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Party Planners: Garden Swap with Food & Wine Magazine

Aug 27, 2009

by missbatch handmade and vintage goods

As the proud cultivator of a tiny urban plot, my efforts have so far yielded a grand total of two tomatoes. Yes, two tomatoes. They were delicious, but a far cry from my garden fantasy, which goes something like this…

After a full summer enjoying the bountiful fruits and veggies from my expansive garden retreat (complete with water feature and fire pit — see below), I am so inundated with excess produce that I must turn to friends for help. In my dream potluck dinner, I don a festive garden party dress, mix a batch of sangria blanca, and invite friends to bring over their garden pickings for an impromptu, al fresco garden swap party. Half the fun is in prepping the meal together while sharing stories of the summer’s adventures. 

Join in the celebration by hosting your own end-of-summer event. Here are a few tips to get in the spirit.

First things first: Gather the goods! Whether straight from the garden or the market, transport produce in eco-friendly style with a cloth market bag by RosyUndPosy.

Reusable produce bags by LoveForEarth (below) not only eliminate the need for the trashy plastic versions, but in a garden party setting, they would make great favor bags filled with fresh fruit, cookies, or even seed packets for guests to take home.

Let an abundance of flavors and colors inspire the setting as well. (This is not the time to be too fancy or formal, this is about nature bursting at the seams!) Think mix-and-match vintage linens with bold floral prints. Carry the theme straight through to the dishes and even your wardrobe.














Vintage Floral Tablecloth, $15 from thelostfound; Stangl Colonial Dinner Plate, $22.99 from SurrenderDorothy; Tea dress, $100 by sohomode.

Wipe out any party planning stress by keeping things simple. What’s on the dinner menu? Whatever is fresh and in season, of course!

Our friends at Food & Wine Magazine have some great recommendations!  (You can even tailor your menu based on what’s available in your garden by searching their recipe slideshows by ingredient… I say tomato, you say: eggplant, cilantro, watermelon, corn, or… well, you get the idea!)


Layered Eggplant Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

by Marcia Kiesel, photo by Quentin Bacon

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN      


  1. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and brushing
  2. 3 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  3. 2 long, narrow eggplants (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
  4. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 large shallot, minced
  6. 1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  7. 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)
  8. 1/4 cup chopped basil
  9. 1/3 cup panko or coarse dry bread crumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Oil 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Put the zucchini slices on one sheet and the eggplant on the other. Brush the slices all over with oil and season with salt and  pepper. Arrange the slices on each sheet in a slightly overlapping layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until slightly softened and bubbling, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Oil a large, shallow baking dish (about 10 by 15 inches). Lay half of the eggplant in the dish and spread one-fourth of the tomatoes on top. Scatter with half of the feta and basil. Layer half of the zucchini on top, followed by another one-fourth of the tomato and the remaining basil, eggplant and zucchini. Top with the remaining tomato and feta. Mix the panko with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot or warm.
Pair your casserole with a simple tossed tomato salad dressed in a basil vinaigrette (below, left), found in this basil slideshow. For a fresh take on shrimp, try the Shrimp-and-Feta-Stuffed Zucchini (below, right), one of Food & Wine’s Ultimate Summer Vegetable Recipes.

Photo by Tina Rupp

Photo by Kana Okada


Be sure to offer your guests a tour of your garden, complete with custom markers for your prized plants, like this tomato stake by MakeThyme.

Take advantage of time with fellow green thumbs by exchanging growing tips (and misses!) and talking into the night gathered around the fire pit.

What have you grown in your garden (or in your dreams) this summer? Post in the comments below!

Special Subscription Deal for Etsy Friends:

Get 2 Years of Food & Wine for the Price of 1!

Food & Wine magazine brings readers delicious recipes, the hottest new chefs and restaurants, accessible wine guides, and much more in each issue. Click here.

