Tuesday, August 18, 2015

On the Homefront: Colorful Summer Fruits Table

A big bowl of summer fruits is the centerpiece, and the
tangerines replace candy on this table!

A set of four salad plates from Stein Mart a few years ago, each with a different fruit slice design, was the inspiration for this end of summer table.  Bright shades of red, orange, yellow, and green make this table eye-catching and cheerful.  Each place setting is different, both in terms of fruit plate and color palette, but the brown place mats help to ground the dazzling display of colors.

Dark brown wooden bead place mat from Target years ago; lime green dinner plate (one of four different colors, unmarked and bought from a catalog ages ago); watermelon design salad plate (Fruit Salad by Robin Pickens from Certified International); red-handled flatware; red napkin (one of four colors from various sets); orange water glass from The Cupboard in Fort Collins, CO, ages ago; lime green champagne flute for wine (one of six different colors, from a catalog years ago).

The other three place settings:

Nothing says late summer like a vivid arrangement of sunflowers!

Of course the menu had to reflect all of these summery fruits!  From a watermelon salad to the orange-flavored dessert, each of the four fruits represented on the salad plates was incorporated into the meal.

Colorful Summer Fruits Menu:

Garlic Lime Chicken*
Lemon Rice**
Sautéed Baby Greens and Mushrooms with Lemon***

*Garlic Lime Chicken Breasts

1/4 C. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/4 C. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (which are actually halves)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and garlic.  Place the chicken in a large shallow pan (I used a 9x13-inch baking pan) and pour the marinade over, turning the chicken to coat completely.  Marinate the chicken, covered and chilled, for at least two hours and up to one day, turning once or twice.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding leftover marinade, and space well apart, skin sides up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees in the upper third of the oven for 25-30 minutes until just cooked through.

Change the oven setting to broil and broil the chicken about two inches from the heat until the skin is crisp, about two minutes.  Serve with lime wedges.  Serves 4.

Note: If you prefer to grill, by all means grill this chicken instead, but you will not have the leftover pan juices to pour over the rice, which for me is the best part!

**Lemon Rice

1 C. water
1 C. chicken broth
juice and zest of one lemon
2 T. butter
1 C. uncooked long-grain rice
1 tsp. dried basil
(salt to taste if using unsalted broth)

Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Serves 4.

***Sautéed Baby Greens and Mushrooms with Lemon

2 T. olive oil
16 oz. sliced mushrooms
13-16 oz. baby greens*
juice of one lemon
1 T. butter
 salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the mushrooms until soft, about 7-8 minutes.  Add the baby greens, a few handfuls at a time, adding more as the previous batch wilts down.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Toss the vegetables with the butter until the butter melts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serves 4.

*I used the 13-oz. bag of New Star Cooking with Spinach Plus Baby Kale.

With a dessert like the one above, there was no need for candy on the table, especially as there was more watermelon plus sweet, juicy tangerines available for anyone preferring a lighter ending to the meal.

Such a radiant table just might require eye protection, and
Sunny the Dalmatian has come prepared!

The end of summer is bittersweet.  While I will not miss the incredibly hot and humid weather, the fading of this year's especially lush garden and the slow but steady decrease in daylight mean that another year is more than half over.  Although it has not been the best year for us, there were still some good times, and hopefully there will be more before we move on to 2016.  This table and accompanying menu are a tribute to the end of the season, and they are truly a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds!


  1. Those are such cute plates! The food looks delicious! I am looking forward to the end of summer but you are right about the passage of time.

    1. I'm really bad about checking my comments section, so sorry for the late reply, and thank you for your message! I do love those plates, and the meal was very tasty. Our weather is finally starting to cool off a bit -- fall is definitely in the air!