The weather has been so darn hot that the thought of cooking anybody anything is completely unappealing. However, when the sun starts to go down, and it cools off a bit, I still like to entertain on my deck. Since I’d scratched cooking off my to do list, I decided to host a dinner party and serve my guests (gasp!) Chinese takeout. What would Martha Stewart say? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn! I thought rather than serve plates of heavy food, I would offer mainly little bites– like dumplings, fried wonton, egg rolls and lots of cold beer. And, so that Martha wouldn’t give up on me entirely, I also decided to make a quick Chinese Noodle Salad with a Spicy Peanut Sauce. So, if you can excuse the takeout menu, join me for Dim Sum On The Deck.
On the theory that people will forgive anything if presented with a lovely setting, I began to design my Asian-themed tablescape. I found this set of octagonal melamine salad plates with a green “Blue Willow” pattern on clearance from Pier One. Since the plates have a bamboo border, I used these great textural bamboo place mats as the foundation for my table. On top of the mats, I placed green melamine dinner plates, the Chinese patterned salad plates, and Chinese soup spoons. Shatterproof green stemless glasses, monogrammed pagoda linen napkins, bamboo embossed flatware, and small embellished Chinese takeout cartons complete the place settings.
Dramatic white pagoda lanterns complement the theme while adding height and drama to the tablescape. I kept the flower arrangements on the table simple and small so as not to compete with the lanterns.
When the sun finally went down, I lit the lanterns and chopsticks clumsily in hand; we were ready to eat. Our takeout Dim Sum On The Deck consisted of veggie and pork steamed dumplings, spring rolls, egg rolls, bang bang shrimp, chicken satay, and crispy cheese wontons.
I know, I know, I said I wasn’t going to cook anything, but I the peanut noodle salad is so darn good, and since I use rotisserie chicken in this recipe, all I had to do was boil the water for the noodles (remember to check out my next post for this easy dish that can be served hot or cold.) Besides, Mostly Dim Sum On The Deck isn’t nearly as catchy!
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