Drawing upon the recent transition to spring, I was inspired to bring some friends together + get in the kitchen, to create a meal that celebrated the new season. Luckily, blogger + recipe-genius, rachel, from the fond life had been chatting with me about collaborating on a project. So, it only felt right to work together on an intimate + delicious spring dinner.
Whenever I begin planning a get together, I always turn to the time of year as a natural starting point. March is tricky in denver, it can be snowing like crazy or feel like a summer day. We’ve had unseasonably warm weather, budding trees + emerging blooms popping up around every corner. Mother nature is endlessly teasing us but I just know a huge spring storm will hit, covering the city in a blanket of snow. Yet, spring produce is abundant in local grocery stores now. Beautiful spring greens, leeks, asparagus, english peas, radishes + citrus are just some of the ingredients flooding the shelves. Our meal began to quickly emerge as we focused our sights on the stunning produce readily available.
Rachel headed up the recipes for our spring dinner… building a seasonal menu to highlight the bounty of spring. However, we also incorporated some light protein, a couple gluten-free elements and of course a dish featuring rachel’s homemade sourdough bread. We wanted to be mindful of our guest’s dietary restrictions + preferences but also create a well-rounded meal that would leave everyone with a full belly at the end of the night. (Yes, my dietary restriction was copious amounts of carbs. #sorrynotsorry). Sprouts farmers market generously sponsored our spring dinner. Therefore, all of the ingredients featured (except for the peas) were sourced at sprouts.
As for styling + hosting, I took the lead for the evening. To make sure our meal felt relaxed + inviting, we again, turned to the seasons to dictate our direction. Serving our dishes family style not only brought an ease to the evening, it allowed people to interact a bit too. By using large white serving trays in various sizes, along with a few wood cutting boards, our dishes looked beautifully plated but not pretentious. I love to incorporate trays, vessels + unconventional serving pieces when entertaining to create a layered look without having to spend additional money.
Likewise, simple dinnerware, a few mason jars + some floral linen napkins were the base of our table. We picked up a few potted herbs at sprouts and replanted them in mismatched clay + ceramic dishes for our centerpiece. This easy but impressionable detail added texture + a subtle aroma to the room. The opened windows let in the evening breeze + bright flowers added the perfect pop of color in the window sill. The only thing left was to welcome in our guests.
As our guests arrived, we had boozy blueberry rum smash cocktails, pre-batched to enjoy. Another great diversion as rachel + I were still wrapping up finishing touches. Our english pea tartines, were my favorite (and the most stunning) dish of the evening. Crusty sourdough was topped with a layer of marscapone, a bright pea puree + thin ribbons of salty prosciutto. We thanked everyone for joining us + ran through the dishes before inviting everyone to grab a plate. The meal wrapped up with a slightly sweet blood orange tart, topped with hand-piped meringue. It was not only visually stunning, but also creamy + bright which balanced perfectly with the flaky crust.
We all shared in endless laughter + stories before the evening wrapped up. Many of us entered as strangers but hopefully, left with a connection + budding friendship. Similarly, in my post last week, I talked about how breaking bread + welcoming people into your home is a gesture of love. Our spring dinner was just that, along with an expression of gratitude to the spring season we are entering upon. Finally, a huge thank you to sprouts for sponsoring this post + to rachel for joining me on such a beautiful adventure + journey.
To get a list of all our recipes + to see rachel’s full post, click here.
For additional tips on entertaining + hosting, click here.
all images taken by rachel nichols.