Monday, June 11, 2012
On A Sunny Afternoon
There's nothing like getting together with a good old friend, is there? Baby and I hadn't seen dear Penelope in what felt like ages or at least months. We finally rallied 'round to have lunch together at our place. And like the best friendships we know, if we are lucky to have them, we caught right up and resumed our conversation like we had only left each other moments ago.
I wanted to pull together something simple but elegant to befit our fabulous friend. While considering what to make, I set an appropriately seasonal table, sort of like a lawn party (note the AstroTurf coasters!). As other friends had just brought over glorious pinkishly tinged gerbera daisies with greenly vibrant leafy stems, that was a finely inspired scheme to lay out the luncheon, with green Patrician Depression plates, wooden bowls, matching hand-stitched floral napkins, and brightly colored shades of Laguiole serving ware with buzzy bees on the hefts that seem to summon summer.
Refreshing Tanqueray gin cocktails straight up with St. Germain elderflower liqueur and thyme sprigs got the ball rolling before we settled into a relaxing afternoon of wine and roses with a bottle of a Domaine de Paris Cotes de Provence rose wine.
My comments in italics!
The Afternoon's Menu:
Celery Victor Such a gorgeous dish! I traded up a few things here. I used court bouillon stock for extra flavor when simmering the celery, and then made the dressing with a cube of dissolved chicken bouillon.
Open-Faced Whitefish Sandwiches Adapted from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living, what I made was a riff on a recipe from the Everyday Food publication where smoked trout with a Greek yogurt-cucumber-dill dressing is what's called for. I didn't have the time so I just cut to the chase and bought really good whitefish salad, already made. Slices of sturdy bread are brushed with olive oil and lightly toasted in the broiler before being topped with leaves of either butter or Boston lettuces (the actual recipe lists romaine) and a scoop of the salad. Cubed beets and chopped chives as an additional garnish is my own suggestion--and very good looking, by the way!
Mustard Potatoes Also from Everyday Food, these potatoes were very easy to make. Boil 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. When they have cooled down, cut in half. Whisk together 2TB olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 2TB mustard (I used Roland's extra strong Dijon, not whole grain) and 1 TB hot water. Toss all together and put in a little salt and pepper while you're at it. A great side dish.
Strawberries and Blueberries with Coconut That's all you need to know. Shop for the best berries you can find, snip off the tips if need be and throw in some shredded coconut.
Soundtrack: Quincy Jones, Hip Hits; Stephan Grappelli, Shades of Django; Herbie Hancock, Gershwin's World; Dave Brubeck, The Essence of Dave Brubeck; Ella Fitzgerald, The Best of the Songbooks