Dinner at Dusk with Kendall-Jackson

Hey there, it’s Melissa here again from The Sweet Escape with a truly sweet story that will make you want to escape to this magical place. A few friends and I decided to bid the summer farewell with a dinner party in the country full of lots of good food and of course good wine. Being a super creative bunch and having such a beautiful setting we couldn’t help ourselves and decided to document our event and turn it into a final ‘cheers!’ to the summer with Kendall-Jackson wines. Here’s a look at the final product and our magical dinner at dusk.

Wasn’t it just a perfect day? We couldn’t have asked for better weather. Here’s a look at the setting.

A truly sweet story that will make you want to escape to this magical place. A few friends and I decided to bid the summer farewell with a dinner party in the country full of lots of good food and of course, good wine.A truly sweet story that will make you want to escape to this magical place. A few friends and I decided to bid the summer farewell with a dinner party in the country full of lots of good food and of course, good wine.The menu was fairly casual with lots of fresh ingredients and served family style which I think makes for the best dinner parties. We started with a Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad and Grilled Haloumi and Watermelon Salad then moved on to Spicy Grilled Fish with Lemons and Fennel and a Fresh Summer Pasta. You can find all the recipes below.

SUmmer dinner party menuBeing the stylist in the bunch I wanted to make the setting a little extra special with some simple but pretty florals and I’ll find any excuse to make something so I dolled up a few chairs with a simple DIY macrame hanging.

dinner party decor

dinner party decorAnd then for the best part, the food! Sure good wine and good company is important but let’s be honest, what’s a dinner party without good food?

A truly sweet story that will make you want to escape to this magical place. A few friends and I decided to bid the summer farewell with a dinner party in the country full of lots of good food and of course, good wine.

The menu was light and fresh which went perfectly with our pick of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. Here’s the details on the delicious dishes we had. They’re all really simple even for the rookie chef.

Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
3 ripe peaches, thickly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups cubed day-old Italian bread
10oz. clamshell baby arugula or other salad greens
100 g thinly sliced proscuitto
4 leaves basil, torn
microgreens (optional)

Whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar. Stir in garlic. Grill peaches over medium heat until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Toss with tomatoes, vinegar mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand 20 minutes. Toast bread on baking sheet under broiler. Add to peaches with greens; toss to coat. Garnish with prosciutto, basil and microgreens.

Grilled Haloumi and Watermelon Salad

Grilled Haloumi and Watermelon Salad

200 g haloumi, sliced ¼-inch thick
4 cups cubed watermelon
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup radish microgreens

Grill haloumi over high heat until beginning to brown. 2-3 minutes per side. Arrange over bottom of serving dish. Stack watermelon on top. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar with oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over watermelon. Garnish with microgreens.

Fresh Summer Pasta

Fresh Summer Pasta

16 oz. Tagliatelle pasta
1 cup fresh peas
Dandelion greens, thinly sliced and blanched
½ cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice

Blanch peas and greens in salted boiling water 30 seconds. Remove to large dish. Cook pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, brown butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and salt. Toss pasta in butter. Add to dish with peas and greens. Add lemon juice, zest and toss to coat.

Spicy Grilled Fish with Lemons and Fennel

Spicy Grilled Fish with Lemons and Fennel

2 whole red snapper, gutted, scaled and fins removed (about 2 pounds each)
2 Tbsp Harissa Paste
salt and pepper to taste
4 lemons, halved
4 bulbs fennel, cut in large wedges

Rub outside and inside cavity of fish with Harissa Paste, salt and pepper. Place 2 lemon halves inside each fish. Oil grill, grill fish over medium heat, 8-10 minutes per side, turning carefully until flesh comes away from skin easily with a fork. Season fennel with salt and pepper, grill alongside remaining lemon halves and fish for 10-12 minutes or until fennel is soft and beginning to caramelize.

And lastly we had an amazing plum tart that unfortunately didn’t make it into the video because we were enjoying ourselves too much but you can find the recipe here and add it to your menu.

summer dinner partyIt was a bittersweet night filled with so much great food, drink & company celebrating the end of another beautiful summer season. Now there’s something toast to!

For food and wine pairing tips, visit the Entertaining section of our website.toastVideo Credits:
Direction/Cinematography: Maya Visnyei, Rico Moran
Prop Styling: Melissa DiRenzo
Food Styling: Melanie Stuparyk

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