Summer Dinner Party

July 22, 2012

We had a dinner party last night for 6 people, my favorite number to have at the table.  I love 6 for several reasons:  We're all in the same conversation at the table, and it's the easiest number to cook and clean for.  I like to wake up next morning to a clean house and with 6, all the dishes will fit in one dishwasher load filled that night.  I'll even spot the linens and put them in the washing machine that night.  I wake up and toss them in the dryer and unload the dishwasher and, hooray, all done!

For setting the table I started with the tablecloth.  Usually I start with the flower centerpiece, but I knew that whatever I choose from my linen stash, I would have many flower choices as my garden is exploding with beautiful blooms.  The tablecloth is a cream cotton Waverly shabby chic fabric with pinkish red morning glories with gray leaves combined with cream colored napkins.

 The flowers were a mix of roses and dahlias.  These pink/yellow dahlias are my favorite.

I chose my mother's Imperial Candlewick glass china and my aunt's delicate stemware. The table was bright and light and casual and pretty, a perfect table setting for summer.  I set everything up in the morning or even the night before if I can.  I have most, if not all of the food prepped and kitchen cleaned by noon, then I have the day to do as I please.

The evening started with appetizers of salmon-dill mousse piped onto a cucumber round.  For the mousse, I whirled in a processor:  8 oz. low calorie (or low fat, yes, there really is such a thing) cream cheese, 2 small cans excellent salmon, no skin, no bones, fresh dill.  That was it and it was very good.

And always, pink champagne for the girls!

I always plate the first course and have it on the table just before we sit.  This time I served an orange, roasted beet and tomato salad with tarragon vinaigrette.  Oh my, the colors were gorgeous and nothing beats fresh-from-the-garden for taste.  Everyone went nuts over this salad.

I like to serve the main course as a buffet on the bar that separates our dining room from the living room. Buffets are great as they allow your guests to have the choice of how much they want to serve themselves, and then seconds are right there.   I have this gigantic white platter that I use for this, Crate and Barrel years ago.  Please excuse my bad food pictures.  I barely had time to grab my camera to take a picture before it flew out of the kitchen.  My husband thinks I am nuts!

Dinner was grilled marinated chicken.  My marinade was lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, fresh chopped rosemary, brown sugar and salt.  I marinated skinless boneless breasts all day.  We also had stir fried baby green beans with almonds.  It all sounds pretty simple and easy, doesn't it?  Yes, it was, that's about the only way I like to entertain these days.  Keep it simple, keep it easy and keep it fresh.

The best thing for me was being able to have the whole dinner from the garden, except for the chicken of course.  So I was really really proud of that, our little garden and all our work making such a nice dinner for our guests.

Oops, almost forgot dessert, this olallieberry jam tart!

I just finished a sweet book called Merle's Door.  (I snuck it in while I was supposed to be reading another book, do you ever do that?)  If you are a dog lover then you will absolutely adore this book.  Not sappy in any way, just a wonderful story about a very cool dog and his human dad.  Read it if you love doggies, you will thank me.  Bye for now, and I do promise to have knitting posts soon.  Honest!

You Might Also Like


  1. Perfection!! Absolutely delightful in every way, Kristen, your gorgeous centerpiece, delicious menu, presentation, and most importantly that you enjoyed it with your guests because you were so organized!

    1. Lovely as usual.And I,too,love growing those pink and yellow dahlias. Need to plant some more.

  2. Hi dear Kristen, You are the proffessor of party table creations..:)) You create wonderful party tables. And just believe me that I am trying to learn somethings from you..:))
    You table seems amazing with beautiful linen with summer concept.. Your guests are very lucky..:))
    All best wishes....

  3. You almost make me want to garden!!! But at about the 4th week of 90 -100 degree weather, I know that my garden would have went to weed along time ago!

    You amaze me.

