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A Garden-Fresh Feast for Easter Dinner

Shiva Rose and friends pooled their talents to prepare a memorable backyard holiday dinner in Southern California.

Meet the Hostess

Shiva Rose’s tiered backyard, in the hills above Los Angeles, has an abundant vegetable garden, along with beds of flowers and herbs. Rose, an actress and holistic-lifestyle blogger, and her two daughters raise chickens and keep pet rabbits. There is a cluster of century-old oaks that creates a natural canopy over a clearing. It is the kind of place that calls out for entertaining—for opening up to family and friends, especially at Easter, when the kids are raring for an egg hunt.

The Dream Team

On the occasion that Rose decides to throw a potluck, she’s fortunate to have a tight group of female friends who would be on any party planner’s wish list.

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    Kristen Caissie, owner of the floral-design studio Moon Canyon Design, handles the flowers. Here, she does a last-minute touch-up on an arrangement.

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    Danielle Steckler, the chef behind Paper Palate, a boutique catering company that’s a favorite among L.A.’s art and design insiders, brings a lot of food. Here, she slices strawberries for free-form galettes. “It’s rare that I have a potluck, because I do love to cook,” Rose says. But once in a while, when you have a friend like Danielle, why not?”

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    Rachel Craven, a textile designer known for her block-printed linen tablecloths, provides the linens and sets the table.

Fresh Starters

Steckler brought much of the food for the potluck. She piqued the guests’ appetites with marinated shrimp and quail eggs pickled in beet juice. Beet juice was also used to sweeten and color lemonade, which the kids drank straight-up and the adults mixed with tequila. (To make, mix 1/4 cup of beet juice into 8 cups of lemonade.)

A Little Lamb, A Lot of Vegetables

Steckler’s marinade, part of which she reserves for drizzling, calls for plenty of fresh mint and marjoram. For the prettiest presentation, she recommends extra sprigs of herbs—“if they’re flowering, so much the better.” A few dietary restrictions were taken into account for the meal, which included the vegetarian options of sautéed peas with mint and fresh pea shoots, roasted radishes, and grilled olive bread topped with asparagus and burrata. Fingerling potatoes with gooey Taleggio served as a gluten-free stand-in for macaroni and cheese to please adults and kids alike.

Get the Sauteed Peas and Pea Shoots Recipe

Get the Grilled Asparagus Flatbreads Recipe

Get the Roasted Potatoes with Cheese Recipe

Get the Oven-Roasted Radishes Recipe

Final Flourish

Dessert, set out on some of Craven’s hand-blocked linens, was a glazed olive-oil polenta cake and mini strawberry-rhubarb galettes served with whipped cream sweetened with honey.

Garden-to-Table

For this Easter celebration, the four friends invited a handful of other pals, including shoe designer Beatrice Valenzuela and accessories designer Clare Vivier, plus their kids and significant others. While the adults caught up over drinks and tucked into Steckler’s garden-fresh feast, the children collected eggs from the chicken coop, chased around Rose’s pet rabbits, and picnicked on the grass.

A Floral Showstopper

Caissie contributed the centerpiece, an arrangement of sweetpeas, dogwood, fritillaria, garden roses, hellebores, mint, and hosta leaves.

New Traditions

Though the menu had its traditional nods to Easter (leg of lamb, eggs), it also allowed Steckler to indulge in some of her favorite quirks. The quail eggs, for instance, were a spin on the pickled eggs she used to get at her favorite dive bar in New York City. The table had something for everyone, including Rose, who’s a vegetarian, and the gluten-free Craven kids. Without a doubt, the menu—all sourced from the farmers’ market and Rose’s garden—satisfied the group’s passion for eating locally and seasonally. “We all love good food, and we all share the same taste for objects that are clean, thoughtfully designed, and high-quality but not too fussy,” Caissie says. “We’re all such good friends—it makes throwing a party together really easy.”