Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gazebo Garden Party

My good friend Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen is hosting a virtual Garden Party this weekend. Click HERE to see her post as well as links to all of the other beautiful, yummy posts. If you have a garden themed post please join in! This is the second year a group of us have had this event and I have to say, I have looked forward to this for quite some time. Jigs is here to lead you to the back where I'm waiting....

Stop and take a peak at this pretty rose I have growing up the's new and I hope next year it will make a better show.

The butterflies are flying all about..mainly because of this butterfly magnet!

I have plenty of daylilies blooming right now including this pretty soft pinkish apricot one.

The tall phlox is just starting to bloom. White 'David is the first..the brighter colored ones will soon follow.

The wedding arbor, under which we got married, is heavy in bloom right now, covered by a climbing form of "The Fairy".

The blooms are so tiny and sweet

The hydrangeas are blooming now too. I love this one that holds its reddish pink color.

Mostly the soil turns them blue..which I'm not complaining about! I adore them!

Can you stand another look at a rose? This time it's Abraham Darby

Here's one of my favorites at this time of the year...Cosmos.

So that's the little tour of the flower garden. This weekend a happy coincidence happened that has made my little Garden Party even more exciting. Our neighbors are moving and we had the opportunity to acquire their gazebo. As luck would have it, we were able to get it in place yesterday..just in time! I wasn't sure how it would look on our patio, but it seems to just fit. I hope that today will be just the first of many meals that I enjoy in the spot.

So come on in and see what I have set on the table for us!

After my ice cream extravaganza last weekend (and all this week as you might have imagined!) I felt the need to go "light" for the garden party. So I did an assortment of salads, all including ingredients either from my yard, the local farmer's market or my bi-weekly organic veggie/fruit delivery.

My table is kind of a mish mash of various dishes. You may recall my dragonflies and cabbages from last years party, but I've added the Desert Rose. I think they go together pretty good!

First up is what I would think of as an appetizer, Molded Gazpacho (no..that does not say Moldy). I think next time I might ramp this up with some jalapenos, but it was very cool and refreshing.

Molded Gazpacho Salad
From Salads: Food Writers' Favorites

3 cups tomato juice
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup finely chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise

Pour tomato juice into a saucepan; stir in gelatin. Let stand 2 minutes. Bring tomato juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; mix well. Refrigerate until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Add tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onion and celery to tomato juice mixture. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2 quart ring mold. Refrigerate until firm. Meanwhile combine sour cream and mayonnaise; refrigerate until time to serve salad. Unmold salad onto a plate. Serve sour cream dressing in the center of salad ring or on the side.

You could do individual servings like this as well.

Next up is a salad which I've tried a similar combination of and fell in love with (watermelon,basil, lime juice, feta). I think this one is just as good. Don't be scared about the unusual ingredients. If you like sweet and savory together you will enjoy this.

Awesome Summer Watermelon Salad

Found on Allrecipes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

3 cups 2-inch cubes watermelon
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin - partially from my garden!
coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Mix the vinegar and Dijon mustard in a bowl. Stir the garlic, salt, and pepper into the mixture. Slowly stream the olive oil into the dressing while whisking vigorously. Place the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use. Combine the watermelon, feta cheese, and red onion in a large bowl; toss lightly to mix. Season with the coarsely ground black pepper. Pour about half the dressing over the salad; gently toss to coat. Refrigerate the salad at least 30 minutes. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad just before serving.

It's not the prettiest of salads, but it has a great flavor. If you love watermelon give it a try!

You won't be sorry!!!

The next dish is a remake of one that my mother has made for years. She would often bring it to work when they had little potlucks. If I was lucky there would be leftovers. It tastes better the 2nd day so make it ahead.

12 Layer Salad

This is more of an outline than a recipe. You can really do any combination you want. These were my layers starting at the bottom:

Buttercrunch lettuce
Yellow bell peppers
Green Onions (from my garden!)
Kidney Beans
Sliced boiled eggs
Mayonnaise, sprinkle lightly with 1/2 tsp sugar (make sure to seal the bottom with the icing)
Shredded cheddar blend
Bacon bits

The next dish is really light tasting and garden fresh! The herbs and peas are from my garden.

Dilled Peas and Potatoes Vinaigrette

From Southern Living Magazine May 2000


8 small red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 pound sugar snap peas (frozen can be used)

1/2 cup olive oil

6 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 green onions, chopped


Cook potatoes in a Dutch oven in boiling water to cover 25 to 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Thinly slice.

Cook snap peas in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge peas into ice water to stop cooking process; drain.

Whisk together oil and next four ingredients in a large bowl. Add sliced potato, snap peas and onions, tossing gently to coat. Chill 2 hours, or serve immediately.

I had intentions of baking bread to go with the meal, but its way to hot to heat up the house with the oven. I went to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning and picked up a great Herb Bread which is as good as homemade and I did blend up a yummy herb butter to go on it. Toooo good!

Herbed Butter Spread
Once Upon a Table, cookbook for the Women's Auxilary of the American Cancer Society

2 sticks butter, softened
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dill weed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Will keep refrigerated for weeks.

It was a great compliment to the meal!

Keeping with the "light" theme, dessert was simple and straight from my raspberry bush!

Berries & Brown Sugar Sour cream

Any kind of berries
1/2 cup sour cream
brown sugar to taste
Stir sour cream and brown sugar. Serve on top of prepared berries.

It made a very nice ending to a wonderful meal..not too filling!

My little dinner guest thought so too!

Hope you enjoyed the spread!

Now we can just sit back and enjoy the beautiful day. Its a great spot to watch the birds feeding.

