Sunday, March 24, 2013


Well, Paris in five days, but I’m not focused on that yet.  My sister and brother are in town, and this evening we are having our big family dinner.  When my parents and all five kids get together, I love to have a big meal.  We are also celebrating Easter a week early as I’ll be in Paris.  Mom wants to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early; why not?  Tomorrow is my parents’ 54th wedding anniversary, and my favorite brother-in-law also had a small stroke this week, from which he has made a full recovery.  We certainly have lots to be thankful for, so let’s party!

I loaded up on free flowers from my neighbor Maria at the Saturday market, who also gave me six pints of strawberries.  It was a wonderful way to start the day~


I showed the flowers on my front table in a pair of terra cotta pots I got at Rogers Gardens this week; love these and will use them a lot.  Some of these flowers will go on top of the cake tonight~


There is always a lot of planning that goes into these family events; I’ve learned over the years that I have to be organized to have a successful dinner.  I started a menu a week ago, and after a few edits, decided on mostly Italian food.  We’ll start with a variety of little pizzas, topped with arugula, prosciutto, eggplant, goat cheese, grilled onions and pesto; then move on to lemon risotto, spaghetti carbonara, porc Milanese, a small leg of lamb, two chickens, shaved asparagus salad with parmesan and a green salad.  There will be 14 of us, and so no problem with my family eating through that much food, though there is not a full portion of all of that for everyone; I’ll explain later.  I started shopping on Thursday, with a flat of free range eggs from Eben-Haezer Farms, then did more food shopping on Friday and Saturday.  Three farmers markets and six stores later, I have all that I need. 

Last evening I sent my parents off to dinner with my sister, while I got busy and made all the desserts: white layer cake with whipped cream and cassis filling, lemon torte with lavender cream and fresh berries, strawberry parfaits and my favorite for this meal, Jonathan Waxman’s chocolate budino or pudding.  I added a little orange zest, and piped the pudding into a series of glasses, including six impossibly tall and slender flutes that were a gift from Laura.  Each one is topped with a little cream and raw cacao nibs.  Here they are chilling; I can’t wait to taste this~


Meanwhile, the kitchen got cleaned and all the greens got washed, and set outside the kitchen door in a basket, waiting for the production of the meal today.  I have my niece coming over to help me cook, so today she gets to learn how to make risotto and a few other dishes…

green basket

We will eat outside under the loggia and I had my brother-in-law and the kids help me string up the pastel paper lanterns yesterday.  It’s going to be a grand dinner, and of course I will be taking lots of photos! 

Enjoy your Sunday~


  1. What a week! No doubt this one will be busy as well.
    I hope that dinner was lovely and that Palm Sunday will bring you joy.

    I also hope you received the email regarding the week/weekend of April 25th.

  2. Andrea I am so excited to see the images from your family dinner this Palm Sunday. I know you will have an array of amazing deserts for this menu!

    I wish I were tucked away in your luggage for this trip; if I ever needed a getaway this is certainly the time!

    Love and Hugs
    Art by Karena

  3. Beautiful.
    Happy party day, to you and your family Andrea!
    I can't wait 'til Paris!
    Safe travels!

  4. I know all of your hard work is going to be worth put a lot of thought and energy into the whole evening. I can't wait to see pictures!

    Happy Anniversary to your sweet parents and all the best to your brother in law and his amazing recovery!


  5. It sounds wonderful!!
    Your family is so blessed to have your abundant love!!
    I love your passion for cooking, it is contagious.
    Look forward to the photos.
    You should try out for The Taste!!!

  6. Those anemones with such vibrant colours in the plant pots look lovely for the table. What a fabulous menu you chose for your early Easter family get together. All those desserts to die for( that gives my weakness away) does everyone get to taste a spoonful of each ? it makes me smile as in a weeks time you'll be in Paris drooling over a French baguette and cheese, I love the way you change when you are in France. Will you be visiting Beaune on this trip ? Enjoy your trip.

  7. My parents made it to 54 years of marriage, until dad died unexpectedly a year ago.

    You have no idea how happy it is to read about your parents long marriage.....prayers for many more !!

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  8. Oh! cela sent bon par chez vous !... Des fleurs, des fraises, de la bonne cuisine et le partage...
    merci pour cette belle publication.
    Gros bisous.

  9. can't keep up with your comings and goings...we will be in Beaune June 5th until September 13th...Will you be there anytime during that period...Please write me or I can plan to be there when and if??? Miss hearing from you!

    a la prochaine, Patty

  10. Sounds wonderful! Family and spending time together is such a blessing ... enjoy

  11. What a sweet Neighbor.
    Enjoy your family and have a
    Happy Easter Sunday. yvonne

  12. Andrea, everything looks and sounds wonderful! How amazing to still have both parents, you are truly blessed!
    You have inspired me to attempt the chocolate budino for my Easter dinner, I have just googled it...I think I can do it!! thank you! N.xo

  13. The thought, effort and love you put into this meal typifies everything you do. I wish you a bon voyage and every success on you assignment in France. Bisous