I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I love themed parties. From my son’s birthday parties, (Star Wars, Pokemon, Get Smart) to our fundraising cocktail parties (Tiki, Fist Full of Cocktails), I just love themed parties. I think themed parties are easy. Once I decide on a theme, everything else seems to fall into place. You might think I’m crazy (Wow, I just went back to my college days with that phrase), but I even like to have a theme for dinner parties. I don’t always have a theme, but I like it when I do. The first time I hosted a dinner club, my theme was comfort food, and I followed that up with a Cuban inspired dinner.
I chose French country for my latest dinner party theme. It might have been the movie Julie and Julia that inspired me to have a French themed dinner, but I really think it was the napkins I purchased. I love these napkins, although they do feel a bit like you're wiping your mouth on the couch, but the colors are perfect, and they inspired me to create a dinner party around them. I know, I know…but we all have our inspirations.
I think I was able to pull together a credible French table. Maybe not a typical one, but I think it had a French feel. I’m lucky my mother-in-law had some beautiful china she passed to me. This set is Melrose from Grindley, which I thought worked nicely with my table.
Check out the bird candle holders—aren’t they hilarious? And, I really scored with my glassware purchase. I love the depression glass look of these glasses.
As for dinner on Saturday night, we invited two families to join us, but Tammy and Tom had a sick kid, and didn’t want to share the wealth. We missed them, but appreciated the decision. So Sandy and Brian and the kids joined us on Saturday night for our French dinner. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in how many people I can invite over, that I forget how fun it is to just have one or two families join us. Les and I had a great time with Sandy and Brian. The evening was fun, intimate and relaxing.
I started us off with some tapenade, toast and Brie. We nibbled on these snacks while dinner finished cooking. My son loved the tapenade. He is still snacking on the leftovers!
Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe on foodnetwork.com
½ pound good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
6 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 baguette, sliced and toasted
Combine the olives, capers, anchovies and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse 3 times. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, thyme and parsley and process until chunky. Serve with toasts.