SPRING ENTERTAINING AND RECIPES
Hospitality is a sweet gift in having the ability to entertain family, friends, and even strangers to your home with great joy and kindness. For me, I find such joy in inviting others to my home for supper. Although my family lives in a small home and our stuff isn’t very fancy, we do have an abundance of love and that’s all that’s really needed to make people feel at home, welcomed, and comfortable.
It’s not rare to see a group of six to eight adults plus six to ten children romping around my home on a Friday or Saturday evening. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than over good food, great conversation and, in the midst of it all, being able to watch our children play until they break a good sweat.
Entertaining doesn’t have to be fancy or elegant. To me, I find the most beauty in the simple, the natural, and when paired with good food, it doesn’t take a lot to make a table look beautiful and appealing.
When I know I’m going to open up my home to others, I like to think of a menu plan that coincides with the season before I start thinking about the tablescape. Spring time is a great season to gather over lighter type foods and even make a meal out of an assortment of appetizers, a tapas type gathering. If you have a small home like myself, this frees the table and allows people to mingle and eat wherever they may find space.
For this spring time appetizers type meal, I served a dark leafy green quiche, boiled asparagus with a dash of lemon juice, mussels steamed in Spanish fino blanco, charcuterie with a fresh baked baguette, venison meatballs, olives, and strawberries.
As I mentioned above, once I decide on a menu, I then focus on the tablescape. When I think about a tablescape, I want people to feel welcomed and comfortable; yet, I want them to get the feeling that I put some thought and effort into hosting them that they may feel special as well.
For this spring tablescape I placed a plank of rustic wood down in the center of my table to start my centerpiece. I then placed a wire egg basket on the center of the plank lined with a spring inspired dishcloth. To either end of the plank, I added a few of my starter tomato and pepper plants to bring in the season of life and new growth. My number one tip to make any tablescape absolutely beautiful is to add fresh flowers and herbs. I purchased a few springtime flowers that coordinated just beautifully with the pink and purple hues in the dishcloth. If you look at the images above, you’ll notice that I added a few sprigs of chives that are just starting to grow in my garden.
To this springtime tablescape, I included a variety of ceramics to keep it simple, add some spot colour, and a bit of texture.
My second tip (especially if you’re on a budget), use white ceramic dishes. They’re beautiful, simple, elegant, and definitely economical.
As I’m planning my tablescape, I’m frequently thinking about the food that will be served on the table as this compliments the decorations.
As you can tell, it’s simple yet inviting and most of these objects are quite economical and can be found at your local stores.
For your next springtime gathering, I wanted to share with you my recipe for venison meatballs. They’re simply sensational and have so much flavor. Don’t be afraid, the spices inside leave these meatballs tasting just like beef. No one would know the difference but they will most assuredly remember the sweet and savory taste of these meatballs.
I really enjoy making small appetizer type meatballs for gatherings. They’re simple to make and KitchenAid makes it even easier especially when using the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Cordless Hand Blender with chopping attachment.
This handy cordless tool makes the job of chopping up vegetables a cinch.
In seconds, it chops up just the right amount of vegetables that I need for my meatballs.
Once the vegetables have been chopped, all that’s left to do is mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl, roll them out, and cook them, working in batches until browned and cooked through.
These venison meatballs are a simple and delectable recipe for your next springtime gathering.
Makes 28-30 servings
1 1/2 pounds ground venison (sub ground beef)
1/2 small red onion, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 1/2 carrots, finely minced
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, mix together the ground venison, red onion, garlic cloves, carrots, parsley, bread crumbs, ground ginger, fish sauce, coconut palm sugar, and salt.
Form into 1-inch meatballs and set aside.
In a skillet or cast iron pan, gently heat about 1/2-inch of olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides and until cooked through.
Set the meatballs aside in a 170F oven to keep warm.