The weather is warming up, flowers are in bloom, and spring cleaning is done. What should you do next? Well, it’s the perfect time to get some friends together and throw a fabulous dinner party with local food. Celebrate friends, family, and togetherness with a get together. Don’t forget to brag about where you got your local food and new local items.
Freshen up the look of your dining room table with some new linens. A simple table runner and some cloth napkins can add the perfect amount of fun and color to brighten up a spring dinner. I made my table runner using scrap burlap. When shopping for spring, don’t limit yourself to Easter colors, you can search for colors beyond pastels. I make sure to decorate in whites and neutrals to create focus on other unique colorful pieces throughout the year. For this season, I used a platter I found at Amapola Gallery that was hand crafted by Mary Sharp-Davis, a local clay artist. This beautiful turquoise dish complements the food, wine, and great conversation.
At the center of the table, I placed two exquisite vases from Hanselmann Pottery among a pitcher, a cake stand with candles, and glass bottles. Always set the table with cloth napkins, which are a great choice for dinner parties because they are high quality and durable, and they reduce the amount of waste produced overall. I double layered the white and flax napkins and secured them with antique silver napkin rings.
Make sure you know how many people you are cooking for before you head to market. Prepare ideas for recipes that include produce that is in season and grown locally. These ideas can set guidelines as to what you’ll be shopping for. However, you may not find all of the ingredients you need. Be prepared to be flexible and change up an appetizer or dessert if there are major missing components. Keep in mind your local growers’ market will likely carry baked goods, cheeses, honey, jams, and other value added products. These are easy to incorporate in any meal. Most unattained items can be found at your local co-op or grocery store.
For starters, I had set the table with some local chips and salsa from Sadie’s of New Mexico, edam and smoked gouda from Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory served on Alligator Juniper from the Gila from the Los Poblanos Farm Shop, and whipped cream cheese and green chile jam from Nancy Hobson at the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market.
To drink, I set the table with a pitcher of water with floating strawberries. For the adults, I provided a selection of beer and wine. The selection of beer was Marble Red Ale, Marble Wildflower Wheat, and Santa Fe Brewing Co. Nut Brown Ale. For wine, Casa Rondeña Serenade, Casa Rondeña Viognier, and Santa Fe Vineyards Moscato. As optional coasters for guests, I used coasters made out of wine corks from 1Thousand918Miles.
Once the guests sat down, we began feasting on salad and exchanging stories of growers’ markets in town. This local salad consisted of salad mix, kale, sunflower sprouts, radishes, english cucumber, vine ripe tomatoes, and spiced with freshly cracked pepper.
The main course consisted of picnic favorite potato salad and enchiladas to welcome warm weather. I celebrated spices of New Mexico by seasoning the potato salad with red chile powder (a flavor I fell in love with when I moved to Albuquerque). The ingredients were potatoes, eggs, chard, olives, mustard, mayo, and spiced with Better Call Sal, Chimayo Red, and chile rojo (all spice ingredients from the Farm Shop). The enchiladas embraced the flavors of the chile pepper by using tortillas from Sabroso Foods, corn, black beans, jalapeños, monterey jack from Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory, harissa, green chile, red chile, and chile verde.
Don’t forget to buy some fresh flowers from your local growers’ market. Or if you’re front yard is already in bloom, bring a few clippings inside to bring some joy into your home. I trimmed a few branches off of a shrub from my front yard to add some life to the dining room table. To stick with a local theme, add some local music to the mix. I suggest playing Eileen & the In-Betweens.
I hope this inspired you to have your own dinner party inspired by local food and culture.
-Posted by Melissa
*All photos taken by Melissa.