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Great Gatherings: Sophisticated Summer Dinner

A dynamic design element proves the key to sophistication 

Written and produced by Krissa Rossbund
  • Robert Brantley

    Click here for the menu and shopping list.

    Recipes begin here.

    The existing hand-painted yellow wallpaper in the dining room of the American Red Cross Showhouse in Palm Beach wowed designer Katherine Shenaman. But she wanted furniture that would play against its vivid qualities and the moody nature of the room’s Italianate architecture. Vintage dining chairs re-covered in leopard print fabric and a vintage Lucite table diverged from the traditional pattern just enough to add a collected modern twist and avoid a “perfectly matched” appearance. 

    Photography: Robert Brantley and Peter Krumhardt

    Interior design: Katherine Shenaman, Katherine Shenaman Interiors, 6205 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach, FL 33405; 561/833-4181,  

    Wallcovering  (“Sunrise” #SY-120): Gracie,
    Trim paint (“Cloud White” #OC-130): Benjamin Moore,
    Area rug (“New Oriental Indo Tibetan” #289819G -80023978): Stark,
    Drapery (#32653 in Lavender); drapery trim (tassel fringe #78029H-43 in Lavender, by Highland Court); Roman shades (#32730 in Conch Solid): Duralee,
    Drapery hardware: Paris Texas Hardware,
    Chandelier; dining table (vintage); dining chairs (vintage): Katherine Shenaman Interiors,
    Chair fabric (“Leopold”/Linen #F0458/02, velvet): Clarke & Clarke,

  • Robert Brantley

    Lively Table

    “I take architecture and the more structural elements of a room seriously,” Katherine explains. “But setting a table is an opportunity to revisit my creative skills and have fun.”

    “Sayagata” placemats, Holly Stuart Home. Crystal, Waterford. Alexandre Turpault napkins and Kim Seybert napkin rings, Pioneer Linens. “Lucky Butterfly” objets, Baccarat. Wallpaper, Gracie Studio. Drapery fabric, Highland Court tassel fringe, and Clarke & Clarke’s “Leopold” chair fabric from Duralee.

  • Robert Brantley

    Fun Place Setting

    On this table, Shenaman took cues from the elements of nature that cover the walls, topping a vintage gold filigree dinner plate and a capiz shell placemat with a Wedgwood salad plate that, like the wallpaper, depicts birds and flowers. A Kim Seybert napkin ring references the same see-through quality of the Lucite dining table. A crystal turquoise-colored butterfly from Baccarat adds whimsy. “In a traditional setting, there’s an allowance for a playful touch, where in a sleek modern setting, you probably don’t need whimsy or want it,” Katherine says.

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Get the Look: Earthy

    We assembled variations on Katherine Shenaman’s table scheme to give you options you might love.

    “Harlequin Cuckoo” tea plate is from Wedgwood through Replacements. “Festival” napkin in Paprika; Sferra. Lenox “Pearl Gold” dinner plate is through Replacements. “Arc en Ciel” service plate in terra-cotta is from Robert Haviland & C. Parlon through Mottahedeh. Pearl Dragon reversible, scalloped capiz shell placemat is from Pioneer Linens

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Get the Look: Floral

    “Festival” linen napkin in Orchid is by Sferra. “Aureus” bone china buffet plate and salad plate are from Villeroy & Boch. “Dogwood Blossom” enameled napkin ring by Deborah Rhodes, glass charger with painted gold bead detailing (also available in silver), and scalloped “Mirasol” appliqué linen placemat by Matouk; all from Pioneer Linens

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Get the Look: Glam

    “Mirasol” appliqué napkin by Matouk, “Oval Bead Burst” napkin ring and “Bias Silk Organza” liner by Kim Seybert, “Alpine Gold” glass charger with gold trim, and round capiz shell placemat; all through Pioneer Linens. Lenox “Pearl Gold” accent plate is through Replacements. “Aureus” dinner plate is from Villeroy & Boch.

  • Robert Brantley

    Dessert Bar

    Shenaman topped the "Chantilly Dresser" with vintage mugs and serving pieces for the scrumptious desserts.

    Commode (“Chantilly Dresser”): MM Designs, LLC,
    Mugs and serving pieces (vintage): Katherine Shenaman Interiors,

  • Robert Brantley

    Delicious Desserts

    Katherine’s dessert bar features vintage glass cake stands. 

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Menu Cards

    Printed menu cards are from Lobird and keep in theme with the table scheme.

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Menu and Shopping List

    These recipes were created by Los Angeles-based chef Mary Payne Moran of Hail Mary Food of Grace. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter @chefmarymoran.


