Party Inspiration Board: Artichoke and Asparagus (Dinner Party)

Did you miss me?! I've been MIA for a week and half! A week and a half!!! I'm SO sorry! I was busy though... LOL. We celebrated my husbands birthday at the end of last week and over the long holiday weekend, so we were out of town for 4 days. Then Wednesday I bought a new computer and spent some time getting all my files and programs moved over. So... that brings me to today!

The best news of this all is that I have a NEW great post for you! I love, love, love dinner parties. I wish I could have one every week, but that's not exactly realistic, is it?! LOL... My favorite things about dinner parties are cooking for my friends, decorating my table and having a wonderful time over great food and drinks. Who wouldn't like that?! I've found some amazing inspiration for a chic summer party for you and a few friends... I'm excited to share this with you and I'm searching for somebody to come and let me cook all of this for them! LOL... Here ya go!

Artichoke and Asparagus Dinner Party

click picture to enlarge

• A simple table setting says so much more than a massive heap of miscellaneous items. I am obsessed with white dishes. I think they are essential in any kitchen. When Kyle and I married, I refused to register for fine china. To me, it is so expensive and I didn't want to end up with random pieces and have to try to finish off my collection. I am also not a fan of china cabinets, so I didn't know where to store all of that china. We registered for everyday place settings and a ton of white serveware from pasta bowls to serving platters. Over the years I've continuously added to my white collection. I was drawn to this particular picture, not only for the white dishes but the artichoke as well. Artichokes are another thing I have an odd obsession with. I don't have random stone artichokes in my home, but I probably could... easily! I took about 800 pictures of artichoke wrought iron fences in New Orleans. ♥

Photo courtesy of: The Homesteading Apartment

• I love the idea of multiple small flower arrangements. We have a large square barstool height table so the middle of the table gets lost a lot. It really needs something with girth to make a difference, so multiple smaller objects fit my niche. I also love the different types of flowers used and the colors, of course! White roses are stunning when they are that full and healthy and the dark leaves are so perfect. I believe the purple flowers are Iris, but could totally be wrong and of course the green is hydrangea. I also adore the wrapping inside the vase to hide the stems and provide more color.

Photo courtesy of: WeddingBee

• How amazing do those balsamic roasted fingerling potatoes look?! We were served fingerling potatoes at my best friends wedding rehearsal dinner and I fell in love. So yummy and the colors make such a wonderful presentation.

Photo and recipe courtesy of: Cooking On The Side

• I love artichoke dip but i didn't want to give you spinach artichoke dip, which is a great standby but overdone! Here is a wonderful and healthy alternative. It can be served with veggies or crackers... oh I bet it would be yummy with bagel crisps. It is almost like a hummus and is not only vegetarian but vegan! It looks amazing!!

Photo and recipe courtesy of: My Man's Belly

• Roasted veggies of any sort are always a wonderful addition to a dinner party... they can be done in advance, the roasting gives the veggies a brilliant color and the smallest amount of seasoning provides a robust flavor. Adding thinly sliced prosciutto to roasted veggies should be a sin... it is SO delicious! And prosciutto on asparagus?! Oh... my... HEAVEN!

Photo and recipe courtesy of: My Gourmet Connection

• How genius is a martini bar?! What better way to cater to the drink tastes of all of your guests?! The large decanters are filled with vodka, vermouth and soda water. They provided "dirty water" which I assume is olive juice of some sort. Then, they provided a variety of garnishes: traditional olives, cucumbers and lemon. I must say - the idea is PURE GENIUS! I would totally do this for a dinner party. And to give you some additional ideas... Ill brush you up on martini lingo a little: a gin martini with soda and citrus is a martini with a twist; a vodka martini with olive juice and garnished with olives is a dirty martini; a gin and vermouth martini with a cocktail onion is a Gibson. Of course there are MANY more variations of martinis... and for this dinner party you could also add some pickled asparagus to the garnish station.

Photo courtesy of: Sunday Suppers as seen in Martha Stewart Living

• Dessert is so important when hosting a dinner party. Your party is not complete without serving your guests dessert. So often I wish I had a cappuccino maker, but coffee is the best I can offer, ha! However, now... I can offer THIS! It looks delicious! The up side to this recipe is it is so devilishly simple but it looks like it took ages to make! I will be making this VERY soon!

Photo and recipe courtesy of: McCormick

• This crostini recipe is to die for... ricotta cheese, cream cheese, smoked salmon... asparagus... what more could you want?! This looks delightful and such a wonderful appetizer to carry on the asparagus theme.

Photo and recipe courtesy of: Yum Sugar

• Serve these crab cakes as your main entrée. I would plate these with the prosciutto wrapped asparagus and the fingerling potatoes for the main course. There are so many crab cake recipes out there, but I chose this one because the roasted red pepper aioli sounds so amazing.

Photo and recipe courtesy of: My Recipes

• I know this made for two floral arrangements, but hey... this one could go in the entry way or on your bar! I love this because of the deep purple in the hydrangeas but I also love the presentation in the vase and I REALLY think that you could line that vase with asparagus spears to flow with the theme more.

• This drink had me the moment I saw it... then, I saw the name! The Black Swan! Although, I've also seen it called the Seductive Swan. What's a name anyway, eh?! This is made with vodka, blackberries and lemonade. You could add the instructions to make this to the end of your martini bar... since you already have the vodka out, you know!

Photo and recipe courtesy of: Entre Nous

• Shrimp are always a welcome sight at a party! These are gorgeous on the rosemary sprigs and they look absolutely delicious. They are first marinated and then steamed before being placed on the skewers. And the dip... oh, I'd eat that on a spoon by itself! YUMMY!

Photo and recipe courtesy of: Tasty Stuffs MN

• The perfect steamed artichoke... is that an elusive item in your home?! It is in mine! I have wanted to LOVE steamed artichoke my whole life. Wanted to... When I was in fourth grade my friends mom ate artichokes every Friday night. She would steam then and then dip the leaves in mayo. I would sit and watch her eat those leaves and pray that someday my mother might find that exotic veggie somewhere on this earth. Obviously, I wasn't very aware of the grocery store produce department! So... I went home one day after a sleep over and gushed to my mom about how I was craving this amazing veggie and would she PLEASE buy one and make it for me. I was the kid who ate brussels sprouts, so this wasn't shocking. She came home with one, steamed it, sat it in front of me with a bowl of mayo and I went to tasting... and immediately spitting!!! I HATED IT!!! I've come a long way since then... and I may just have to make this for myself this weekend!

Photo and recipe courtesy of: Summer Tomato

• And now we've hit the prized gem of this collection! HOW ADORABLE ARE THOSE CANDLES?! The artichokes are hollowed out and a small votive or tea light candle was placed inside. The candles are surrounded by asparagus and green beans, although I am partial to the asparagus!! The best thing about this is the site offers a GREAT DIY that even your kiddos could help you with! And to top it off... how perfect is that great dark purple ribbon?! ♥ ♥ ♥

Photo courtesy of: Project Wedding

• This wreath from a Bowl Full of Lemons is absolutely stunning... although I have to admit I don't know what it is made from?! It just reminds me of an artichoke and I love that! GORGEOUS!

Photo courtesy of: A Bowl Full of Lemons

I hope this Inspiration Board made you as happy as it made me! I wanted something out of the box but elegant and traditional. The colors are perfection in my mind and the food looks amazing. I want to throw this party myself!! Maybe someday, I will?!

I'll leave you with the menu I would have for this party as well. The food was interspersed with the decor, so it may seem muddled!