I love it when folks make my recipes! We had a big wedding in our family late this summer and celebrated ahead of time with a shower here at Glover Gardens. The nuptial couple took on the task of making one of the appetizers, my Tuscany-Texas Goat Cheese Spread. Their version was better than mine! (I think it was the love.) I’m revisiting this recipe right now because it is perfect for fall parties.
So – a little bit about this dish. It is salty, tangy, creamy, super-garlicky and fresh, with the brightness of fresh tomatoes and herbs. As you’ll see in the original post, I’ve seen guests fight each other for the last few bites. Really.
In addition to being an uber crowd-pleaser, this dish is easy to make! It is perfect for cocktail parties or wine tastings.
The Grill-Meister and I are both blessed to work in international environments, which fosters great relationships with colleagues from all over the world. Sometimes we are able to lure them to Glover Gardens, such as tonight, when we are having a tiny dinner party with a couple from far across the globe. It is so rewarding to learn about different cultures as we share our own. One of our two guests tonight has never been to Texas, so we’re having a very traditional steak dinner. The menu:
It is mid-morning right now and the table is set, so I’m about to get to work on the dessert. I’m breaking Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa) rule of never making anything for the first time for a dinner party, but it is early enough in the day that I can do something different if I make a mess of it.
We’re really looking forward to it! And for a look at an entirely different type of international party here at Glover Gardens and a couple of cool wintertime recipes, check out Pot Luck Perfect: In-the-Moment Lentil Soup. We had a houseful of colleagues this time last year and a rollicking good time when everyone brought a dish or drink to share.
I’ll share the results of tonight’s meal, and wish you all a happy Saturday evening.
UPDATE: the tiny dinner party was super-successful, and the dessert was rockin’! Read about it here. And I made a new friend! Read the haiku about that here.
A former colleague and friend shares my love of garden and cooking and home and holidays, and makes frequent posts in Facebook of his flowers, food and fabulous decor. I have his permission to share this gorgeous photo of his dining room. Isn’t it elegant? And yet simple? And what a great idea to decorate the chandelier to bring a little green into his silver and white theme.
Here’s what he said when he posted this photo and others on November 21 (before Thanksgiving):
so grateful to be able to celebrate thanksgiving and christmas with loved ones. ~front room –d.o.n.e – silver and white theme
yes, i know it’s really early, but when you feel the spirit you just go with it. i always say find your own joy and rock on!
I couldn’t agree more. Thank you, my friend, for letting me share your beautiful dining room and more beautiful thoughts.
I was inspired to make a rosemary wreath by another blogger (see yesterday’s post) and it worked! It is a lovely way to dress up the old standby party dish of cheese, salami and olives. I decorated the wreath with marinated piquant Peppadew peppers, but cherry or grape tomatoes would work just as well.
Here’s how to do it. You’ll need to have access to a large a rosemary plant.
Snip about 30 sprigs of rosemary, one inch long or less. Remove the side sprigs so that each length of rosemary is only one stem. Lay the longer sprigs in a circle on a round platter and secure with florist’s wire. Tuck the shorter ones in around the circle to even out the wreath.
Rosemary wreath (see above)
9 marinated cherry peppers, cut in half sideways
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
8 oz. of your favorite white cheese, cut into cubes (I used Havarti dill)
8 oz. sliced salami
Place a small container with toothpicks in the middle of the platter, then surround it with salami slices inside the wreath area. Arrange the peppers in groups of three on the wreath to resemble holly berries, then add the cheese cubes to the wreath. Scatter the Kalamata olives across the whole platter.
Below is the original wreath from Home is Where the Boat is, shared by Sara from Last Night’s Feast.
Did You Know…?
Sweet piquant peppers called Peppadew are originally from South Africa and were discovered in the early 1990s. Peppadew is a trademarked name and the peppers can be a little hard to find. Bon Appetite published a recipe with them a few years ago and got loads of letters from disgruntled readers looking to make their Pimento Mac & Cheese, so they followed up with the article Where to Buy the Elusive Peppadew.
Peppadew peppers resemble (but are not the same as) cherry peppers, which is another name for pimento peppers. Pimentos resemble (but are not the same as) red bell peppers.
Any of these wonderful peppers can be used in this recipe.
This blogging thing is fun, especially the connections with other bloggers and the ideas they share and inspire.
One of the blogs I subscribe to is Last Night’s Feast, where blogger Sara occasionally makes a post called Pretty Things, a collection of unrelated links and pictures of, well, pretty things. A rosemary wreath caught my eye on her November Pretty Things post. The wreath is from a blog called Home is Where the Boat Is (doesn’t that sound inviting???)
The herb section of Glover Gardens includes a gigantic rosemary bush and more of this lovely savory than we could use in a decade, so of course I have to try this wreath. It’s on the menu for a party with our wine club tonight. I’ll share some photos of the Glover Gardens version, with thanks to Sara from Last Night’s Feast for sharing this very pretty thing.
Update: I tried this, and it worked! Read all about it and get the recipe here.
Thanksgiving is about food and family and memories and connections. Sometimes those connections are new, with folks who would be family, only if they were near and known.
I made such a connection tonight, with a marvelous lady named Cathy, from the land of Facebook in Pantsuit Nation. She posted this picture and story about a table setting from her mother’s depression glass, and the legacy of strength and faith passed down from woman to woman.
Cathy said that her grandmother collected these beautiful dishes in West Virginia during the depression on a meager teacher’s salary, and was a dedicated public servant, working at the voting polls every election in her community until her mid-seventies. Cathy’s mother inherited the dishes, and passed them on to Cathy when she turned 50. She has followed her mother and grandmother in public service and is a special education teacher. Cathy’s daughter, a lawyer representing workers who have been treated unfairly, will inherit these dishes one day. Cathy says: “We will endure, we will create beauty in the midst of chaos, we represent hope.”
Cathy’s Facebook post about these dishes, her family and the legacy of strength, conviction and public service on the matrilineal side garnered 500+ likes in its first 30 minutes, and spawned dozens of comments from women who, like me, feel a connection with her story. Family legacy objects like Cathy’s depression-era glass serve as a talisman to help us believe in better days, better people, better lives. I have many such items from my grandmothers on both sides that remind me daily to do my best, try my best, be my best.
Thank you, Cathy, for your story. The ladies in your family are role models for all of us.
The Grill-Meister and I had the good fortune to attend a corporate awards ceremony this weekend.
Along with the silver and crystal, the beautiful centerpieces with candles and scarlet roses signaled that the event was significant and meaningful, and the attendees were special.
The appropriate mood was set for the celebration as soon as we walked in the door. I have a renewed appreciation for setting the stage with a beautiful table – I want guests at Glover Gardens to feel special, like we did at this event.