Category Archives: Entertaining

Party Perfect: Three Flavorful and Festive Recipes for a Summer Party

Entertaining, Parties, Recipes | | | Leave a comment

Spicy Margarita Don Julio Justina Blakeney

When the weather’s hot (Summer’s coming, we promise!) it’s hard not to crave something simple, refreshing and thirst quenching. We love how Justina Blakeney‘s menu for her fabulous Summer party for Pottery Barn does just that. Smoky and spicy margaritas, cool and crisp watermelon agua frescas and easy crab guacamole and chips are all it takes to quiet an appetite on a hot summer day.

Take a look at Justina’s delicious recipes below, and see her full Pottery Barn feature (plus all the dinner/glassware in the photos) here.

Turquoise Summer Party

Photography by Danae Horst

Smoky Serrano Infused Margarita
Serves 6

For the Serrano-Infused Tequila:
1 medium sized serrano pepper
10 oz tequila (we used Don Julio Anejo)

Slice pepper in half lengthwise, leaving veins and seeds intact. Place pepper and tequila in a jar or bottle with a lid and let sit 24 hours (or longer, depending upon how spicy you like it).

For the Margarita:
1.5 cups fresh lime juice
1 orange, juiced
1/2 c simple syrup
1 c serrano infused tequila
1/2 c orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, triple sec, etc)
1 c soda water
Smoked sea salt
Lime wedges
Ice

In a pitcher, combine lime juice, orange juice and simple syrup- stir. Add tequila, triple sec, and soda water.

DIY Margarita Recipe

To prepare glasses, make a small slit in the lime wedges and place salt on a small plate or bowl. Run lime wedge around the rim of each glass, then dip glass into salt, turning until rim is coated.

Add ice to each glass and fill.

Summer Cocktail Recipe Justina Blakeney

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca
Serves 6

4 cups watermelon, cubed, seeds removed
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
4 T sugar
Lime slices for garnish

Summer Spritzer Justina Blakeney

Add watermelon, lime juice, and sugar to blender pitcher. Puree until smooth. Serve over ice and garnish with lime slices.

Crab Guacamole Recipe on Pottery Barn Tray

Guacamole con Cangrejo: Crab Guacamole
Serves 6

2 perfectly ripe large avocados (or 3-4 small ones)
1/2 large white onion
1-2 roma tomatoes (depending on size)
1 bunch cilantro, washed and trimmed
1 lime
6 oz crab meat
Salt

Dice the tomato and onion and rough chop the cilantro- mix together in a small bowl. Set aside.

To prep the avocados, slice them in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Now make 4 lengthwise cuts to each half, without cutting through the skin, essentially scoring each half. This makes it easy to remove the flesh with a spoon. Once you’ve scored all your avocado, scoop the flesh out with a spoon into a large bowl. With a pastry blender or potato masher, mash the avocado slightly- there should still be chunks of avocado visible.

Crab Guacamole Recipe

Now, gently fold the tomato-onion mixture and the crab meat into the avocado, careful not to over mix or break up the crab meat too much. Add the juice of one lime, and salt, to taste. Serve with tortillas chips.

*Safety note: Because of the crab meat, be sure to keep this guacamole on ice during your party. 

See the rest of Justina’s summer party & tips here.

Party Perfect: Justina Blakeney’s Eclectic and Colorful Summer Party

Entertaining, Parties | | | 1 Reply

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Color, creativity and just a hint of craziness — Justina Blakeney’s eclectic style encompasses everything we believe about decorating your home: It should feel fun, free and fulfilling.

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(Photos by Danae Horst)

Even if you’re still seeing snow outside, summer will be here before you know it (it’s true!) — which is why we just couldn’t wait to show you Justina’s backyard summer shindig using our Under the Sea Party supplies.

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Click here to see & print Justina’s shopping list for this party.

