An Inspired Evening

It was my Heart's Desire to host an intimate, casual Valentine’s dinner for dear friends, fashioned loosely after the brilliant party featured in the movie Julie and Julia.  IMG_1044Clearly, Julia Child’s inspiration was foremost in the planning.  The main course had to be bouef bourguignon.  But wait.  I’m no Julia Child, a remarkable cook who was able to devote hours to perfecting every recipe. I’m more of an Ina Garten style cook, so it was the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe  that I referenced. I also took her advice and served the beef on toasted sourdough bread rubbed with garlic. IMG_1047
I contemplated serving green peas or even broccoli, but in the end, I decided on a salad of baby greens, halved grape tomatoes, and sliced avocado topped with my new favorite dressing, inspired by the mission cooks in Peru.  It’s so simple and fresh:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons chicken stock (!)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Whisk it all together and chill, if desired.
For dessert, homemade cupcakes frosted with the incomparable Magnolia Bakery chocolate buttercream icing.  Each cupcake was topped with a retro Valentine pick, which I found at Hobby Lobby.IMG_1046
When choosing a wine for the evening, I made my selection based on the label, terribly unsophisticated of me I know.  Nevertheless, the Cupcake Cabernet was quite good, perfect with the hearty beef.
IMG_1048Dear friends.
IMG_1050    The Mister and me.
IMG_1045 Bon appetit!


  1. It sounds like you all had a delightful evening ~ dinner and dessert looks wonderful. Love the hearts!


  2. What a lovely dinner party! I just saw the movie recently (LOVED it!) and you captured the style perfectly.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting the other day. My inlaws live on a lake in Alabama. We haven't been there when snow was on the ground, but I'm sure it is beautiful!

  3. Good morning, friend.
    I smiled and enjoyed this blog entry. Our celebration yesterday looked very different...for my hubby's valentine gift, I hosted a party in honor of Valentine's day and the start of race season with the Daytona 500. He took pictures with the intent of sending them to you...

  4. It looked like a lovely evening. Tres inspirational.

  5. Your evening looks absolutely perfect, inviting and warm. I'm so glad you shared it with us. I love Ina. She is the best! Have a good week. :) xoxo

  6. How absolutely lovely... and sharing Valentines with good friends is such a nice way to celebrate. Your dinner looks so yummy!

  7. Love those BLUE dishes and the big red hearts are just like Julia's!! Wasn't that a nice movie? You know, I had dinner once with Craig Claiborne.


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