Contest Entry: Partying with Food & Flowers

October 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm 30 comments

Flowers and Food Party

Entry #3 :: “Project Food Blog” Contest

Challenge Prompt from Foodbuzz: Celebrate! You’ve made it this far, and the next challenge is to hold a party for your friends and family (at least four guests, you can include yourself in the 4 person count). Whether you’re an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative and host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes and exotic flavors. Share your hosting secrets with readers, like how to cook for a crowd, plan a menu, or involve guests in the prep. And don’t forget to document the party with pictures including one of your Project Food Blog Menu using the provided template.



The reality of my life is that it’s entirely too overloaded with priorities.  It seems there’s never enough hours in a day and certainly not enough days in a week.  As such, I’m always looking for ways to multi-task and objects that are multi-functional.  For example, in my garden, the best plants are those that are edible, look beautiful in the garden, make good cut material for bouquets, and come back every year so I don’t have to take the time to replant.  Sometimes it takes some creativity to get all this multi-tasking and functioning rolling, but it’s well worth it in the end. 

The trio

My passions for food and for flowers have been merging a good bit lately.  When Foodbuzz issued the challenge to throw a luxury dinner party, my first reaction was “Oh no!  How am I going to fit this into my schedule??”.   Then, as I mused about the possibilities, I decided what a great opportunity it would be to combine local seasonal food with a flower design class using local seasonal flowers that I was already scheduled to host.  See, my business, Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, is focused on growing flowers sustainably and using/selling them locally in gorgeous lush floral designs.  My clever tagline is “from seed to centerpiece”.  Fun, huh?    

The Spread

While the combination of a floral design class and a dinner party might not be feasible for most folks, it IS worth considering how you can involve your guests in a fun activity while they munch on your fabulous fare.  In this case, it was a match made in heaven since the lovely ladies that attended the class were very appreciative of both the delicious food and the beautiful blooms.  We even trekked out into the garden to take stems of herbs {sage, rosemary, lavender, dill, fennel} and apples, among other things, that were then incorporated into our floral designs.  Ah, how it made my multi-functional heart happy to see these delicious edibles so beautifully displayed. 

Food and Flower Party

All of the food was uniquely seasonal and easy to grab a bite between bouquets.  There was the French Fig Clafouti you’re all familiar with already from the last post.  And the dense moist Pumpkin Bread that’s made an appearance on the blog already was once again a hit.  Slices of perfectly ripe Asian pears and decadent blue cheese were simple and delicious nibbles.  And the recipe featured in today’s post actually used some of the same elements from our floral arrangements — sage, rosemary, and apples — and joined them with pumpkin and garlic on an Autumnal Pizza

Pumpkins and Herbs

Add to the mix some local cider and a few glasses of wine, the evening proved to be a delightful success with a chorus of excited “Thank you, let’s do this again soon! I had so much fun!”  and happy hugs.  The moral to this delicious and beautiful tale is that even if you are a busy bee, don’t presume you can’t squeeze in a dinner party. Think a little bit beyond the traditional table and place settings to incorporate some of your other passions and talents.  I bet you’ll find your guests to be all the more engaged and satiated in the end. 


Autumnal Pizza

A Straight from the Farm Original


1 C. warm tap water (may need 1 or 2 T. more water)
1 1/2 t. active dry yeast
2 t. honey
2 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
2 C. all-purpose flour
2/3 C. whole wheat flour
2 T. flaxseed meal*

*The flaxseed meal adds a really nice nutty flavor and is nutritious to boot.  You can usually find it in most supermarket baking aisles.  If you don’t have it, just add a full cup of whole wheat flour instead of three quarters.   

Whisk water, honey and yeast in a medium bowl until yeast has dissolved. Sit aside and cover with a towel until mixture is foamy and double in size, about 15 minutes.  Stir in salt and oil. Add flour and work mixture with a spoon and your fingers until it comes together as a dough. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if you need, but try to avoid this if you can knead the dough without more water.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for a few minutes.
Clean out the bowl you used to mix the dough and coat it with olive oil (or non-stick spray).  Put the dough in, cover it with a clean dish towel, and let it rise for an hour or up to two, until it is doubled.  If dough is not showing much life, place on top of a warm oven or radiator.

When dough is doubled, gently deflate it with the heel of your hand.  Form it into a ball and let it rest on a floured spot with the bowl turned over top of it to keep out drafts. In 15 minutes, it is ready to roll out.


1 C. ricotta cheese
1 small pumpkin or winter squash
1 large apple (Gala worked well)
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
8-10 small sage leaves
1 sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste

Preheat oven to 500F or your highest setting.  Place your pan or baking stone in the oven to also get hot. 

Roll out the dough.  Top with the ricotta and spread evenly.  Using a mandolin if you have it or a very sharp knife, carefully slice the pumpkin and apple very thinly.  Toss with about 2 tablespoons of oil and artfully layer on the pizza dough.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Place dough with ricotta, pumpkin and apple in the oven for about 6 minutes or until the crust is getting puffy and the toppings soft but not too done.   While it bakes, prepare the herbs by combining the sage, rosemary and garlic in a small bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Pull hot pizza from the oven.  Quickly and carefully distribute the herb mixture over the top along with a little more salt and pepper if desired.  Return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the herbs crispy but not burnt. 

