Cover image for Garden parties
Title:
Garden parties
Author:
Bales, Suzanne Frutig.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Clarkson Potter/Publishers, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
160 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Contents:
Sunday luncheon among the daffodils -- Mad hatter tea party -- A midsummer night's dream -- Strolling cocktail party buffet -- Gardener's early supper -- Country breakfast in mother nature's garden -- Night of a thousand lights.
ISBN:
9780609610244
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Dinner under the stars in a formal garden, a tea amid the roses, rustic breakfast in an Adirondack camp, a harvest luncheon . . . these are parties that celebrate the best that nature has to offer, paired with food and drink perfect for the surroundings. You know how much enjoyment and relaxation your garden brings you--why not share it with friends and family? ThroughoutGarden Parties, Suzy Bales inspires fancifully fun parties that transform outdoor spaces into enchanting playgrounds for the senses--the plants, the decor, and the food intermingle to create truly memorable themes. ButGarden Partiesisn't just a beautiful book for inspiration. It's also eminently practical, with how-to instruction on prolonging the life of cut flowers, constructing wreaths, and using a birdbath as an hors d'oeuvres stand, as well as making edible treats such as candied petals, floral-decorated ice cubes, and flowers for salads and garnishes. AndGarden Partiesis packed with delicious recipes perfect for the occasion: the spring luncheon features the spring treasures Asparagus Bundles with Chives and Lemon Butter, Mustard and Garlic Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce, and Creamy Watercress Soup; the midsummer eve's romantic dinner includes seductive Champagne Framboise, Seared Scallops on Rose Petals, and Blooming Salad. All the recipes are designed to utilize advance preparation, allowing you to greet and enjoy your guests instead of struggling with last-minute details. Whether you have a pocket-sized terrace in the city, a simple suburban backyard, or extravagant country acres, your garden can provide the inspiration and the setting for the perfect party.Garden Partiesshows you how.


Excerpts

Excerpts

sunday luncheon in the garden In the spring, before the trees leaf out, the woods are as festive as young girls' party dresses. Sunlight streams down to awaken an explosion of blooms. The hills of this woodland path are a panorama of bright crayon colors, with streamers of yellow daffodils tying everything together-their vibrancy is uncompromisingly happy after a long, dreary winter. the garden this winding woodland path peaks when the bulbs bloom. Spring is the easiest time to have a garden in full, all-out bloom. Bulbs are the most reasonable of creatures, obliging and easygoing. Planting bulbs is as close to a sure thing as a gardener ever gets. Each fall, plant daffodils, scilla, crocus, and other bulbs that naturalize into the ground, and they'll increase in number and beauty in subsequent years. To do spring its full justice, plant a symphony of different bulbs so blooms merrily come and go from the beginning of the season to the end. Plant them under the lawn, the groundcovers, the perennials, and deciduous trees and shrubs so they jump out all over the yard. When the guests arrive at the garden gate, they are directed down the woodland path to the pond, met along the way with yellow daffs, primroses, forget-me-nots, pasqueflower, bleeding hearts, Virginia bluebells, and violets. A birdbath beckons with a tray of drinks. Guests are encouraged to take a drink and pick flowers as they stroll to lunch. The terrace is near a water-lily pond, adjacent to a stream, whose gurgle is background music to conversation, accompanied by the croaking of frogs. As the ripples smooth out, the water mirrors the trees and flowers, doubling the blooms on view. A small patch of watercress grows in the running water, producing plenty for spring soups, summer sandwiches, garnishes, and whatever else one might desire. In other parts of the yard, flowering trees are just beginning to bloom. So dessert is served on a bench that encircles a cherry tree awash in frothy pink petals. decor who can resist the first flowers of the year? Spring arrangements of yellow, orange, and white daffodils pop next to the blues and purples of the tulips, pansies, lilacs, and hyacinths. Their scent, too, is intoxicating. Don't hesitate to pick huge bunches of flowers: It helps prune the shrubs and strengthen the bulbs for next year. For a party outdoors, use the spring garden's vivid, bold colors for flower arrangements. A punch of color that might clash or be overbearing indoors-deep purple lilacs and orange tulips, for example-is invigorating and lets the spirit soar outdoors. Guests are welcomed at the garden gate, where an old wire funnel of yellow daffodils hangs and a large basket of flowering branches sits on a birdbath. A sign hanging from the basket directs them to walk the woodland path to where lunch will be served. The table repeats the floral display, with a handful of choice stems placed in a vase made of a series of interlocking tubes. They are deep and long, similar to chemists' test tubes, to hold water and to support the flowers' stems upright. Tubes can be added or subtracted