An Earth Day Inspired Dinner Party


 So today’s post is extra special – like deserving of glitter, a gold star, and maybe even a firework kind of special…

I hosted my very first dinner party ever yesterday!



I am so excited that Foodbuzz.com liked my proposal for an Earth Day themed, earth-friendly, vegetarian (mostly vegan!) dinner party, because it gave me an amazing excuse to invite over my closest friends to be with the people I love the most – doing the thing I love the most…cooking!

I loved having an Earth Day themed dinner for the month of April because I think that it helps illustrate how delicious and seriously easy it is to cook for the planet. All of the ingredients I used were either local, in season, or close to in season – which isn’t just better for the planet, its better for our taste buds! In season means ripe; it means juicy, crisp, sweet, and an irresistible variety of fruits and veggies. The featured stars of my meal are artichokes, radishes, peas, mangos, lemons, and avocados. Together they combine into a fantastic dinner!

But if ripe and juicy aren’t motivation enough to get on the seasonal bandwagon, how does 15-minute meals sound? Everything I made (with the exception of dessert) can be made in advance. And almost entirely in a food processor. 1-2-3…. umm…where’s my cocktail? Because I’m already done…

 

Check out my stocked fridge below from the night before the party!

And here’s my little chickpea burgers chillin’ in the fridge

Here’s my super simple, super quick, Earth Day vegetarian meal:

Appetizers

Artichoke-Walnut Pesto Crostini

Roasted Red Pepper White Bean Dip with Goat Cheese

First Course

Baby Lettuce with Carrots, Peas, and Creamy Vinaigrette

Main Course

Sun-dried Tomato Chickpea Sliders with Avocado Spread

Side Dishes

Basil Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Mayo

Sweet Snap Pea and Radish Slaw

Dessert

Fresh Blueberry Shortcakes with Mango Compote

Cocktail

Sparkling Lemon-Gin Cocktail

Artichoke-Walnut Pesto Crostini

Baby Lettuce Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette

Sun-dried Tomato Chickpea Sliders with Avocado Spread

Fresh Blueberry Shortcakes with Mango Compote

But before I totally get into the recipes, please meet my party!

These are some of my very best girl friends from high school and college. The kind of friends I can laugh with….cry with… and force bean burgers and vegan cheese on with no complaints…

Chowing down on those sliders. You guys have GOT to make these with the avocado spread…yumm!

Cocktails and apps! The gin cocktails were a perfect way to start out a fresh and casual spring dinner. They were light and bubbly with the lemonade and champagne, delicious step up from the usual rum and cokes… and just as easy! Three ingredients!

Here’s the table setting- all of the flower arrangements were done by Twisted Stem and they were amazingly GORGEOUS! The vases were eco-friendly felt buckets and glass jars. I also used a few yards of muslin for the runner and tied up the ends with recycled raffia ribbon.

The party was originally supposed to be outside on the patio, but some serious rain and 40 degree weather moved us inside. It really worked out well though, the flowers still looked great in the kitchen!


I liked how the more rustic muslin runner was balanced out by the clean floating tea lights.

 Check out the pink peonies in the background, they are my favorite flower!

Ok, ok, so are you ready for the recipes??? Let’s get plating…..

 

 

Artichoke-Walnut Crostini

The pesto can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in the fridge. Otherwise you can freeze it for up to a month.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces canned artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil
  • 3/4 cups walnuts, toasted
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1b compare tomatoes, sliced thin (or any other small tomato)
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse artichoke hearts, basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup oil, and water until combined.
  3. Place bread slices on a large baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  4. Spread pesto on warm crostini and top each with one tomato slice. Return to oven for another 1- 1 1/2 minutes, or until tomato is heated through.
  5. Serve warm.

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip with Goat Cheese

The dip can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. 
Serves 6-8
Ingredients:
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can white beans, drained
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted (either in the oven or you can use jarred), and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a food processor, combine bean, goat cheese, garlic, and olive oil and process until smooth.
  • Scrape into a clean bowl and mix in the red onions, half the chopped roasted red peppers, and salt.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until warm and lightly golden. Garnish with remaining red pepper and serve warm with fresh veggies or crackers.

Vinaigrette for Salad

Check out the link here to Ina Garten’s recipe. This is a staple salad dressing in my house!

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpea Sliders with Avocado Spread

The sliders can be made in advance and frozen for up to 1 month or kept in the frig for 3-4 days until ready to cook.
Ingredients:
For the Sliders
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, quartered
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup packed rest Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (preferably whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14 slider buns
  • Tomato slices
For the Avocado Spread
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas, reserved from sliders
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preparation:
  1. Reserve 1/4 cup chickpeas for Avocado Spread. Place remaining chickpeas, onions, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt, and bread crumbs in a food processor and pulse until combined. Using the palms of your hands, form mixture into 2-inch by 2-inch patties.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and pan-fry patties in batches, letting cook about 3-5 mints on each side until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
To make Avocado Spread
Combine 1/4 cup chickpeas, avocado, parsley, oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and puree.
To Serve:
Layer tomato slice on top of slider bun bottom, top with avocado spread and finish with chickpea patty and top of bun. Serve warm.

