A few weeks ago, I threw a little party on my patio for . It was an al fresco soiree for editors to come over, see my house, eat some delicious appetizers and try their new and . It was honestly such a fun shoot day, with the loveliest client, food stylist, photographer and PR team. I try to avoid shooting here in the evening because of the kids and the general disruption that normally ensues with these types of things, but Brian kept them out for a movie so we could have a happy hour on the patio with editors. I hadn’t planned on blogging about it but the food was so good, the DIYs were so cute and the patio looked beautiful, and I couldn’t help myself. So in case you need some summer party inspiration, here you go:
We came up with three different recipe ideas that would pair well with the wine. BLTs, lemon tarts and yummy fries (my favorite food groups), and my good friend – a food stylist and chef who I have worked with and adored for YEARS – helped me bring it all together.
Despite how beautiful they look, trust me when I say these recipes are SO simple to pull off. I’m all about ‘The Art of Easy Entertaining’ and while these bites look beautiful and taste great, they aren’t complicated to make and, more importantly, really easy to eat. Once they are out, guests can snack on them without silverware and the cleanup is fast and painless.
First up are these BLTs – they are incredibly delicious and don’t require you to enroll into culinary school to make them because they come together so fast without much fuss (pretty wrapping not optional if you really want to wow your guests with your natural given hosting prowess). These were paired with the and the combo made my mouth very happy.
Mini Summer BLTs with California Mayo
This favorite gets transformed into perfectly diminutive party fare.
Makes 12, about 6 servings
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 12 slices (about 10 ounces) bacon, cut in half
- 6 slices of sourdough sandwich loaf, crust removed and cut into 24 two- to three-inch squares
- 4 small (about 12 ounces) tomatoes, sliced
- 2 avocados, peeled and sliced (optional)
- Arugula leaves, about 1 cup
Stir mayonnaise, mustard, shallot and thyme together in a small bowl. (California Mayo can be made up to four days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
Cook the bacon until crisp and drain well. Lightly toast the bread.
Spread half of the toasts with California Mayo. Top with tomato slices, two pieces of bacon, avocado slices and arugula. Spread the remaining pieces of toast with the mayo and place atop sandwiches; press gently to compress slightly. Secure with a sandwich pick and serve.
We ate them for days. The bread had the perfect CRUNCH.
These French fries…my goodness. Being a pro-fry person, I’m typically anti any fries that don’t come with a big dollop of ketchup, but these were finished off beautifully with a chunk of goat cheese that was truly mouthwatering. It’s some kind of wizardry that I wouldn’t ever have been able to dream up without Jeanne. This one was again paired with the Lightly Bubbled Chardonnay to help bring out the savory flavors in the fries and oh my were those flavors delicious.
Truffle-scented Oven-crisped Fries with Baked Goat Cheese and Sage
You won’t miss the extra fat or fuss of deep-fried French fries (frites) in this oven-roasted version. These are wonderful dipped into the creamy baked cheese. Turn this appetizer into dinner by pairing with fresh arugula. Truffle oil adds an earthy quality.
- 3/4 cup lightly toasted breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
- Olive oil
- 1 11-ounce log chilled soft fresh goat cheese, cut into 6 rounds
- 2 very large (about 1 pound each) baking potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/3-inch-thick and 3-inch long strips
- 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
- Fleur de sel sea salt
- Black truffle oil to taste, about 1 teaspoon
Combine breadcrumbs and minced sage in a small, shallow bowl. Brush a small baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Brush goat cheese rounds generously with olive oil and roll in the breadcrumb mixture until all sides are coated; transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet. (Can be prepared up to one day ahead. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Brush two heavy large baking sheets with olive oil. Toss the potatoes in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Divide the potatoes between prepared baking sheets and spread out into single layer. Bake until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir the potatoes and add the sage leaves to the baking sheets, dividing evenly. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and return to the oven. Place the baking sheet with the goat cheese in the oven alongside the fries. Bake until the cheese is soft and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the potatoes are crisp on the edges yet tender on the inside, stirring the potatoes once, about 15 minutes. Drizzle the potatoes with truffle oil to taste. Transfer goat cheese rounds to small plates and surround with potatoes and sage leaves and serve.