to reach the proper length for each table. A similar effect can be achieved by scattering a series of small vases, bottles, or champagne flutes, each holding a few flowers. The guests who are seated with their backs to the pond have a different focal point: a small copper funnel planted with clumps of Johnny-jump-ups on the trunk of a tree. The dessert table uses a darker color palette: Early lilacs, blue hyacinths, and dark red parrot tulips fill the air with their perfume and add a dramatic touch as they spill from a glass pitcher. White Wine Spritzers Creamy Watercress Soup Mustard and Garlic Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce Asparagus Bundles with Chives and Lemon Butter Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips Chocolate Indulgence with Candied Flowers and Créme Anglaise Menu for 6 sunday spring luncheon nothing says spring like lamb and asparagus, whether for Easter Sunday or simply a first outdoor garden lunch. The butterflied leg of lamb is served with a light mint sauce to bring out the best of its flavor. Parsnips add a bold bite to the mild mashed potatoes, a perfect pairing with the lamb. As a starter, watercress soup hits the spot, served either warm or cold, depending on the weather. The rich sumptuous chocolate torte is a fine finish to any meal; chocolate desserts go with everything. The candied flowers are both decorative and delicious, and they can be made weeks ahead and kept for a year or more if protected from sunlight and moisture. white wine spritzers Spritzer is the German word for a drink of Rhine wine and soda. Spritzers are light and festive, perfect for an afternoon or a warm summer night. Any dry white wine can be used, and rosÃ(c)'s cheery pink color and fruity flavor make it another good choice. It is better to refill each glass as needed rather than filling a pitcher, which might sit too long and become flat. Serves 6 3 lemons 1 bottle chilled white or rose wine 2 bottles chilled sparkling water Carefully peel the rinds from the lemons in unbroken spirals for garnishes, then halve each spiral. Fill each wineglass half full with ice. Pour the wine into each glass until it is one-third full, and top with sparkling water. Garnish each with a lemon twist. creamy watercress soup Jane Greenleaf is known on the North Shore of Long Island for her delicious watercress soup, made with watercress picked fresh from her own pond. Watercress is a generous plant that needs to be regularly pulled up to keep it in check, and Jane welcomes friends and neighbors to pick it. Her wonderful watercress soup is equally good hot or cold, depending on the temperature of the day, and it can be made the day ahead and reheated. Serves 6 to 8 3 large Idaho potatoes (about 21/2 pounds), peeled and quartered 6 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped 9 cups chicken broth 6 cups firmly packed fresh watercress leaves 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 egg yolk 3/4 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 6 pansies, for garnish (optional) In a medium saucepan, bring the potatoes, scallions, and broth to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Wash the watercress thoroughly and remove the tough stems and roots. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the watercress and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the leaves are wilted. Allow the chicken broth, potatoes, and scallions to cool. In a blender, puree one third of this mixture with one third of the watercress. (Be careful: If the soup is too hot, it may splatter and burn you.) Return the puree to the saucepan and set aside. Repeat with two more batches. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, cream, and lemon juice. Add to the soup and warm before serving. Or to serve cold, chill and add more cream if necessary to thin it. Season with the salt and pepper and garnish with the pansies, if using. Note Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a pungent herb rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, iodine, and calcium. mustard and garlic grilled butterflied leg of lamb with fresh mint sauce A butterflied leg of lamb-with the bone removed and the meat opened up to one flat piece, about 3/4 inch thick-cooks faster and is easier to grill, slice, and serve than a bone-in leg. Serves 6 to 8 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried 2 rounded teaspoons Dijon mustard one 4- to 5-pound boneless butterflied leg of lamb 1 1/2 tablespoons salt 3/4 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 1 batch of Fresh Mint Sauce (recipe follows) In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and mustard to make a paste. Lay the lamb flat on a platter and season each side with the salt, pepper, and paste. Allow it to marinate for several hours, and up to overnight, covered in the refrigerator. