Monday, October 11, 2010

New embroideries from Luxury Dinner Party now ONLINE

I've posted more images from the Luxury Dinner Party entry on my site for sale!

swing by and check them out!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Jeremy's Birthday Feast, or Luxury Dinner Party, Project Food Blog Challenge #3

Birthday dinners are always a reason to celebrate with decadent food and drink, but sometimes our busy schedules leave us with little time to plan and less time for evening festivities. I had wanted to throw a wildy epic dinner party, but I was in the middle of packing and moving! There didn't seem to be any time to plan and cook and keep my head screwed on straight.
On top of my own crazy schedule, my beau, Jeremy, was having the craziest week of his life: his company was pitching big bold ideas to new clients, planning a lecture, organizing a photo shoot, building a bar, and somehow hoping to celebrate his birthday...

First Course
Pearl Unpasteurized Cow's milk Cheese
Sliced Baguette
 Captured By Porches Beer

Main Course
Grilled Skirt Steak
Wild Caprese Salad with Local Nectarines
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Cameron Gehrtz Vineyard Pinot Noir

Salted Caramel and Coconut Toffee Ice cream
Stroopwaffle Honey Cookies
Moet Chandon Champagne

The Project Food Blog Challenge # 3 before me, I knew I could create a meal for him that was special, delicious, fit into my restricted diet, was quick to make. It also had to be fuel for the late night work he and his 2 partners still had to do after the dinner party concluded.

Pearl, unpasteurized cow's milk cheese

His business partner's wife, Victoria, and I planned the menu together, and with her tiny infant, Enzo, in tow, we braved the grocery store. I have actually never shopped with an infant, and this was quite the experience, getting lots of attention! And though he squirmed, our list was simple so we were surprisingly efficient.

Red Potatoes with Rosemary

Wild Caprese Salad with Local Nectarines

Back at her house, she hung a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner, and set the table with dishes from her wedding. Lit candles around the warm room, and played the new record by The National on the stereo.
Meanwhile I chopped potatoes, tomatoes from her garden, nectarines. Tore the tiny mozzarella into bite sized morsels, and dressed the salad with large basil leaves, so fresh and green against the colorful mix of fruit and tomatoes.

Even thought the guests, totaling 8, would arrive within 20 minutes, I was calm and collected. What is the point of stressing out about things? I may have dropped potatoes on the floor, or dipped my finger in the cayenne instead of paprika, and threw this whole thing together in a matter of a few hours, but I wanted the evening to be fulfilling and special, free of pressure, free of stress. Like a back massage for the senses...

The steak I marinated in a mix of cumin, coriander, paprika, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple and elegant. My favorite combination. When Victoria's husband, Fritz, arrived, he threw them on the grill for me, and honestly they came out perfectly.

Skirt Steaks, medium rare...yumm!

My plate, with a heaping pile of salad and steak.

Captured by Porches is a great local brewery, The owner used to do DIY style parties where he would show up secretly and serve beer... don't know if that still happens...
Our friend Jack's birthday was the day before Jeremy's. He received this amazing bottle of local Pinot Noir, and decided to share it with the table...I LOVE THIS WINE.
A little fancy, eh? Moet Chandon
The bottle of Champagne was a gift to Victoria and Fritz when their son Enzo was born. It added a touch of class and took the dinner party to a new level of decadence. Sipping it out of mismatched tumbler glasses, sitting with my friends at a long wooden table, we were the perfect mix of high and low brow. Of casual and classy. I love to create an effortless atmosphere that makes you feel like you rolled out of bed instantly looking fabulous.

Lovely's 50/50 makes the best salted caramel ice cream ever.

The dessert was a Stroopwaffle, a sweet cookie of Danish origin, nestled into a scoop each of the delicious Lovely's 50/50 ice creams. Victoria had a box of mixed letter candles to put into Jeremy's dessert. We had the option of T, O, L, I, !, A. I thought about TAIL,  or TOIL, but settled on LIT as being the cleverest, and hopefully not reminding them too much that they were "TOIL"ing for sure with the intense workload.

In the end, everyone was gracious, happy, and full, A success for sure. Jeremy was able to have a luxury dinner party with his close friends, without too much stress.

To me, the most important parts of a dinner party, are to sit and enjoy it with your guests, to not take things too seriously, and have fun. I think that these rules apply to every aspect of life. I am so grateful I get to enjoy it surrounded by such wonder and beauty, so many amazing things to eat, and incredible people to share meals, smiles, and birthday celebrations.