A springtime garden party

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PARTY ON THE PATIO Try the Cranberry Tarragon Chicken Salad or Roasted Red Pepper and Three Cheese Spread, both from Peace Meals, with crackers or as fillings for light sandwiches, served al fresco. (Photo courtesy of the Junior League of Houston)

While out running recently on one of Houston’s glorious-weather days, I thought about the joys of entertaining outdoors and how there’s no better way to connect food and friends than with a spring garden party.

For meals in this season, I like to celebrate growth and fresh ingredients, avoiding the heavier meals of winter. The Roasted Red Pepper and Three Cheese Spreadfrom Peace Meals is the perfect flavoring for raw vegetables. Although Peace Mealssuggests serving it with hearty crackers, in the spring, I prefer pairing it with a selection of fresh raw vegetables from local farmers’ markets. It can also be served as part of an array of sandwiches on fresh, crusty bread or as a tea sandwich.

For a garden party, I serve a variety of sandwiches, including the classic Cranberry Tarragon Chicken Salad from Peace Meals and Egg Salad from Stop and Smell the Rosemary, or, for something distinctive, the Grilled Gruyère and Salmon Sandwich twist on grilled cheese from Peace Meals.

For dessert, the Spiced Layer Cake with Berry Filling from Peace Meals is a gorgeous addition to your menu. If you want to make a family event of meal preparation, children love picking berries at nearby farms (our favorite is Blessington Farms) and helping to transform the fruit into a tasty dessert. Consider making this beautiful cake the centerpiece of your table.

The Cranberry Tea Punch or Clyde Tea, both from The Star of Texas, are refreshing and light choices. These can be served chilled in a punch bowl or in a large tea dispenser. Consider adding fresh orange or lemon slices to the Clyde Tea or frozen cranberries to the Cranberry Tea Punch to amplify the taste and presentation.

Fresh flowers and lightly scented candles on the table complete the garden-party atmosphere. Now it is time to gather your friends and enjoy!


Source: March 1, 2020, The Buzz Magazines, Judy Peterson