For more fun summer entertaining ideas, go to Check out our recent party planning posts from the editors at Food & Wine and The Storque.

six bright and  cheery vera linen napkins
six bright and cheery vera linen napkins
custom tea dress
custom tea dress
Wine Gift Bag and Glass Charms
Wine Gift Bag and Glass Charms
Chalk and Oilcloth Party Banners by Modern June
Chalk and Oilcloth Party Banners by Modern June
Segmented Wooden Bowl
Segmented Wooden Bowl
Happy Vegetable Reusable Vegetable Bags in Blue
Happy Vegetable Reusable Vegetable Bags in Blue
The Shawl Tank (hemp\/organic cotton)
The Shawl Tank (hemp\/organic cotton)
Font O Fire 30 inch Diameter Slim Base Fire Pit
Font O Fire 30 inch Diameter Slim Base Fire Pit
Rainforest Candle Luminary . Tin Can Lanturn OOAK
Rainforest Candle Luminary . Tin Can Lanturn OOAK
Orange Cosmos - Whimscal Heirloom Flower Seeds - Organic Garden Seeds
Orange Cosmos - Whimscal Heirloom Flower Seeds - Organic Garden Seeds


  • SewnNatural

    SewnNatural said 8 years ago

    the recipe sounds delicious, and the picks are great. yummy.

  • LoveMeKnotCreations

    LoveMeKnotCreations said 8 years ago

    love the garden planters!! Also the recipe sounds delicious, thank you.

  • PaperFish

    PaperFish said 8 years ago

    awesome article- this is ME to a teacup x x my friend and i have a blog called and we chat all the time about our garden produce and hegrerow jams... lovely xx

  • laralewis

    laralewis said 8 years ago

    we just signed on to participate in a community my fiance and i are already planning next year's crops! we can't wait! :)

  • Dminor7

    Dminor7 said 8 years ago

    This article makes me very anxious to get to the farmer's market this Saturday!

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 8 years ago

    only a few weeks left for a great garden party. this is very inspiring!!!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 8 years ago

    Those pictures look yummy!

  • LaveMeSoapCo

    LaveMeSoapCo said 8 years ago


  • satellitedaisy

    satellitedaisy said 8 years ago

    you are making me hungry! yum!

  • foamywader

    foamywader said 8 years ago

    Food looks amazing!

  • KathysCraftShop

    KathysCraftShop said 8 years ago

    that cassserole with the eggplant and tomatoes looks otally awesome! makes me hungry!!

  • MyMoms

    MyMoms said 8 years ago

    Really lovely...makes me hungry... Thanks for sharing!

  • JustAnotherDay

    JustAnotherDay said 8 years ago


  • riorita

    riorita said 8 years ago

    Thank you for the recipe, I'm inted to make it tomorrow for my daughter and son in law!

  • VixVintage

    VixVintage said 8 years ago

    The Font O Fire is awesome, thanks, fun article.

  • carolinabean

    carolinabean said 8 years ago

    I love sangria in the summer. I have a recipe that I take to all my garden parties.

  • birdie1

    birdie1 said 8 years ago

    Love the theme and will try the recipe - thanks!

  • thelittlecrocodile

    thelittlecrocodile said 8 years ago

    YUM!!! All of this makes me want to have a garden potluck *right* *now*! And that recipe looks like a perfect way to use up some of our veggies :)

  • belovedbaglady

    belovedbaglady said 8 years ago

    Beautiful inspiration for thos end of summer feasts!

  • LabyrinthLeather

    LabyrinthLeather said 8 years ago

    mmmm ... so cozy =:)

  • missbmckay

    missbmckay said 8 years ago

    Oooh, I love a good garden party! What a great subscription deal from Food & Wine!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 8 years ago

    Great finds! Large gardens are wonderful, but they are a lot of work. I'm going to try the recipe. Tomorrow is eggplant harvesting day!

  • FrillyButts

    FrillyButts said 8 years ago

    Maybe I should have a party...

