Birthday Party

It was Nick's birthday last week and we had our close friends over to celebrate. I've said this before, but I love the way the house feels after a successful dinner party. And it was successful! And Siri loves having company. 

I had a pitcher of Ina Garten's "Real Margaritas" ready for when everyone got here. They were easy to make ahead and quite refreshing! We had them with some cheesy bits on the deck. Then dinner was served in our (almost ready) dining room.


Simple Summer Menu:

I usually like my margarita with no salt.

Ina Garten's Real Margarita's

Put 3 cups of ice in a large blender. Add 1 cup Triple Sec, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice and 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice. Purée until completely blended. Add 1 cup white tequila and blend for 2 seconds more. Serve over ice in salt rimmed glasses.


Grilled Sesame Lime Chicken Breasts (Melissa Clark, New York Times food section)



  • 4 6-oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 t Asian style fish sauce
  • 1 2" piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 limes, as needed
  • 2 T peanut oil, more for grilling
  • sesame oil, as needed
  • coarsely chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • thinly sliced jalapeño, optional

1) Pound chicken breasts between plastic wrap or parchment until they are about 1/2" thick.

2) In a large bowl combine soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger and garlic. Grate the zest of one lime into bowl and squeeze its juice into the mixture. Add the peanut oil and whisk to combine. Place chicken breasts in bowl and turn breasts to evenly coat. Put in the refrigerator and let marinade for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. remove chicken from fridge while you heat the grill.

3) Light the grill, building a hot fire or heat a gas grill to high. Once the grill comes to temperature, brush chicken breasts with sesame oil and grill over high heat until halfway cooked, about 3-5 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and cook until done, about 3-5 minutes more (don't let them dry out).

4) Transfer chicken to a platter. Drizzle some sesame oil over and garnish with the cilantro, and jalapeño if desired.


Cold Soba Summer Salad (from a food blog that I follow)

  • 6 oz. soba noodles
  • 1.4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 ear of corn lightly cooked, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 each red and yellow pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, deseeded and julienned
  • pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil
  • 1-2 T Sriracha sauce
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 T toasted sesame seeds

1) Cook the soba noodles, drain and refresh under cold water. (Careful to not overcook.) Drain well.

2) Make a dressing by whisking together the vinegar, oils and Sriracha. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

3) Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with sesame seeds and serve cold. 


We're not entirely finished with the details in our house, but the dining room is almost there. Our custom rug arrives this week. Can't wait to see how it looks. We're still figuring out the lighting.


The thing about the above recipes is that you can do a lot ahead of time so you can enjoy your guests and not be stuck in the kitchen the whole evening. Just before serving dinner I made a simple sliced heirloom tomato salad with feta cheese and parsley. For dessert I served Chestnut Honey Madeleines (bought at Jaime Hollander) with fresh whipped cream and raspberries. I also bought an apple pie at None Such Farm which was tasty. 

We have a lot of entertaining to get to. So many people are wondering when we're going to have them over...Well, I think we're just about ready to start.

We had these great ceramic coasters made up in New England for the store. We have them scattered around our house. Aren't they fun?