Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend. This has been such a fun week with the Broadway Tablescape Blog Hop. Everyone’s creativity and originality just makes me want to burst into song, tap my feet and clap my hands. Earlier this week I shared my tablescape theme, MAMMA MIA! Not wanting a good tablescape to go to waste, I had previously invited 3 of my dearest friends to lunch. Sometimes hosting a small lunch or dinner at home is more conducive to visiting and good conversation than going out to a restaurant: no distractions, no noise, no loud music, no waiters asking it you want more water right in the middle of a great story a friend is sharing. So I wanted to share with you a little bit of the great lunch I hosted yesterday and how my MAMMA MIA! tablescape inspires a Mediterranean lunch menu.
Just to jog your memory, here is the tablescape that I created for the Broadway Tablescape Blog Hop. Personalized crown place cards, beach umbrellas, shells and a “sandy” beach centerpiece set the mood and the color scheme.
MAMMA MIA! Inspires a Mediterranean Lunch Menu
The tablescape was the backdrop for the food and the drink that I served. I wanted the meal to be simple, not fussy, but with a bit of a Mediterranean beach vibe. You have to have a good welcoming drink and a delicious meal to celebrate the occasion. To welcome everyone, I served one of my favorite warm weather, beachy cocktails, the Piña Colada. Before he left the house, Sweet Shark measured and combined the ingredients in our blender. Then I put the blender jar in the refrigerator until my guests arrived and it was time to serve the drinks.
Mediterranean Lunch Menu Drink ~ A Piña Colada
A Piña Colada is so simple to make: combine rum, Coco Lopez, and pineapple juice in the blender, add ice and process until smooth and pour into your glass. For a special garnish that reflected the blue of water and sky in my tablescape, I added a drizzle of Blue Curacao, which is an orange liqueur. Add a blue straw and you are ready to toast and sip.
Mediterranean Lunch Menu Appetizer ~ Humus
For an appetizer, I made humus, again reflecting the feel of the eastern Mediterranean. I love to make humus: it’s easy, quick, inexpensive, and can be made ahead of time. If you have a big crowd, you can easily double this recipe.
Mediterranean Lunch Menu ~ Main Course Salad
I knew that I wanted a one~course meal and salad is the perfect choice for ladies. I included some Mediterranean ingredients to continue the lunch theme. There really isn’t a recipe for this salad. I prepared all the salad ingredients the day before and just assembled the salad right before serving.
- For the Salad:
- 1 cup large grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 pound small baby red potatoes, washed and halved
- 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
- 1 cup croutons (I bought mine in the salad bar at my gourmet grocer)
- 1 cup Nicoise olives
- 1 block good quality feta cheese, cut into ½~inch dice, refrigerate until assembly
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 head red leaf lettuce
- ¾ pound large shrimp, peeled
- For the Vinaigrette:
- ½ shallot, minced
- about ⅓ cup good quality Dijon mustard (My favorite brand is Maille.)
- about ⅓ cup sherry vinegar
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a medium stainless bowl, place the tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Gently toss to combine.
- Line 2 half sheet pans with foil. On one, place the halved tomatoes, cut side up. Roast for about 20~30 minutes until tomatoes are soft and starting to turn brown. Remove to a storage container.
- Add the halved potatoes to the stainless bowl. Add more extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, as needed to thoroughly coat the potatoes. On the second sheet pan, place the potatoes spreading out in one layer. Place in the oven and roast about 30 ~ 45 minutes until starting to brown and can be pierced with a wooden skewer. Remove to a storage container.
- In the same stainless bowl, add the drained and dried artichoke hearts. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Using one of the 2 sheet pans you already used, spread the artichoke hearts on the pan. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove to a storage container.
- Add the sliced red onion to a bowl of ice water and allow to set for 30 minutes. Remove from the water, pat dry and wrap in paper towels. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Wash and dry about ½ of each head of lettuce. Tear into bite~sized pieces. Place in salad bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
- In the same stainless bowl, place the shrimp and toss with more extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper to coat. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat a large cast~iron skillet over medium~high heat until almost smoking. Add shrimp to cover bottom of skillet and cook on both sides until pink and starting to get brown spots.Turn shrimp over as one sides cooks, about a total of 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and add more shrimp until all are sautéed. If making ahead, removed to storage container and refrigerate.
- For the Vinaigrette:
- In a small bowl, place the shallots, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, pinch of salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Just before serving, add enough extra virgin olive oil and whisk in to create an emulsion. If too thick, add a teaspoon or 2 of warm water and whisk. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- In the large salad bowl with the lettuce, add all the prepared ingredients except the shrimp. Pour on the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Divide salad among serving plates (You may have extra if you are serving 4 people.) Add 4 ~ 5 shrimp on top of each salad and serve.
Let’s toast to great friends (Dancing Queens) and great food.
Mediterranean Lunch Menu ~ Dessert
I wanted a simple and light dessert. That meant a no prep dessert; I bought a container of lemon sorbet and lemon cookies at the store. Garnished with a sprig of mint leaves from our garden, it was the perfect ending to my MAMMA MIA inspired Mediterranean lunch menu for my girlfriends.
Before you head over to visit today’s Broadway Tablescape contributors, I want to thank you for visiting all the wonderful ladies who have created these inspiring and entertaining venues. I got so many ideas for future party ideas and I hope you did, too. I also want to wish everyone a happy and fun Memorial Day. Whether you are watching a parade, spending time with family and friends at the beach or the lake, or just relaxing at home, I hope you have a safe weekend. Flag your flag and say a prayer of thanks for all the soldiers throughout our history who have served our country. Thank a soldier if you see one. Nod your head in recognition. Buy a soldier a meal. It’s the least we can do.
I’ll see you next week.
Here’s where I’ve partied this Week (May 19th ~ May 25th
Pin Junkie Pin Party
The Creative Circle
Vintage Charm Party