Saturday, September 11, 2010

a late summer dinner party menu

late summer dinner party menu

Cooking is one of B and my passions, so I've been excited to see other fashion bloggers doing cuisine-related posts lately. We love having people over for dinner and I thought I would share the menu from a recent success.
Summer Tomato Soup
B's Spicy Fried Okra
Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage
Halibut with Tomato Vinaigrette
With the exception of the fried okra, all of these recipes came from or were inspired by one of our favorite cookbooks, French: The Secrets of Classic Cooking Made Easy.  We've made the majority of the recipes in this book and every one is flawless. They're also relatively simple, so it's very easy to tweak them and make them your own.

Summer Tomato Soup

   1 tbsp olive oil
   1 large onion, chopped
   1 carrot, chopped
   2 1/4 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered (we used 2 large heirloom and 3 medium beefsteak from the
    farmers market)
   3 garlic cloves, chopped
   5 thyme sprigs (1/4 tsp dried)
   4 or 5 marjoram sprigs (1/4 tsp dried)
   1 bay leaf
   3 tbsp sour cream, crème fraîche or yogurt
   salt and pepper

late summer dinner party menu

1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan or flameproof casserole.
2. Add the onion and carrot over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until just softened, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
4. Use a food processor or immersion blender to puree the soup to your liking (we like ours a little "rustic"). Stir in the cream or yogurt and season. Reheat gently and serve.

late summer dinner party menu

B's Spicy Fried Okra 

   3 cups okra, sliced (about 1/2 inch)
   2 tbsp olive oil
   1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (preferably Tony Chachere's)
   4 tbsp cornmeal
   salt and freshly ground pepper

late summer dinner party menu

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet or saute pan.
2. Add okra, a little bit of salt (to draw out the water, but remember cajun seasoning contains salt) and pepper over medium-high heat until edges are slightly blackened and soft to taste.
3. Add cajun seasoning and cornmeal and toss. Cook for 2-5 more minutes. Enjoy!

late summer dinner party menu

Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage
Note: This recipe has been modified quite a bit from the original, which is very pretty presentation-wise, but much more time-consuming. It's a great concept, though, for a healthier spin on mashed potatoes.

   1 small head of savoy cabbage, chopped
   8 small new potatoes halved (we leave skins on, but you can peel them if you like)
   1 medium onion, chopped
   8 cloves garlic
   1/4 cup milk
   1/2 stick butter (we used slightly less this time to be healthy, but I would recommend the full amount :-)
   1 tbsp olive oil
   salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Melt a tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil in a heavy frying pan and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until just softened. Stir in the chopped cabbage and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until tender and pale golden, stirring frequently.
2. Put the potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Salt the water generously and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender, then drain.
3. Mash the potatoes with the milk and remaining butter (as needed) until smooth and creamy, then stir in the cabbage mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

late summer dinner party menu

Halibut with Tomato Vinaigrette
Note: Major fail on the halibut. I forget to take pictures when we're cooking à la minute. Here's the recipe, which I can assure you turned out very well.  This one is also altered slightly from the one that's in the book. B thinks that might be good with a bit of citrus next time.

   2 tomatoes, chopped
   2 green onions, chopped
   2 cloves garlic crushed
   about 6 tbsp chopped fresh chives, thyme, parsley, basil
   1/2 cup olive oil
   4 halibut fillets
   1 tbsp dried Herbes de Provence
   salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the tomatoes, green onion, garlic, and herbs. Stir in the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl and leave the sauce at room temperature for about 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend.
2. Preheat the broiler on high. Line a baking sheet or dish with foil and brush lightly with olive oil.
3. Rub halibut with olive oil, Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Put under broiler 7-9 minutes until the flesh is opaque and the top is lightly browned.
4. Serve with sauce and enjoy!



I love halibut so I am definitely trying the last recipe. The soup looks good too! x

LyddieGal said...

Your dinner looks tasty, and I LOVE your blue and white place setting!

Chic on the Cheap


Yumm! def worth trying x

The Girlie Blog said...

The soup looks extremely fresh and good. Thank you for the recipe. I hope I can find all the ingredients in the store.

Kimberellie said...

It all looks VERY good. We love to cook here ourselves. I'm always very surprised when people DON'T like to cook. But you, you look like a fantastic cook. And just so you know...I'm free next Tuesday. ;-)

heart: Miss Furnellie

Thrive on Novelty said...

yumm! looks so good xx

Grace said...

My word the okra! I want to come over for dinner.

Love Grace.

AMK said...

that looks so tasty yum

janettaylor said...


Lini said...

These sound really really good! Have to try one of these soon!!
I love to cook too!! :D

Leia said...

Everything looks absolutely amazing! I love that you're posting food and recipes as well now, more please!!


Collette Osuna said...

Hello...Im a vegetarian....your recipes look wonderful...thanks for sharing:)

Happy Saturday!

Statements in Fashion

Hannah said...

Summer soups often sound so gross but taste SO GOOD.

Ebony said...

I adore tomatoes with other things, but can't eat them alone so this week I'm going to try your recipe for spicy fried okra and add stewed tomatoes. Already, I want to lick my chops.

Amanda Lee said...



rebecca said...

that soup looks delicious (:

StyleFrost said...

These all look so delicious, love the look of the soup and okra!

Terri said...

Must try the potatoes with cabbage!

blorange dice said...

mmm, thanks for sharing!! i love cooking too, especially with my boyfriend. i'll definitely have to try some of these out.

how's the decorating going in your new place??

Little Monarch said...

okra! my fave!

The Owl's Closet said...

Ooo, thanks for sharing ur recipes, E! I love food, so I'm also excited to see fashion bloggers posting their fave recipes:)

jamie-lee said...

ohhh this looks delicious!

hiven said...

they all look so lovely

Arushi Khosla (FabBlab) said...

I'm Indian so we eat fried okra at least once a week :D This is pretty awesome, I'd totally try if it I could make anything but ice.

Audrey Allure said...

It all sounds so delicious!

Erika said...

Ohmigosh this seriously looks like heaven! I'm kind of obsessed with the fact that the color scheme of all the food is so perfect for fall, as well! :)

chaoskontrolowany said...


Lela said...

I. Am. Starving. Haha, Halibut sounds gorgeous!


Yaary said...

im gonna try some of these! it looks great!

Zarna said...

this looks amazing!! my brother just did a blog post on tomato basil soup at

its my favorite soup ever!

lovin your blog!


Lesley said...

Nom nom nom. They all look amazing!

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

Yum yum yum, this looks so delicious. You're making me hungry.

SMASH said...

I would literally eat every single thing in this post, especially the okra!


stylefyles said...

I might just have to give that okra a shot. I've never eaten it before, but picked up a bag of frozen okra on a whim at the grocery store last week. Thanks for giving me something to try with it =)

anotherfishinthesea said...

I was so excited to see your food post!!! It just made me wish I was eating dinner at your house!! I'm definitely trying to mashed potatoes with cabbage soon. Sounds awesome.

emilypanda said...

These are some great food recipes, I'd love to try the soup one!

anotherfishinthesea said...

Do you just remove and trash the garlic when the potatos are done boiling or are they mashed in with the potatoes?