Garden Variety Entertaining
Giving a party natural flavor
Photos by Rachel Maucieri
Let’s face it: Entertaining or hosting a party can be overwhelming. Should it be inside or outside? Sit-down or buffet style? Finding the right plates that go with the right glasses, obtaining a few appropriate but not overdone flower arrangements, not to mention devising the menu … it’s a lot to come up with. Entertaining 101 is about taking the mystery out of what makes a successful get-together. The one overarching thing to remember is that taking care of your guests, be it friends, family or colleagues, is paramount to it all. However, a party doesn’t come together by itself – so this is my take on a magic wand: a few hints here and there to help you make it all come together.
Looking to your own garden or yard is one way to achieve a beautiful affair, and is this month’s inspiration for your entertaining whims. Potted plants brought inside or to the outdoor table make the perfect arrangements – flowering plants and potted herbs are my personal favorite. Even cut herbs in vases make for beautiful centerpieces, and if you have to actually buy flowers, stick to one variety for a bigger impression. The greatest part about using herbs for table arrangements is that you can use them for your menu, as well. Parsley, basil and spinach can become part of a delicious pesto to put on your favorite pasta … and just like that, you’ve got a garden theme in full swing. Adding in some extra touches – maybe your favorite pottery or short glasses in a beautiful rose color, along with zinc highlights in containers or name tags, plus antique flatware and soft linens – will complete the look. With all these elements in place, the overwhelming part of the evening need only be the beauty of it.
Harness your herb garden’s magic with this quick, simple recipe
- Combine 1 cup basil, ½ cup parsley and 1 cup spinach with ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, 2 cloves of garlic and ½ tsp. salt in food processor and puree.
- Add ½ cup olive oil and blend.
- Add 3 tbsp. butter (room temperature) and ¾ cup parmesan cheese and pulse briefly.
- Serve over pasta.