Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lemon and Lime...It's Summertime!

June is an extremely busy month for me.  Not only is my teaching year ending, but I have both of my kiddos birthdays and of course the monthly dinner!  We celebrated Ella's birthday on Saturday (see Art Party post), so I only had a two days to prepare for this month's dinner.  I decided to go with an easy theme of Lemon and Lime...It's Summertime.  This is a simple theme and would be perfect for a baby shower, wedding shower, or a spring/summer get together.

Decorations:  Go overboard on green and yellow to really make your table bright and happy.  I set my table with a bright yellow tablecloth and made a small runner with lemon fabric I found at Joanns.  The plastic placemat I found at Target.  They currently have lemons featured for the summer in plates, cups, etc.  I just bought the placemat for $2.99. (Reminder if you are new to my blog: my party's are inexpensive with mostly homemade items to save money.)  As a centerpiece, I used a large glass hurricane I already owned (you could use a bowl as well) and filled it with lemons and limes.

For added decor, I placed two small vases with yellow and green flowers.  These were flowers I had left over from the colorful bouquets at my daughter's party.  They weren't the prettiest yellow flowers, but the green ones were cool.  Inside the clear vases, I cut slices of lemon to add color and blend with the theme. Martini glasses were also on the table in preparation of lemon drop martinis!!

As a napkin holder, I sliced a lime into thick circles and cut out all the juice.  The inside didn't go to waste though. I used it to decorate the top of the Key Lime Pie.

As a place card, I made lemon bath salts for each guest.  I found these small jars at the 99 Cent Only store two for a dollar.  I found the tag online and inserted my guest's name in the center.  I also made a tag for the top to identify the contents.  I used Mod Podge to adhere these to the metal top and glass front. Finished them off with a green ribbon.  I made the bath salts with the following easy recipe:

1 cup Epsom Salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil (I bought mine at Sprouts Grocery Store)
2 or 3 drops of yellow food coloring

 Mix all ingredients, stir, and set out overnight.  Then fill the jars! Of course, double, triple, etc. the recipe if you are making several jars.

Menu: Instead of making individual menu cards for each guest, I decided to post my menu on the wall using my frame collage. I found all images on Google.

We started with lemon drop martinis which definitely got the evening off to a festive start!

Next we had a salad with a lemon citrus dressing.  The salad was simple -- just Romaine lettuce, mandarin orange slices, and chopped walnuts.  The recipe for the dressing is:

 Julia Child's Oil and Lemon Dressing.

 2 strips of fresh lemon peel, 1 by 2 ½ inches each
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more, if needed
1/2 tablespoon Dijon-type prepared mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup fine fresh oil
Freshly ground pepper

Mince the lemon peel very finely with the salt, scrape it into the mortar or bowl, and mash into a fine paste with the pestle or spoon.  Beat in the mustard and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; when thoroughly blended start beating in the oil by droplets to make a homogeneous sauce—easier when done with a small electric mixer.  Beat in droplets of more lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

For our main plate, I served Grilled Lemon Chicken, Lime Rice, and Asparagus with Lime. (Sorry, no photo)

Grilled Lemon Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel (zest)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh lemon thyme or thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 lemons, halved
Fresh lemon thyme or thyme sprigs, optional

1. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic back in a shallow bowl. For marinade, in a small bowl stir together chicken broth, lemon peel, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon thyme, and pepper.  Pour over chicken.  Seal bag.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.  Drain chicken, reserving marinade.
2.  Grill chicken on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink, turning and brushing with marinade halfway through grilling.  Discard any remaining marinade.  Add lemon halves to grill for the last 3 minutes of grilling.
3.  Serve chicken with grilled lemons and, if desired, top with additional fresh thyme.  Makes 4 servings.

Garlic Asparagus with Lime

1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/4 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in garlic and shallots, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in asparagus spears; cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Squeeze lime over hot asparagus, and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to serving plate, and garnish with lime wedges.

For dessert, I made both Key Lime Pie and Lemon Cream pie, so guests got a little of both.  Due to time constraints, I bought the pie crusts, so the recipes do not include those.

Key Lime Pie

4 egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) condensed milk
2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice
1 lime, grated zest
1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until fluffy, or 5 to 6 minutes.  Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to whip until thick, 3 to 4 minutes longer.  Lower the mixer speed and slowly add lime juice until incorporated.  Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until the filling has just set.  Cool on wire rack, and then refrigerate for 20 minutes.  For topping: whip the cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until nearly stiff.  Evenly spread the whipped cream on top of the piece, and place in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to serving.

Lemon Pie

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (14ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Mix together the cream cheese, milk, and lemon juice.  Mix well and spread in graham cracker crust.  Chill and top as desired ( I used lemon slices and blueberries).

Favor:  I used the same inexpensive jars from the 99Cent Store for my favors.  I filled them with Lemon-heads and Green Spree candies.  I created a lime tag at the top to identify the occasion.  The "Life would be sour without you" tag I found online at Darling Doodles.  She has several other super cute candy tags (free) which would be great for teacher gifts, etc.

This was another nice dinner party with great food and vibrant colors. I highly recommend this welcome to summer! As usual, comment below or email me with comments, questions, or if you would like me to email you any items used.  Thanks for visiting!


Mikki said...

Hi there!!
Someone pinned one of your blog posts on Pinterest and I had to come check it out. what a great site you have here! Can't wait to start following along!

Unknown said...

It is a new theme for me and your decoration is marvelous.I like the way you done this decoration perfectly.Winnie The Pooh Baby Shower

Unknown said...

Thanks for a great idea. I tried a Lemon Lime themed Supper club in May and wrote about it on my blog MeanderingJoy. I used your garlic asparagus recipe with lime and it was delicious and easy to make. I will continue to follow your blog for more great ideas.

Unknown said...

Thanks for a great idea--I used the lemon lime theme for a supper club party and it was a great hit. I used your recipe for Garlic Asparagus with Lime--delicious. I wrote about your blog on my blog--MeanderingJoy. I will continue to follow your blog for more great ideas.