Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Fall Lunch With New Friends

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The Internet is the gift that keeps on giving and yesterday I hosted a lunch for seven of my newest and now dearest friends.  Five of them I have met through my blog Lindaraxa; the other two are our next door neighbors.  Half of them are gardeners, the other half bridge players, great cooks and avid entertainers.  A great mix for interesting conversation and a fun afternoon, particularly if you serve them Bellinis, white wine and strong Cuban coffee.  They arrived at 1:00 p.m. and the last one staggered home (two doors down...) at 9:00!

This was my first time entertaining in the new house and I was a bit at odds putting the whole thing together.  I have yet to unpack all my dishes and china and half the stuff needed to be cleaned or polished. Luckily, no ironing was involved.  One of the things I found out is that I don't move as fast as I used to and what used to take me an hour, now takes me three.  Besides I was rusty, as I hadn't done a ladies lunch in years;  but in 24 hours it all came back in one fine sweep.  When that doorbell rang, Lindaraxa was ready.

The table was set Wednesday night with pumpkins and gourds from the local pumpkin patch and acorn branches from the woods where we walk the dogs. It was inspired by one of Jenny Hobbicks' table settings. This lady is a Martha Stewart in the making.  Make sure you check out her blog.

One of the most pleasant surprises of the lunch was seeing the ladies arrive each with a gift in hand.  It was like Christmas in October.  A basket from Sandra Jonas with honey from her very own bees, preserved figs from her trees, and green peppers and eggplant from her vegetable garden.  A beautiful orchid,  home grown Meyer lemons, an Amaryllis bulb and a bottle of wine, together with cookies and a new whisk rounded up the loot.   These Southern ladies sure know how to gift!

The loot!

The basket from Sandra's garden with a very disappointed Sous Chef
I think she had something else in mind...

When I plan a ladies lunch, I tend to gravitate to recipes from the past that I know are a treat for women of my generation.  Let's face it, when was the last time you had Shrimp Newburg or Banana Cake With Banana Cream Frosting? Usually when it comes to dessert time, I always get a couple of "no I shouldn't, really can't" comments.  This time, not a peep!

The Menu

Chicken Liver Mousse 
Fig And Toasted Almond Brie 
Mini Toasts



Shrimp Newburg on Puff Pastry Shells
Mandarin Orange and Red Onion Salad With Caramelized Almonds

Chateau St. Michelle Chardonay


Banana Cake With Banana Cream Frosting

Cuban Coffee 

Photos 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 Sandra Jonas
the rest Lindaraxa 


  1. That is all so beautiful and inspiring, thank you for sharing this lovely party with us! Your table is gorgeous and the food looks so decadent and fun! Please know that fresh pumpkins and gourds will take the finish off your pretty table if you leave them too long-- I found that out the hard way.

    All best,

  2. Francie,

    I am taking them off right now! thank you for letting me know.

  3. This looks beautifully presented, and how appropriate that your dining room should be decorated in shades of pumpkin! So nice to meet new friends, (and to like them!).

  4. Great menu and table setting...looks smashing!

  5. I love your table -- simplicity -- understated but yet so fall! And the menu -- sublime! A classy entree and a "down home" dessert! You certainly know how to entertain and entertain in style!

  6. That was the best!! Unfortunately your over-the-top hospitality cannot be photographed. You made us feel so welcomed and special. Thank you so much for including me in the group.

  7. Gosh... I love Shrimp Newburg. I can't remember the last time I had it. It just brought me some good memories, thank you! I must have it ASAP, lol!


  8. How lovely and delicious, not to mention the fun you must have had.
    Seems to me I'd make this a nine hour luncheon....

  9. Vi,

    I will be happy to host one for the sous chef's friends. That should be a hoot! come on up.

    I mentioned to my daughter how good I thought the dogs had been throughout the begging. She replied, "Mom, they were under the table all the time!

  10. Classicist, Martha, Sportsman, Columnist,

    If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be meeting and entertaining such fun people through blogging I would have thought they were crazy. "May you live in interesting time" right?!

  11. KG,

    I think this is by far the longest lunch I ever hosted or attended A new record has been set!

  12. Sounds like so much fun, and absolutely de-lish! Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at that fest of stylish and talented ladies! Reggie

  13. My dear Reggie,

    You were there for your name was mentioned at least twice during the lunch as in "Please don't tell Reggie Darling I did that!"

  14. So very happy for you. Shrimp Newburg looks delicious, may your post bring it back to the masses.


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