It’s no surprise to my friends and family that I love cookbooks! I can never have enough! It’s the section I go to first at a bookstore. Every Christmas, Phil asks me to give him a list (gotta love that, right?!). And every year there’s a particular cookbook (or more than 1) on the list! And "Santa" delivered one year with David Tanis' latest cookbook. Joy to the World! I’m pretty picky when it comes to cookbooks! It’s all about the quality and the feel! I’m big on presentation and the best ones have to catch my eye…and my palette! David Tanis' books meet all of my personal cookbook criteria! And the timing was perfect, we had decided that the upcoming year of Great 8 dinners would be based on our favorite cookbooks. So my choice was, A Heart of the Artichoke Dinner Party!
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Now the part where I let Phil chime in...the menu! I know what you’re thinking, if the cookbook title is “Heart of the Artichoke," were there artichokes in every course? As much as I LOVE artichokes, that wouldn’t be a problem for me, but it's just the title he chose. David Tanis' other cookbook is called “A Platter of Figs," and it isn’t all about figs. But again…I LOVE figs!
Going through this glorious cookbook...what should we serve and who should bring what? Starting off the evening would be Kyle's platter of freshness! Tanis' recipe of jicama, radishes, avocado and oranges! Cool and refreshing to calm your tastebuds after having the delicious Peppery Chicken Wings!With the hearty Carne Adovada with Hominy, Jurga bringing the Sicilian Salad was just what we needed to round out the meal. Anna was given the dessert task, because typically whoever hosted the previous Great 8 dinner is the one chosen to bring the dessert. The Butter Cookie recipe from The Heart of the Artichoke cookbook was Phil's pick right out of the gate!Add the Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream recipe and the meal is complete!
Now the invitation fun begins! Tanis’ cookbook, “The Heart of the Artichoke," has a simple cover, beautiful and rustic. That gave me the idea of how I wanted the invitation to look, which sets the theme and tone of the party. So that was it, Phil and I went with a rustic feel...my all time favorite style! It was fun from start to finish!
I decided to go with a chalkboard style for the invitation and found the perfect easel chalkboards. Once I had the menu chosen, I didn’t want to trust my handwriting to dusty chalk pieces! Thank goodness (and always grateful) for my graphic artist friends at work. One of the artists, Rachel, came to my aid and helped my idea come to life. With a quick sketched artichoke border she created “chalkboard” paper menus, they were ready to adhere to the easels.
Knowing that Anna, Jurga, and Kyle didn’t have the “Heart of the Artichoke” cookbook, I was more than thrilled to find the books available at our local bookstore. I had the idea to have them delivered alongside the “menu board” invitation. With a little Sizzix die cut added to a burlap band framing the number “8," the invitation was ready for the doorstep deliveries.
Now the fun at home begins. How should I carry out the chalkboard look? I had the idea of using solid black wrapping paper as a “runner” on the kitchen island…using white markers for the writing. It was the perfect area to display the appetizers.
Rachel added the same look of the invitation to the place cards. Little versions of the easel! They we’re all set and ready ahead of time. And of course the centerpiece had to incorporate artichokes!
But wait! Is that the doorbell? It’s way too early! Awww! A special delivery for me?! I'm one lucky daughter! It was from my mom! She LOVES hearing about our dinner parties and thought she’d add a special touch. The most beautiful floral arrangement in all my favorite Fall rustic colors! Thanks Mom!
Here’s the door again...still ahead of time. Anna and Vince came a bit early with a bottle of champagne in hand and a request to make a pre-cocktail toast and announcement! Hmm...what could it be? We had to keep our lips zipped! Once the Van Booms and Streits arrived there were 8 glasses of bubbly clinking and lots of hugs and hoorays! The first Great 8 kiddo had just become engaged! Now the evening was really set to begin! It was a delicious meal celebrating one of my favorite David Tanis cookbooks, “Heart of the Artichoke." It was a heartfelt dinner, straight from the heart.