Slow Down with Schoolhouse: A Backyard Dinner Party

As part of our commitment to slowing down, we're taking advantage of every opportunity summer brings to relax, reconnect and while away the day. Through much research, we discovered that one of the best ways to spend time during these idyllic months is a simple, backyard dinner party. Warm air, delicious food, easy drinks and great friends is about as lovely an experience as one can hope for.

Two wondrously talented souls, Anne Parker, a Portland-based food stylist, and NYC floral designer and writer Amy Merrick, hosted a little get-together that we had the good fortune to attend - complete with handmade pizza, an abundance of rosé, and lots of laughter.



If you don't know the joys of homemade pizza, now's the time to take the leap. Easy to throw together, it's the perfect balance of casual fare made special. Anne used a variety of toppings to suit every taste and made options with a mix of simple red sauce and olive oil bases. Edible flowers adorned the side salad for an extra magical touch. All of the ingredients were sourced locally from the Portland Market downtown.



In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and salt to form a paste. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat, add garlic paste and chopped oregano when hot. Cook for one minute to allow the flavor to infuse into the oil, without burning the garlic. Add the tomatoes with liquid from the can, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, until much of the liquid has evaporated, and a thick sauce has formed.


Pizza Sauce Recipe

  • 1 pint of canned tomatoes (Anne used ones that she preserved)

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 Teaspoon sea salt

  • A couple sprigs of chopped oregano



Anne used pre-made dough from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Place the raw dough in a glass bowl coated with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and let it sit in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes until it has softened and slightly risen.



For the tablescape, crisp white linens provided a just-right backdrop for the bright and carefree bunches of wildflowers that Amy snipped from around the neighborhood. Popsicle-red taper candles give an unexpected but oh-so-summery touch that played well with our basic glass tumblers topped with rosé. We added in some of our vintage-inspired walnut candlesticks and Anne served up the food on our handmade ceramic plates for an easygoing, textural and natural vibe.



Summer won't last forever but there's still plenty of time to slowdown and spend some precious time when those nearest and dearest to your heart and home. Pro-tip: Pizza and rosé always encouraged. Big hugs and thanks to our friends Anne and Amy for throwing such a gorgeous summer party! Share your favorite summer moments with us on Instagram | #slowdownwithschoolhouse