Remove from oven and top with parmesan and serve hot or at room temperature. 

(serves 8-10)

Entry filed under: Recipes. Tags: , , .

Contest Entry: French Fig Clafouti A Chocolate Review

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer  |  October 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Beautiful. So envious. Wish I was your neighbor. You have my vote – again. Keep it up,from a fellow local/seasonal cheerleader, I am rooting for you!

  • 2. Joanne  |  October 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I always love reading your posts and seeing all the eye candy you have to offer…all made with fresh local and seasonal produce! I’ve been buying all my produce from the farmer’s market lately so that I can feel really good about the food I produce. Excellent dinner party. This whole menus is something that I would love to indulge in.

  • 3. Food-Fitness-FreshAir  |  October 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    What a wonderful take on pizza. That sounds fabulous. So you’re in the flower business as well eh?

  • 4. Sarah  |  October 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    So cool! I’ll have to try the pizza recipe soon.

  • 5. Sophia  |  October 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I love finding pizza recipes that incorporate ingredients that I wouldn’t normally think of. Thanks so much for sharing this. Recently I made Mexican Pizza and it was really delicious. It had beans, beef and all the delicious taco toppings you can imagine!

  • 6. Pam @ Kitchen Cookware  |  October 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Wow, you made both of your passions in to one gathering beautifully, loved the flower arrangement and very creative pumpkin and apple pizza! I do not think I have seen it anywhere else.

  • 7. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking  |  October 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    This is a gorgeous post and meal — and I immediately wanted to be invited when I saw your photos. You have a vote from me!

    My dinner party was designed to take the diner food from Gooch’s Diner, where my parents first met over 40 years ago, and elevate it to luxury for their 39th wedding anniversary. Come see if you’d like 🙂

  • 8. Amelia from Z Tasty life  |  October 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    gorgeous! loved how you combined food and flowers. and way to go combining two engagements. Voted.

    (see my post here:

  • 9. Russell at Chasing Delicious  |  October 5, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Your autumnal pizza looks incredible! If I could I’d reach through the screen for a bite. Such great photos too!

    Good luck!

  • 10. Whit @ Amuse Bouche  |  October 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    yummo that pizza looks great! congrats!


  • 11. Shannon  |  October 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Mmm, delicious!!

  • 12. petermarcus  |  October 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    What a beautifully colored pizza! I love the ingredients.

    You got our vote!

    (Our entry is here: )

  • 13. The Klutzy Cook  |  October 5, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    What a great pizza. I’m dying to try your dough for a starters – including the flaxseed meal. Plus, the topping combination looks fantastic. I’ve never tried apples on pizza before but will now. Thanks

  • 14. Jessica  |  October 5, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    What a great menu! Sounds delicious! Hope we both make it to the next round! 🙂 You have my vote!

  • 15. Liz  |  October 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

    That pizza looks gorg! I am trying to get inspired for the pizza round, if I make it that far. There are so many great blogs at this stage already that making it through each consecutive round should be miraculous!

  • 16. Heather  |  October 6, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Wonderful, fresh looking food. 🙂

  • 17. Natalie  |  October 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    that pizza looks sooo good. voted for you! hope we both move forward. 🙂

  • 18. Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot  |  October 7, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Love your photos and the food looks so fresh and beautiful! You definitely have my vote!

  • 19. Diana@Spain in Iowa  |  October 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    This is what I have been enjoying so much about Project Food Blog, being introduced to wonderful blogs. We have so much in common and I’m so glad to have been able to stop by. This was a wonderful seasonal and local meal. Please save me a seat at your next dinner party 😉 Diana

  • 20. Dana - Food for Thought  |  October 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Now this is a party I’d love to attend! Delicious food and a fun activity all rolled into one… sounds great! Good luck!

  • 21. Kristin  |  October 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I am eating this right now for dinner – decided to make it on a whim and it is absolutely amazing! Mine has a sliced butternut squash instead of pumpkin and it is seriously the most delicious pizza I’ve made yet!

    • 22. Jennie  |  October 8, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Woohoo! So glad you like it, Kristin! 🙂

  • 23. ApplesandOnions  |  October 8, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    What a lovely post. You have my vote. I wish I’d been a guest : )

  • 24. Foodwhirl » Fall Harvest Thanksgiving Party inspirations  |  November 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

    […] A fall dinner party menu – Love the Autumnal Pizzas! […]

  • 25. Lizzy  |  November 12, 2010 at 2:06 am

    AUTUMNAL PIZZA,I am sure its got all the freshness its meant to have…It hooks awesome…

  • 26. Ben  |  November 22, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Thanks for the post. Everyone will love the unique combination of Pumpkin & Apple. It’s very easy and really delicious!”

  • 27. Dana  |  December 27, 2010 at 5:42 am

    pumkin and apple together??never eaten in my life..i should try it..
    Merry christmas!!!!

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