We had another wonderful Tuscan dinner!  It is our 9th time gathering!  For all these years, it is the same group of four couples.  A few times there have been a couple absentees, but for the most part, we have been able to keep the tradition going strong!  I picked up a few Italian items at World Market.  (My son, loves Giardiniera after living in Chicago!)

I always like to have Italian wines.

The table was set with: my drop cloth as table cloth, Target (chipped) plates, jar glasses, and my favorite, rustic candlestick holders from Timeless N Chic.

I’m still using the upcycled napkins made from my husband’s old shirts.

We didn’t have a huge variety of beers this year, but Peroni is still enjoyed.

I gave my guests a small gift: a small bottle of Tuscan Herb Olive Oil from the Olive Scene.

We started with a limoncello martini


I pared down the courses a bit. We started with a Tuscan cheese ball 

After our appetizers around the seating area, we eventually moved to the table for the first course.  I made a Tuscan Stew.  I omitted the rosemary, gelatin, anchovy paste, and cornstarch.  I made it a day ahead of time so the flavors would meld.  This was a particularly easy way to time this course, as I was able to heat it up on the stove.  I bought a crock from World Market and put the stew in it and in the oven on warm and hold. When it was time to serve, I simply brought out the dish.  Compared to last year, which involved timing the roasting of the beef tenderloin, this was a lot simpler.  And it was so delicious! I served it with a crusty loaf of bread.

Our next course was a Ceasar salad served with a parmesagn crisp, tomatoes, and chickpeas.

The next main course, was breaded chicken and pasta marinara.  Delicious!

Finally, desserts, limoncello, and Italian roast coffee.

An apple torte.

I don’t have a picture of ours, but a Stracciatella Semifreddo  was delicious!  It was like ice cream!


You may get tired of my annual Tuscan Dinner posts.  It’s an odd combination of sameness and newness.  The setting changes only slightly every year.  We never know what the weather will bring, but this year was a gorgeous night after a warm, humid day.  We have rearranged our deck to have a sofa and chair section and that makes for a cozy gathering space.  Some year I plan to get rid of our clunky glass tables which have legs in all the wrong places and which we have to separate and cover with a board to extend it a bit. We also enjoy some of the favorite recipes and drinks from year to year, while often trying new things. I’m grateful that my friends make courses so it truly is not much work on my part. But the best part of all, is enjoying their company.  It truly is a blessing to have such good friends. In today’s busy world, taking the time to slow down, be with friends, and share laughter, stories, and conversation is hard to do, but so worth it.

If you’d like inspiration for recipes from previous years, you can see my previous posts.

Tuscan Dinner 2017

Tuscan Dinner 2016

Tuscan Dinner Party – 6th Annual! (2015)

Thoughts on Life – A Clash of Seasons (2014)

Tuscan Dinner Party (2013)

I don’t know why I don’t have photos from 2012!

Tuscan Dinner Party (2011)

Under the Tuscan Sun (2010)