splendid dinner party

April 16, 2012

Last night we had a splendid dinner party because the
company was great, the food was delicious and the table was pretty.

 I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of my table and the food I served.
I love having friends over and I like to share what I've done!

First thing I do when I plan a table is make my flower arrangement.
This time it was easy as I had these giant exquisite peonies in my garden.

 They remind me of the Degas ballerina's fluffy tutus.

They are so girlie and ruffly, I love them!

 Next, I pick the table cloth.  This one is a retired Le Jacquard pattern called Cherub.
Every year the French table linen company introduces a new Christmas pattern
done in two colorways, one traditional red and green,
and one in a non traditional color, such as this one in pink and purple.

I don't save it just for Christmas,
 it's versatile enough to use at any time of the year.

I also put out the matching napkins.

Choosing the plates and glasses was next.
This table is a mix of cherished pieces from my family.
The dinner plates are from my aunt, her every day Mikasa French Countryside stoneware
that I also use every day.  I also love to use them for casual dinner parties
because the white is so bright and crisp looking.

First course was Asparagus Tart served on my mother's 
Imperial Candlewick salad plates.

 The Asparagus Tart could not have been easier, prettier or tastier,
here from Martha Stewart.  I will definitely make it again!
The recipe says it serves 4, but for me it easily served 6 as a first course.

The stemware is also from my dear aunt. I think they are Lenox,
but I have never been able to track them down.

It's easy and beautiful and everyone loves it.

I was able to pick a bouquet of roses, our first this year!
They were pretty on the bar.

The main course was stuffed artichokes.
Here's what they look like before you pop them in the oven.
This was a big treat as large globe artichokes have been so expensive,
this is the first time we've had them this year.
I found these beauties on sale at Safeway and that's why I
decided to have a dinner party.  Who can resist these?

I also served this cheesy bread.
No recipe to speak of, just softened butter mixed with mayonnaise,
 grated cheese and herbs, spread on a toasted halved French loaf,
broiled and then sliced.

I love serving cookies for dessert,
and I knew the men at my table were cookie lovers.
What man is not a cookie lover?
These giant cookies have two names,
Cowboy Cookies or Dunkin' Platters.
Served with some pretty muscat grapes and a sharp English white cheddar.

I have the cookie recipe to share but no source unfortunately.
I got this off the internet before I realized how important it was
to credit the source.  I am more careful now, I really am!
Anyway, these were a GIANT hit, sweet and chewy and scrumptious.

There are many recipes out there for these cookies, 
this is the one I used, slightly modified.  Enjoy!

Makes about 4 dozen.

Cream together:
1 16 oz. box brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter

Add in order:
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups oats
3 cups cornflakes
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour

Refrigerate for a few hours until firm enough to roll into 3 or 4 logs, then wrap in wax paper.  Refrigerate again until firm, slice into 1/4" slices.  Bake at 350 on greased cookie sheets for 10-14 minutes.  Let cool for one minute then transfer to wire rack to cool.  Uncooked logs can store easily in freezer.

The last few days have been beautiful here, the rain has brought a fresh sparkle to the garden.  We've begun our gardening in earnest and plan this week to work on our vegetable garden.  Unfortunately, the last 3 days I have been knocked out by a terrible allergy attack and hope that a day of rest and knitting and a soak in the tub will help to clear me up.  So...I am off to do just that!  Hope your day is lovely.  xoxo

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  1. Just beautiful, Kristen - everything!
    Peonies are my favorite - and that pink on that table just fit the bill.
    I was so glad you shared your menu with us - I always love seeing the food (almost as much as seeing the place settings!)
    I love feeing like I had a small share in the happiness I'm sure your "real" guests had - such fun!
    Hope you are feeling much better :)

  2. thank you for sharing...looks like a perfectly lovely party!

  3. What a wonderful evening, Kristen!! Those peonies are amazing, I wasn't sure if they were real, ours won't be blooming for awhile yet. Your table and enu bare both inspiring! I'm off to check out the artichoke recipe!

  4. Kristen, these pictures are gorgeous! Your party must have been amazing! The food looked fantastic as well!!

  5. Dear Kristen, As always, I am enjoying to look your dinner party decorations. You are very stylish and you know the best decoration.. And also all your meals seem so delicious. I ll try to make your cookie recipe in a very short time.. I am curious about it.. Very good dinner table. I wish I would be there..:))

  6. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful recipes!nInreally enjoyed chatting with you when we were in SAn Francisco! Your voice is as lovely as your face :)

  7. So pretty! Funny because I bought the artichokes on sale at Safeway this week, too. We are having them with soup for dinner tonight after swim class - Annie's favorite "Daddy is out of town" dinner :-)

  8. Hi Kristen, thank you for showing your beautiful dinner table at Your Cozy Home Party. I'm sure your guests enjoyed the delicious looking meal served on that beautifully set table. I love artichokes so I would have been a happy guest at your party. Glad to have you at my weekly party. Please come again!----Shannon

  9. Great photos, beautiful- will try the asparagus tart myself!

  10. Hi Kristen, Your artichokes look so good so I checked out your recipe on the Carmel post. I love your writing style and your photos of the village are wonderful. Glad to see you remembered to appear as required at the candy store. Wouldn't want to forget that! And your peonies!!!!!!!! I gasped when I saw the size! I like to start with the centerpiece too. It takes up more space than you realize! And I didn't know the tablecloths were produced for Christmas. I'll have to pay attention in the stores this year. I'm a new follower and looking forward to hearing more about California. Linda

  11. I love this table Kristen.

    I too have French Countryside. It's been my everyday, for at least 30 years. I love using it for special times too. It is beautiful and so versatile!

  12. Those flowers are gorgeous! I didn't think they were real, and they were from your garden! Lovely table, and dinner looks delicious! Thanks for linking to Let's Dish!

  13. Kristen, those are the three elements of a great party for sure. Your table and food look fabulous. We have the same tablecloth. Purchased ours while in France in 1999. I love the gorgeous colors and design details.

  14. Oh my this is all great. A beautiful setting and wonderful menu! Yikes...I'm hungry now!!

  15. Looks like a wonderful setting. Your peonies are amazing! I wish I could grow them here. The food looks delicious and I am sure everyone had a wonderful time.

  16. Another lovely dinner party and you can make that for me some time. Only kidding but it sure looks good especially the aspargus and artichokes. Amazing and so fun to look at.

  17. So lovely!
    Visiting from Tablescape Thursday

    Greetings from Australia♥

  18. So lovely! Enjoyed chatting by phone when I was in San Fran.

  19. Beautiful table...your peonies are stunning. Can't wait for mine to blossom, the scent rivals any other flower!

  20. Your table is just beautiful! I LOVE your peonies and I agree..they are so ruffly and girlie! Your roses look like they were the inspiration for Old Country Roses china!!! You certainly have a green thumb! The food looks delicious-especially that asparagus tart! Lucky dinner guests!

  21. You mean you have another gourmet group??


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