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Grill the lamb approximately 10 to 15 minutes on each side, until medium rare, with an internal temperature of 135°F. (The lamb can also be cooked under a broiler, 6 inches from the heating element, for about the same amount of time; check frequently to avoid overcooking.) Allow the cooked lamb to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with the mint sauce. fresh mint sauce This is a light and refreshing sauce that's very popular in England for serving with lamb. It isn't as heavy as mint jelly, and it adds a subtle mint flavor without overwhelming the lamb. Makes 1/2 cup 1 tablespoon raw sugar (turbinado sugar) 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar In small heatproof bowl, mix the sugar, mint, and vinegar with 2 tablespoons boiling water. Let cool to room temperature before serving. The sauce can be stored covered in the refrigerator, but it should be brought back to room temperature before serving. asparagus bundles with chives and lemon butter The young, thin shoots of asparagus that first poke through the ground in spring are the most tender and succulent. Asparagus is perishable and should be cooked the day it is picked, and cooked quickly; if it's overcooked it becomes an unattractive gray-green and loses flavor. When purchasing asparagus, be sure the stalks are crisp and the cut ends aren't dry. Refrigerate with its cut ends in water until time to cook. Serves 6 30 stalks (about 1 1/2 pounds) thin asparagus, trimmed (see Note) 18 chives, braided for tying the bundles together (see Note) 3 tablespoons salted butter 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon) Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Using tongs, lay the asparagus on the bottom and bring the water back to a boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the stalks with the tongs when they are bright green and tender yet slightly crisp when poked with a fork. Thicker stalks might take a few minutes longer. Drain in a colander. Place the asparagus on a serving platter and use the braided chives to tie bunches of 5 stalks together into individual servings. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Pour the hot mixture over the asparagus bundles and season with salt and pepper. Note: To trim asparagus, hold a stalk with one hand lightly on its head and the other at its bottom; bend the stem and it will break apart where it begins to toughen. If the stalk is smaller than your baby finger, it doesn't need to be peeled. Otherwise, use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of skin up to but not including the tip. To braid the chives, cut eighteen 8-inch-long strands. Place three strand ends side by side, with 1/2 inch resting under a mug or another weight to hold them steady while the lengths are braided loosely together. First pass the right outside strand over the middle one. Then pass the left strand over the new middle, repeating until within 1/2 inch of the ends. Holding both ends of the chives, one in each hand, slide them under the middle of a bundle of 5 asparagus and tie the ends together in a knot. mashed potatoes and parsnips This is a recipe that Tony Riolla, a friend and fellow ballet enthusiast, shared with me more than twenty years ago. The parsnips add a sharp flavor to the potatoes, and the combination is a perfect complement to the lamb. Serves 6 4 parsnips (about 1 pound), peeled and quartered 3 large Idaho potatoes (about 21/2 pounds), peeled and quartered Salt 1/4 cup whole milk 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 2 tablespoons sour cream Put the parsnips and potatoes in a large pot with salted water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander. Puree the vegetables through a potato ricer into a large mixing bowl, or mash by hand until creamy-smooth. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles form around the outside of the pan. Mash the potatoes and parsnips with the melted butter and warm milk until they have a smooth consistency. Mix in the sour cream thoroughly and serve. chocolate indulgence with candied flowers and créme anglaise Warm, gooey, rich, and luscious chocolate-the sweet sensation we can't get enough of. Jon Steves, a professional chef who catered many a party for the Joffrey Ballet, gave me this recipe. You may combine semisweet, bittersweet, and milk chocolates to suit your taste as long as the total amount stays at 12 ounces of high-quality chocolate. Whenever I make this recipe, I always make two-one to serve and another to freeze. Having a dessert or two waiting in the freezer spurs me to throw an impromptu party. Serves 10 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan All-purpose flour, for coating the pan 1 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped into small pieces 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature Confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling 1 cup whipped heavy cream or Chantilly Cream (optional, see page 000) Candied Flowers (recipe follows) 1 quart Créme Anglaise (recipe follows) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-inch springform pan, and wrap the bottom of the pan in heavy-duty aluminum foil to keep water from seeping in while the cake is baking. In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture reaches 220°F. on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolates until they are completely melted. Add the butter several pieces at a time and whisk until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Set aside to cool. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes, until thick, pale yellow, and tripled in volume. