La Festa al Fresco 2007!
|Holy cow!! You guys are THE BEST! Thanks to you, our party this year has had to move from the patio out to the back yard because we needed more room for all of this glorious food! heee!|
Last year's party was a hoot, to say the very least, as 57 of you generous, gorgeous people joined Ivonne and I in celebrating the end of summer by enjoying the freshest ingredients we could find. From delicious and dizzying concoctions as Kevin's Garden Peach Margaritas (although the BEST margarita we've ever had, we do hope that Kevin can control his urge to yack in my flower beds this year). To delicious nibblers such as Kalyn's savory Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto or Spread and Ilva's incredible Pomodori Ripieni di Zucchine. The big feast featured awe inspiring dishes such as Sher's droolworthy Curry Chicken Skewers with Eggplant Relish and Tomato Chutney and Callipygia's heavenly Peter Piper’s Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Pickled Raisin-Corn Salsa and Chile Mole Drizzle (which also won for the longest named dish at the party! Go Calli! heee). You would think we would have been so stuffed at that point.. but then as ya'll can attest to, us Foodie type people always save room for dessert! Now tell me, how could you pass up Meeta's creamy Panna Cotta or Gracie's it's-amazing-how-many-you-can-fit-in-your-mouth-at-the-same-time-after-you've-had-a-few-peach-margaritas Cinnamon-Sugar covered Cake Doughnuts with Raspberry Skillet Jam!
Yes it was a fantabulous party and one we'll never forget.. you should have SEEN the mountains of dishes the next day!! GOD.
We never imagined another Festa that could top last year's, but by golly, you party animals have made our 2nd annual La Festa al Fresco an even BIGGER success!! Bless all of ya'lls lil cotton socks. ;) This year, as I said earlier, our patio was jam packed with tables and tables laden with the most gorgeous dishes.. why, there was barely enough room to walk between them holding several plates ready for filling! Ohh.. was that just me? *blush* Well I figured with my hostess duties, I might not be able to get back up there for seconds so I took no chances!! I AM NOT A FOOL!!
Anyhoo.. 64 (SIXTY FOUR) tantalizing dishes to choose from this year.. You guys!!! Thank you SO MUCH for joining us.. wow.. 64 of you. =) Ivonne and I couldn't be happier. There's nothing like getting all your friends together with good food, good conversation, lots of laughs and plenty of wine to make you realize just how blessed you truly are.
How many will be staying to help clean up? Anyone? Hello?
When you're done checking out this half of the round up run DO NOT WALK to the incredibly talented, beautiful and just downright awe inspiring Ivonne's place for the rest of this incredible feast.. what amazing treats ya'll are in for over there!
And quickly, because I just can't NOT say this.. Ivonne.. thanks for being the bestest co-hostess, partner in crime and all around wonderful friend and confidante that you are.. I heart you!
Alrighty then.. I won't babble on any longer. I know ya'll are dyin' to see what's for dinner!
Starting us off is Lorraine from Italian Foodies. Lorraine and her husband, Bruno, own and operate an Italian food take-away restaurant in Ireland. They serve authentic Italian dishes made from traditional family recipes.. why does it have to be so far away from me?? If this Fusilli al Pesto is anything like what they serve at the restaurant then I know for A FACT that life is UNFAIR! Look at that.. so beautiful and inviting! Thank you so much, Lorraine, I can't wait to dig in! =)
Gorgeous Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas had me standing at the table with my bowl and spoon just waiting for her to set her dish of Smoked Tomato Risotto down so I could dive in. 'kay one word - YUM! Brilynn never fails to amaze me with her inventiveness when it comes to her culinary creations.. way to go, Brilynn, yet another winner! Thank you so much for sharing with us! =)
One of my most favorite bloggers, Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen joined us again with yet another brilliant dish for us to nibble on. Her festive Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad was a perfect match of fresh summer flavors. Good for you (which means that after eating Kalyn's salad, we could go shove down some dessert and it would all equal out. No.. really.. it's true!), gorgeous colors and wonderfully crisp and delicious, this is one of my all time favorite salads. We can't thank you enough, Kalyn, you always bring us yummy eats and put huge smiles on our faces! =)
The very sweet Mary of La Tavola, is another gal who brought us some beautiful tomato salad as well as some crusty bread to sop up those juices and my favorite salty Pecorino Romano cheese for nibbling.. It seems that tomatoes were a big theme at this year's La Festa, and I for one, couldn't be more happier.. Mary's picnic was a welcome addition to our Festa table and we were so happy she could join us! Thank you, Mary! =)
