When I was 13, I had my first innocent and lackluster make out sesh with a boy named Tom. We were both dressed in handmade costumes, (Tom’s more elaborate than mine) at a campy Halloween party and The Monster Mash was on repeat. This vintage-inspired Halloween Party is for you Tom…wherever you and your husband are now.
By Libbie Summers
Assisted by Candace Brower and Anthony Lunsmann
Photography by Cedric Smith
When one of the coolest chicks in the land (I’m talking about you Autumn Van Gunten) is turning 40 and her even cooler boyfriend (Yep, that’s you Cedric Smith) asks you to cater a little surprise dinner party for her and her closest friends, you scream HELL YES!
Inspired by the juicy ruby colored fruit of the season, I used cherries to inform the table and the menu spectacle for this very special event.
The result, like Autumn, a total cherry bomb!!!
The menu on a chalkboard made of a vintage vanity mirror Greens, roses, fresh cherries and vintage milk glass ran down the middle of the farm tables as a centerpiece. The birthday girl, Autumn, in blue and feeling happy surrounded by her dearest friends including her best friend who flew in from Ohio for the surprise! Me…explaining the menu and looking tired! 🙂 First Course (sat on the table for guests to pour themselves): Southern Peanut Soup Second Course: Salad of Pea Shoots, Avocado and Watermelon Tablescape Ingredients: Fresh rosemary, eucalyptus, fresh cherries, pink roses, garden greens, vintage glassware, mix of flatware, torn french fabric napkins, mix and match plates, vintage milk glass, glass cloches and burlap. Main Course: Slow Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Fried Potatoes, Cherry Salsa, Handmade Charred Tortillas
By Libbie Summers
Photography by Teresa Earnest Assisted by David Dempsey
When my son was young, he called a watermelon wedge diced in the rind “fancy melon”. In toddler Jenga fashion, his tiny fingers would strategically pull out the diced pieces from the rind bringing on contagious juicy giggles.
With a few simple cuts, the humble watermelon wedge will instantly become “fancy” in the eyes of any guests at your table. And, topped with this simple fruit salsa, salty feta and crunchy pistachios…it’s extra fancy. Cherry Watermelon Wedge Salad ripe melon, cherry salsa, feta, pistachios, lime finish Serves 4
What you need: 4 watermelon wedges (about 6-8 inches long and 3-4 inches wide at the rind)
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (feel free to sub any fruit here, it all works!)
¼ jalapeno, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 juicy lime
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Olive oil for drizzling
What to do: 1. Prepare cherry salsa: Cut the lime in half. Cut one half into wedges and set aside for serving. In a small bowl, stir together the cherries, jalapeno, cilantro and juice of ½ lime. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. 2. Prepare watermelon: The way these wedges are diced in the rind and served from it, is what makes this summer salad a show stopper! Working with one wedge at a time, start your cuts from the peak of the watermelon wedge, make vertical slices 1-inch wide just down to the rind (don’t cut through the rind). Next, with your knife at a 45-degree angle, make horizontal cuts about 1-inch wide on one side of the wedge working from the peak to the rind without slicing through the rind. Spin to the other side of the wedge and repeat the process. Finally, run your knife along the rind of the wedge. To Serve: Place one watermelon wedge on each plate pulling out a few of the pieces of melon slightly to give a “shelf” for the salsa to land on. Spoon salsa over each wedge. Top each with feta and pistachios. Drizzle with olive oil and finish with a pinch of salt. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.
Every party I design (no matter how big or small) starts with a “party blueprint”. Here’s a little sneak peek of the inspiration process and start of the blueprint for this Summer Soirée that’s cheery and cherry filled!