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Set the pan in a high-sided roasting dish and add water to the dish to a 1-inch level around the pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the torte comes out clean. Allow the torte to cool before removing the sides from the pan. For decoration, place a round doily on top of the torte and sprinkle confectioners' sugar over it through a sieve. Remove the doily and, if desired, spoon on a mound of whipped heavy cream or Chantilly Cream and embellish with Candied Flowers. Serve with Créme Anglaise on the side. candied flowers Many flowers can be candied and used as snacks or to decorate desserts, a practice that was popular in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. Violets, Johnny-jump-ups, scented geraniums, pansies, and rose petals are the most commonly used. The process is simple enough that children can do it: All you need is a gently beaten egg white, a small paintbrush, and superfine sugar. The color and shape will last for months or even a year if the flowers are stored properly. Makes 1 dozen 1 cup edible flowers (see box on page 28) 1 egg white Superfine sugar, for sprinkling Rinse the flowers gently in cool running water and pat dry. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white. With a small clean paintbrush, paint each flower or petal with egg white on both sides; the flowers must be completely covered with egg white to prevent decay. Sprinkle both sides with superfine sugar. Allow the flowers to dry and harden in a colander or on a clean screen where there is good circulation and low humidity. When dry, the blossoms will be hard and easy to move. Store in a sealed dark container, away from sunlight. créme anglaise The most perfect vanilla custard sauce, Créme Anglaise goes with almost anything: over ice cream or berries, as one side of a hot fudge sundae, and especially as a topping for a chocolate soufflé or torte. It's easy to make and keeps well in the refrigerator in a closed container for several days. Make it the day before a party. Makes 1 quart 3 1/2 cups whole milk 8 egg yolks 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Set 1/2 cup of the milk to chill in the refrigerator. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat the remaining 3 cups of milk until small bubbles form around the edges. Remove from the heat. Place the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. The mixture should be soft yellow, much lighter than the original egg-yolk color, and thick enough that when the beater is lifted the mixture ribbons back into the bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the hot milk and return the pan to medium heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. (If you don't stir, it might overcook and the egg yolks could scramble.) When the sauce is slightly thickened and coats the spoon, test it by sliding your finger across the back of the spoon: If it leaves a mark in the coating for a few seconds, the sauce is done. Immediately add the 1/2 cup of cold milk to stop the cooking and start the cooling. Allow the custard to come to room temperature before placing it in an airtight container and refrigerating until ready to serve. Serve cold or at room temperature. edible flowers Edible flowers have been used for centuries in European and Asian cuisines: The Japanese cook daylilies, the Italians fry zucchini blossoms, and the French flavor food with rose water. Some flowers are similar to lettuce in not having much flavor, but many are very flavorful: The flowers of borage have a strong cucumber flavor, chive flowers add onion, honeysuckle is honey-sweet, and lavender is pungent. Violets, apple blossoms, lilacs, and some roses have a sweet floral taste. Nasturtiums have beautiful edible flowers with little flavor, but their leaves are very spicy and can be substituted for black pepper. Tulips have a crisp texture and taste similar to peas. (Make sure you remove the pollen and stigma from tulips before using; they don't taste good.) Consider rose petals or violets in salads, frozen in ice cubes, or floating in white wine or cold soup. Candied flowers decorate all kinds of desserts, especially wedding cakes. In America, edible flowers are now available in many supermarkets. Yet the best way to obtain them is from your own garden, where the choices are many and they can go directly from the garden to the table. Not every flower is edible, however; many poisonous flowers are commonly grown, such as delphiniums, foxgloves, daffodils, and oleander. Of course, not all edible flowers are tasty. Unless they have a fragrance, they won't have a flavor (but they can still make beautiful garnishes). Before cooking with a flower, taste it. Flowers with strong scents may be overpowering, so use them judiciously. Flowers with unpleasant scents are best not used at all. Some flowers, nasturtiums for one, can be used whole; others, such as chrysanthemums and lavender, are better if only the petals are used. Roses have a hard core, so pull out the petals; the base of each has a bitter white spot and that, too, should be cut off with a paring knife. Above is a list of edible flowers. For more information, check out The Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy, a leading expert, or contact your County Extension Office. A Note of Caution: It is essential to use only pesticide-free blooms, preferably from a home garden or purchased at a grocery store, never from a florist. Florist-grown flowers usually have been sprayed with toxic chemicals. Excerpted from Garden Parties by Suzy Bales All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.