Speaking of desserts, the fab Laura of Laura Rebecca's Kitchen, who just happens to be a gal who has a knack for cracking me up when I least expect it, has brought the most delicious Honeyed Zucchini Muffins/Cupcakes? with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting that I've ever had. Moist and flavorful these lil Cuppins are and just the right size for tossing back one or twelve. ;) And thanks to Laura, I will now call all muffins and cupcakes by their new names.. Muffcakes and Cuppins because hot damn I think that is one of the funniest things I've read in a while.. BAHAHAHA! Thanks, Laura, we couldn't be more thrilled and grateful that you've joined us again this year! =)
Now here's a talented cook AND lawyer from the land down under, blogging from Laws of the Kitchen. This sweet gal brings to us a magnificent Lime, Orange and Rhubarb Cake that is jaw-droppingly good! What's more, she's even "sequestered" a nice slice just for myself! har! Get it? She's a lawyer and she squestered me a slice?? Yeah okay.. I'll stick to cooking instead of stand-up. :P Thank you, my dear! We're so happy you could join us and your cake is DELISH! =)
Talk about refreshing! Casey of Margin Notes by Casey Ellis has thoughtfully brought for us to share a heavenly combination of one of my favorite herbs, Lemon Verbena, water & simple syrup.. Lemon Verbena Granita! A recipe given to her by pastry chef, Michelle Polzine of Range in San Francisco, couldn't be more welcome to this end of summer party! Thank you so much, Casey! =)
You might have already seen the first offering that Marie of Marie's Muses and A Year at Oak Cottage brought to the festa on Ivonne's half of the round up. I too am lucky as I get to present her yummy Mini Courgette Frittatas! Yep, not one dish for us to nosh on, but two.. and nosh I shall! I love mini frittatas and I love zucchini (Courgette) so I'm doubly happy to see these lil beauties waiting for me on the Festa table! Thank you so much, Marie! Both the soup and these frittatas are just lovely! =)
Chris, the beautiful and talented cook from Mele Cotte is another of my most favorite blog writers and a fellow Daring Baker. Her creations in her kitchen are so delicious looking and sounding - and her writing always makes me smile (and giggle often to!). We were tickled when she wrote to let us know she was coming AND she was bringing us Georgia Peach Pie! WOO! It was like she was reading my mind.. I've been craving peaches like you would not believe.. but I've yet to find a sweet, juicy peach here in Ohio.. I know there has got to be one SOMEWHERE.. but I haven't found it! Now I don't have to as we've got this luscious pie to enjoy.. thank you SO MUCH, Chris!! =)
Now do not get me wrong.. each and every dish brought to us from these wonderful people have been equally droolworthy, delicious and awe-inspiring. I sincerely mean that. But when I laid eyes on this next dessert.. I just.. it was.. Stunning. Just absolutely stunning and never in my life have I desperately wanted maple syrup and pears like I did at that moment. Jenni of Milk and Cookies has whipped up this delectable Maple Crème Flan with Maple-Glazed Pears. Holy cow. It's just.. I can't describe.. *swoon* Thank you so much, Jenni! I believe you've rendered me speechless. =)
hehehe I can't help but to giggle in an almost maniacal manner when talking about this next blog. I KNOW it's got to be an excellent blog, I just know it! Not only is the writer, Valerie, one of the sweetest gals I've had the pleasure of meeting, but her Watermelon Gazpacho is to die for. So why am I going completely nuts due to More Than Burnt Toast? Because every single time I click on it.. I'm redirected to a Dell error page that tells me to look up robots! I've tried everything.. but her blog hates me? I don't think it intentionally hates me.. maybe it just thinks that I'm going to barge in and slurp up all the gazpacho?? It's probably right.. but still.. I'd love to explore more! hehee Anyway.. I hope the rest of you don't have my problem so that you can check out this wonderful blog and drool over this refreshing and unique gazpacho! Thank you so much, Valerie!! =)
The sweet Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy who has been off traveling still made time for the party! Bringing Fichi d’India - Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Vinaigrette, which I promptly poured over some garden heirloom tomatoes.. heaven! Thank you, Sara! We're so happy you could join us! =)
