Jennifer Garrigues relied on fabrics to inject intense color into the dining room. A Suzani textile on the wall beams in joyful yellow and pink. Rattan chairs are cushioned in a fashionable ikat fabric. Linen “Wave Edge” napkins in coral from Dransfield & Ross boost the pink hues shown on the accent plates.

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Mother-of-pearl chargers ground navy porcelain dinner plates from Haviland, “Riverside Park” accent plates from Royal Crown Derby, and gold-trimmed glass bowls. All from Mary Mahoney.

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The flatware references Moroccan metalwork. Accent plates (this one is Royal Crown Derby’s “Cherry Blossom”) were chosen to make each setting different. Flatware and plate available through Mary Mahoney.

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Instead of sticking to one pattern for all glassware, Garrigues introduced a cut green tumbler and hand-painted tea-glass-turned-votive-holder to mingle with an etched wineglass. All from Mary Mahoney.

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Function meets fabulous with mosaic pens in vibrant jewel tones that Garrigues picked up at a Moroccan market. “Utilitarian takeaways ensure that the memories of the event will be thought of often,” she explains.

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Elephants in hot pink, green, and yellow regalia parade across tent-fold placecards from Lobird. Designer Jennifer Garrigues suggests simple white stationery with a playful depiction that relates to the overall party theme.

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Lemon Verbena Tisane

• 12 sprigs fresh lemon verbena or the peel of 1 lemon*
• 4 sprigs fresh mint
• 4 cups boiling water

Place fresh herbs in warm teapot. Add boiling water. Steep 3 minutes; serve warm. To serve chilled, remove herbs with slotted spoon; refrigerate. Makes 6 (6-ounce) servings.

Tip: Use vegetable peeler to remove lemon peel in strips. Scrape any white pith off lemon peel strips.

Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

In Morocco this dish is commonly referred to as a tagine, a word that loosely translates to “stew.” Traditionally cooked in a conical-lidded vessel known by the same name, the recipe is easily prepared in a Dutch oven.

• 6 small bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned (3 pounds total)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1/4 cup tomato paste
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
• 1/3 cup raisins
• 3 cups hot cooked couscous
• 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
• Fresh cilantro sprigs

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in hot oil. Remove chicken. Add cumin, ginger, and cinnamon to pan. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add carrots, onions, and garlic to spices in pan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, tomato paste, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Return browned chicken to pan. Sprinkle with apricots and raisins. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat.

Cover; simmer 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Serve in shallow bowls with couscous. Sprinkle with pine nuts and cilantro. Makes 6 servings.

For Cooked Couscous:
In 2-quart saucepan bring 1-1/2 cups water and a dash of salt to boiling. Stir in 1 cup quick-cooking couscous. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving. Makes 3 cups cooked couscous.

Moroccan Tomato and Mint Salad

This salad is traditionally served alongside the tagine, rather than as a separate course.

• Pinch sea salt
• 1 large clove garlic
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
• 3 large tomatoes, sliced crosswise
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
• Freshly ground black pepper

For dressing, sprinkle cutting board with pinch of sea salt. Using flat blade of knife, crush garlic clove into sea salt. Finely chop garlic clove into sea salt to create chunky paste. In screw-top jar combine garlic mixture, olive oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, and vinegar. Cover; shake well.

Place half the tomato slices in single layer on serving platter. Top with half the fresh mint. Drizzle half the dressing over all. Top with remaining tomato slices and mint. Sprinkle with fresh pepper; drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Sesame-and-Garlic Flatbreads

• 2-2/3 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 package active dry yeast
• 1 cup milk
• 4 teaspoons water
• 4 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

In large mixing bowl combine 1-1/4 cups of the flour and the yeast. In small saucepan heat and stir 1 cup milk, water, olive oil, sugar, and salt just until warm (120°F to 130°F). Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Beat with electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Using wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes total). Shape dough into ball. Place in lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled (45 to 60 minutes).

Punch down dough; turn out onto lightly floured surface. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Grease large baking sheet; set aside. Divide dough into thirds. Cover; refrigerate 2 portions. On lightly floured surface, roll remaining portion into 12-inch circle. Transfer circle to prepared baking sheet. Stir together 2 tablespoons milk and minced garlic. Brush circle with some of the milk mixture. Using fork, generously prick entire surface of circle. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Do not let rise.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet; cool on wire rack. Repeat rolling and baking with remaining dough, 1 portion at a time. Break into pieces to serve. Makes 3 large flatbreads.

Apricot-and-Sage Butter Cookies

• 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 tablespoons snipped fresh sage, lemon thyme, or rosemary, or 2 teaspoons dried sage or rosemary, crushed
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 1 egg white
• 1 tablespoon water
• Fresh sage leaves (optional)
• Sugar
• 2 tablespoons apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, and cornmeal. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Stir in fresh or dried herb. Add milk; stir with fork to combine. Form mixture into ball; knead until smooth. Divide dough in half.

On lightly floured surface, roll half of dough at a time until 1/8 inch thick. Using 2-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out dough.

In small bowl combine egg white and water. Brush half of cutouts with egg white mixture and, if desired, top with one or two small sage leaves. Brush leaves with egg white mixture. Sprinkle with sugar. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake about 7 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack; let cool.

Snip any large pieces of fruit in apricot preserves. Spread bottoms of plain cookies with preserves. Top with sage-topped cookies, flat sides down. Makes 16 sandwich cookies.

To Store:
Place in layers separated by waxed paper in airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze unfilled cookies up to 3 months. Thaw cookies; fill as directed.

Want more summery recipes that feature lemon? Check out our entertaining story called Citrus Sensation.

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Colorful Moroccan-Inspired Dinner Party, With Recipes

A relaxed and spirited gathering

Written by Krissa Rossbund
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