The little lemon pies were the perfect one-bite dessert to pop in your mouth. These went perfectly with which is sweet, fruity and an excellent complement to the berry tarts.
Little Lemon Pies
These easy-to-assemble tartlets can be made in a muffin cup – no specialty equipment needed. A little Clos du Bois Lightly Bubbled wine adds a fun kick to the tart lemon filling. Top the little pies with whipped cream and fresh berries or blood orange sections.
Makes 12 small pies
- 1 package (2 sheets) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Clos du Bois Lightly Bubbled Chardonnay or Rosé
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Whipped cream for topping
- Berries or blood orange sections
Preheat oven to 375°F. If necessary, roll dough out to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut dough into twelve 3 1/2-inch squares. Using fork, prick dough all over surface. Press dough into a 12-mold cupcake pan. (Dough will not extend all the way up sides.) Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar and lemon peel until well blended in a heavy medium saucepan. Mix in lemon juice and wine. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and just boils.* Transfer curd to bowl and cool slightly.
Stir cream into curd and spoon into crusts, dividing evenly. Bake until set and just slightly puffed around the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Carefully unmold pies and transfer to plate; refrigerate until chilled, about two hours. (Can be prepared one day ahead; cover with plastic.)
Top pies with whipped cream and garnish with berries or blood orange sections if desired and serve.
*lemon juice stabilizes the eggs – boiling here is necessary for the filling to thicken. It will not curdle.
This is the only recipe from the day that felt intimidating to me, so for the shoot, Jeanne (my food stylist) had to hold my hand and babysit me in making these because I was obviously nervous about how they would turn out.
The food/drink pairings were meant to be the star, but to give the editors some activities and to keep the party moving, we created some DIY ideas that went along with our theme. We made these really cute berry basket floral arrangements, with seasonal flowers and .
We also made these DIY coasters with nail polish and inexpensive tile. I had seen this project on Pinterest but was shocked at how easy it turned out to be:
The process is simple and the materials are very affordable and easy to source.
Materials Needed for Marbleized Coasters:
- (¼” size preferred)
- in colors of your choice
- to hold the water
- Warm water
- and (for cleanup)
- Start by laying your plate on the table and filling it halfway to the rim with warm water (we used a pretty white basin since we were shooting it but you could use a large plastic Tupperware that you could toss or recycle after.
- Next, carefully drizzle a few drops of nail polish into the water, keeping your hand close to the surface so that the drops of nail polish don’t sink straight down.
- Add a few more drops of a different color – don’t worry about where the drops go, you can always move them around with the skewer.
- Once all the desired colors are in the water, lightly swirl and move them around using a toothpick or skewer (note: go slowly here so that the colors don’t blend together too much and start to look muddy).
- Flip the tile over so the finished side is toward the water and touch the surface of the tile to the water. The trick with this is that you will want to start with one side and then tilt the rest of the tile in. If you place it flat on the surface of the water, it can sometimes create a bubble on the surface and not transfer over correctly.
- After you dip it in, carefully lift it up and flip it over. The design that was on the water will have transferred onto the tile.
- Set the tile aside on a clean plate or paper towel to dry.
- Use the skewer to grab all the excess nail polish. It will start to dry on the surface so if you move the skewer around, it will collect around the tip of it and dry (much like you would do with cotton candy).
- Repeat process with a new set of colors.
- Once the tiles have dried, you can seal them (if desired) with a satin finish clear spray and adhere bumpers to the bottom of each tile to prevent scratching.
Lastly, we created some ‘floral wine rings’ using fresh roses, and . These are so handy to help identify which glass belongs to which guest at a get-together. I for one need this for every glass in my life. I set down and move around my glass constantly and I NEVER know which one is mine.
How cute are those? Thanks to for helping us out with the flowers.
The party was SO MUCH FUN. I genuinely love talking to editors (or anyone for that matter) and these ladies were all excited to talk about design, food, the wine and LA life in general.
Thanks to for helping me throw a summer soiree on the patio.
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***Thanks to our friends at and for letting us borrow some of your beautiful products for this shoot.
***Photos by for EHD