Buffet Luncheon Menu Suggestions
I'm having 8 people over for lunch next weekend. I've decided to serve buffet style, outdoors if the weather permits. I'd like my lunch menu to highlight the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are now available at the produce stands and farmers' markets. I'd appreciate your suggestions for salads, main dishes and desserts that are delicious, attractive, and not too time-consuming. Thanks!
Cindy: Risking sounding like a broken record, since I posted this same comment just a day or two ago -- tomatoes! Thick, juicy slices of the best your market has to offer on a big platter. S&P. A bunch of basil tucked in a corner. A couple of dressings on the side.
Stone fruits are flooding my local market. Peaches, nectarines, plums. Any one on its own would make a great pie or cobbler or shortcake. All together would be a wonderful fruit cup to serve with a crisp lemon cookie or an almond-flavored madeleine.
Watermelon granita. Your freezer makes it, but you might need to enlist the help of a friend to scrape and serve at the buffet. Serve in small dishes or cocktail glasses with a demitasse spoon. Encourage your guests to slurp the last drops.
Cantaloupe chunks in a dish over ice. Skewers or toothpicks nearby. Cracked black pepper in a separate dish so guests can sprinkle a little or a lot.
I've posted this before but it is so good it bears repeating.
The Silver Palate's Rice and Vegetable salad is excellent, a bit different, and perfect for a buffet luncheon. The name is so humdrum, it doesn't do justice to the salad. It's a rice salad served at room temperature, composed of cooked white rice, very thinly sliced red and green peppers, diced red onion and shallots, peas, black olives (which I always omit) currants or golden raisins, scallions, and fair amount of chopped dill and parsley, tossed together in a red wine-dijon vinaigrette. Whenever I've taken this to dinner parties, people always scarf up all the leftovers to take home themselves. It is so good! You can find the recipe at either of these two links:
The recipe will yield eight to ten servings, according to the book, however, since it starts with eight cups of cooked rice, I think eight to ten would result in very generous servings. Oh, and it is just fine after being refrigerated for a day or two, just don't serve it right from the refrigerator.
Zucchini is cheap. Same for eggplant. I would do a hot casserole with one of these. Tuna, feta cheese, garlic, ground lamb, etc being possible other ingredients.
Pick small zucchinis. Have more flavor and bake them as whole (uncut up) as possible
Perhaps you can bake this in your gas grill and add wood chips to get a smoke flavor in the casserole
Yellow summer squash, sliced, in a baking dish, layered with sliced onion and pre-shredded cheddar cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for an hour then remove the foil for the last few minutes. The squash juice sort of combines with the cheese. The combination is delicious.