How To Entertain: Elegant Easy Dinner Party

I love having people over for dinner, knowing what to make, however, is never the easy part for me.  That’s why I love The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten always has a plan, and the perfect menu to use! Case in point: this menu {and all the recipes too!} for her Italian Surprise Party.

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For me, honestly, dinner parties are not just about the food and the friends or family, but the table setting!  I love nothing better than to pull out a stack of antique or vintage plates, and create a beautiful table for my friends to enjoy.


Last week, we were having some of our dearest friends over for dinner.  I went to Trader Joe’s to buy some of the ingredients for our meal, and they had gorgeous spray roses for 5.99 a bundle. I bought three bunches, Pink, Apricot and a Rosey Red Pink, and mixed them together. {I’ll show you how to arrange the flowers in a milk glass urn like this in a few days!}


Sorry about the slightly fuzzy shot of these Vintage Fairmont Hotel Plates.  Just when I was arranging the finishing touches at the table, the doorbell rang, our friends arrived, and the party started!

I set our wood table without a runner or tablecloth this time, I love the contrast of the white plates with the darker wood.  In order to help everyone truly relax, I set the table in the kitchen, this is where we love to entertain in a casual elegant style. Two different French glasses, antique Victorian mother of pearl silverware, and antique French napkins are the perfect blend of antiques at the table.  A little bouquet of two roses that snapped off in the package arranged in a silver creamer added a finishing touch.

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Ina’s Rossinis are delicious!  Right by the front door I set up a little tray as a welcome drinks station, shown here before I popped the cork on the Prosecco and placed the strawberry mixture in the glasses.  It’s so welcoming to be able to hand guests a festive drink right after greeting them in your entrance, don’t you think?

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We sat by the fireplace in the living room enjoying our drinks, for a light starter I made Ina’s Parmesan Crisps, if you have never made these before, they are easy, and so delicious!  I added the Rosemary Marcona Almonds from Trader Joe’s, and a sprig of rosemary from the garden on an antique ironstone platter.  The dinner was delicious, and we had a truly magical evening with our friends. Ina’s menu is perfect for a family dinner, a surprise party, any time. I had never made fennel as a vegetable before, it turned out absolutely fantastic. The Beef? melt in your mouth. I recommend this dinner wholeheartedly, with some prep work ahead of time you will enjoy your guests, and have a magical evening, at your own five star restaurant.   In a few days I will share the pictures of how easy it is to arrange the roses for this easy, florist quality centerpiece.


If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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One Comment

  1. John Paul
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Looks fantastic! Love the menu, love the table. This bears copying over here on our farm.

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