PLUS, listen to Justina’s party perfect playlist below:

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Inspired by tropical ecosystems, Justina put her own special twist on some of our classic & new outdoor party serveware. Sculptural floral details like Bird of Paradise and cacti almost look like pieces of coral littered around the tabletop. A simple menu of spicy margaritas (with a smoked salt rim that looks just like sand) and fresh crab guacamole, this party feels warm, lively, unexpected and fun.

What do we love about Justina’s party? (Besides the fact that it’s seriously beautiful of course.) It’s incredibly easy to pull this off in any space, with any budget. Take a look at more of Justina’s party tips below, and stay tuned for her party DIYs and recipes later this week!

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TIP: “Centerpieces should be tall enough to talk under or short enough to talk over.”

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TIP: “Think of an overarching color palette for your party. If you’re stumped on what colors to choose try using analogous colors: different colors of the same shade. Or try complementary colors — meaning colors opposite each other on the color-wheel.”

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TIP: “Create a functional and balanced tabletop by making sure your place-settings are symmetrical. Layer in patterned and textured elements, and arrange table elements around a focal point.”

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TIP: “Look in your linen closet for even more inspiration — quilts, hand-towels, and even scarves can be used as tablecloths and table runners. Have fun and mix things up!”

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TIP: “Add plenty of metallic items to your table to elevate the tablescape and make it feel extra special.”

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TIP: “Flowers and plants breath life into any space, to be sure to include botanical elements to keep your table looking fresh and lively.”

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TIP: “Mark guests’ glasses with personalized nametags so that even when schmoozing with guests they don’t lose their vessels.”

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TIP: “Create at least two signature cocktails — one with alcohol and one without, so all guests can join in on the fun.”

Don’t forget to check out Justina’s full feature on PotteryBarn.com! 

Get her recipes for this party here.

Lucky 7: Our Top 7 Decorating Pins for St. Patrick’s Day

Decorating, Entertaining, Holiday | | | Leave a comment

At its roots, St. Patrick’s Day is really anything but the over-the-top neon green decor that we associate with the holiday today. To us, St. Patrick’s Day is a little more about honoring the holiday’s heritage with a little help from Mother Nature — lush green garlands, pops of real clover, and bursts of green and white hydrangeas. We love how these pins from our Luck of the Irish Pinterest board feel fresh, bright and perfect for Spring.

Take a look at our 7 (lucky number 7!) favorite pins for St. Patrick’s Day decor, below, and get more green & white inspiration with our Luck of the Irish Pinterest board.

Our Favorite St. Patricks Pins

1. via Inspired by This/ 2. via Ruffled/ 3. via yours truly/ 4. via Better Homes and Gardens/ 5. via Elizabeth Anne Designs/ 6. via Cecilee Starin/ 7. via Marie Elisabeth

You might also like these 2 easy DIYs for St. Patrick’s Day from Studio DIY. 

Easter Entertaining Made Easy

Entertaining, Holiday | | | 1 Reply

Pottery Barn Easter Flowers
Written exclusively for Pottery Barn by Christy Hulsey, Colonial House of Flowers with Camp Makery
Photography: Rach Lea Photo

Whether it’s with 2 or 12, the best parties (at least in my experience) are the simple ones you actually enjoy. Thankfully, Tristen Needham from Design Studio South joined me with Colonial House of Flowers, Camp Makery and Rach Lea Photography to lay down the must have elements for a seriously stunning Easter affair. All of these tips make the most impact for the least amount of effort. Skip the stress! You can entertain for Easter and throw a party that’s inexpensive, chic, elegant, and polished in a flash.

Pottery Barn Tulips

TIP: Use the same colored fresh flowers. Arrangements with flowers that are all the same color are impossible to get wrong. The blooms can quickly be grouped by themselves in baskets and containers. Clip and pop white tulips into a creative container like this Beachcomber Wood Handled Basket for a look that is hassle free and stunning. Shop at your neighborhood flower shop, snip a few petals from your garden. Add greens for a natural, organic look.

Pottery Barn CHEERS Candles

TIP: Add candles for elegance. I usually stick with neutrals like white. When it comes to lighting up a festive party and setting the mood on the fly, it’s hard to beat the immediate impact of delicate votives.