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 8 years ago

    Everything looks so vibrant and delicious! Our garden has finally yielded its last crop this year. I've canned all summer long and dug the potatoes yesterday. We will appreciate it all winter long!

  • FancyThatCookies

    FancyThatCookies said 8 years ago


  • pamwares

    pamwares said 8 years ago

    making me hungry!

  • MeghanT

    MeghanT said 8 years ago

    Only two tomatoes? That's so disheartening! I think plants need a season or two to settle in before they deliver on the goods though. I bet next year you'll have baskets and baskets of fresh produce. I definitely don't have a green thumb, but I like the idea of a garden party centered around food grown by your own hands. I'd definitely show up to eat at such an event. ;) All my local stores are making efforts to cut back on plastic so I like the reusable bags you featured. Thanks for the update!

  • heyirememberthat

    heyirememberthat said 8 years ago

    The dream of a bountiful garden should never die, just try again next year and think about all the things that you might do different. It's a learning experience...enjoy it! Oh, what fun!

  • Earmark

    Earmark said 8 years ago

    oh my goodness, i just ate dinner and those recipes are still making me drool... love food and wine and love the selections!!!

  • HarrietsHaven

    HarrietsHaven said 8 years ago

    Beautiful picks! I love the plant markers and the reusable vegetable bags.

  • MinceCo

    MinceCo said 8 years ago

    Spring is coming yay :) Spring cleaning SALE>>

  • andrewsreclaimed

    andrewsreclaimed said 8 years ago

    oooh, I will try this recipe, no kidding! Excellent picks. Now is the perfect time to celebrate a summer well spent, and ponder the near future with cooler weather. The smell of leaf piles, candles in Jack-o-lanterns, turkey, and pine, baking cookies, and the company of good friends and family. Thank you, Food and Wine, and missbatch. Cheers! Andrew

  • greenthing

    greenthing said 8 years ago

    Great recipe!

  • PuzzleBoBuzzles

    PuzzleBoBuzzles said 8 years ago

    Shrimp-and-Feta-Stuffed Zucchini, Yum!

  • breadandroses

    breadandroses said 8 years ago

    Heading to a local farm for produce tomorrow; hope they've got eggplant. Sounds scrumptious! Unusual, coolest summer on record here so we'll be lucky to get 2-4 edible tomatoes. No where near ripe yet & just starting to blush. Green beans have been great. One, yes one, acorn squash is growing and it was a volunteer. You asked for summer dreams: Besides working smarter, creating and getting back to making more 'serious' art quilts, I'm hoping to find a little larger patch of ground to grow blueberries, more fruit. I love fresh blueberries and they're in great demand at the farmer's markets. A proper studio space is in the dream/realistic goal dept. too.

  • TheSparklingCocktail

    TheSparklingCocktail said 8 years ago

    oohhh I need to try these recipes! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • klacustomcreations

    klacustomcreations said 8 years ago

    great inspiration and I think everyone is hungry now!

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 8 years ago

    I'm definitely going to use the eggplant, zucchini and tomato recipe. A friend gave me three beautiful eggplants from her farm and I didn't really know what I was going to do with them—UNTIL NOW!!!!!!!!

  • SeptemberStars

    SeptemberStars said 8 years ago

    I love stopping at roadside produce stands, things from those places always seem to taste better and at the supermarket.

  • pommesfrites

    pommesfrites said 8 years ago

    Oh no, only two tomates! my only tomato got stolen by a squirrel and the rest of my garden patch got fried beyond belief by the hot tx sun. great article! love the recipes & picks.

  • livingstonandporter

    livingstonandporter said 8 years ago

    yumminess! love the the recipe....mmmmm. mmmm. good!

