Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Ladies Lunch In The Garden

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Here in the South, the irises are blooming, the lilacs are blooming, the peonies are blooming and the roses and clematis are starting their show.  What else do you need for a ladies lunch?  Yes, this is it.  If you have a decent garden, this is your time to host a ladies lunch and shine.  The temperature is perfect and the menu...the season for asparagus and strawberries and Meyer lemons.  What's not to like?

Don't be intimidated by the crab cakes.  Trust me, this is a no fail recipe.  You can fry them about an hour before the guests show up and crisp them up in a hot oven just before serving them.

The asparagus vinaigrette can be prepared way ahead.  It is just steamed asparagus in a vinaigrette sauce served cold.  You can substitute Meyer lemon for the vinegar and add finely chopped hard boiled eggs on top for decoration. The biscuits and the pickled shrimp can and should be made two to three days before and the soup and the tart the day before.

I like to serve Bellinis because they are easy to make and different.  When white peaches are not in season, you can substitute with a ready made peach puree mix you can buy at the liquor or grocery store.  I know its not the same but it's good.  Substitute your own favorite cocktail if you wish. Just don't get too complicated.

There is nothing like a French dry rose for a Summer or Spring lunch  Click on the link below for some suggestions.  If you must choose a white wine, go with a Fume or Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley such as a Sancerre.  They are dry, crisp and elegant  and go better with fish than a Chardonnay .

This really is an easy and elegant menu, one that will leave you free to enjoy your lunch and your friends on the day of the party.  Have fun.

A Spring Lunch In The Garden

Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette

 Fresh Strawberries


Domaine Houchart, dry rose

Homemade Iced Tea

*I have given you two desserts to choose from in case you cant find Meyer lemons.  Both go well with this lunch.  Notice I have omitted the word Bourbon in the torte.  To accompany with the strawberries it is best to make the original recipe with vanilla extract.  Serve with home made whipped cream on the side.  It can be made the day before and refrigerated.


  1. I have a question for you: I have to bring a "vegetable" to a luncheon on Monday. What??? Just "a vegetable"? I have no idea what or anything more; but I think the theme, if there is one, is Italian. So I need suggestions!!! For probably 15 people. Help, please? (and nothing too….complicated). Thank you my friend!

    1. Bring something seasonal and cold. Asparagus with Peas and Meyer lemon sauce or do the Ottolenghi recipe for Broccoli with tahini. It's incredibly good and very different. They will love it. Both are simple and portable.

  2. Replies
    1. One of these days, Sam, you will have to stop by on the way to the mountains.

  3. What a thoughtful menu, and by the sounds of it, delicious too! Who would not want to be a guest at your garden luncheons, male or female? Cooking with whatever is in season is the best and most delicious approach. Last Sunday, being Mother's Day, I invited a local friend in her 80's, along with her lovely son, for lunch my home with my family (alas, my own mother, across the other side of the world, could not join us). Asparagus, lemons, and spring pea soon featured in the menu too.

    1. Oops, that should be soup not soon!

    2. I am so programmed to eat in season I can't even look at asparagus in the winter. no matter how good they are. I guess it's generational.

  4. What a perfect menu! Your friends are very lucky to know you!
    -linda, ny


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