Monday, April 26, 2010

Dinner Party Birthday

I love to throw a great dinner party. I don't get to do it often because of all the children's activities so when I have one...I go all out. Jeff (my husband) really likes it when I throw a dinner party. He always says 'If I knew you were going to do that, I would have hired help for you to serve and everything.' Funny thing, he always knows when we are having one and doesn't ever hire any 'help'. That's okay though because I take great pride in having a nice meal and always set the table with the most special plates, sterling flatware, and my best crystal. I know it looks like a banquet table....and that's because it is. It isn't my regular dining room table. About 5 years ago our Country Club burned down and Jeff salvaged all of the banquet tables, chairs and all the stainless steel 'industrial' cooking appliances. That is why I am fortunate to have awesome tables and an abundance of chairs. So, it really is at my just looks banquet-ey.

I had friends in from out of town who came for the 'Worlds Greatest College Weekend'. It is called Little 500 and is mimicked after the Indy 500 except bikes are ridden instead. It is for the college kids, but it is a big deal for our town. We like to go most years. This year since my very best friend from high school came....I made the dinner party extra special since her birthday is next weekend and we normally don't see each other on birthdays. She is BIG into special. I started everyone off with Pomegranate Martini's....and boy were they strong. Ina Garten must really like it strong because it was her recipe. We had an assortment of spreads for crackers and baguettes, crab stuffed mushrooms, and baked brie. I could have made my meal on this stuff alone. Then everyone was seated and I served the salad course. It was really yummy! Then I served the main course, pork tenderloin, gruyere cheese potatoes, & garden peas. For dessert, I served chocolate sheet cake with chocolate sauce, assorted berries and a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream. Couldn't even eat that I was so full!!! I want to include a few of the recipes for you. The food turned out beautifully!

Pomegranate Martinis
2 C. good Vodka
1 C. Orange Liqueur like Cointreau
1 C. Pomegranate Juice
1/2 C. freshly squeezed lime juice
Lime peel garnish
Mix well and serve chilled in a beautiful martini glass.
Pork Tenderloin
2 C. bourbon (Makers Mark is what I used)
1 C. brown sugar
3 T. honey mustard
3 T. olive oil
one sliced red onion
Marinate the Pork Tenderloin overnight in a zip loc baggie. I marinated
10 pork tenderloins with this amount of marinade. Heat gas grill to high
and throw those loins on. Turn the grill down to medium and this is what I do. I am
scared of grilling BIG meat. So with the pork tenderloin think of it as having 4 sides, like a
square, even though it is like a round tube. Grill each 'side' for 6 minutes for a total of
24 minutes. Remove from grill and place on a sheet pan and cover with foil for 5 minutes
before you slice it. This really seals in the juices and lets the meat rest.
Swiss Bacon Spread
8 slices of bacon, crisply fried & crumbled
8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
small package of sliced almonds, toasted
In a medium bowl, blend all ingredients, except the toasted almonds.
Spread blended ingredients into shallow baker. Top with the toasted almonds and
bake at 350 degrees until heated through and bubbly. Serve with assorted 'good'
quality crackers. This is my FAVORITE go to appetizer & everyone LOVES it!
I forgot to mention my centerpiece which was out of this world extravagant!!! Everything came from my garden so it didn't cost a thing. I collect all things white, so urns are one of my favorite things. I have big urns & little urns. So my flowers included small hostas, large hostas, spurge, irises from my 94 year old grandmothers estate, lilacs & sebum. Just so you know the color scheme because the photos don't depict this well, it was just the palest of greens and lavender. Really a pretty combination. I did the large urn with giant hosta leaves about 12 inches across, lilacs, spurge and irises. Then I surrounded the urn with tulle netting for a floaty, dreamy affect. The small urns had small hosta leave, irises, lilacs, spurge, and sedum. It was really pretty. My table cloth was a vintage chenille bedspread and it just looked beautiful.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing what I did this weekend. I had so much fun hosting this wonderful birthday bash for my best friend! Let me know if you like the recipes!


Whosyergurl said...

Hope! That sounds delicious and is oh, so beautiful! If I went to a party like yours, I would want to wear a ball gown!
Simply mahvahlous, dahling!

bunny said...

Everything looks amazing. I'm sure your friends and family were impressed....I am. And you do floral arraignments too? WOWIE!


Sue said...

Thanks for the recipes, may have to try them if I ever feel like doing some real cooking!



Jen Kershner said...

It sounds like a lovely evening! How lucky is your friend? We just discovered pom martinis too and use oprah's recipe which you can google. Not too strong at all!

Ginger said...

What a lucky friend to have someone to give such a special birthday. Your table is just gorgeous. My birthday is today. Love your martini recipe.


Suz said...

Hi Hope,
I just read on Steph's blog that you are creating today. I haven't met you (on or off the board) but I admire your table-setting skills, you ability to cook a delicious dinner party and your art skills (I was a baby Silver Bella last year!).

My daughter and I created a new blog and, if you want, we'd love to have you visit. It is a couple months old. She surprised me with it one day.

The site is...

I do hope I can get to meet you this year! I love your friend, Stephanie. She is just a dear.

Suz Reaney

stephanie said...

Well, since you made me mini pork tenderloin sandwiches today for lunch, I can attest that it was fabulous!! You know that I simply LOVE eating lunch @ your house---You make every meal an EVENT....

And, I certainly appreciate all that your husband salvages like the country club tables and chairs...The batteries and reading glasses that you readily had on hand to fill my needs today shows that!!

Suz said...

I remembered you...I just wasn't sure you would remember me!

Bless your sweet heart for going to my blog. I feel like such a rookie but I am also having a lot of fun.

I get such a kick out of you Indiana girls and the fun things you the party before Silver Bella classes were announced. And I am amazed you and Steph live so close. She is such a dear!

xo to you, too!

TangoPony said...

A beautiful table! Yummy food! Good job! xxx

Maija said...

I just copied those recipes to make- they all sound delicious!!
Come over to my blog and be my friend- I'm having a giveaway!!

four sisters said...

So amazed by all you do! Gorgeous prom pictures, great dinner recipes....I making a pom martini tonight!