Pottery Barn Sangria

TIP: Allow guests to serve themselves at the bar. A drink dispenser full of a signature cocktail is fun and practical. Or, simply leave open wine bottles about the table and let guests fill their glasses while you mingle. It will go a long way towards saving you trips to the kitchen during the party. Sliced vegetables submersed in the water adds sophistication.

TIP: Always have the makings of a signature cocktail on hand. This one via From the Kitchen of Azure is a great take on a grown up punch that everyone will love:

1 bottle red wine (I like Cameron Hughes)
1 bottle margarita mix
2 quarts ginger ale
1 lime

Directions: Mix equal parts of the first three ingredients together. Chill. Squeeze have the lime over the punch just before serving. The remaining lime can be sliced to float in the dispenser or as a glass garnish.

Pottery Barn Easter Table Setting

TIP: Stick with white dinnerware. Drab? Not on your life. White dishes are the basis of great tables. You can layer on napkins, place cards, a menu, a flower or even a cutting from your backyard.

Pottery Barn Easter Snacks

TIP: Keep the desserts simple. I have Brownie Brittle and pralines by the bag at all times. Add warm caramel sauce, fresh berries or whipped cream to the top, and these simple treats are instantly elevated to fit any event’s ambiance.

Pottery Barn Neutral Easter Eggs

Spring is the perfect season to get together with friends and family. Hopefully these tips will make it fun, intimate, warm, chaos-free and enjoyable — without breaking the bank, too!

Vendors:
Calligraphy:  Low Country Paper Co
Photographer: Rach Lea Photography
Styling: Design Studio South,

Flower Selection: Mark Jackson, Cutflower Atlanta
Floral Supplies: Syndicate Sales
Floral Design: Christy Hulsey, Colonial House of Flowers
Styling: Amanda Currier, Colonial House of Flowers
Small Bites: Brownie Brittle
Catering: Southern Soul BBQ
Pralines: From the Kitchen of Azure Rountree
Venue: Georgia State Railroad Museum

A Coconut Cake Recipe Inspired by Our Latest Catalog

Behind the Scenes, Entertaining, Recipes | | | 11 Replies

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When the weather starts to get warmer (I know — for some of us it feels like it might never move past freezing), the heavy desserts we once craved during the holidays don’t seem quite right anymore. That’s why we love this light, airy and fluffy coconut cake recipe from Melina of Sugary & Buttery — inspired by this cake on our Vintage Carved Wood Cake Stand from our latest Spring collection:

coconutcake

Orange Coconut Cream Cake

For the cake:
2¼ cups cake flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of teaspoon salt
1½ sticks butter, at room temperature
6 egg whites
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Zest of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean

For the Frosting:
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 pack (8oz) cream cheese
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups shredded coconut

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Make the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350° F and grease two 8-inch round cake pans; set aside.

Sift the cake flour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed for 15 seconds to combine.

Cut the butter into pieces, add to the batter and beat on low speed for 1 minute, or until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, condensed milk, orange zest and shredded coconut until combined.

Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the mixture and whisk.

Add half of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat on medium-high for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the remainder of the wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until the batter is well-mixed, light and fluffy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the tops are firm and golden brown and spring back when pressed lightly in the center. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

Make the Frosting:
Beat the cream cheese with the electric mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes, scrape down sides.

Add sifted powdered sugar and keep beating on medium speed, then add the milk.

Cut the butter into pieces.

Turn the mixer back up to high speed and add the butter pieces. Keep beating for at least 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

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Assemble the Cake:
Cut off the tops of the cooled cakes if necessary and layer them with the cream cheese frosting.

Frost around the cake, about ½ thick, and cover the cake with shredded coconut.

See more of our favorite recipes here. 

Celebrate The Lunar New Year with These Recipes

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 3 Replies

Written exclusively for Pottery Barn by Jonathan Stiers of The Stiers Aesthetic.