Basil Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Mayo

Click here for the recipe from Giada

 

Fresh Blueberry Shortcakes with Mango Compote

Click here for the recipe from this week’s earlier post!

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(My puppy needed a little cameo, she was getting a bit jealous of all of the attention paid to the chickpea sliders and not her new pink bandana…)

So the dinner party was a total success! Too much food, too much fun, and not enough time with my best friends for a great Earth Day Dinner celebration!

O and before I forget, shout out to the parents for so lovingly lending me their kitchen for the day! And their dishwashing services…

And I’m sorry I didn’t know I had to dry the wine glasses before I went to bed and they now have water spots. I think it might give them character…?

Um..and I’m really sorry that I broke one too….

But only one!

And you got free blueberry shortcakes out of the deal?

Love you guys….!

Have a great week everyone! 


 Chickpea Sliders and Artichoke Crostini adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen

Comments

  1. One of the best 24×24 I have seen to date! Absolutely lovely, Kristina! The flower arrangements – gorgeous!! Of course the dessert looks delicious :) Perfection!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Aw thanks Anna! It was sooo much fun! And I loved the flowers too, they’re all over my house now, it looks so pretty!

  2. What a GREAT dinner party, I remember my first dinner party, I was probably your age too! What fun :)

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks Heidi! It was a lot of fun! I feel like now that I’ve done it once I’m very ready to do it again! I was a little scared but it all worked out soooo well :)

  3. Beautiful 24×24..congrats! Love your menu as well as table setting! Looks like you all had some fun!!!!

  4. Beautiful job, Kristina! And congrats once again on the 24×24!

  5. You SO deserve more than a bright, big gold star! The dinner was stunning and your table scape looked like you had a professional decorator come in! Can I come over for the next one? BRAVO!

  6. Wow this dinner party looks amazing! I live the table decor and flowers too!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks! I loved the flowers too, the peonies were so pretty! I have the best florist in my town, he does such a gorgeous job!

  7. You have seriously outdone yourself. I am so impressed with the food, photos and the decorations. Amazing Job!

  8. Oh what fun that must have been to plan, decorate and cook for…can I be one of your friends? I love the concept of Earth “month”. Fresh and local should be an as much as you possibly can occurrence.

  9. How exciting! This looks like it was such a beautiful (and earth friendly) dinner party. I’m so so happy for you :D

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks! That was the most organized I think I’ve ever had to be :) It worked out so well, lots of fun!

  10. I love the menu! The shortcakes look delicious, and the sliders look mouthwatering! Plus I’m all for cooking with seasonal ingredients (and avocados are always delicious!).

    • Whipped Baking says:

      The sliders are my new favorite! I can’t get enough of the avocado spread, even if you don’t make the burgers that spread would be so good on sandwiches or even as a dip :)

  11. That all looks so wonderfully delicious! Especially those artichoke walnut crostinis…I love artichokes, so that’d be first on my list to try :) Yum!

  12. You are a genius host my friend – everything looks so good :D
    And everything tastes better with friends as well – Can’t wait to grow up a little more and host girly dinner parties with cute puppies wearing pink bandanas :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  13. You are such a great host, K! Love the arrangements and your menu! Well done.

  14. I imagine you were quite tired after all of this! Congrats on being chosen for 24X24. The theme of your dinner party was very unique and you made some excellent choices for the entrees. Not only a great meal, but your tablescape does look amazing! I am sure all of your friends are telling you not to forget their invitation when you host the next dinner party. All in all this was a wonderful success!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Haha thanks Tina! And I loved my tablescape too, the flowers are still going strong in my kitchen, I’m trying to keep them alive as long as possible :)

  15. This certainly doesn’t look like a first dinner party. Your table scape is gorgeous, and so fitting for Earth Day, as well as whole menu. Kudos to the chef.

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Haha well I grew up with a mom who is FANTASTIC at throwing dinner parties, so I’ve learned from the best :) Thanks Becky! It was a lot of fun!

  16. The presentation is really great!

  17. Congrats on a beautiful and delicious dinner party Kristina! Awesome job!

  18. Kristina, congrats on your first dinner party AND on being selected for 24 x 24! What a great-looking menu–those chickpea sliders look particularly awesome.

  19. Beautiful post! And congratulations on the 24×24 :) I can’t wait to try the sliders!

  20. What a gorgeous dinner party Kristina! So pretty and the food sounds so delicious! Great job!

  21. What a great reason to celebrate and what a lovely party…from your menu to your dinner table….wow! I especially love the snap pea radish slaw and of course, the blueberry shortcakes! Congrats on being selected for the 24 x 24. And peonies are my favorite flowers!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks Anne! My peonies are still going strong too :) I’m trying to keep them alive as long as possible!

