Monday, March 9, 2009

Dinner party

We had friends over for dinner on Saturday night, here's a recap of the evening:

Centerpiece - my flower arranging skills are slowly improving over time.

Antipasto - prosciutto di parma, calabrese salame, olives, piquillo peppers, fresh mozzarella marinated with chives and olive oil, and artichokes marinated with lemon and parsley. Served with homemade focaccia

Baby arugula, blood oranges, marcona almonds, dates and shaved parmesan. Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

Porter ale braised short ribs with rosemary and maple glaze from All About Braising, served with celery root and potato puree and rainbow chard with shallots.

White chocolate mousse with passionfruit gelee, garnished with white chocolate curls - from The New Spanish Table.

The good thing about this menu was that almost everything could be made in advance, so I spent very little time in the kitchen when our friends were here. I was pretty happy with the way everything came out, although there's always room for improvement - I tend to be my own worst critic. But it was fun, and that's what matters, right?

97 comments:

girlichef said...

Food looks like a success...and yes, always our own worst critics! It's all so pretty :)

Kathleen said...

You did a beautiful job! it looks perfect, and your guests probably raved...
And the flowers are so pretty!

Barbara Bakes said...

Such great presentation! I want to come to your parties!

teresa said...

Oh my gosh, look at that antipasti plate, BEAUTIFUL! I'd say it was a completely success!

5 Star Foodie said...

What a wonderful meal! Porter ale braised short ribs sound amazing and a very unique dessert!

Sarah Herman said...

That reminds me that I need to have a dinner party some time soon! Fantastic looking food and what a lovely dessert! I made passionfruit gelees for christmas cookies boxes last year and they were a big hit!

Bridgett said...

This would be the perfect dinner party menu if someone was kind enough to make this when I came over. Everything looks amazing, especially the antipasti platter and short ribs!

Selba said...

Wow... must be a wonderful dinner. Very beautiful of the flower and food arrangements :)

Cathy said...

Your centerpiece is amazing! I have never been able to get the hang of arranging flowers. The food looks amazing too :)

Reeni♥ said...

Everything looks so delicious! Lovely presentation!

Claudia said...

If I lived closer, I'd crash the party. See what you've turned me into? A middle-aged party crasher!

Debbie said...

What a beautiful meal! Presentation A+ and it was probably delicious.

Dee said...

You made all that! Wow, that's truly impressive, Sara! I love everything you've cooked, but I'm bowled over by the white chocolate mousse. Stunning!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Beautiful! No empty bellies I'm sure!

Donna-FFW said...

I am in awe of your presentation. It all looks like its from the pictures of a magazine. BEAUTIFUL, Sara!! And I just know food that gorgeous has got to have been delicious!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

WHat a gorgeous dinner!! The colors on the antipasto and the salad match so perfectly too.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Oh Golly. That was GORGEOUS. The colors, the textures, the flavors, the tastes, the ... the .... the...... Just beautiful. And delicious.

Elra said...

Good grace Sara, I am so impress that you have the time to photographs your meal, you are so well organize dear. The menu is also very impressive, everything look so delicious.
Cheers,
elra

P.S your flower arrangement us so amazing, I think you are pretty talented.

Jo said...

Wow Sara, that dinner party menu looks magnificent and I am sure it was...

The ribs look wonderful, definately up my families alley - any chance of getting that recipe?

Your presentation was just superb..... oh when are you free to come and cook at my house???? Pretty please????

Jo xx

mamakd said...

Looks like a successful soiree! I am also my own worst critic. Oh well, we can't be perfect and can always improve somewhere. I really love the antipasto platter. What a beautiful appetizer to nosh on while you visit with your guests! Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

Sara said...

Jo - You can find the short ribs recipe here: http://www.mollystevenscooks.com/recipe.php?recipeID=17

They taste even better if you make them a day in advance!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Everything looks so beautiful and inviting. The photos are really lovely. So when do I get an invite?

Juliana said...

Everything look so perfect! Great pictures!

Jan said...

What happened to my invite. :-) Seriously, everything looks ab fab Sara. The photos are spectacular.

Elyse said...

Lucky dinner guests! This entire meal looks delicious, and that flower arrangement is gorgeous! Bet it was a fabulous night!

Kristine said...

Sara-
This looks amazing - your photos are really beautiful. Nice work

Ana Powell said...

