There’s only one thing I adore more than cooking and eating delicious food, and that’s cooking and eating delicious food with friends. My dear friend Grace Bonney and I decided we needed to throw a little gathering to celebrate good times and bright days with this fun and easy menu.
Entertaining in the warm summer weather is my favorite. There’s always so much fresh produce, and so many vibrant colors and flavors that pop and sing. Grace told me that she is going to start her summer decorating with a lemon stamped DIY table runner, lemon place cards, and lovely bouquets from the grocery store that she’s amping up with a little of her own creative zing. Taking all of that into consideration I developed a menu with a nod to Asian fare because I just adore bright and spicy Asian flavors! All of these recipes are easy, approachable, and impressive for guests.
SWEET PAUL’S THAI ICED TEA
1. Brew the tea with the spices for 5 minutes and strain into a pitcher.
2. Start by adding sugar a little at a time until you think it’s sweet enough. Allow it to cool completely.
3. Fill glasses with ice. Pour in the tea and add about 4 tablespoons of half and half in each glass. Stir and serve.
FLOWER POT BREAD
Makes 4 mini loaves
1. Soak flower pots in water for at least 1 hour.
2. Heat the oven to 400°F.
3. Mix yeast, honey, and ½ cup warm water in a large bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. It should be frothy after 5 minutes—if not the yeast is dead and you have to start over.
4. Add the rest of the water, the flour, oil, and salt and mix until you have a smooth dough.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rise until double its size, about 40 minutes.
6. Fill each pot with some dough about ¾ the way full.
7. Bake until golden for about 20 minutes.
8. Cool on a wire rack and serve with cilantro dipping oil.
COLD NOODLE SALAD WITH SPICY ALMOND BUTTER DRESSING
1. Cook soba noodles according to package directions and allow to cool completely.
2. For the sauce, combine almond butter, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar and sesame seeds in a bowl and stir until well mixed.
3. Add the noodles, carrots and edamame, give it a light stir and serve with cilantro, lime and a pinch of red chili flakes.
1. Stir together mayo and sriracha in a small bowl. Spread it on both sides of the baguette.
2. Add lettuce, chicken, carrot, cucumber, some salt and chili and finish with a little lemon juice.
3. Place the top piece of baguette and serve.