The highlight of my summer was throwing our annual garden party. We threw a fabulous one last year, so this year we had even bigger plans. As usual, the purpose of this is to get together with friends and neighbors but also to showcase what comes out of the garden every summer. I had been thinking and planning since the end of last summer so I had a pretty good plan for what I wanted the look and feel to be. We went with a Greek theme this year because I had tons of food growing that is typically found in Greek recipes. As for the ambiance I wanted it to be very natural, clean and simple. I stuck with burlap and browns but had pops of blue and white on the table. I used blue and white dish towels as the napkins and had my silver for the utensils to add a little elegance. The wine glasses were small mason jars to keep the simple garden theme and wine corks were used to hold the name tags.
I didn’t want to use traditional flowers on the table so I filled large glass vases with lemons and water and had tea lights all around them on the table. I also added a runner of lemon leaves down the table to add a little natural green.
For the menu, I tried to keep it relatively simple. I did as much ahead of time as possible so I was able to enjoy my guests instead of slaving over the stove or grill.
For the Appetizers:
Spanakopita made from the spinach in the garden.
Lamb Sliders with sauteed onions, feta and tzatziki
Mediterranean Pizza with squash, zucchini and an eggplant crust
Zucchini Soup Shooters
An assortment of olives and feta cheese
I pre-grilled chicken skewers which I had marinated in lemon, garlic, Greek yogurt and a bunch of fresh herbs. I served this along with an orzo salad that had herbs, feta, tomatoes and onions. I also pre-roasted tons of cut up veggies from the garden that I put a simple herb vinaigrette over. Same as last year, I tried to make as much ahead of time as possible and served it all at room temperature. I also had fresh zucchini bread and grilled naan on the table.
I made individual rhubarb raspberry crisps in mason jars. They were baked off right before serving so they were really gooey and hot. I served each with a scoop of homemade basil- mint ice cream. These were a huge hit!
I again pre-mixed all the cocktails ahead of time. This made it so fun for everyone to just grab a mason jar and have a garden fresh drink! I labeled all of them ahead of time with little wooden labels so people knew exactly what they were drinking.
Zucchini & Sea salt Vodka Spritzers
Cucumber Lemoncello Splash
Rhubarb Vodka Fizz
Vodka Apple Cider
It was fun having everyone figure out which was their favorite! Mine was the cucumber lemoncello splash! So good but dangerous!
As usual, I would hate for my guests to go home empty handed, so we had a party favor table set up at the gate going to the driveway.
Everyone left with a bottle of hot pepper infused vodka, a loaf of zucchini bread and a jar of dill pickles.
It was a fabulous night with some of our favorite people. I couldn’t have done it without help from two amazing “feel like a guest” girls! They made everything run smooth and seamlessly. The kitchen was spotless and I was able to relax and enjoy my friends. I woke up the next morning and started planning for 2015, so stayed tuned! I am happy to post any recipes, if requested.
Did I forget to mention it was a toga party too??
*Photos are curtious of a fabulous photographer, Lauren Doran.
Check out her website www.laurendoranphotography.com