I am keeping it casual this month with a beautiful bistro-style lunch. I love a leisurely late lunch — the kind of intimate gathering that encourages great kitchen conversation. I created it with minimal fuss and gorgeous food, served simply — straight from the stove and right off a wood plank. Come hang out in the kitchen with me for grapefruit and kombucha palomas, Nicoise salad, and airy crepes topped with homemade jam.
Veggie Nicoise Salad Board
So much of this recipe can be done ahead and then artfully arranged on the board at the last minute. My version of the Nicoise salad subs lentils for fish or chicken. Cook the lentils per the package directions, and dress sparingly with extra virgin olive oil. On the side, serve a pair of quick dressings.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roast French green beans and sliced fennel, drizzled very lightly with olive oil, and dusted with salt and pepper for 15 to 20 minutes.
Boil medium Yukon Gold potatoes in salted water until tender but still firm. Cool, slice, and lightly flavor with Dijon mustard, then grill on a stovetop pan.
Lemony Yogurt Dressing
Whisk together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, juice of 1/4 lemon, zest of half a lemon, 1/4 garlic clove chopped finely, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.
Whisk together 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup Champagne, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
The colorful salad board serves as the centerpiece. Line a food-safe wood plank with parchment, and then heap on roasted veggies, dijon grilled potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, radicchio, arugula, salty olives, and capers. To round out the spring bistro feel, tie black and cream striped linens with twine, and embellish with single stems of hyacinths, daffodils, or tulips.
Kombucha and Thyme Paloma
I’ve livened up this refreshing paloma cocktail with kombucha, a popular fermented tea, said to be a healthful elixir!
½ shot thyme simple syrup (1 cup sugar to 1 cup water and a big sprig of fresh thyme, simmered on the stovetop. Strain and chill.)
1 shot freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
¼ shot juice of lime
1 shot white tequila
1 shot kombucha
In a glass, combine all ingredients and stir. To serve, pour over a large ice cube. Garnish with sliced grapefruit and a thyme sprig.
Vanilla and Orange Blossom Crepe
Work on your mad skillet skills with these delicious crepes served hot off the stove! Try easy homemade jam or lemon ricotta as toppings. I also added fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar.
1 3/4 cup flour
2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon vanilla salt
1/4 teaspoon orange blossom extract
2 teaspoons vanilla bean sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
Add all the ingredients to a blender, except for the butter. Blend. Add melted butter slowly with the blender running. Pour batter onto crepe pan (or a nonstick skillet) and rotate pan to spread. Cook on both sides for 1 minute or until lightly golden.
Delicious Crepe Toppings
Homemade raspberry freezer jam is so easy to whip up from scratch. You can’t miss with the directions on the back of the pectin box.
Or try lemon ricotta — whisk together 1 cup ricotta, 2 tablespoons half and half, zest of half a lemon, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 2 to 3 tablespoons honey.