Spring Dinner Party

This past weekend, I hosted a dinner party for my mom's birthday. My first move was to plan a sweet and springy dinner table that incorporated my red dishware. After picking up this pretty and season-appropriate table runner at Bed Bath & Beyond, and a small yet punchy bouquet of hydrangeas, I was happy with my spring table and ready to move onto more pressing issues...the menu. It was my first official dinner party, so my sister Kimberly and I put our heads together and came up with a simple yet elegant menu for our small soiree.

Spring Dinner Party Menu
Hors D'oeuvres
Spiced Walnuts
Smoked Salmon with cream cheese and capers
Caprese salad

Pre-Dinner
Shrimp Cocktail
Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Salad

Dinner
Braised Beef Brisket
Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Parmesean Asparagus

Dessert
Brooklyn bakery cookies
Butter Lane cupcakes

Today, we're talking hors d'oeuvres. Though typically my favorite part of a meal (since I'm a sampler and all), since there was lots of food to be had, K and I decided that simple, light hors d'oeuvres would be just enough to whet our palettes for the delectable meal ahead. No creamy dips or heaving finger foods here. First up, Kimberly put together a caprese salad, a classic favorite. Consisting of sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzerella cheese, fresh basil leaves and drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinagrette, what could be bad about that?

In addition to the Caprese salad, I put together a smoked salmon platter, always a super crowd pleaser in the Cannon family. Light smoked salmon, reduced fat cream cheese and capers mixed with a bit of olive oil turned basic melba toast from "eh" to "mmmm".

I also served spiced walnuts, but stay tuned for that recipe shortly. So what do you think? Do you have any signature hors d'oeuvres for hosting a party? Do you go simple and basic, or all out?

Coming up this week: find out how I went from never having cooked beef brisket to finding the ultimate recipe for this delicious main course and lots more info on hosting a spring dinner party.