Our summer gourmet group party had a Greek theme: OPA! Our hosts, Carole and Bill, borrowed the colors of the Greek flag to decorate the tables and bar which blended beautifully with their backdrop of white roses. There were 12 of us, and two tables of six were set up in the garden. We can rely that our California weather will be outdoor-perfect all summer long, and last night didn't disappoint; we barely needed a shawl at the end of the evening. I have to add, that while we expect perfect weather, we are very, very appreciative and grateful. California, you know I love you, but bring on the rain this winter! Please.
I'm confident that if you wanted to recreate this dinner party dish by dish, you'll have very happy guests! The soup was light and lemony, the moussaka was the best I've tasted, and the baklava (my contribution) was hands down the best baklava any of us had ever had. I'm glad I was able to make the baklava as I have friends who keep bees and give me honey whenever I ask!
We run our gourmet group (going on 30 plus years) this way: There are six couples and we take turns hosting. We try to meet 4 times a year, which is usually one dinner a season. The host couple chooses the theme and menu, selecting the recipes and keeping the main course for themselves. The recipes for the appetizers, first course, sides and dessert are given to the rest of us. We do most of the prep at home. Each couple brings a bottle of wine to compliment their recipe. Some hosts hire help to serve and clean, some don't.
If you've ever thought of getting a group together, you should. We have a lot of fun, eat really well, try new foods and cooking techniques, and over the years have never repeated a recipe. All 12 of us agree that this dinner party is always a highlight and NO ONE ever, ever misses it!
Romaine Hearts with Lemon Vanaigrette & Shaved Parmesan
I love party favors! We were asked to take home the herb centerpieces and as many backyard lemons that we thought we could use. Nice!