“I like to include an activity that’s part of the food process,” says Julia, “where we’re all doing something together and I don’t feel like I’m the caterer stuck in the kitchen.” For a simple, delicious appetizer, Julia put out a bowl of tomatoes fresh from her garden, loaves of bread from a favorite bakery, a fragrant olive oil, garlic (you could also add fresh herbs), and cutting boards so guests could create their own bruschetta.
Prep ahead of time
Julia relies on dishes that can be mostly prepped ahead and then easily assembled the day of, like colorful Shredded Beet Salad or Fluffy Butternut Squash Dip, and she often serves foods at room temperature. “Think about food that can sit and be delicious an hour later. You’re not a restaurant; it’s hard to pull off serving everything hot all together. Let people serve themselves – it starts conversation.”
Let nature lend a hand
With a casual mix of flowers and greenery arranged by her friend Sophia Moreno-Bunge and vegetables grown in her own garden, Julia prizes the convenience and flavorful taste of homegrown. She’s planted fruit trees as well as a large vegetable garden in her yard, but you can also visit the farmers market or a local farmstand for that same fresh-picked flavor.