Soiree

A Spring Luncheon

Spring is the perfect time for entertaining. The sun is beginning to shine and an afternoon outdoors is a wonderful moment to spend with friends. Beginning with a unique and fun cocktail will start the afternoon off in a festive mood. Follow it with a buffet of light and tasty sandwiches and pasta salads for the perfect lunch menu.

I love to decorate for a spring luncheon in fun hues. Set the tone with a fun, floral invitation. On your table, a vase filled with lush, pink peonies and pink chevron napkins are a fresh infusion. Keeping this theme in serving pieces is a fun way to make your table setting special.

Spring Luncheon

Peony Dish / Mariposa / www.macys.com / $39

Isadora Vase / Juliska / wwww.juliska.com / $125

Harriet Fishbowl Vase / Juliska / wwww.juliska.com / $195

Miranda Trifle Bowl / Crate and Barrel / www.crateandbarrel.com / $30

Norwich Ice Bucket / Simon Pearce / www.lvharkness.com / $185

Bamboo Flatware / Juliska / www.juliska.com / $168

Peony Tea Light / Mariposa / www.saksfifthavenue.com / $25

Lemon Lavender Champagne Cocktails

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients:

16 sprigs of lavender flowers

8 ounces gin

8 ounces Limoncello

4 ounces lemon juice

1 bottle champagne

Instructions:

Strip the flowers from the stems and place them in a cocktail shaker.

Add the Limoncello and lemon juice and muddle the flowers. Strain the liquid into a glass and discard the flowers.

Add the gin to the liquid and shake it with ice.

Strain the mixture into 8 champagne glasses.

Top them with chilled champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.

Red Peppers

Bowtie Pasta Salad with Feta and Roasted Peppers

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients:

1 box bowtie pasta

1 container feta cheese

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 packet Wishbone Italian dressing mix

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2/3 olive oil

Instructions:

Cut the peppers into strips, and toss them with olive oil.

Roast them in a 350 degree oven until the skins are blistered and the peppers are soft.

Cook the pasta al dente.

Combine the olive oil, dressing mix and balsamic vinegar and whisk it until it is well blended.

Toss the pasta, peppers, feta and dressing.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Asparagus

Penne Pasta Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients:

For the Pasta Salad:

1 box penne pasta

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces

1 box cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 package goat cheese crumbles

For the Dressing:

1/3 cup champagne vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon agave nectar

Instructions:

Cook the pasta al dente.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread out the tomatoes and asparagus and drizzle the pan with oil.

Cook the vegetables in a 350 degree oven until they are lightly roasted.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, agave nectar, lemon juice, champagne vinegar and Herbes de Provence.

Whisk the dressing until it is combined.

Toss the pasta in the dressing, adding in the vegetables and goat cheese.

Garnish the salad with lemon zest and toasted pine nuts.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Tomato Mozzarella Sandwiches

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients:

8 slices of fresh baked whole grain bread (Locally, Blue Dog Bakery is my favorite.)

2 large tomatoes

1 bunch basil

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped

1 ball fresh mozzarella

Instructions:

Slice and toast the bread.

Slice the tomatoes.

Wash and dry the basil.

Slice the mozzarella into eight slices.

In a bowl, combine the sundried tomatoes and mayo and mix.

Layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on the bread and top with the spread.

Cut the sandwiches into quarters and secure each with a bamboo skewer.

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches with Pesto

Serving Size: 4

For the Pesto:

Ingredients:

1 bunch basil, washed and dried

3 garlic cloves, quartered

¼ cup feta

¼ cup Parmesan

½ cup olive oil

½ cup walnuts

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor.

Pulse until the mixture becomes a paste.

For the Sandwiches:

Ingredients:

1 zucchini sliced

1 yellow squash sliced

1 red pepper sliced into strips

1 red onion

4 cibatta rolls

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced evenly into 8 slices

Instructions:

Place all of the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the vegetables in a 350 degree oven until they are golden and tender.

Divide the roasted vegetables evenly between the rolls, and top them with mozzarella slices and pesto.

Cut each sandwich in quarters and secure with bamboo skewer.

Strawberry

For dessert, dark chocolate covered strawberries are the perfect bit of something sweet!

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