. This soft yeast-flavored bread is so much better than anything I could bake, that it is worth a 10 mile hike to buy it!  It will be the perfect compliment to the lettuce, blackberry, pear and feta salad.
For the main course, I will serve broiled halibut with lemon-herb topping over rice pilaf and carrot soufflé served in individual ramekins.
For dessert, I a serving key lime tarts with a dollop of coconut Italian gelato.

Actually, the whole menu, flower arrangement, and color scheme derived from this dessert. On Wednesday, I had lunch with Anna in DC near the White House. We splurged and shared a yummy key lime mousse topped with coconut sorbet.  The combination of flavors was amazing, so I borrowed the idea and improvised.

Hopefully, our new "besties" will enjoy it as much as I did.

1 comment:

  1. Marcia, your tablescape looks lovely in your beautiful dining room. The menu sounds absolutely delightful! Enjoy your evening...