  4. Hi Kristen! I am your newest follower, and I just had a great visit through your blog! I live in the Sacramento area and used to live in Foster City and Napa, and I am loving all the pictures of your garden and the Bay Area. Oh how I miss all those drives along the coast, and places like Half Moon Bay (and olalliberries, I haven't had them in ages!). I am a crocheter and quilter and am determined to learn to knit, and your pretty sweaters are an inspiration! Nice to meet you - I will be back : )

  5. Kristin, This is a lovely table. Your flower are beautiful. The menu sounds amazing, especially the salad. I hope you will share the recipe. Dianne

  6. The tablescape is gorgeous and the food is amazing. Hugs, Marty

  7. Kristen, you and I think alike. Having 6 guests for dinner is very manageable. I always prepare ahead of time too. My table is set and I always serve the first course before my guests are seated. I too, love buffet style. I never go to bed with a dirty kitchen. It feels wonderful to wake up to a clean dining room and kitchen. Your dinnerware is the flowers! What a pleasure to sit down to a wonderful dinner.
    Thanks for visiting and saving me a sweet comment. Enjoy your week. Linda

  8. What a lovely dinner party. I love the tablesetting and the salad looks fantastic. I have to go and look up a recipe for orange, beet, and tomato salad as the colours are amazing.

  9. Lovely party!! I am hosting a Giveaway to win a 50 dollar gift card to the store HomeGoods. It would be great if you stopped by and entered. Thanks Anu

  10. Wow what an incredible garden!! Your table is beautiful. I love how you used clear glass so your tablecloth would shine through.

    Jocelyn @

  11. Your tablescape is lovely. The food looks amazing and the gardens are so pretty! Visiting from Let's Dish!

  12. Just stunning. The food is wonderful and I am beyond impressed with your raised bed gardens. Visiting from Kathleen's, Olive

  13. That first paragraph sounded as if I wrote it verbatim!!!!!!! I, too, love that magic number of six!!! We have a small dining room that will only seat 6 comfortably, plus all the other reasons you named. Right after the last guest leaves, my husband and I start to disassemble the table so I can pre-treat the linens and let them soak overnight. I like to get the dishes done that night, although mine are usually washed by hand (except for pots, pans and prep dishes). Amazing! It's like we were separated at birth! :-) How wonderful that you have such lush flowers!!!! As you may know, we here in the Midwest got absolutely clobbered this year with the heat and lack of rainfall. We're lucky to still have the Mississippi River flowing! :-) Very pretty all around, and your food looks fantastic! Bravo!

  14. The table is lovely, such a pretty cloth! I love the flowers too. My garden is pretty limited at this point for cytting flowers. The mums will come to the rescue soon!
    Thanks for linking to Let's Dish!


You make my day when you make a comment!


afghan Alana Dakos ally pally ambassador Amy Herzog Ankestrick Arte Italica baby Baby Cocktails bakelite baking berry picking Best Friday of the Month best of Ravelry Big Sur blue transferware book review books boutique brook cables California candy child children children's activities Christmas Christmas crafts Christmas knitting cleaning collections cookie cutters cookies cooking craft Crafts crochet cross-stitch day trip decluttering decorating designer spotlight discount diy dog dolls Easter eau de vie Elizabeth Bradley Elizabeth Zimmerman embroidery entertaining Facebook fall fall decorating fall garden family featured first car fit flower arranging flowers free pattern Friday night party group friends funny Fur garden gardening Giants Gifted Hostess give-away giveaway gluten free gourmet group Halloween herbs holiday home how to set up a party group jewelry Kaffe Fassett KAL Kim Hargreaves kitting Knit Picks knitting laundry Le Jacquard Francais Little French Knits Los Altos lunch Mailbu Making Things Marie Wallin Martin Storey menu minimalism money talk mosaic movies my house my patterns my town nails needlepoint needles October challenge Octoberfest ollalie organizing original design outdoor seating owl party prep pear peg dolls pies pomegranates poncho preview quilting recipe recycling redwork review roses Rowan San Francisco Sarah Hatton sewing sewing room tour shawl shopping shower social media softie spring spring garden stash Stitches West summer summer garden summer knitting Sunday Morning Swans Island table setting test test knit Thanksgiving Three Irish Girls TNNA tomatoes top 10 list toys travel tutorial twinning ufo Uncommon Threads vacation Valentine vegetable garden videos wedding winter garden wip Woolfolk yarn yarn for sale Ysolda