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Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival as it’s also known, is the single, most important social and economic holiday in China. It is a time of celebration — gathering together with family, relaxing and most importantly, feasting! So, what better way to join in the celebration than with a few, classic Chinese recipes and of course, a signature cocktail?!

Lucky Cat Martini (Makes 1 Martini)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Smirnoff® Vanilla Vodka (or other brand of choice)
  • 0.5 ounce Chambord Liquer (inspired by raspberries!)
  • 2/3 cup pineapple juice
  • Bamboo skewers, fresh raspberries & pineapple leaves for garnish

Directions:

1. Using a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice; combine the vodka and pineapple juice, and shake vigorously until combined – about 20 seconds.

2. Strain into a chilled, Schott-Zwiesel martini glass, topping glass off with leftover foam. (Martini glasses may be chilled in the freezer, 30 minutes prior to serving)

3. Sink Chambord to the bottom of the glass. To do so, hold the cap, spout or jigger up against the inside of the glass and slowly pour, letting the Chambord sink to the bottom.

4. Using a bamboo skewer, garnish with a fresh pineapple leaf and raspberry.

5. Serve on the Harrison bar tray, sprinkled with Chinese fortune cookies.

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Chicken & Broccoli Stirfry (Makes 4 Servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cubed
  • 3 scallions, whites only, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 -inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon, plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • About 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 to 6 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • Garnish: toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the scallion whites, half of the garlic, half of the ginger, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch (you’ll use the remaining TABLESPOON later), 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon of sherry, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. Mix the remaining cornstarch with 1/3 cup water and set aside.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds (make sure your broccoli doesn’t have any excess water to avoid a lot of unwanted popping ‘n such when you add to the pan). Add the broccoli florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

4. When the skillet is HOT again, heat 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken and chili flakes and stir-fry, until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown; about 3 minutes.

5. Add the hoisin sauce and return the broccoli to the pan, tossing to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. If needed, add a little water to thin the sauce.

6. Taste and season with salt and pepper and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions; serve with Jasmine rice. (Try serving it on something super colorful, like this turquoise Cambria Dinnerware.)

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Sauces

Plum, chili garlic, hot mustard and of course, soy round out this must list of dipping sauces, perfect for these classic, Chinese Pork Dumplings; recipe below.

Dumplings

Chinese Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 rounded potsticker wraps – OR – wonton wrappers cut in to circles
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons thinly slice green onion
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 cups, finely shredded cabbage

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage, stirring until well mixed.

2. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of pork filling onto each wonton skin. Moisten edge of ONE HALF with water and fold edges over to form a half-moon shape. Roll edges and pinch slightly to seal in filling.

3. Meanwhile, fill a wok, 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a boil.

4. Place dumplings in a bamboo steamer, lined with parchment paper.

5. Place steamer on top of wok and steam dumplings for 20 minutes (No peeking!).

6. Serve immediately.

Check out more of Jonathan’s entertaining tips and recipes here, and more of our favorite recipes here.

Easy, Last Minute Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipe from The Vegan 8

Entertaining, Holiday, Recipes | | | 1 Reply

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Did you forget Valentine’s Day is tomorrow? It’s okay, we’ve been there! Don’t worry, we have a last minute Valentine’s Day Dinner recipe that will make your significant other think you’ve been planning for weeks — or, that you can enjoy on your own.

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This Poblano Pepper Cream Sauce and Pasta from The Vegan 8 looks particularly delicious in our Cambria Footed Bowl don’t you think? We love how Brandi from The Vegan 8 creates delicious, simple recipes that only use 8 (!) ingredients. Best of all, this comforting, decadent recipe comes together easily for a last minute Valentine’s Day dinner — the only serious prep requires soaking the cashews in boiling water for a couple hours.

Cashews? That’s right — this creamy decadent sauce is entirely dairy free. Trust us, you wouldn’t know it from the taste — but your body will thank you for it.

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Sweeten the deal with another ridiculously simple recipe — 1 bowl peanut butter chocolate chip cake (easily split between two people, but could happily be eaten by one).

Check out the full recipes + printable recipe card for both here.