Sunday, August 12, 2012 / 57 Comments / , , , , , ,

Backyard Summer Dinner Party + $100 Giveaway to Layla Grayce

I know we started with dessert (if you missed the peach layer cake see it here), but I wanted to share the rest of the party details and recipes from a few weeks ago. I had to wait because my favorite home store, Layla Grayce, provided some beautiful products in exchange for a post on their blog. It just so happened that a couple of my girlfriends and I were throwing a dinner party around the same time Layla Grayce asked if I would create a post. This job definitely has its perks at times!

Holley was in charge of the appetizers and had the brilliant idea to make a DIY crostini bar. Guests loved creating their own crostini with a variety of spreads, cheeses and toppings.  Easy and delicious!
This burlap runner took me about 5 minutes to make. I bought a long piece of burlap from the craft store, cut it into a 18" wide long strip, and pulled a few threads on either side to fray it. Holley, Ronda, and I divided up the cooking which made party prep so much easier. We served dinner family style which created a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  
 I tied a piece of twine around the gorgeous linen Pom Pom at Home napkins and tucked a piece of lavender in. These napkins are so super soft and I love that they are casual and elegant at the same time. I adore the matching runner set! The 12-foot party table was too long for them, but we use them on our dining table inside all the time. Though not good for the environment (and I DO feel bad about that), we went with disposable plates and "silverware" from Smarty Had a Party. We just didn't have enough matching place settings or time to clean up. So sorry classy party throwers of the world.
This Aidan Gray Decor Plate Stand made a stunning centerpiece when topped with jars and roses from our garden. This tray can be used to show off your favorite decor items. What would put on it? I'm  thinking some pumpkins for fall (but not yet!!!).
 We went with dishes that could all be prepared in advance and be served at room temperature to make things easy. Grilled summer vegetables served with the lovely Eclectic Hostess Serving Set were a big hit.
 Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad is a must for summer.
Holley made an absolutely delicious shrimp, white bean, and corn salad over arugula. 

Backyard Summer Dinner Party Menu 
  • Crostini Station 
  • Grilled Summer Vegetables
  • Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad 
  • Shrimp and White Bean Salad over Arugula 
  • Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions 
  • Peach Layer Cake 
*Recipes after the jump

 I decided to share the love and give away a $100 gift card so one of you could do some shopping over at Layla Grayce. 
 We love Layla Grayce

Follow the directions in the box to enter the giveaway. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crostini Station
1-2 baguettes, toasted and sliced
3 soft cheeses
3 spreads or soft toppings, such as hot pepper jelly, apricot jam, roasted tomatoes or tomato bruschette
3 hard toppings, such as various types of nuts

Arrange bread and all toppings in small bowls for self-serving

Grilled Summer Vegetables

serves 12 
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise
1 large red onion, quartered
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed off
1 bunch small carrots, tops trimmed off
1 each red and yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
 3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat vegetables with oil, garlic, herbs and salt Cover and refrigerate 4-8 hours..
Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Lightly coat the grill with cooking spray.
Place vegetable pieces on hot grill and cook, turning once, until tender crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad
serves 12
5 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes wedges
2 small English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 avocadoes, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 bunch fresh basil, sliced or torn
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper

Place tomatoes, cucumber, avocadoes and basil in a large serving bowl or platter.
Drizzle with oil and vinegar and gently toss to coat.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
*Can be made several hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.

Shrimp and White Bean Salad over Watercress
This is a similar recipe to Holley’s and is adapted from Cooking Light

serves 12

2 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined 
2 corn cobs, kernels cut off 
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup avocado oil (such as Elysian Isle)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 cups trimmed arugula
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Lemon wedges (optional)

Prepare grill.
Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place shrimp and corn kernels in skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely. Place shrimp, corn, and beans in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.

Combine oil and lemon juice, stirring with a whisk; stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle dressing over shrimp mixture; toss gently to combine.

Arrange watercress on a large platter, and top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle evenly with chives. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Pork Tenderloin over Balsamic Caramelized Onions
This recipe similar to Ronda’s is from Saveur

Serves 4 (be sure to double or triple recipe for larger parties)

7 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour
Freshly ground black
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1 "- thick medallions
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200°. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter and 1 tbsp. of the oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions, and cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer half the onions to a large baking dish and the remaining half to a small bowl.

Melt the remaining butter and oil together in same skillet over medium-high heat. Season 1/2 cup of the flour with salt and pepper, then lightly dredge pork and brown in skillet, 2–3 minutes per side. Put pork on top of onions in dish and scatter reserved onions on top of pork. Cover dish and keep warm in oven.

Pour off fat from skillet, then heat skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk the remaining flour and 1 1/2 cups water together in a bowl until smooth, add to skillet, and cook, whisking and scraping browned bits stuck to bottom of skillet, until slightly thickened, 4–5 minutes. Add cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, and boil for 1 minute. Strain sauce over the pork and onions in dish.
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