Hi Sarah
Absolutely divine.
Lucky dinner guests x

Passionate About Baking said...

Picture pefect & looks great. Each frame is beautiful & the food must have tasted great Sara. Love your centrepiece too...10/10!!

Passionate Eater said...

You are an amazing host Sarah, what a spread! And your flower arranging skillz are impressive!

SriLekha said...

flower bouquet was so nice sara!
mousse is looking so cool!
want to have it soon!
all pics are tempting me to have those!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Wow, you arrange flowers, and meals beautifully Sara! What lucky guests! :D

What A Dish! said...

How fancy and professional everything looks! You should be proud of yourself- I would be!

Culinarywannabe said...

Sara!!! This is amazing!!! I'm sure you had very happy friends!

lesley said...

Impressive!! : ) I would have loving coming to dinner at your house!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fabulous dinner party. Everything is gorgeous. I love the idea of making a lot of things ahead. It means you can spend more time with your guests.
Your flower arranging skills far exceed mine. I just bought two julep cups for our table and stick some tulips or whatever looks best at the market in them. Not nearly as sophisticated as your lily and daisy arrangement.
Sam

Vanessa said...

Thanks so much for the comment, Sara. This looks delicious and is so beautfully presented. You are so creative with your cooking! I love how you mention the books that you use or that inspire you.
Fabulous!

Happy cook said...

Next time when you are having a dinner invite me too.
Love all the food you served and love the flower arrangment.

Priscilla said...

Yummy! Everything looks soo good!

Netts Nook said...

Sara: You are a pro it looks perfect. Do you use a special tool to curl your chocolate? I can never get it to work like yours. Heaven

Cheryl said...

Sarah that is freaking spectacular! Wow, I am impressed!

Cassie said...

I, too, am impressed! What amazing-looking and delicious-sounding food! Go you!!

stephchows said...

ok WOW. I wish I had friends who had dinner parties like this!!

Amanda said...

Absolutely gorgeous--your guests must have been very impressed (I would have been)! Great flowers, too--you're a woman of many talents. Well done!

Stacey Snacks said...

Sara,
My post yesterday was from Suzanne's book too.
I also made her mustard crumb roast pork this weekend,,,,what a job that was!
Your party looks beautiful, especially that dessert!
Stacey

Robin Sue said...

I am asuming my invitation to this dinner got lost in the mail! Great dinner menu you have created. Everything is beautiful! I love your antipasta plate and the use of the blood oranges and marcona nuts in the salad. The dessert is wonderful! Sara you have been an inspiration to me with roasting and trying other veggies. Roasted veggies are the way to go. I also like to grill them too when summer comes around!

Sara said...

Your menu looks delicious! The flowers look fabulous too.

Debbie said...

It all looks delicious but I will go straight for the dessert. Looks soooo tasty!!!

Katherine Aucoin said...

What a gorgeous meals. Everything looks and sounds fantastic!

lisaiscooking said...

Wow. Everything looks perfect. You must have had a great night!

Usha said...

Everything looks amazing. Your flower arrangement looks fantastic and the white chocolate mousse looks picture perfect :-)

Wandering Coyote said...

It all looks so beautiful and elegant!

The Duo Dishes said...

The short ribs take the cake!

n.o.e said...

hmmm, I guess my invite got lost in the mail?? This looks like a perfect dinner party, and I'd say your antipasti arranging skills are right up there with the flower skills. Everything looks and sounds scrumptious; I'm off to bookmark recipes...
Nancy

Colleen said...

Wow, this all looks gorgeous! Great job! And great pics too - they are all taken in your lightbox?

Diana said...

Uhh... is there any way to make a reservation at Sara's Kitchen???

Helene said...

You know how to entertain. Beautiful. I love the flowers also.

Sara said...

Nett - I use a vegetable peeler. The trick is to warm the chocolate just slightly first - you can warm it in your hand, or what I did was to hold it under a lightbulb for a few seconds. You want the chocolate to be slightly pliable, otherwise the curls with crumble. I needed to re-warm the edge of the chocolate about every other curl.

Robin Sue - If you haven't already, try grilling artichokes, they're fabulous.

Colleen - All pictures were taken in my lightbox.

Diana - It's by invitation only :)

Stacey - I have a pork loin in the freezer waiting to be made into that recipe!

Talita said...

What a great meal! Everything is looking awesome!