Sqeeeee! I was hoping someone would bring a childhood favorite of mine.. and Liliana sure did! Her blog, My Cookbook Addiction is a great read and I've enjoyed her "Culinary Tour of Umbria and Tuscany" very much. Liliana brings us a traditional Caponata. My uncles use to make this often as I was a child and I couldn't wait for big crusty hunks of bread slathered with this eggplant dish. Thank you so much, Liliana! I'll be making trips back and forth to this dish all night long. :D
Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups means the world to me.. such a beautiful hearted lady - and absolute joy to know and I'm very thankful that I've had the opportunity to get to know her. =) Tanna loves to make bread and that's exactly what she's brought us! She and Karen of Bake My Day! have each baked us loaves of Acme Herb Slabs or what Tanna prefers to call, "Rosemary's Heaven Scent Bread" (I like that title better too!). Delicious and truly, heavenly in scent - this bread was devoured quickly! Thank you so much, my sweet! =)
Helene, from News in the Kitchen is a lovely gal who lives in Gemany and has travelled all the way to our Festa! She does not come empty handed either.. her Red and Yellow Pepper with Middayflowering Salad is simply gorgeous with those vibrant colors. A truly special salad as I've never seen an edible Ice Plant before, so this was a special treat! Thank you very much for joining us, Helene! =)
Amy, Amy, Amy.. hehe.. oh how you have made me drool and swoon and salivate and every other descriptive for the state of pure bliss you put me in by bringing this awesome Hidden Blackberry Cheesecake! With home made blackberry jam to boot.. So, maybe I did elbow a couple people out of the way.. and maybe I did steal more than half of it to hide in a secret place that only I know about.. I'm not admitting anything.. No. That is not blackberry jam on my chin. Move along people.. move along!!
Without a doubt, one of my most favorite new to me bloggers, Mia of Nosh has brought something exciting to the Festa! Yes! Sauteed Octopus! This dish looks SO GOOD with the tomato and garlicy Octopus and the grilled fresh sardines! Ohhh man! Admittedly, I've never had Octopus, but I am a huge squid lover so I'm pretty darned sure I'd love Octopus just as much. What a beautiful dish! Thank you so much, Mia! =)
Elizabeth of OUR Kitchen has brought with her a delicious Ontario Peach Pie that looks simply wonderful! She and her husband battled wasps at a roadside market to purchase the best peaches they could find for this pie. So a great big thank you for not only bringing us something so delicious but for also taking such a huge risk! Wow! We're tickled to have you at the Festa, thanks Elizabeth! =)
Rosa helped celebrate our inaugural Festa last September and woo weeeeee did she share with us a beautiful mojo verde that was just delicious on fresh fish! This year she's outdone herself by bringing this Pork Chile Verde that I can't seem to take my eyes off.. it smells heavenly, Rosa! Thank you so much for celebrating with us again! =)
My newest, and bestest friend from California this year is Kelly from Sass and Veracity - and I am so lucky to have met her! Such a sweet and sexy mama! This chick can coooooookkkk! Holy hell, she has me drooling over each and every dish she presents on her blog. And I'm not just saying that because I want her to send me wine. No really.. honest! hehehe Nah, just check her blog out to be amazed for yourself =) Lucky for us, she's traveled all the way across North America to join us at the Festa, arms laden with these lil Lemon Soufflettes - bless her. =) So fluffy! So creamy! So lemon zesty! I couldn't be more enamored of such a lovely sweet treat. Thank you so much, Kel! And really, I wasn't kidding.. don't send me wine. The only way I'd accept any is if you hand delivered it and drank it with me. :D
This next blogger is an amazing cook and an amazing father.. the love he shows for his family and the foods he prepares is awesome! Dylan of Sourdough Monkey Wrangler has brought to us some fantastic Fried AND Baked Zucchini. This isn't your ordinary fried zucchini my friends.. oh no. This has been take a step further.. kicked up a notch, if you will. After Dylan fries the battered zucchini, he tops them with tomato and grated, dry jack cheese - then bakes until the cheese is all melty and droolworthy. Dear sweet, baby Jebus I will be trying this method with the last of our zucchini - you can betcher sweet petunia on it! Thank so much, Dylan! =)
Awww my special friend.. my house guest and the gal who I call my "Baking Guru", Helene of Tartelette. What can I say about Helene that I've not already said? I'm sure most of you know she has my heart =) And how could she not? Have you seen what this gal bakes?? Hello?! She certainly did not disappoint at this year's Festa either! Her Walnut & Honey Tartelettes look amazing. Wow.. just Wow! Thank you, sweetie!! =)
