Party for a Friend

 Milestone birthdays....we all have them. There are some who would like to hide under a blanket and just let them slip by. But I say, why not celebrate who you have become every time a milestone roles around? You have reached a new level of accomplishment, and hopefully, wisdom...reason enough to celebrate, no?

Last weekend, we had my friend Leanne and her beau, John over for a special birthday dinner. Instead of going out, we decided that since we all love to cook, we would share our talents and make a meal together. Leanne and  John participate in a Farm Fresh to You program and they were expecting a delivery of asparagus, beets, and chard. We happen to live two blocks from a wonderful butcher who specializes in locally grown free range meats. Because of Spring's awakening, we all had Lamb on our minds.

Perhaps a book I have been reading lately has been influencing my food choices, so the theme seemed to be going in a "locally grown" direction. Barbara Kingsolver's newest book, Animal Vegetable, Miracle has been on my nightstand, and I cannot help but tell everyone about the stockpile of information I have found in this book! There are recipes and ideas for every taste....and easy too. But perhaps most interesting is all of the information about the affects corporate farming has had on the lives of everyone in our country. (IOW....I recommend the book!)

Anyway....back to the party! Spring is heating up around here, I harvested some blooming Bridal Veil from the garden along with some new fern shoots to create individual arrangements that I put into hand blown glasses I found at Anthropologie a few years ago.

 I set the table with a tablecloth of natural burlap topped with a white tablecloth. A few green glass votive holders, grass green napkins, and my Mexican glass candelabra...simple and Spring fresh!

 Back to the menu......we made a salad of arugula, roasted beets, goat cheese and pine nuts with a blood orange vinaigrette. Grilled lamb with rosemary and garlic was next, accompanied by a mushroom risotto, sauteed Swiss chard with apples and fresh asparagus.........

Lucky for me, my college student was home for Spring Break and threw together her homemade German Chocolate Cake for dessert.....

The wonderful thing about cooking with friends....everyone gets to contribute, we all get to learn new tricks and  techniques from each other, and the conversation is always flowing,  right along with the wine.

Never pass up an opportunity to celebrate with with friends.

Happy Birthday John!

P.S......Don't miss your own opportunity to celebrate by winning a copy of Rizzoli's latest
 design book by designer Kelly Hoppen! 


Get all the scoop HERE!