  • stubborndog

    stubborndog said 8 years ago

    such a lovely fantasy! I hear you about the small tomato yield... we're so proud of our little harvest! :-)

  • fairylandcottages

    fairylandcottages said 8 years ago

    LOL!!! I too had a wonderous garden fantasy! I live right up against the foothills here in Santa Barbara, and had my eye on the raised beds that were here when I moved in...planted 3 tomatoe plants, they took off!!! Zuccini, cucumber, melon...everything was going great, and then...someone 4 legged discovered my tiny plot and chewed the tomatoes vines right at the base, one by one....each day, carrying off the entire vine! (or so I thought..heh heh). *sigh* all tomatoes gone. All else intact, time passed, I am harvesting the cucumbers, eyeing the zuccini..and then BAM!!! There they go! I am mystified. Until a day or so later, go out to water, and discover just the tips of the entire 2 foot tall plant peeking out of the earth. The whole plant has been pulled underground!!! LOL! I thought gophers only did that in cartoons. Apparently whoever build the raised beds did not quite grasp the concept, and did not secure the bottoms. Oh my god. I still am sad, and appreciate your own crushed expectations. Next year! ; )

  • littlepumpkincrafts

    littlepumpkincrafts said 8 years ago

    I am on my second year of working on this fantasy. What I have learned: people use pesticied for a reason. I am still organic, but there are times when I would really love some 7 dust. Get article! Happy dreaming!

  • ImSoVintage

    ImSoVintage said 8 years ago


  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 8 years ago

    That layered zucchini and tomato casserole looks delicious.

  • LittleRosieLane

    LittleRosieLane said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful idea!! I need to throw one... I however, am in the same dream where I have only harvested 2 lonely tomatoes so far!! There are several green ones to come and this is my first year so I am hopeful that next year will get better. Luckily my dear friend gets a grociery bag a day and shares ;) I think we will have to throw a garden party (my neighbor has a lovely basil plant - she will be on the guest list for sure! LOL) All the Best!!

  • thelostfound

    thelostfound said 8 years ago

    Cool! Thanks for including my vintage tablecloth linen!

  • aglowcandle

    aglowcandle said 8 years ago

    Great!! Thanks for introducing delicious food~ I think my candles will be suit with this~ :)

  • PipocaHandmade

    PipocaHandmade said 8 years ago

    Ohhh...that recipe sounds delicious...perfect for a summer's eve! Lovely picks!

  • RosyUndPosy

    RosyUndPosy said 8 years ago

    Oh wow, oh wow! *grin* Fantastic article, love the recipes plus fabulous etsy picks, and a super big thank you for sharing about my market bag :)

  • babinka1981

    babinka1981 said 8 years ago


  • cottonbirddesigns

    cottonbirddesigns said 8 years ago

    Great article!

  • EmmaBeeTextileArts

    EmmaBeeTextileArts said 8 years ago

    Beautiful article! I'm so looking forward to summer so I can enjoy my garden once more.

  • evihan

    evihan said 8 years ago

    sooo yummmyyyy

  • kissadesign

    kissadesign said 8 years ago

    Garden parties with a vintage flare are always a hit! Local farmers markets are another great way to supplement non-productive produce years... Two years ago I had so many cucumbers and tomatoes that my neighbors ran when they saw me coming! Last year I planted just about everything I enjoy eating and was plagued by every disease, fungus and pest known to home gardeners. This year I only planted peas and one tomato plant. I will be lucky if a third tomato ripens on the vine! And I'm hopeful that my new fall crop of peas has enough time to give me a nice harvest! Thanks for the great article, recipes and garden-inspired goods!

  • TheLavendarTree

    TheLavendarTree said 8 years ago

    Love the article and ideas! Every spring/early summer, I hold a garden party/plant exchange party with about 25 of my friends. We have a wonderful time and have done it for about 10-12 years now. But, I do love the idea of a fall harvest gathering as well! Ann at

  • LilBlossoms

    LilBlossoms said 8 years ago

    The recipe sounds delicious! I love the garden planters. Unfortunately I do not have a green thumb...

  • steinschmuckdesign

    steinschmuckdesign said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much, absolutely Great!

