Lemon Dinner Party + Recipes

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A lemon-themed dinner party is the best way to usher in summertime, don’t you think?! I love all things lemon, and it just screams summer to me. Rob and I decided to host a little dinner party for some of our friends the other evening, and once I have an idea, I just like to take it and run with it. Luckily, Rob doesn’t mind at all and totally let me do my thing since he knows how happy all of this makes me!

We wanted to keep the dinner fairly intimate since we don’t have a ton of space for entertaining (or a huge dining room table). Smaller dinners are also great for really getting to talk with each guest rather than having too many people around for deeper conversations. We had three other couples over (with two babies), so there were eight adults and two little ones, and we had such an amazing time with our wonderful friends. It was such a relaxing, fun night with so much good food, great conversations, fun playing on the floor with the little boys, and enjoying each other’s company!

Rob and I each entered our marriage with a dining room table, and though his is the one we always use and have out in our dining room, we decided to use both for this large of a group. He rebuilt my dining room table just for this dinner, and we decided to move the two tables into the living room to create more open space for one long table. I definitely like when everyone gets to sit together at one table, and it was really refeshing and fun to have dinner in the living room instead of the dining room.

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Decor + setting the table for a lemon dinner party

Everything I used I already had on hand, and that’s one of the best party of throwing a dinner party or hosting an event: using what you already have and creatively looking at what you have to make it work (especially if you don’t have a large budget for decor)! I wanted the wood of the dinner tables to shine through, so I simply used one long cheesecloth, gauzy runner down the length of both tables. I used our new white metal chairs, but since I only have four of them, I also used our four gray tufted dining room chairs. (I definitely don’t have eight of everything, and mix and match totally works!)

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For the tabletop, I was set on using lots of whites, gold/brass, and pops of greenery to accent the vibrant yellow of the lemons, and I didn’t want to incorporate any other color. I used my grandmother’s family heirloom white and gold china (both a dinner plate and a salad plate), and I used my grandmother’s white linen napkins in between the two plates. A lemon on each plate tied up the place setting perfectly and brought the lemon vibe to life! I also used items off our Crate and Barrel wedding registry: gold flatware, wine glasses, and champagne flutes. I think any dinner (or meal) deserves gorgeous, festive glassware!

In addition to each place setting’s design, I used a medley of tall glass candlesticks (an antique shopping find) with white taper candles. Soft, romantic lighting like this made for such a wonderful, calm ambience during our dinner, and I’m a huge advocate of mellow lighting and lots of candles. I interspered the taper candles with a few topiaries for more height, uniformity, and a pop of that fresh green color, and then I had leftover lemons lining the center of the table, too. To top it all off, our two month wedding anniversary was the day before, and Rob surprised me with white roses! I cut them all down and sat them in individual bud vases to run the length of the table, which was the perfect pop of fresh blooms (and in white!).

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Menu

Since the theme was lemons, every course was centered around lemons, of course!

Drinks:

Lemon white wine sangria

Red wine

Water with lemons

Appetizers:

Lemon feta dip

Cheese board (with crackers, nuts, our favorite Trader Joe’s cheeses, and grapes)

Baguette, bell pepper slices, and olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil to dip

Dinner:

Lemon pistachio ravioli tossed with lemon roasted broccoli and feta cheese

Salad

Dessert:

Lemon olive oil layer cake with fresh lemon whipped cream

Brownies

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Lemon Dinner Party Recipes:

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Lemon White Wine Sangria

2 bottles of dry white wine

1/2 cup of pineapple juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 cans of Diet Ginger Ale or club soda

2 shots of bourbon

Slices of lemons, limes, and oranges (or any fruit, really!)

Lemon slices for garnish

  1. Combine wine, fruit juices, bourbon, and slices of fruit and chill in a large pitcher or drink dispenser.
  2. Just before serving, add the ginger ale or club soda. Garnish sangria with lemon.

 

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Lemon Feta Dip

1 package of feta (not pre-crumbled)

2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1 minced garlic clove

Pinch of red pepper flakes

about 1/2 cup of olive oil

  1. Mix the feta, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend together until the mixture is blended together but somewhat chunky still. Drizzle in a little more olive oil (or lemon juice) if you need more liquid.
  2. Spoon the lemon feta dip into a bowl, garnish with with lemon zest and red pepper flakes, and serve it with pita, pita chips, crudite, or baguette.

We LOVE this recipe, and it was a huge, huge hit at the dinner party. We basically all stood around the lemon feta dip, inhaling it. I’ve rarely had a dish that was such a resounding hit – and it’s so easy, too! My sister and I have been making this lemon feta dip for a few years now, and it’s adapted from here.

 

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Lemon Pistachio Ravioli with Lemon Roasted Broccoli and Feta

2 pounds of four-cheese ravioli

4 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup of olive oil

1 clove of minced garlic

zest of two lemons

juice of two lemons

1/2 cup of shelled pistachios

pinch of red pepper flakes

Garnish: 1/2 cup crumbled feta, lemon juice, lemon zest

  1. Boil the water for the ravioli and cook the ravioli according to package directions.
  2. While the ravioli is boiling, melt the butter on the stove and add in the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine, and add in the pistachios.
  3. Drain the ravioli well once it’s finished cooking, and toss the ravioli with the butter/olive oil/lemon/pistachio mixture.
  4. Combine the ravioli with the roasted broccoli in a large serving bowl, and garnish with crumbled feta, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Enjoy!

Lemon Roasted Broccoli

2 heads of broccoli

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic salt

zest of one lemon

dash of pepper

dash of red pepper flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Break apart broccoli into bite-size pieces.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss broccoli with olive oil, garlic salt, lemon zest, pepper, and red pepper flakes and combine well.
  4. Roast broccoli for about 20 minutes.

This is SO good on its own (we eat it a couple times a week as a side with dinner), and it’s perfect to toss with the lemon pistachio ravioli, too!

 

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Lemon Olive Oil Layer Cake with Fresh Lemon Whipped Cream

I shared this recipe last summer, which you can find here. It is SO unique and delicious, the flavors are incredibly refreshing, and it’s pretty easy to make. I always feel so proud to have made a layer cake, and this cake was a huge, huge hit!

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I think that was the most lemon-focused blog post ever written! We had such a wonderful time opening up our home to friends, enjoying delicious food together, and sharing in life with one another. A dinner party doesn’t have to be anything too complicated! Enjoy gathering around the table with others, whip up a few easy dishes, and enjoy quality time with your friends!

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