Thursday, August 4, 2011



But we still love to entertain our friends...
Here's one of our favorite company meals...

    with Basil and Garlic Dressing
Chilled Asparagus Spears
Chilled French Green Beans
Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella slices
Assorted crackers and garlic toasts* 
Lemon Basil Sorbet and Shortbread (from Fresh Market)

The recipe for the Shrimp and Pasta salad was given to me by my wonderful sister-in-law. It's simple, make ahead, and super delicious...perfect for a hot summer's day! It's even easier when you purchase cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp from your local grocery or fish market!

   (makes about 1/2 cup)

   2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
   1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
   3 large garlic cloves, minced
   1/2 tsp. salt
   Pinch of freshly ground pepper
   1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
   1 heaping tsp. fresh basil, minced
   1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

   1 4oz. jar/can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
   1/2 cup sliced ripe (black) olives
   6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
   1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1 pound small shrimp, boiled, deveined, and chilled
   1/2 pound Penne Rigate, cooked (al dente), rinsed and chilled
   1/2 cup grated Parmesan
   Red-tipped leaf lettuce to line the plates...

Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients except the olive oil in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.Process until smooth. With the processor still running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube. Process an addition 15 seconds to form a strong emulsion. Refrigerate.

To prepare the salad, combine all ingredients except lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Toss to blend well. Add the dressing and stir to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve the salad on individual serving plates lined with the lettuce leaves.
Serves 4-6.


The Lemon Basil Sorbet was made with my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker...the recipe was from the accompanying cookbook. It was quite TART...which may be due to the fact that I don't think I added all the suggested sweetener. (I experimented with using a sugar substitute. OOPS!) Thanks to our innovative guests, we learned that the sorbet was delicious when added to our glasses of water. It made a refreshing lemonade-style beverage. (Thanks for experimenting, Becky!) 

Remember...even when you goof up a recipe, you can laugh about it with your guests. It just adds to the fun and the stories...and the teasing! (One day, I'll live this one down...)

Especially when it's HOT, I like to purchase parts of the meal. Not only does it keep the kitchen much cooler, it keeps me more relaxed and allows me to truly enjoy my guests. (There was a time when I wouldn't be caught dead doing this...I finally got smart!)

* For this meal we served flavored Triscuits (Olive Oil and Rosemary, and Fire-roasted Tomato) and garlic toast rounds purchased from the bakery department at our local grocer. (Both Publix and Fresh Market always have these on the shelves.)

Our table design was simple...

My favorite burlap fabric
Rattan chargers (WM)
Coral plates (C&B)
Rattan candle holder (hg)
Asst. Shells and Starfish
Fishing Floats (found on various beaches) 
Coral printed napkins (The Fresh Market)
Starfish Dessert Plates (TJM)
Dessert Dishes (C&B)*

We kept everything very simple...ate in the breakfast room, overlooking the pool. Lots of wonderful Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (wine) accompanied the meal...mmmm.
(This is my new favorite...and it came in pale blue bottles...they're already on my bottle tree!)

*In case you are looking for a very versatile dessert dish, check these out... They're from Crate and Barrel...$2.50 each or 12 for $24.95. I think I have used these dishes MORE than anything else in my cabinets. They can be used for so many things...and they hold just the right amount of dessert.

I am connecting with Foodie Friday! See you there...

Have a wonderful weekend...and stay cool!


The Fajdich Times said...

Your pasta salad sounds delish:)

Desert Dreaming said...

Wow, this looks unreal, it's going on my "need to make list"...I know we are really hot here ont he Gulf Coast (Seminole), but my family in Texas has been at or over 100 degrees for a month now, I think I may share this with one of my cousin's who loves to cook. And, your tablescape is just too creative!!!


Unknown said...

Pasta salad... that sounds good for tonight! Thanks... I love those little dessert dishes too!

Good Rule: Keep Cool
~Rainey @ The Project Table~

Simple Daisy said...

Yum!!! That sounds delicious:):) I love simple meals in the heat of summer!!

Southerncook said...

This pasta salad looks and sounds amazing. Anything with fresh shrimp in it has to be delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Anonymous said...

This recipe is for sure on my to-do list!Looks yummy!

Kaybe said...

I love the way you took simple available items and made the beachy centerpiece. Very nice!

Take good care,


BECKY said...

Looks and sounds amazing, Jane! I just bet you are the hostess with the mostest!! You have such a great way with people!!

I'll have to add this to my recipe file! Thanks!!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Well Dayum Jane...YUM! All of it looks great and the little dishes are adorable!

Leo said...

Jane - this looks so yummy!! I may have to try this one of these days.

rjerdee said...

Mmmmm, yummy cold healthy!!! I've been traveling for a week so I haven't been an attentive blogger...back now :)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oooooh, yum! Love the food, the tablescape, and the tips on those CUTE dishes. I love things like that... they are not only workhorses, but they are so attractive, too. Thanks for the tip, Jane.

And yes, you did see that color explosion on the table, and do you recognize the cuter than cute froggie and flower??? Still loving them!

Love you, lady...


Sheila :-) said...

Oh Jane, i wish it would heat up a little here, my fingers are frozen whilst typing this. Its a cold morning in Brisbane.

Anna said...

Can I move in? I think I would like to eat at your table.

Thanks for the comments. Congratulations on a growing heritage.

Anna said...

oops, that's me. anna

Fickle Cattle said...

I love shrimp on pasta. No-fail recipe in my book. :-)

Fickle Cattle

MissBliss said...

this dish sound AMAZING. Must make this week! I love having more ideas for "cool" meals now, esp. in August Miami!

Love being able to laugh with friends over whatever it is. Those are the best friends.

You set a fun table!

Town and Country Gals said...

That looks so gooood! No one wants to cook when it's this hot!! Your table is lovely, so many cute elements! Thanks for visiting so I could find you!

Maureen Stevens said...

ack, I'm on a diet! this looks delish!

Anna said...

please feel free to use our parachute photos. anna