Tuscan Garden



What is it about Italian food that brings on the cravings?  It happens to me often.  When it hits there is no moving on until that craving has been satisfied.  So, as this is one of those times, I am pulling out the Tuscan Garden candle and we are going to have cocktails and small bites.


First the cocktail.  My pots of fresh rosemary are ready for picking, so I will be serving a Tuscan Lemon Drop.  This is fresh and bright and just the right beverage to accompany my garlicky bean dip and some fresh bruschetta.

Tuscan Lemon Drop
  • 1 ½ ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce limoncello
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup*
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  1. Break up rosemary sprig and put in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker half full of ice. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake until very cold. Pour into chilled glass and garnish with a rosemary sprig and lemon slice.
  2. *To make simple syrup combine ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Place in covered container and chill.



Tuscan Garden White Bean Spread
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 head roasted garlic*
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • sea salt for garnish
  1. Place the drained beans, roasted garlic, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, cayenne and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Place in a serving bowl and top with sea salt and additional fresh herbs if desired.
  2. Serve with toasted baguettes.
  3. *To roast garlic, cut the top off a head of garlic. Place on a piece of aluminum foil, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Close foil and roast garlic in a 375 degree oven until very tender. About 30 minutes.



The cute pasta nests are wonderful bites with a small meatball crown and some fresh or store bought pesto drizzled on top.


When I emptied these Italian tomato cans, I just couldn’t toss them.  Look at the beautiful colors.  So I plunked in some fresh herb plants and I will use them on my table and as a much appreciated gift for my guests.


A walk in the pasta aisle of  my supermarket presented some really beautiful pasta.  I filled a couple of 22 ounce Butter Jars with colorful pasta and added some dramatic bunches of whole wheat spaghetti and I have an instant centerpiece.  And the bonus will be that when my party is over, I will be able to use the pasta to satisfy my next craving.


This fun party is equally suited for the dining room or the patio.  It will be fresh and colorful no matter where you decide to serve.