And to listen to the sound of the bubbling rock

Don't forget to go look at all of the other beautiful posts linked at Susan's Savoring Time in the Kitchen.


Debbie at Mountain Breaths said...

Suzy, what a delightful gazebo garden party! Your gardens are so lush, and I always enjoying seeing your wedding arbor :-) The colors in your tablecloth and tablescape are just perfection for a garden party! The watermelon salad with feta was on my garden party menu before I decided on the brunch. Sounds yummy! Suzy, you must have spent the entire day in the kitchen. Great post!

Foley said...

Suzy - Now THAT is alot of salads!! They all look watermelon! The berries make my mouth water..the bush wouldn't be able to keep up with me!!

How nice that you have a gazebo now..I bet Jigs likes it too..All your blooms are beau and love your wedding arbor..I need to go back and look at your wedding photos and see the difference..

Super post!!!!!

Dishesdone said...

The Gazebo looks awesome, Suzy! I'd love to hang out and party with you! The dishes all look gorgeous together and what a feast! Jigs is a cutie leading the way! Your gardens are always beautiful! but phlox? I don't know my flowers and plants and that one is so pretty to have a name that sounds like something from an infirmary :) Chicken Phlox maybe? LOL!

Great post!

♥peachkins♥ said...

Wow! I love your dishes! and what a perfect gazebo garden party!

Cynthia said...

Suzy, each flower picture is fabulous ... I love the wedding arbor. I remember seeing pictures of your wedding but hadn't realized that is was at your current house. DUH!

Jigs is a great host and seems to enjoy virtual guests. :)

How wonderful to have your own butterfly magnet ... love the picture.

Suzy, your tablecloth is perfect for the dishes you chose. I really like your green dragonfly, desert rose, and pink cabbage together. So pretty. ... I bet it was nice to eat in your new gazebo.

The food all looks wonderful.... I've seen 7-layer salads but 12 layers is a new one for me. And it looks gorgeous in your glass container. I've made the watermelon salad but not for 2-3 years. Thanks for the reminder ... I just happen to have feta and an "unopened" watermelon in the fridge. :) Each dish looks very tasty.

Lovely post, Suzy, even more special that it's all from your garden or local gardens.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I knew I'd find a wonderful post and I did! First of all, the little guide leading the way to your garden is adorable :)

How gorgeous your garden is looking! The Fairy has filled in so nicely on the wedding arbor and I see Randy has the lawn manicured perfectly, as always :) All of your flowers are beautiful! I can't it's already time for the phlox to bloom.

I love the assortment of salads that you made with so many wonderful fresh, garden components :) I am going to take a copy of of each one with me! I can almost taste the flavors of that watermelon salad! I haven't had a layered salad in ages but my aunt made a 7-layer salad that I used to enjoy but I don't think I ever had a 12-layer. It looks beautiful in that bowl. I would love a bowl of those beautiful berries for breakfast this morning! Your table setting is beautiful - the dishes, the flowers, the summery table cloth - everything is so pretty! I love how the pink cabbage bowls and Dessert Rose look on the green cabbage plates. I think the combination works beautifully. Your new gazebo fits perfectly on the patio and I'm sure you will be enjoying many wonderful dinners under it.

Thank you so much for joining the Garden Party, Suzy!

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

I love looking at beautiful flower gardens. I have the Abraham Darby, too. I love all of the David Austin roses. I have the Desert Rose china, too. Also, the butterfly bush. I may get the climbing fairy rose. I have a climbing Don Juan rose on the left of my arbor. I may get a climbing fairy rose for the other side. It looks so pretty. Of course, all the food is just so yummy.

Kathleen said...

Unbelievable, are so busy and had time to put together this fabulous party.
The plate combo looks great, said the dishaholic! :)
And that watermelon salad is something I definitely will try. I love feta and red onions, so I know I would love the rest..
The gardens are fabulous...such a variety..
Thank you so much for the beautiful tour!
Enjoy your gazebo...I see many lovely dinners, and breakfasts out there!!

Marsha said...

I agree with everyone else - as busy as we know your schedule is you put together and amazing garden party! I love summer salads and the herb buttered bread sounds wonderful with them. In the winter we often have brown sugared cream cheese dip but I had never heard of doing with with sour cream - I bet it tastes wonderful and I will be trying that soon. Sure wish I had a raspberry bush - they are so expensive here.

I love the gardens and the new gazeboe! Your roses always amaze me - the many petaled Abraham Darby is so pretty. How lucky you are to have the soil that keeps the hydrangeas blue too!

I loved it all, the beautiful dishes, the perfect garden and the wonderful party fare! Great job Suzy!

Carolyn said...

Wow ! you did go all out for your beautiful garden party. Love your garden gazebo and all the good food and pretty bouquet.Lovely garden setting too.


Vee said...

Ohhh my sakes! This is simply heavenly. Your flowers are gorgeous and there is no way that I wouldn't want to see another rose...each one is so lovely in its own right. The salads are beautiful, too. I love a layered salad as they're so tasty and beautiful. Am I saying that too often? Anyway, thank you for all your efforts. Enjoy that gazebo!

Brenda said...

This was enchanting and true eye candy! So glad to have found you. Okay, you're obviously a gardener, an inspired cook, a decorator, and you can set one beautiful table! Wow! Our Texas garden is about burned up. You also have gorgeous flowers!

Kate said...

There isn't a dish that didn't make my mouth water in anticipation! Lovely party, thanks for having me!

Jayne said...

Suzy, how did I miss your post! Well, I made it now and it was well worth waiting for! Always, I love your flowers. And look at all the good looking food! A real feast. Nice!

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