My favorite part of being Editor in Chief of Forest & Bluff Magazine is concepting our entertaining pieces, then collaborating with others to make the ideas come to life. This story originally appeared in the House & Garden section of our July 2020 issue and was shot in my backyard on a beautiful day in late May of last year. Though summer has not officially arrived, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this piece with warm weather predicted for the upcoming weekend and Memorial Day just around the bend.
words and styling by Wendy Franzen / photography by Monica Kass Rogers / recipes by Elizabeth Brown / cocktail recipe by the Deer Path Inn
Gathering with friends on a lazy summer afternoon is one of life’s great pleasures. A table placed under the shade of a tree, layered with deliciously simple food that speaks to the season, encourages lingering of the best kind. Setting this table with summer’s bounty—cherry tomatoes here, potted herbs there—connects your table to the surroundings and the meal being served.
Creating a thoughtful adjacent space to keep pitchers of lemonade, light cocktail fixings, and ice at the ready will minimize dashes to the kitchen and add to the easygoing atmosphere. And when the afternoon winds to its eventual close, guests will leave sated from great conversation, an indulgent lunch, and the casual, gracious hospitality.
The following recipes can easily be prepared a day ahead of time, allowing the host to truly relax.
- 1 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandolin or with a vegetable peeler into ribbons
- 1 large carrot, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandolin or with a vegetable peeler into ribbons
- 1 large round loaf country style or rustic bread (2 pounds)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 11/2 cups store-bought jarred muffaletta salad mix, drained of oil, divided
- 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces smoked turkey, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/3-inch thick
- 1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
- 12 large basil leaves
- 4 ounces salami, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups arugula leaves
- Combine zucchini and carrot ribbons in a medium bowl and squeeze juice of half a lemon over top. Drizzle in one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
- Slice the loaf of bread in half across the belly. Pull out the soft interior bread from inside of each half, leaving a one-inch border all around to create a cavity in which you’ll build the sandwich.
- Scatter ¾ cup of muffaletta salad mix evenly over cavity in the bottom piece of bread. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil. Layer prosciutto over the mix to cover bottom of the bread completely. Next, layer red and yellow peppers, followed by sliced turkey. Now layer on mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, arrange the tomato slices on top and season again. Sprinkle basil leaves atop tomato slices. Layer on the salami. Gently squeeze liquid from reserved zucchini and carrot curls, then spread over salami. Sprinkle goat cheese crumbles and minced red onion over all, drizzle with one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and top with arugula leaves.
- In top piece of bread, scatter remaining muffaletta salad mix and drizzle with last tablespoon olive oil. Working quickly, cap top piece of bread onto the sandwich base, using your hands to compress the whole thing so the top and bottom pieces of bread come together. Wrap very tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap. Allow to rest at room temperature before slicing into wedges, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. This sandwich gets better the longer it rests.
White Gazpacho with Crab-Basil Salad
- 4 cups chicken stock, chilled
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces yellow tomato, small dice
- 8 ounces red tomato, small dice
- 6 ounces orange bell pepper, small dice
- 12 ounces English cucumber, small dice
- 6 ounces peeled jicama, small dice
- 2 ripe but firm avocadoes, small dice
- kernels from 2 ears sweet corn, cooked, cooled and cut off the cobb
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- ¼ cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels
- Crab-basil Salad (recipe follows) Whisk together chicken stock, sour cream, vinegar, Tabasco, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, jicama, avocado, corn, scallions, cilantro and basil. Taste for seasoning, cover, and chill until very cold. Just before serving, stir in the sunflower kernels. Top each portion with some of the Crab-Basil Salad.
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over for shells
- 3 tablespoons Agrumato extra-virgin olive oil pressed with lemons or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup basil chiffonade
- salt and pepper to taste Gently fold all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning, cover, and chill until very cold.
BLUEBERRY GIN FIZZ
- 15 fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish
- 1 ½ ounce of gin
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/3 ounce simple syrup or honey syrup
- Champagne or prosecco for topping
- Mint sprigs or cocktail picks for garnish (optional)
- Place blueberries in a cocktail shaker and smash with a wooden spoon or muddler. Add gin, lime juice, and syrup to shaker and top with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Top with Champagne or prosecco to taste.
- To garnish, thread blueberries onto a mint sprig (bottom leaves removed) or a cocktail pick. Balance across rim of glass or place in the cocktail.