The April Invite is all about creating a next-level work lunch — at home. Set out a beautiful and healthful spring panzanella salad bar. Add a white asparagus and leek quiche with a floral twist, and top it off with a quick tiramisu dessert. Then get down to the business of networking and strategizing with like-minded women who inspire.
Set the tone for your business lunch with crisp white linens and dark blue pinstripes. Tuck notecards and motivational pens into knot-tied napkins. Invite guests to pen their goals and dreams.
Casually arranged bouquets of spring blooms, mixed greens, and edible flowers in a footed wood bowl, and bowls of delicious salad toppings — ready for a spin — on a marble lazy Susan.
Creating a Power Office
If, like me, you work from home, you know there can be plenty of distractions. Get the inspirational juices flowing by creating an inviting home office with the help of fresh blooms, topiaries, interchangeable decorative paper blotter, inspirational coffee cup.
Spring Panzanella Salad Bar with Blossom Honey and Dijon vinaigrette
The roasting, toasting, and pickling for this salad bar can be done ahead and then set out just before guests arrive.
In a big, beautiful bowl, toss together a mix of your favorite leafy fresh greens. I used baby spinach, romaine, and arugula. Garnish with edible flowers.
Radicchio and sliced watermelon radish
Sliced grape tomatoes
For the roasted cauliflower, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a head of cauliflower into florets. Wash and dry. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle florets with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and ground cumin. Toss the mixture. Roast for about 30 minutes until almost tender, tossing occasionally.
Toasted Nuts & Seeds
To a dry stovetop skillet, add ¹⁄8 cup each of raw sunflower kernels, pepitas, and sliced almonds. Toast on medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Salt to taste. Cool.
ROASTED GARBANZO BEANS
Repeat above instructions, roasting for 20 minutes.
QUICK PICKLED RED ONION
Thinly slice 1 red onion. In a lidded glass container, whisk together ¼ cup water, ½ cup rice wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt. Add sliced onions. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. Drain and serve.
TUSCAN BLOSSOM HONEY AND DIJON VINAIGRETTE
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons blossom honey
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
Zest of 1/2 an orange
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Method: Place all of the ingredients in a lidded glass container. Shake and serve.
HOMEMADE BRIOCHE CROUTONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the thicker crusts from a loaf of brioche bread. Cut bread into ¾-inch cubes. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
White Asparagus and Leek Quiche
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons chilled butter, diced into small pieces
(plus more for buttering the pan)
¹⁄8 cup ice water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the flour and salt in a food processor, and pulse until combined. Add butter, and pulse until just combined. With the machine running, add the water, a little at a time, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the machine.
Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least one hour. (Can be made two days ahead and refrigerated.)
Meanwhile, butter the sides and bottom of an 8-inch square tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, and gently ease it into the pan and up the sides. Trim so the dough is slightly taller than the top of the pan.
Pierce the dough bottom with a fork several times. Line the dough with a buttered piece of foil, butter-side-down. Fill with dried beans.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Place crust back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
1 leek (white part only)
1 bunch white asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large eggs
1/3 cup half & half
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 teaspoon chopped chives
¹⁄8 cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated Havarti cheese
1 teaspoon chopped chives
3 edible flowers torn into pieces (produce aisle of select grocers)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the leeks into thin rounds, white part only. Soak leeks in deep bowl of water. Remove with a slotted spoon. Wash the asparagus, and cut the spears into 3-to-4-inch pieces, using the top of the asparagus only.
Lightly sauté the leeks and asparagus in the olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.
Whisk together the eggs, half and half, cream, and crème fraiche. Stir in the cheeses. Sprinkle the pre-baked quiche crust with the leeks and fresh chives. Pour in the egg mixture. Arrange the asparagus in the custard, and scatter over the torn fresh, edible flowers. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the center of the quiche is almost set but still a bit jiggly in the middle. Cool before serving.
BERRY AND CREME DE VIOLETTE TIRAMISU
1/2 cup each: Fresh raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)
1/2 shot crème de violet
Zest 1/2 a small orange
4 ladyfinger cookies
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 tablespoons honey
Place the berries, sugar, liqueur, and zest in a saucepan on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the berries are very soft. Using a fork, mash the berries to release all of their juices. Strain the juice into a bowl and cool.
Break the ladyfingers in half. Run them through the juice and position them in the bottom of a small glass cup. Whisk together the mascarpone and the honey. Spread a layer on top of the cookies.
Add a layer of cooked berry mash. Continue to layer in this way. Top with a plump fresh berry and a sprig of mint.
WINE SPRITZER WITH FRESH MINT
This light and refreshing sip is perfect for a work lunch.
Place a nice sprig of mint in the bottom of a glass. Fill a glass with ¾ cup chilled white wine, like sauvignon blanc. Muddle the mint. Top with chilled club soda.
CUCUMBER, STRAWBERRY, MINT WATER
This infused water is refreshing and spa-like. Add sliced cucumbers, strawberries, and fresh mint to small individual carafes, and top with bottled water.
See Monica Hart’s design, recipe, and entertaining ideas in every issue of 425 magazine, and at lafamigliadesignllc.com.
Special thanks to our guests — Seattle style blogger and publicist Sydney Mintle of Gossip & Glamour, and Alisha Ottosen, INTERMIX store leader in Bellevue.
Table linens, dishware, lazy Susan, and tray — Crate and Barrel at The Bellevue Collection.
Monica’s outfit – INTERMIX at The Bellevue Collection. Hair – Seven Salon.