Celebrating Democracy: A Re-Creation of The Inaugural Luncheon

table setting inauguration

Fifty-Seventh Presidential Inauguration
January 21, 2013

This was a grand day. A day for all Americans to come together and celebrate, to acknowledge that we can disagree politically and still have mutual respect. Barack Obama’s Inaugural Luncheon captured the spirit of the day.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents were seated together at the tables. The legislative branch, judicial branch, and executive branch were enjoying each other’s company. It was all good. I am proud to be an American. I am a patriot. I love the formalities, the ceremony, the protocol, and the tradition.

In that spirit, as we did four years ago, we re-created dishes and the table decor of the Inaugural Luncheon with the help of recipes from the Senate Inaugural website. Coincidentally, I had just purchased a set of Lenox china with a teal rim just two days before, almost exactly the same as the china pattern used at the luncheon!

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Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Pots de Creme

salted caramel

Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Pots de Creme

christmas table setting
Our Christmas Table & Fire in the Hearth

Merry Christmas Friends! I brought this petite dessert, Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Pots de Creme, to a holiday party the other night. They travel well and received rave reviews too. It’s amazing how a handful of everyday ingredients can easily be turned into a sublime little treat:  sugar, cream, milk, egg, vanilla, salt.

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Home Tour – Part II: The Tables

natural holiday table setting

Chez Lori Lynn is a place for entertaining. For the WHITE POINT HOME TOUR & RECEPTION, the tables in my home were dressed in a seasonal style. And to give an idea for a holiday dish that is super-popular and easy to prepare for a crowd,  I served my Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes to the 300 attendees. I know that sounds like a lot of sweet potatoes, but only a sample was served, so it really was manageable…

My home joined six other distinctive San Pedro homes on the WHITE POINT HOME TOUR & RECEPTION hosted by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. All the proceeds from the event supported site improvements and habitat restoration at the White Point Preserve. The White Point Nature Preserve features 102 acres of restored coastal sage scrub habitat, hiking and handicap accessible trails overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.

The Seasonal Tables

  • Natural Thanksgiving
  • Casual Elegant Candelabra Dining
  • Purple & Green Butterfly Garden
  • Rise ‘n Shine Breakfast Counter

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please come for tea & sherry

tea sherry party

Home-Grown Fresh Lemon Verbena Tea
Bodega Dios Baco Oloroso Sherry
Mini Sherry Tea Cakes with Marcona Almond & Rosemary
Roasted Black Figs, Honey, Fig Balsamic Syrup, Black Pepper, Sea Salt
Cream Sherry Glaze

sherry tea cakes, beautiful high tea image

“You are formally invited to a virtual British afternoon tea party that will take during the week of August 27th! We thought it would be great to follow up our Greek adventures, the original place of Olympics, with a British-inspired culinary theme, the location of this year’s summer Olympics.

Bring a gourmet sweet or savory treat – either a makeover of a classic or your own unique creation. Some general items on a traditional tea menu include: sandwiches, sausage rolls, Victoria sponge, cakes, and scones.”

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What makes this the perfect garden party salad?

garden party shrimp salad, lemon basil shrimp salad
garden party shrimp salad

shrimp, navy bean, arugula, cucumber, olive, tomato, red onion
chunky lemon basil dressing

What makes this the perfect garden party salad? Breezy summery colors ~ pink, green, yellow, red. Contrasting textures from creamy beans to crunchy cucumber. It’s light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day, yet substantial enough to be a satisfying entrée. Ease of preparation, everything is made ahead and refrigerated in separate containers. The salad is composed just before serving ~ it’s casual and informal. The dressing is bright and pizazzy, whole lemon adds a bold note… As for the flavor, please be my guest and Taste With The Eyes!

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An Inelegant Table Setting?

turquoise blue table setting
Initially I set the table with turquoise cans of sparkling water because they complemented my color scheme. But on further consideration, I liked the idea that my guests would pour their water into a tumbler full of ice, nice and fizzy, straight from the can.

Water glasses were filled with ice just before everyone took their seats. Guests popped open their own cans. Guess what? They liked this too. La Croix is naturally pure sparking water with no sodium, just a clean taste with crisp effervescence. Inelegant. Casual. Refreshing.

La Croix Water, cans table setting turquoise

Cans on the table? What say you?

Leg of Lamb, Curry Quinoa Crust

tri-lamb challenge, lean on lamb, healthy lamb summer recipe, how to roast a leg of lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb Medallion, Curry Quinoa Crust
Over Steamed Spinach
Curried Heirloom Tomato Salsa with Mint
Avocado & Serrano Chile with Lime

So here’s the challenge: Cook a leg of lamb as the main-course to serve at a dinner party for 8 people using no more than 10 ingredients (excluding salt & pepper) with a prep time of under 30 minutes (not including cooking times). It must be healthy, lean, and nutrient-rich – using only “good fats” and “good grains.” The folks at Tri-Lamb are sponsoring this “Lean on Lamb” challenge for cooks in Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC with a focus on healthy ORIGINAL recipes for entertaining.

So, as is Taste With The Eyes style, I was looking for harmonious colors, various textures, and memorable flavors to create a vibrant lamb entrée for my guests. All ingredients had to be commonly available, so while the dish is not exotic per se, it is alluring and appealing on a hot summer evening. Heirloom tomatoes add a seasonal element, while the curry adds a bright sunny quality, spicy serrano gives it just enough kick while fresh lime juice (from my tree) brings the tart acidity balance…

10 Ingredients

  1. Leg of Lamb
  2. Quinoa
  3. Curry Powder
  4. Olive Oil
  5. Spinach
  6. Heirloom Tomatoes
  7. Avocado
  8. Serrano Chile
  9. Mint
  10. Lime Juice

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