  • TheSplendidStarling

    TheSplendidStarling said 8 years ago

    Loved the article! It's good to know I'm not alone in my less than bountiful urban garden. :)

  • carmenandginger

    carmenandginger said 8 years ago

    Thank you for including one of my vintage tablecloths in your article! I collect them myself and use them for all events year-round! With all the rain, our urban garden has also been slow but I have had a handful of tomatoes this week, and, a few cucumbers too! :-)

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 8 years ago

    Now that sounds like my kind of celebration for the end of summer and some good food. So where is it, and when should I be there? lol

  • Mymothersgarden

    Mymothersgarden said 8 years ago

    Yummy, what a great recipe! My tomato harvest was a little sad this season too! I did manage to make a new ceramic dish from my cherry tomato plant:

  • MelroseFields

    MelroseFields said 8 years ago

    Sangaria Blanca yum!

  • sandali

    sandali said 8 years ago

    WOW ~~ what amazing recipes -- going to try one of them now !! Got to LOVE it -- happy days ;)

  • RageoftheAge

    RageoftheAge said 8 years ago

    You guys always put together irresistable compilations...i can't wait to try that zucchini and tomato casserole & the other recipes--bountiful beautiful and many thanks!!

  • thebestvintage

    thebestvintage said 8 years ago

    Nice recipe!

  • beachhouseblues

    beachhouseblues said 8 years ago

    Here you go... Flowers for your space the make the indoors come alive!! 20% off all Flower and Shell Prints... Take a look!

  • spange

    spange said 8 years ago

    delightful blog! it's easy for us sellers to get caught up in looking ahead- this is a nice reminder that we still have a few warm weeks to enjoy!

  • TheCottageCheese

    TheCottageCheese said 8 years ago

    Gorgeous picks! I see some of my favorite vintage sellers here! This post is making me so hungry. I'm definitely going to try some of these recipes...

  • Possibilitees

    Possibilitees said 8 years ago

    Great theme,wonderful photos, LOVE the recipe! Our tomatoes finally ripened,all at once of course, but they are so small and lacking flavor. I guess it's the result of too little sun and excessive rain. But the beets did very well! Anyone have any interesting beet recipes?

  • thelooseleaf

    thelooseleaf said 8 years ago

    This is so wonderful!! I would love to host/just be a guest at such a great party! I love everything you picked for this event.. Just lovely!

  • nowvintage

    nowvintage said 8 years ago

    I had a similar problem in the garden..Too little sun earlier this summer has made for very little produce. I know others around here are doing better so I think some of it is my brown thumb..

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 8 years ago

    The fire pit is the coolest thing EVER!!!!!

  • Return2Edan

    Return2Edan said 8 years ago

    Love the Fire pit and water fall they work really well together love the bunting toooo:)

  • CassiasGarden

    CassiasGarden said 8 years ago

    What muse sounds alot like mine too! I have found that we need to cultivate the earth before the harvest comes. But what fun to dream! It spurs us onto action! Loved the recipe and the wonderful vintage materials! Now I know where to look for all these wonderful items! Thanks for a wonderful post! Kelly

  • MakeThyme

    MakeThyme said 8 years ago

    Wow! I'm thrilled to have my garden markers featured in this article! I've had similar trouble with getting tomatoes and peppers to grow. Just when I about gave up on growing red bell peppers I have success! This year they are giant and perfect! I can't wait to taste them!

  • missbatch

    missbatch said 8 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the kind feedback and gardening encouragement! I definitely have not given up-- just going to the farmers market more often. And thanks to Food & Wine for these delicious suggestions! Happy weekend.

  • Fairyfolk

    Fairyfolk said 8 years ago

    We'll have an alfresco dinner tonight, for sure!!! Thanks for the inspiration to get outside and enjoy the fresh air! No needle felting for me tonight... Blessings and magic.

  • SevenSails

    SevenSails said 8 years ago

    That recipe sounds delicious!

  • anadiazarte

    anadiazarte said 8 years ago

    I love the banner and the tomato stake.

