A small group of remarkable ladies gathered for lunch, providing an opportunity to quietly catch up before the kids were out of school, and their needs and desires and demands take precedence.
We started the afternoon with a glass of prosecco and after enjoying the charming lunchtime company and conversation, I handed each a bag of Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies to take home and leisurely nibble before the kids arrived home from school and devoured them.
THREE PEA CHICKEN SALAD
4 sprigs tarragon plus 2 tablespoons minced leaves
2 shallots, 1 halved, 1 minced
2 garlic cloves, 1 halved, 1 minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 pound thinly sliced sugar snap peas
1 cup peas
1/2 cup thinly sliced snow peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
toasted bread and lettuce leaves for serving
Place tarragon sprigs, halved shallot, halved garlic and chicken in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 1-inch and season with salt and pepper. Bring water to a boil, remove pan from heat, cover and let stand until chicken is just cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Dice chicken.
Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, oil, vinegar, minced shallot and minced garlic in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Combine all peas in a medium bowl. Add chicken, dressing, minced tarragon, parsley, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional lemon juice if desired. Serve with toasted bread and lettuce leaves.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2012
FRESH ROSEMARY MUFFINS
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup currants
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces goat cheese
Heat oven to 350F. Cook milk, golden raisins, raisins, currants and fresh rosemary in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 2 minutes or just until it begins to steam, remove from heat. Add butter, stir until butter melts. Cool completely. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, make a well in center of mixture. Stir together egg and milk mixture until well blended, add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon one-third of batter into 1 lightly greased 12-cup muffin pan, add 2 teaspoons of goat cheese to each muffin cup. Spoon remaining batter over goat cheese, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 3 minutes. Remove from pan.
LEMON THYME SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup butter
Heat oven to 325F.
In a large bowl stir together flour, powdered sugar, cornmeal, lemon thyme and lemon peel. Drizzle with honey, do not stir. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Knead dough until smooth, shape into a ball.
On an ungreased cookie sheet, pat mixture into a 9-inch square. Using a cookie cutter, cut into desired shape, do not separate.
Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bottom starts to brown and center is set.
Remove from oven. While warm, recut shortbread. Cool completely on cookie sheet on a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, June 2014