Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's My Party....

I wanted to have friends over and it's just impossible in summer to have a weekend when everyone is in town, so I used my birthday to just pick a date and throw a party!  The beauty of throwing your own party?  Well if you love to cook it means, you can be totally controlling and turn down offers of "what to bring" and make everything yourself. 

I had inspiration for my food - Paris!  I'd come away from Paris with a fascination for simple, and yet, flavorful foods.  My party menu combined this desire for simple foods with my love of local and organic foods. Everything was homemade or locally made from artisan foodies in the Salt Lake City area.

Party Menu:
Flatbreads and Crackers
  • Smoked Fish Dip
  • Olive Tapenade
  • Bruschetta
  • Roasted Tomato and Herb Chevre
  • Pea and Herb Cream Cheese
  • Butter, Radish, and Black Salt
  • Quinoa, Swiss Chard, and Pine Nut
  • Roasted Beet and Goat Feta
Meat Platter
Cheese Platter
  • Vanilla Cream and Berry Tarts
  • Lemon Curd Tarts
  • Beer from Epic and Uinta Brewing Company in Salt Lake City
  • Wines
  • Bourbon Slushes
Getting ready for a party takes preparation.  I had my menu broken down for the three days before the party into which pieces I could do ahead of time.  For example, I was able to roast the pretty beets below a day ahead.  Check out those pretty white and pink beets!

I made the crackers and flatbreads the night before also.

The Crackers were very fun to make, it takes a little time, but they are simple. I used the Rosemary Flatbread and Multi-Seed Crackerbread recipes from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking cookbook.

I was able to make the Olive Tapenade and Smoked Fish dip the day before and keep them in the fridge.  The Smoked Fish Dip used fish caught and smoked by my dear husband.  The Bruschetta I chopped up that morning.  Using both yellow and red tomatoes, really make it pretty.

Tartines are something I took away from Paris.  I do dearly hope these would make the Parisian's proud.  They were good!  Tartines are one piece of bread with a spread of some kind and a single layer of meat or vegetable.  I am sure this is an oversimplified definition!

I used some loaves of Ciabatta and Mixed Seed bread from our farmers market.  The first one layers an Herb Chevre from Drake Family Farms, in Utah, with Roasted Tomatoes and thinly sliced basil.

The second, tartine used an herbed cream cheese, topped with pea shoots, and fresh shelled peas.

And the third, was inspired by a wonderful tartine I was served at Caffe Niche in Salt Lake City. This tartine had thinly sliced radishes, on top of creamy salted butter, and topped with black salt.

The star of my salads was the roasted beet.  How could it not have been wonderful with those beautiful beets? The Goat Feta cheese was also from Drake Family Farms.  They have a stand at the downtown farmers market in Salt Lake City and the flavor was perfect, not too strong to overpower the beets.

What a summer party without BBQ?  But really, it's as summer party, this nice cool menu was perfect and everyone loved this plate of local artisan sausages from Creminelli.  This plate consisted of the Capicola, Tartufo Italian Salami, and the Barolo Italian Salami.  This plate was gone at the end of the night!

The cheese plate was equally wonderful.  This plate consisted of the Snow Canyon Edam and Zwitser Gouda from Rockhill Creamery in Richmond, Utah; the Seahive cheese from Beehive in Uintah, Utah; and a 3 year aged cheddar from our trip to Wisconsin!

Does that bring us to the tarts! I definitely came from Paris with a love for beautiful desserts that weren't quite as sweet as their American counterparts.  The tarts were done over many days.  I made the Vanilla Cream and Lemon Curd on Wednesday; the tart shells, Thursday night, and I put the tarts together Friday afternoon before the party, with enough time to chill and set for a couple hours.

I used the Vanilla Pastry Cream, Lemon Curd, and Pate Sucree (tart shell dough) recipes from Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts cookbook.  The berries were from the Salt Lake City farmers market the previous weekend and the organic edible snapdragons were from Colorado, by way of Whole Foods.

This menu was perfect, because when the last guest arrived the final plate was prepped and set out.  All I had to do all night was visit with my wonderful friends and remember where I'd set my drink down!

Thanks to my Mother-in-Law and BFF Teresa for the flowers that were perfect for my party!  And, thanks to my friends who honored my wish to make everything and just came to help assemble plates or brought wine, the perfect gift!


  1. That was a lovely menu, Christine! I’m sure your guests enjoyed that sumptuous feast! The food looks delicious and very pleasing to the eye. But I what I love about this menu idea is the combination of organic recipes and the French cuisine. It is simple yet very tasteful.

    *Neva Modzelewski*