  22. Ssshhh…don’t tell, but I think yours is my favorite 24 x 24. You are darling! I’ll be back….

  23. Congrats on your Earth Day meal! As far as first dinner parties go, this one looks like an amazing success! I love how organized your fridge is :P

    • Whipped Baking says:

      haha don’t let me fool you…my fridge rarely looks that neat…so necessary for the party though! All that extra organization made it soooo much easier!

  24. Congrats! Your dinner party looked like it was a huge success! What a fun night! Those recipes look delicious, I love how easy they are and great choices for dinner parties! Awesome job! Everything looks soo beautiful, I love your place settings! And you look beautiful too!!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks so much Annie! Easy was definitely the way to go! Plus simple always tastes good! Its hard to mess up a bunch of really clean and ripe ingredients :)

  25. I love this! My son’s b-day party was also earth day themed (at an earthfest), and it was a blast. This looks like such the perfect menu and your table and everything is perfectly gorgeous! Well done!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks Kate! I love that your son’s bday theme was Earth day!! Thats such a fun party and so great for the kids!

  26. looks like a successful dinner party! all of that food looks absolutely incredible!!!
    xo TJ

  27. Looks excellent, and I love the idea of an Earth Day party… any excuse to get together works for me :)

  28. This is such an awesome dinner party theme :) I love the flowers…and the chickpea burgers best. Lately I’m convinced I could exist on chickpeas and avocado alone!

  29. This looks lovely! My only question is: Why wasn’t I invited? ;)

  30. Looks like a successful, fun dinner party! I love those floral arrangements and table decorations, so sweet without looking overwrought. Were the gin cocktails you described french 75s or a riff on that? I LOVE a good simple french 75, potent and highly potable.

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Bit of riff, shortcut with the lemonade concentrate :) Turned out real good, We all loved them! I should have doubled the recipe for sure

  31. Everything looks amazing!

  32. Love your dinner party theme. The table settings are gorgeous! And I’m completely with you on trying to cook with fresh, whole, local ingredients as often as possible! :)

  33. I loved everything about your dinner party. The table, the menu, the photos. You did an amazing job for your first dinner party. I think my first dinner party ever (many years ago) consisted of people sitting on the floor (I had no furniture except a bed) and drinking from a keg! :) You did it up right, girl! Oh, and I love the look of your puppy. Where have I seen that beautiful face before? Oh, yeah…sitting on the floor right next to me while I type. :)

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Haha no way, I wan to be at that party! I’d take a keg and pizza on the floor any day :) And can your puppy get away with murder because mine definitely can…those faces are too cute! She’s struggling with the whole bathroom training thing…the world is her toilet at the moment..

      • My “puppy” is actually 2 now although she acts like a baby :) Potty training definitely takes a while, lots of patience and consistency. How old is yours exactly (cause she looks big for a puppy) and how long have you had her? We met Hadley a couple of days after she was born at the breeder and brought her home as soon as she was done nursing from her mother. She was “mostly” trustworthy not to potty on the floor by 7 months and fully trustworthy at a year.

        • Whipped Baking says:

          Haha I don’t want to tell you how old my ‘puppy’ is…she’s 5… but has the potty training abilities of a 2 month old..She’s gotten much better though! She knows not to do it in the house, but if we let her upstairs or somewhere she doesn’t usually go she always has to Christen her ‘new spot’.. punk. But she’s cute and aren’t these dogs the sweetest? She’s so calm and so loving, really great breed!

  34. Wow Kristina , absolutely gorgeous!!I just loved everything about your party!The food, the table settings and your puppy :)The sliders is next on my list to make,since they’re totally my kind of food :)All your other courses are equally yummy and delicious!Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  35. Congratulations on your first dinner party. Though looking at how well you carried it out, I doubt anybody could tell. It’s simply beautiful. Glad to participate in this event with you xx

  36. Ahh I love your party!! Earth day is my birthday so naturally I am in love with your theme. Your table settings and menu are awesome, I need to work this sort of angle out where everyone sits and eats for my next party! Your chickpea sliders with avocado sauce look amazing, i could eat the sauce by the spoonful :)

  37. I have GOT to try those chickpea sliders! Only…I will probably just make them into full-sized burgers. Who am I kidding. YUM!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Haha you might as well! I downed two sliders when I made these anyways :) Let me know how you like them!!! These are my new weeknight go-go!

  38. So excited to have found the artichoke pesto recipe on your blog! Am definitely going to make this asap!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Yay me too! I can’t wait to make your sun-dried tomato pesto too, I think I’m going to have it this Friday when I have some family coming over, would be SO good with a little smear of goat cheese on some crackers :)

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