Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Elegant Summer Menu For the Ladies Who Lunch

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A long time ago, I promised one of my readers that I would post a menu for a ladies lunch.  With all the things that have happened lately in my life,  I frankly forgot.  I hope it is not too late to remedy the situation, particularly since she has been one of my earliest and most faithful subscribers.

Ladies luncheons are fun to have.  My Mother's generation is great at planning these things but, unfortunately, when it came time for my age group, we were all too busy caring for kids or going to work.  I was seldom a party to the "ladies who lunch" set, but I did have a small group of corporate girlfriends with whom to celebrate birthdays at fancy restaurants in Manhattan.  We all had money to spend in those days and the presents and food were terrific.  It was a great time to catch up on other people's real life and good old fashioned gossip.  For just a couple of hours, we were girls again, in spite of the fact that by 3 o'clock we had to put back our armors and go fight another day.

Later, when I moved to Miami, I was reunited with a lot of my childhood friends and my Mother's friends and I have to confess to attending many a ladies lunch.  It was not a labor of love, believe me, those ladies can cook and when they get together, it's all systems go!  Out came the linen tablecloths, and the silver,  china, and flowers.  Nothing was purchased or catered;  they spent days getting ready for the big event, cooking and ironing with countless hours on the phone figuring out what they were going to wear and what they were going to eat.  On the day of the party they came dressed to the nines, as if  they were going to lunch at Cipriani's... pearls, Hermes scarves, Ferragamo shoes and all the accoutrements from days gone by. Oh, and they never broke a sweat, not this group, even in the heat of the day!  It was kind of fun, but it did take planning and outside help.  Luckily, good help is plentiful in Miami  for it's nice to end the party with all the dishes washed and put away. 



But don't despair, although I love a beautiful party, for occasions such as these, I like to put together a menu that I can cook the day before and that doesn't require a lot of last minute fuzzing or outside help.  The soup definitely must be made the day before so that it is very cold when served.  The pork is also cooked and sliced the day before and can be arranged on a platter and placed in the refrigerator the night before.  Do bring it out at least a couple of hours before you serve it so that it is room temperature. The cake and sauce are also made ahead and the squash casserole can be assembled the night before and cooked on the day of the party.  I always like to have one hot dish with a cold lunch and this is a great match for the menu.  Feel free to use any other hot casserole you may have tucked away.

Remember to clean out your refrigerator ahead of time so everything fits in the fridge.  If you set the table the night before, all you will need to do that day is mix the salad.  Notice I have kept hors d'oeuvres light on purpose.  If you want to expand, just do a small  antipasto type platter with perhaps just olives and thinly sliced prosciutto, but don't overfeed them before they sit down.

If you have pretty demitasse cups, you can fill them with the cold soup and pass them around before you sit down to lunch.  This eliminates more dishes and spoons to wash (you have to think that way) and they love it!  They make quite a splash and provide interesting and trivial conversation for another half hour or so...just make sure you chill them before you pour the cold soup in.

White peaches from California are in and you can usually buy a big case at Costco at this time of the year.  Squeeze the peaches to or three days ahead and keep the juice covered in the refrigerator.  Costco also has some very good Prosecco for around $10.00!  Do make the cheese wafers the weekend before.  They can be shaped into rolls and frozen or refrigerated.

The rose wine I recommend can be purchased at Crown Liquors in Coral Gables (my friend lives there) or at most well stocked liquor stores.

This menu is for 8 but it can be easily double.  If you are organized, you will not need any outside help.

Ladies' Lunch Menu



Endive and Watercress Salad With a Lemon Vinaigrette

*Domaine Houchart Rose*


Espresso


Now I have shown you how versatile some recipes, like this tenderloin, can be. Served hot it can be the main course for an elegant summer or winter dinner, or it can be served cold for lunch or a buffett. If you have left overs, slice thin and save for a Cuban sandwich...now, how versatile is that!

You may also want to check Cool Summer Menus For A Ladies Lunch


Images: Carolyne Roehm

10 comments:

  1. On the prairie, we are ladies who lunch -- a group coming to Linderhof once a month (and it's always fun to find new recipes to try) -- love the idea of the room temp meal in summer and the pork is one that I'll have to try -- but not just for ladies!

    Love the pictures but you know I love blue and white!

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  2. Fabulous menu---wish I was invited! I love the pictures, too. Carolyn Roehm is always such an inspiration, with all of her beautiful flowers and virant colors.

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  3. Your description of ladies lunches in Miami makes me think, too, of my Mother's lunches in days gone by. Yes, dressed to the nines. Never broke a sweat. And yes...they had lots of help out in the kitchen while they drank the iced tea. You know what I miss? All those wonderfully crisp cotton print dresses!!! I have always been a dress gal and maybe it all started back in the 50's and 60's when that was all we wore... I'm so glad they have come back in style!

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  4. Sounds wonderful...eagerly awaiting for "Gays Who Lunch"! JP

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  5. Libby, me too, but now Im too fat to wear them!

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  6. Julieta, I meant to thank you last summer after I made this scrumptious stuffed pork for a luncheon to surprise my friend on her 50th birthday. All of the ladies RAVED about it. I loved the fact that I could cook it the day before. I want to celebrate another friend's birthday this July. Many of the same guests will be there and I want to prepare something just as special. Any ideas? Thank You!Jenn

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  7. Jenn,

    Glad to hear it was a success. You read my mind...I was thinking this morning it was about time for another ladies lunch. Stay tuned. I promise it will be posted well before the date.

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  8. Thanks so much Linda. I can't wait to try another recipe of yours. Jenn

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