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 luncheon in fun spring 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.
lemon lavender champagne cocktails
16 sprigs of lavender flowers
8 ounces gin
8 ounces limoncello
4 ounces lemon juice
1 bottle champagne
strip flowers from the stems, add to cocktail shaker with lemoncello and lemon juice. muddle. add gin and shake with ice. strain into 8 champagne glasses. top with chilled champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
bowtie pasta salad with feta and roasted peppers
1 box bowtie pasta
1 container feta cheese
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
olive oil for roasting
1 packet wishbone italian dressing mix
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 olive oil
cut the peppers into strips, and toss with olive oil. roast in a 350 degree oven until the skins are blistered and the peppers are soft.
combine olive oil, dressing mix and balsamic vinegar. whisk until well blended.
toss pasta, peppers, feta and dressing. serve at room temperature or chilled.
penne pasta salad with roasted asparagus and tomatoes
1 box penne pasta
1 bunch asparagus trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 box cherry tomatoes halved
olive oil for roasting
½ cup pine nuts toasted
1 package goat cheese crumbles
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
cook the pasta.
line a baking sheet with parchment paper. spread the tomatoes and asparagus and drizzle with oil. cook in a 350 degree oven until lightly roasted.
in a bowl, combine olive oil, agave nectar, lemon juice, champagne vinegar and herbes de provence. whisk.
toss the pasta in the dressing, adding in vegetables, and goat cheese. garnish with lemon zest and toasted pine nuts. serve chilled or at room temperature.
tomato mozzarella sandwiches
8 slices of fresh baked whole grain bread (blue dog bakery is my favorite)
2 large tomatoes
1 bunch basil
½ cup mayo
½ cup sundried tomatoes chopped
1 ball fresh mozzarella
toast bread, slice tomatoes, wash and dry basil, and slice mozzarella into eight slices.
combine sundried tomatoes and mayo in a bowl and mix.
layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on bread and top with spread. cut into quarters and secure each with a bamboo skewer.
roasted vegetable sandwiches with pesto
1 bunch basil, washed and spun dry
3 garlic cloves quartered
¼ cup feta
¼ cup parmesan
½ cup olive oil
½ cup walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
place all ingredients into food processor and blend until mixture becomes a paste.
roasted vegetable sandwiches
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
place all vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. roast in a 350 degree oven until golden and tender.
divide roasted vegetables evenly between rolls, top with mozzarella slices and pesto. cut each sandwich in quarters and secure with bamboo skewer.