Okay when I went to check out this dish after reading Deborah's email, I had to ask Hubbs to leave the room. You see, Deborah of Taste and Tell, made us Stuffed Bell Peppers - his favorite. And I knew, without a doubt, that if he had seen that awe-inspiring photo, he wouldn't leave me alone until I made them for him. heheee! I'm kinda hoping there might be one left after the party, so I can sneak it home for him. ;) Thank you, Deborah! They look AWESOME! =)
After looking at the above photo, can ya'll guess what I'm doing next weekend? Mmm hmmm.. thanks to Lydia and her slow roasted tomatoes, I'm going to be starting lovingly at my oven for 10 hours next week while my own tomatoes are roasting. And yes, you guessed it.. I'll be making myself my own batch of this DROOLICIOUS Slow Roasted Tomato Bruschetta. *swoon* Thank you so much, Lydia.. it's perfect! =)
Katie's blog, Thyme For Cooking is quite a beautiful blog with lots of delicious recipes and photos. I've really been enjoying getting to know it, so I'm very happy that she joined us for this year's Festa! Katie brings along one of my most favorite vegetables, the zucchini, or courgette. Her's are yellow, sauteed beautifully and then topped with toasted walnuts, thyme and basil.. Mmmmmm! Thanks so much for the perfect vegetable dish, Katie! =)
One of my most favorite people, Valentina of Trembom has been able to make some time to come relax on our patio - Yay! Bringing with her a slightly unusual salad, that sounds, looks, smells and tastes FABULOUS! Her Summery Fennel Salad features, why.. fresh fennel! How I love the taste of fennel and in this salad it's just perfect! Thanks Valentina, sweetie!! =)
Ahhhh my sister. The woman who shares my brain and vice versa. We seem to be on the same wavelength more often than not, so it was no surprise to me that the absolutely beautiful Veronica of Veronica's Test Kitchen would bring a dish containing some of my favorite ingredients.. corn and shrimp *swoon* Her creamy Swami (Shrimp with Corn) has me drooling. I've bought all the ingredients to make this and I can't wait! Thanks Sis.. you so rock! =)
Here we go with peaches again! I'm certainly getting my fix at this party! Woo!! Jennifer of Weekly Dish has created for all of her friends this refreshing salsa made with peaches! Sweet and savory, light and refreshing with a nice little kick.. perfect for dipping fresh tortillas or as a wonderful topping to grilled fish or chicken.. this one is definitely a keeper! Thank you, Jennifer! =)
This wonderful garden fresh sauce called Roasted Garden Melange Sauce made by Sarah of What Smells So Good? had me at "long roasting" and "perfect for hearty pastas, eggs, seafood and fish" Is there anything better than a multi-tasking tomato sauce? I think not! This one is absolutely jam packed with flavor and is completely delish.. so glad to have it here at the party! Thanks so much, Sarah! =)
Sweet Meeta would not let us down.. heck no! She's arrived with bells on and a basket full of these gorgeous jars filled with delicious Tomatoes in Agrodolce! I love pickled vegetables and have never had such a good pickled tomato! Sweet and zesty and just perfect for snacking! You've outdone yourself (again!) Meeta! Thank you sweetie =)
Barbara of Winos and Foodies has brought with her a lovely platter of the most divine smelling Rosemary Honeyed Oranges I think I've ever experienced. Sliced thinly and covered in a warm honey dressing that has been steeped with fresh Rosemary.. ohhhh so good.. SO GOOD! The only problem is that I couldn't get my hands on a full platter for myself.. dammit. Thank you and thank you, Barbara! They are as pretty as they are tasty! =)
And finally.. saving the best for last.. and yeah, I might be just a lil biased here, is my partner Ivonne. =) She writes this lil blog called Cream Puffs in Venice. Ya'll might have heard of it? If you haven't.. just keep clicking rights until you come to a gorgeous lil brown pastry shop full of gorgeous photos, artful culinary creations and writing that's just a joy to read. You'll know it when you get there, trust me. =) So Ivonne has laid upon our Festa tables not one but two delicious dishes - one of her own creation called Linguine with Cherry Tomato Sauce and her mother's (Mama Creampuff) recipe for the most gorgeous Peperonata I've ever had the sheer pleasure of tasting. Two traditional Italian dishes that are light and flavorful. Thank you, my sweet friend.. for everything. =)
There it is kids.. my half of La Festa al Fresco 2007. Are you stuffed? Need help being rolled to your cars? Wanna just stay over and we'll have breakfast in the morning? We've got the room and you are more than welcome! Thank you all for being so generous and for helping to celebrate yet another perfect summer! If by chance you happened upon my half of the extensive list first, please don't hesitate to click on over to Ivonne's half.. but here.. don't forget your napkin!
Labels: La Festa al Fresco