Oh how glorious to have a day off! I have been busy catching up on various projects and gardening today, but also doing some prep. Friday my nephew Corino is graduating from Servite High School, and of course we are going to celebrate with a big dinner. Make that, we are going to celebrate with the dinner that Andrea will make for us. No worries, I will enlist the nieces to come over early to sous-chef for me.
I decided to buy as much of the produce as I could yesterday at the market, and make my menu around what was fresh and seasonal. Here is what I found at the Rancho Santa Fe market:
A dozen peaches (to roast), 3 bunches of basil, 3 pounds of fava beans, 10 tomatoes, 4 bunches of yellow carrots (they are sweet and warm yellow when peeled), and 4 bunches of rainbow beets.
then: two produce bags of tiny squash, a big bag of mixed greens, a small bag of wild arugula, 2 heads of marvelous frisee and a big bag of squash and tiny green beans:
A slab of Porcini butter, king Oyster mushrooms, a freebie cluster of buttony-mushrooms, and a set of filled mushroom caps that will be eaten shortly by Mom because she loves them...
Everything I bought was freshly picked and grown by organic growers in San Diego county except Maggie's Greens from Agoura Hills and Oak Hill Farms' peaches from the Fresno area. All of that fit in a medium St. Tropez in natural (I stock this but it's not on the website),
and a medium St. Remy, with the beet and carrot tops out the side:
I got to thinking later in the day, what would I do for the dinner?...not a "theme" exactly, but I like consistency and an ambiance. We will be 22+, which means we will eat outside under the loggia, where I still have the three 6' tables from the girls' parties a month or so ago:
Then I went to the basement, and found this, in my stash:
A four litre (!) bottle of 1999 Italian red wine from Trader Joe's that's been tucked away for 10 years. It came in a great wooden case, and was something ridiculous, like $25. I hope Age has been kind to an inexpensive Italian table wine! I think it will be great as a conversation piece and will also to set the tone for a summery Italian paysan/paisano/paesano style meal al fresco; this will be fine for Corino as he's a boy and won't want anything fancy. My family motors through a lot of wine, too, and so this helps my budget; keeping my fingers crossed that it is ok... the bottle looks fantastic, but maybe the wooden case helped that.
Taking a cue from the red wax seal of the bottle, I decided to go with the slate linen napkins that I had made for the Romantic Homes puppy party last November; cheap linen yardage that I pinked instead of sewing; they frayed nicely after washing; tied up with chubby red ribbon from Christmas and a sprig of rosemary; this was my mock-up:
$1 a yard white cotton yardage went under a single piece of burlap that runs the length of the table; I was happy with the lineup of napkins and bows:
I think I'll do a single run of greenery and candles down the length of the table and I scouted out my greens with a quick run around the garden: the ivy can use a haircut:
There is lots of rosemary in the garden; I'll do rosemary potatoes so this will be nice on the table too:
and the red trumpet vine will do very well too, though I might use the vines and not the flowers; it all has to be cut right before the guests arrive; good thing the girls will be here to help me;
I almost forgot, jasmine will add fragrance and delicacy to the table;
I have a few stops to make this week for food shopping, but I'm feeling ok about pulling everything together Friday night. Check back this week as the party develops...Wishing everyone a lovely Memorial Day....