The gardens are full of color and life at my Bedford, New York farm – so perfect for a spring day gathering.
If you follow me on Instagram @MarthaStewart48, you may have seen my photos. Over the weekend, I hosted a luncheon at my home for a group of 20. My friend, Chef Pierre Schaedelin from PS Tailored Events, and I, planned a delicious menu that included steamed giant artichoke with poached egg and Hollandaise sauce, golden Ossetra caviar with brioche melba toasts and crème fraîche, heirloom tomato, comté and Gruyère tart with jumbo green asparagus and honey-lemon dressing. And for dessert, we had palmiers with baked pink rhubarb and homemade sorbet along with coffee and tea. It was a delicious meal.
Here are some photos.
Here I am in my Brown Room the morning of my luncheon. My housekeepers and I always work on the table settings together. We try to make each one different and beautiful.
And if we can, we always try to incorporate some freshly cut flowers from my gardens. These are some of the first herbaceous peonies to bloom this season. These bold pink blooms were cut just hours before guests arrived and then placed in small glass vessels the entire length of the Brown Room dining table – it looks so cheerful and inviting.
A second table was set on the opposite side of the room – also with charming cut flowers from the garden.
On this second table, we used white peonies. When using peonies for cut flowers, gather them early in the morning, and always cut the stems at an angle before placing them in water.
This arrangement on my kitchen counter is made of azaleas in various shades of orange and yellow.
My head gardener, Ryan McCallister, also added various houseplants to decorate the rooms.
In my Winter House kitchen, Chef Pierre prepares all the asparagus from Mister Spear in Stockton, California. Look how big these stalks are. I like to trim an inch and a half off the bottoms of the asparagus stalks and then blanch or steam them.
And here is the fresh rhubarb cut into pieces and baked for the dessert.
Triangular melba toasts prepared for the Ossetra caviar.
Pierre also prepared several tomato tarts – enough for all my hungry guests.
All the artichokes are ready to stuff. These are also from Mister Spear.
Watching all the activity from the kitchen courtyard door are my four doggies, hoping to come back in, so they could maybe get a little bit of something…
Chef Pierre and Moises fill the artichokes – each with a poached egg, a drizzle of Hollandaise sauce and topped with frisée.
Here is one ready to serve. Frisée is also known as curly endive. It’s a leafy green with frilly leaves and a subtly bitter flavor. And it is actually not a member of the lettuce family at all, but rather the chicory plant family.
Moises works here at the farm as part of the grounds crew, but he is also a very skilled sous chef who helps me in the kitchen.
Here is a plate ready serve – a big slice of heirloom tomato, comté and Gruyère tart with jumbo green asparagus, a garden salad, and honey-lemon dressing.
For dessert, I served palmiers. Also known as elephant ears, shoe-soles, palm trees or palm leaves, palmiers are delicious pastries that can be served for breakfast or dessert. They have a delicate, flaky texture and a sweet buttery taste.
Each palmier is served with a layer of baked rhubarb, sorbet, and a sprig of mint.
Here is my dessert. Everyone loved every bite.
Of course, to accompany dessert, we all enjoyed some coffee.
Here in the New York City area, the day was very wet – it rained hard most of the afternoon, but I led a brief tour through my stable to visit my dear horses, the greenhouses, and around the farm to see the various gardens from the inside of our Polaris off-road vehicles. Despite the weather, it was a most enjoyable day with friends – old and new.