I love having company over dinner because it gives me an excuse to make appetizers, cook a tasty meal, and - maybe my favorite of all - set the table. I may have gone a little overboard with the color on this table, but yeah, the ornament tree with giant pearly hearts and colored mirror balls is pretty overboard on its own. I buy decor and linens here and there and then like to piece them together into different color schemes for completely different looks. I'm quite proud of my buttercup yellow tablecloth and napkins that I picked up from Kiwanis for $2. The blue china taper holders are a gift passed down from my grandmother. The pink-toned votives were a cheap buy from Ikea. The hanging candle votives I bought from a school fundraiser through Yankee Candle. The pink thumbprint glasses and fiesta plates are from resale shops. It's a fair mix of things bought new and used. It's a pretty funky, groovy table. Like a birthday party crossed with Cinco de Mayo crossed with a Dr. Seuss book. I'm all for it. Apparently. Since my outfit is right there with the tables in terms of color.
I always make an appetizer if we're having guests over for dinner. It gives people something to snack on while we all mingle and while Kyle and I finish preparing dinner. That way, dinner doesn't have to be ready the minute people walk in the door. For this night's appetizer, I was inspired by my post on Zingerman's jarred tapas
. Tasty briny treats straight out of the jar or can with no prep required. Since I am on a budget here, I bought my tapas from World Market instead of Zingerman's. Granted, they don't have the variety - or the quality either, probably - but they had enough of a selection to choose from at good prices.
We picked up these tangy jarred cherry peppers stuffed with cheese. They have a sweet and sour flavor, and you pop them right in your mouth. We also picked up a small tub of olive bruschetta, and I made freshly baked flatbread to go with it. Lastly, we bought some Spanish chorizo and sliced it into thin rounds. It was a very Mediterranean, spicy, and flavorful spread of snacks. We served it with a sparkling orange wine
in old fashioned glasses with a skewers of green olives. The salty, briny appetizers served as a nice contrast from the creamy dinner dish that followed.
For dinner we had sole baked in a white wine cream sauce from Julia Child's cookbook. We baked the fish on a bed of fresh green beans and poured the sauce on top. To cut through the creaminess, we served stewed tomatoes alongside. We paired dinner with a juicy rose wine (this is a good pick for people who don't necessarily like wine or who prefer sweeter wines) and a crisp chardonnay.
Our guests brought peach pie and ice cream for dessert to top off the meal. And then it was time for cards and watching the Olympics...