Thursday, April 23, 2009

Foodie Friday - Tuscan Dinner Party

Spring Fling is the Foodie Friday Theme this week. My blog is just one of many that participate in Foodie Friday, so feel free to see what else is cooking on our hostess Gollum's blog. Designs by Gollum

My spring fling was held on Saturday, when we hosted ten friends for a six course dinner, complete with wine pairings and Italian music. Our dinner club friends received an invitation in the mail two weeks before the dinner.

Each couple was assigned one of the six courses, and we started the evening with wine on the deck and an Olive Oil Flight for tasting. The hostess' favorite during the tasting was the "Ravida" Huile d'Oliva Vierge Extra Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Italy) from O & Co.

Our tablesetting was inspired by the golden hills of Tuscany. I used Crate and Barrel small creamery jars for the gerbera daisies that you see on the table. Sunflowers would be wonderful too, when in season.

My friend Jayne surprised me with these beautiful plates for the party. She always find the neatest things. Thankyou Jayne!

For favors, I chose olive oil decanters with a Tuscan theme.

Sharing our menu:

Antipasti: Crema di Cannellini con Scampi, Basilico e Olio de Oliva
(Translation - Cannellini Cream Soup with Fresh Tomatoes, Scampi, and Basil)

Insalata: Insalata Misticanza (Mixed salad greens with zucchini, asparagus and cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic)

Primi: Fettuccine ai Carciofi e Pecorino Toascano
fresh fettuccine, artichokes, lemon, pancetta, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, Tuscan pecorino cheese, parsley

Secondi: Pork Roasted the way Tuscan Do (baked in baguette) - adapted from a Joanne Weir recipe -- We served a blackberry sauce on the pork

Dolci – Southern Lemon Cake (adapted from a Frances Mayes recipe from “Under the Tuscan Sun”)

If you love lemon cake like I do, you can't go wrong with this recipe. We enjoyed this cake served with fresh strawberries and dessert wine. I prefer this cake the day after it is baked.

Lemon Cake Ingredients:
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Butter
3 each Eggs
3 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Buttermilk
3 tablespoons Lemon juice
4 teaspoons Lemon Zest grated

1/4 cup Butter
1 1/2 cups Powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Lemon juice


Cream together 1 cup of sweet butter and 2 cups of sugar. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. The mixture should be light. Mix together 3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and incorporate this with the butter mixture, alternating between adding it and the cup of buttermilk. Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and the grated zest (peel) of lemon to your taste. Bake in a non-stick pan at 300 degrees for 50+ minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. The cake can later be glazed (after cooling) with a mixture of 1/4 cup of butter, 1-1/2 cups of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Each Friday, my friend Suzy encourages us to join her in "Flashback Friday". We enjoy looking back at the food we have served, the gardens we tended, and the trips we have taken over the last year or so. Today, I am sharing a flashback of the pie crust ham and cheese appetizers that I made for Thanksgiving. I'm thinking of making these for Memorial Day using star cookie cutters.

Thankyou for stopping by! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.
Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. I bet your group has a fun time. Our supper club used to do things like this, but the group has disbanded. Your party looks wonderful from invitations to dessert! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Debbie, I love the new photo montage in your header.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your entire post, what a lovely dinner ... good food, beautiful environment, dear friends.

    Great flashback, the pie crust ham and cheese appetizers are just too cute. I think star ones would be perfect for Memorial Day.

  3. What a fun dinner with friends. Everything looked just lovely.

  4. What a beautiful party, from start to finish!
    And the flashback is a good way to remind us to use that recipe other times..Like Cynthia said, July 4th or Mem Day stars...
    I just got home from OUR store, CTS..

  5. Debbie, you and J hosted a fantastic party. The table and decor look wonderful. Excellent menu too.
    Those ham and cheeses are so good... I made them after you posted the recipe.

  6. Oh so fabulous. Wish I was sitting at that table eating that wonderful sounding food!

  7. There is nothing like good friends enjoying good food and each other! I'm so happy you have a group like that too, Debbie. I love the olive oil decanters. I cant wait to try your pasta recipe!

  8. I love dinner parties -- especially multi course ones! It looked like a wonderful party -- and the food looked amazing!

  9. Your table was gorgeous Debbe! The oil decanters were so cute, I'm sure all your guests will put them to good use.
    I love the ham & cheese appies..the star would be great , like others said for quite a few holidays!
    Copied the lemon cake/glaze...Thanks! ;)

  10. Thanks for including my recipe! Your blog is lovely! You have absolutely wonderful style.
    Joanne Weir

  11. What a lovely party and your menu sounds so good.

    Happy Foodie Friday to you!

    This is my first Foodie Friday

    The Raggedy Girl--Roberta Anne

  12. Great party! Lovely table and I'm sure the company was just as great!

  13. Favors too? My kind of party and Tuscany theme too :) The lemon cake is similar to the recipe I posted on my blog this April that I made for our cooking light cooking club. I love lemon. I would love to know where your friend found that beautiful Tuscany plate. It is so pretty. I love Italy and Tuscany is gorgeous and the sunflowers were perfect on your table. I wish I lived closer to join your cooking group. Aren't they the most fun?

  14. So Beautiful... and a lovely menu. What lucky guests! Thanks for the lemon cake recipe. It is a favorite at our home!

  15. Your parties are always so much fun! This is no exception! Great theme, great food, great friends, another super party!

  16. What a beautiful party and how lucky your guests were to enjoy this beautiful setting, wonderful food, great company and a cool parting gift.

    You are the "hostest with the mostest"

  17. Debbie you did such a great job with your theme. The menu was the idea of the olive oil tasting. The lemon cake sounds great. Thanks for sharing. Love the movie but haven't read the book..I should I'm sure it's better.

  18. Forgot to mention your cute little flashback appies. Love the look of these. I remember well when you first did them. Another something I need to give a try!


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