Courtland Crosswell McBroom has been playing hostess for as long as she can remember. “I was such a ham as a little girl! I was always putting on a show for my parents’ dinner party guests and wanting to get in on the experience,” she says. “From going to the grocery store and party prepping in the kitchen to the last second scramble around the house to light candles just before the door opens with guests…I love every part of the process.” She decided to turn her knack for cooking and hosting in to a blog and launched Cooking & a Convo. Named for her love of all things abbreviated, she mostly features healthy recipes that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. “I try and come up with recipes that the everyday person with a full-time job can still manage to pull off after work or for entertaining with friends,” Courtland, who works full-time as a marketing coordinator for Fort Worth homebuilding company, Village Homes, says. In honor of one of her favorite holidays, Courtland invited a few friends over to her chic Fort Worth bungalow for a festive pre-Fourth of July celebration.
photography by kelly christine
The best meal of your life:
I recently returned from a trip to Montreal, and hands down the best meal I’ve ever had was at the city’s acclaimed restaurant, Europea. It was the foodie experience of a lifetime prepared by celebrity chef de cuisine, Jerome Ferrer. The whimsical dishes just kept coming, and the level of detail and execution was absolutely top notch.
A painting by local Fort Worth artist Melinda Page entitled “Bulls on Parade” hangs prominently in the living room. It’s an ode to both Courtland’s husband John’s love of the University of Texas Longhorns and the perfect “cowtown” painting for their first Fort Worth home.
When it comes to interiors, Courtland is drawn to a neutral palette with pops of color. She says: “It’s traditional with antiques yet mixed with glass, lucite and eclectic art. I like a formal look that doesn’t feel stuffy.”
It was a classic case of one man’s trash is another one’s treasure with this mirror that presides over the mantle. Courtland was thrilled when the previous owners left it after moving out.
The perfect dinner party playlist:
Depends…if it’s all girls, my fave is the Ellie Goulding station streaming from Pandora. If my husband John and the guys are there, then it’s a little South Texas country music.
Get the recipe for Courtland’s Blueberry Acai Basil Sparkler here
Biggest fear when it comes to entertaining:
Timing. I try to plan ahead as much as possible in order for everything to come out at the right time and temperature.
The taste you are always craving:
Sour or Salty — dill pickles, salt & vinegar chips and I even love a little sea salt on chocolate chip cookies.
Your signature dish:
It’s hard to pinpoint one dish. In the winter my go to is my grandmother’s rigatoni with slow cooked marinara and herbed meatballs. In the warmer months I love dill salmon cooked on the grill with a citrus salad of some sort or a chilled soup.
Your standard hosting outfit:
White jeans and a top of some sort or a dress if it’s a more festive occasion; my only rule when it comes to a hosting outfit is that it has to be sleeveless…it gets hot in the kitchen, and I need to be able to move around easily!
The marble Greek key table was in Courtland’s childhood bedroom before finding a spot as an elegant end table her in newlywed home. Courtland thinks of her overall aesthetic as modern country French. She is always drawn to a classic look. “I love a neutral cozy design with a few contemporary pieces made of mirror, glass or lucite mixed in with antiques and fun artwork,” she says. “I am also obsessed with Leontine Linens and their beautiful monograms.”
Your must-have entertaining tool:
Music…a party isn’t happening without good tunes. I also couldn’t survive during kitchen prep without my Cuisinart mini prep food processor. I use it all of the time!
Your dream dinner party guests:
Ina Garten — she is the bomb dot com and interestingly enough, the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo. It’s all about the experience and that duo would be quite the combination.
This palette cleansing amuse-bouche was made of watermelon, herbed feta and arugula micro greens.
Courtland’s Reed & Barton silver revere bowl was filled with sea salt and patriotic straw (from Pier 1) “lollipops” made of rosemary crisps filled with Courtland’s white cheddar chive rosemary spread. Get the recipe on her blog.
The recipe for this delicious spicy watermelon gazpacho will be posted on Courtland’s blog on Monday.
Click here for Courtland’s Green Goddess Beau Monde Salad
Your usual guest list for dinner parties:
Friends, old and new. It’s always an enjoyable evening with people we have known a long time, however, having new guests to your home for dinner is a great way to get to know someone better.
Click here to get the recipe for Courtland’s Blueberry Froyo
Your entertaining style in five words or less:
Food is about having fun.