Angela Mears said...

How do I get an invite to one of these things? The dessert is such a great idea. Passionfruit gelee--very tropical =) Difficult to make?

The Blonde Duck said...

If you're not a party planner/ caterer, you should be!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow! What a fantastic dinner party - I love how sophisticated everything looks. Lovely complimentary flavors.

Theresa@foodhuntersguide.com said...

Everything looks wonderful. How does one get invited to these parties :-)

Karen said...

It all looks beautiful and delicious! I could eat that antipasto platter all by myself :)

melissa said...

I just put your favorite cookbook back on my Amazon list!

The beef looks good too. That book is also on my wish list, one day to be moved to my cart.

Great stuff, Sara, and lucky guests!

Varsha Vipins said...

I'd love to be invited next time..:D
That is abs fabulous Sara!!

ChefBliss.com said...

Nothing to criticize here, you did a fantastic job! The food looks absolutely delicious and the flowers are gorgeous!! So glad that you were able to spend time with your company -- nice when you can make things ahead!!

Jaime said...

wow!! i'll take some of that mousse :) beautiful!

noble pig said...

What an incredible meal you made! Just beautiful and very impressive for a dinner party.

Annie said...

Oh my gosh... I feel like I just walked through the museum of modern art. Absolutely beautiful!

Nazarina A said...

Sara,
I wish I was one of the guests!

Sean said...

The presentation is phenomenal for every one of those dishes! Feel free to send an invite next time :)

Sig said...

Sara, that antipasto platter is as beautiful as a flower arrangement. Great job, your guests must've had an awesome night!

Natashya said...

Exquisite! Almost too pretty to eat... almost!

petitfoodie said...

You are absolutely amazing!!I love your photos as well..beautiful! :) Those short ribs look so good!

cook eat FRET said...

damn girl
and why are we not friends???

unconfidentialcook said...

I hope your friends appreciated/loved/swooned over your dinner. When I think someone enjoys my food, I can't wait to invite them again.

Girl Japan said...

The arrangement, and platter looks absolutely stunning Sara!!!! Can't wait to hear about how it all went!!!!!

Jennifer said...

Should I assume that my invitation got lost in the mail? Man, that looks fantastic!

Olga said...

I'm in love with that dessert! Can I marry it?

Sara said...

Angela - it was actually pretty easy, just passionfruit puree, gelatin and sugar. The hardest part was tracking down the passionfruit puree!

Erica said...

wow- I will be over this weekend- ok? Everything looks gorgeous.

You must make chicken parm soon- its such a yummy and simple dinner!

Bharti said...

Beautiful everything! The flowers look great and I especially love the chive cheese and the dessert.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Those are some lucky guests! Your antipasto looks like another centerpiece!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Wonderful presentation, gosh I would have loved to have been there.

Rosie x

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Whoa! It all looks SO good! Fantastic job!

Julie said...

Wow...it all looks amazing! I'm sure everyone enjoyed themselves to the max :)

Debinhawaii said...

What a beautiful and delicious looking dinner. Lucky friends! ;-)

Sara said...

Beautiful centerpiece! I cannot arrange flowers to save my life.

I love Sunday Suppers at Lucques but I haven't tried that salad. It sounds great.

Dinner parties are so much easier when you can prepare things ahead of time.

Ricardo said...

It sounds like a perfect light and delicious meal well presented and balanced well done gratz. thx 4 sharing. :D xx

Anita said...

Everything looks so lovely - I especially like the mousse! I'd love to be invited to such a fantastic dinner party.

ttfn300 said...

oh my, gorgeous!!!

LaDue & Crew said...

You had me at the antipasti! If you get a random knock on your door, it's me, inviting myself to dinner- outstanding!

Kevin said...

What an amazing meal!

Cat said...

My antipasta platters never look that good! I've got to ear-mark this so I remember how pretty it can look!

Lori said...

I love the look of ALL of it but most especially the passionfruit gelle atop the white chocolate mousse. WOW

Celia said...

Thank you for the fabulous meal Sara! It's been almost a month and I still remember the perfect table setting, tender and juicy short ribs and amazing dessert!

I'm now an addict to your site and can't wait for our next get together!

n.o.e said...

Sara, I made the blood orange salad this evening and we LOVED it! Thanks for the inspiration. I'll be posting it eventually.
Nancy