Friday, July 25

Under The Pergola V: a fabulous weekend lunch with friends in Southampton

Under The Pergola 
with Nest by Tamara!
this past saturday, we shared an afternoon luncheon under an extraordinary pergola, 
generously hosted by our good friends Sheldon and Maria Lowe.  
We dined under their beautiful pergola and on their bucolic property in Southampton in one of the most exquisite homes in the area.   Maria is  not only a fastidious cook but a professionally trained interior designer to boot.  When they bought this rambling home in the Hamptons almost two decades ago, they hired former talent interior designer Greg Jordan. Together Maria and Greg transformed this home into a work of art after taveling to Europe to hunt for many unique and beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces.  Maria is the consummate host who regularly entertains gaggles of friends and family all year long dishing up delicious food.  She challenges herself as a cook and each time I visit, we leave with recipes she shares, helpful entertaining tips and a box of leftovers she packs up to send  with us.  I am excited Maria is now sharing her cooking talent with the pubic as she has been penning a brand new blog, The Freezer Gourmet where she showcases delicious food and recipes, many of which can be made then kept in the freezer to pull out when hosting a soiree.  We have attended many of the Lowes' parties over the years, and I am happy to share some inspirational photos here from our most recent luncheon to inspire you for your next gathering.
Sheldon and his delightful sister Mona sharing fun stories with us.
Unbelievable is a word that comes to mind when tasting Maria's delicious
Smores Ice Cream Cake Check out the easy recipe on her blog!  The cake is not only delicious but it visually stunning,
Maria walked us through how to whip up homemade margaritas 
she had pre-frozen in advance to save time!
take away decorating tips from today's party:  
When serving food outdoors keep it simple, light and easy to eat and serve.  Offer a variety of food to guests on a nearby buffet table.  Use colorful linens to set a festive tone -- I love the lavendar and green colors on this table complimenting the palette in their beautiful nearby flower garden. Maria uses casually arranged flowers picked straight from her garden to create an easy yet elegant ambiance.  Growing vines and wisteria over a pergola gives you a sense of "nesting" outdoors - it is cozy plus the greenery provides a shady spot to share a meal. 

take away food cooking tips from today's party:  
prepping food beforehand as much as you can takes a great deal of time (and stress) out of your job, while preparing you in order to be able to spend time with your guests.  This corn salad can be made in advance and quickly assembled right before serving.  Utilizing your freezer for drinks and recipes (as Maria shows on her blog) is a big time saver and under utilized by many home cooks.  In the summer months, try to use the freshest, most local ingredients like the corn and tomato here for food that brings summer to your table! 

the kitchen was buzzing with activity on Saturday as guests arrived, and I caught glimpses of this delicious roasted corn salad being created.     

enjoying time outdoors sets a natural and relaxed tone -
this day the weather was divine!
Sheldon and Randal catching up.
 Lunch was served al fresco and buffet style allowing guests to create their own plate - a delicious mixture of grilled shrimp, steak, homemade salads, dips, gazpacho soup and many homemade desserts! 

The array of homemade desserts also a highlights:  warm apple streudel in pastry, chocolate pot of creme, and Smores ice cream cake all became the hit of the party.  
These desserts and more will be soon featured on 
The Freezer Gourmet.  

Happy Nesting 
XO Tamara