  • collagesheetgirl

    collagesheetgirl said 8 years ago

    Yes The banner is beautiful. Fun article. Thanks for sharing

  • GreenTease

    GreenTease said 8 years ago

    Yummy!! Perfect timing it just now do-able to spend time outside here in Sin City!!! Yay!!!

  • kewpieskloset

    kewpieskloset said 8 years ago

    Thank's to everyone who take's the time for us to be able to enjoy such recipe's and great Esty item's. I love the oil cloth's.

  • dancerstar12

    dancerstar12 said 8 years ago

    Everyting is soooo pretty and airy!

  • Bluejules2008

    Bluejules2008 said 8 years ago

    Garden parties are the best kind of parties. This pictures make it look so cosy and nice.

  • mgilinfo

    mgilinfo said 8 years ago

    Great ideas...

  • ColourHarmonics

    ColourHarmonics said 8 years ago

    Love the fire & water idea of bringing several elements together like that. V. good Feng shui :-)

  • funkeyfinds

    funkeyfinds said 8 years ago

    what a colorful post! Its hard not to be colorful when it comes to good food!

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 8 years ago

    Love the vintage fabric!! Beautiful post! Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

  • millalove

    millalove said 8 years ago

    Mmmmmmm.... lemonade! I'm so thirsty now after the garden party pictures, and now that I think about it, i've just came back from one! I'm living the life and I don't even realise it! Great picks!

  • NinaJudinBooks

    NinaJudinBooks said 8 years ago

    That's a fantastic article, thanks for sharing! Picking the most delicious cherry tomatoes and zucchinis + herbs from my garden this year, looking forward to planting more vegetables next year... Thumbs up!

  • capitalcitycrafts

    capitalcitycrafts said 8 years ago

    Recipe looks great and the finds are all lovely!

  • LoveForEarth

    LoveForEarth said 8 years ago

    Wonderful Article and finds :D I am going to use the recipe for the Eggplant and Tomato casserole as we have an abundance of tomatos this year from our garden! Always a big bowl of fresh salsa here, but a marriage of eggplant and tomato makes my mouth water..

  • elisasherejewelry

    elisasherejewelry said 8 years ago

    ha, ha - just had a dinner party in my garden last weekend complete with spiked lemonade in the pitcher, vintage linens, fresh garden food, and most importantly - great friends!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 8 years ago

    Nice! Love party!

  • veryverdant

    veryverdant said 8 years ago

    Oh, I make something very similar to that Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomato casserole. YUM! YUM! Great selections for garden partie items also.

  • ModernMetalJewelry

    ModernMetalJewelry said 8 years ago

    The recipes look amazing! Great for a labor day party!

  • 1AEON

    1AEON said 8 years ago

    :) love this article,sweet recipes!!!

  • BellaVintageANDmore

    BellaVintageANDmore said 8 years ago

    Where did the summer go? I moved my garden to a sunnier location this year and it has done so much better.

  • vivikas

    vivikas said 8 years ago

    Oh it looks so yummy !

  • SMboutique

    SMboutique said 8 years ago

    uhmmm the recipe seem delicious!!Thanks

  • jewelrybyamor

    jewelrybyamor said 8 years ago

    Beautiful background. Very green and natural I love nature and fresh fruits and vegetables. Good work!!

  • TheSecretKitchen

    TheSecretKitchen said 8 years ago

    I've started a fall garden with cool weather crops - lettuce, peas, carrots and beets. It is doing quite well and nourishes my spirit to anticipate munching my own yield. Square Foot Gardening is the way to go. Thanks for the great article!

  • Fullearths

    Fullearths said 8 years ago

    Love everything on this page.. clean, fresh, green, love it!

  • settyblade

    settyblade said 8 years ago

    everything on the page makes you want to have a gardern party now!!

  • jessgonacha

    jessgonacha said 8 years ago

    I want to make that casserole TONIGHT for dinner! Delicious. And I long to have a fire pit like that-- dream house, here I come!

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