    The Brazen Blackberry
    Butter Lettuce Salad with Seared Feta and Brioche Croutons
    Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce; Summer Beans, Carrots, and Radishes; Lemon Rice
    Open Layer Cake with Berries and Salted Caramel Sauce

    Shopping list

    We’ve organized a shopping list to make shopping for this party menu easier for you. Package sizes are included so you’ll have enough for duplicated recipe ingredients.

    Check your pantry for these necessary items before shopping:

    • Sugar (need 3-1/2 cups)
    • Powdered sugar (need 3 tablespoons)
    • Salt (need 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
    • Cracked black pepper
    • Flour (need 3 cups)
    • Baking powder (1 teaspoon)
    • Olive oil (need 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
    • Vegetable oil (need 1/4 cup)
    • Butter (need 3 sticks + 1-1/2 tablespoons)
    • Eggs (need 6)
    • Dijon-style mustard (need 1-1/2 teaspoons)
    • Mayonnaise (need 2 teaspoons)
    • Vanilla extract (need 2 teaspoons)
    • Nonstick cooking spray

    Specialty grocery store

    • Fleur de sel (French sea salt) (need 2 teaspoons)


    • 1 pint blackberries (2 cups)
    • 1 pint raspberries (need 1-1/2 cups)
    • 8 ounces sweet cherries (need 1/2 cup, pitted)
    • 1 peach
    • Limes (for fresh juice: 2-3)
    • 3 lemons (1 for lemon wedge garnish + 1 for zest and juice + 1 for salmon)
    • 1 bunch mint
    • 1 bunch thyme
    • 1 bunch parsley
    • 1 bunch dill weed
    • 1 pound fava beans (to yield about 1/4 cup beans) or 1 package frozen beans if fresh beans are not available
    • 1 head butter lettuce
    • 1 pound mixed beans: wax beans, purple heirloom beans, and haricots verts
    • 1 bunch baby carrots with tops (need 12)
    • 3 radishes
    • 1 yellow onion


    • 1 (10-ounce) bottle club soda (need 1 cup)
    • Champagne vinegar
    • Long grain white rice (need 1 cup)
    • Peach preserves

    Baking aisle

    • Ground coriander
    • Ground cumin

    Bakery aisle

    • 1 brioche

    Fish counter

    • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) Atlantic salmon fillets


    • 1 (8-ounce) block feta cheese
    • 1 (6 – 8 ounce) container Greek yogurt
    • 1 quart whipping cream
    • 1 pint whole milk


    • Dark rum (need 1/2 cup)
  • Peter Krumhardt

    The Brazen Blackberry

    Welcome your guests with this refreshing summer cocktail. The blackberry puree gets a tangy pucker from the fresh lime juice, and the dark rum hints of the Mediterranean summer.

    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 cups fresh blackberries
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 cup dark rum
    • 1 cup club soda, chilled
    • 6 lemon wedges
    • 6 sprigs fresh mint (optional)

    To make simple syrup, in small saucepan combine water and sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

    Reserve 6 blackberries for garnish. Place remaining blackberries in food processor. Cover; process until smooth. Press mixture through fine-mesh sieve; discard seeds. Add pureed fruit to pitcher. Add lime juice, rum, and 1 cup simple syrup to pureed blackberries. Stir to combine. Add ice to each glass. Pour blackberry mixture over ice. Top each drink with soda, a squeeze of lemon, a fresh blackberry and mint sprig, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Butter Lettuce Salad with Seared Feta and Brioche Croutons

    • 1 cup 1/2-inch cubes of brioche
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen fava beans or edamame
    • 1-1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
    • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
    • 1/4 of a sprig of thyme
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
    • 1 (8-ounce) block feta cheese
    • 1 head butter lettuce, torn
    • 1/2 cup pitted sweet cherries, halved
    • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 350°F. In small bowl toss brioche with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Bake 9 minutes or until lightly brown; turning once halfway through cooking.

    Remove beans from fava bean pods, if using. In medium saucepan blanch beans in boiling water two minutes. Using slotted spoon, immediately transfer beans to bowl of cold water. Peel skin off beans and set aside.

    In medium bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, and thyme. Slowly add the 1/4 cup olive oil and the vegetable oil to vinegar mixture while whisking. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.

    Add cracked black pepper to shallow dish. Coat feta on two opposite sides. Set aside.

    Wash and dry lettuce. In large bowl combine lettuce, cherries, fava beans, brioche croutons, and parsley. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    In large nonstick skillet sear feta on peppered sides over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned on each side, turning halfway through cooking. Remove from heat; coarsely chop.

    To serve, top salad with warm feta cheese. Makes 4 servings.

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce; Summer Beans, Carrots and Radishes; Lemon Rice

    Raita Sauce:

    • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    • Pinch ground cumin
    • Salt and ground black pepper

    Lemon Rice:

    • 2 cups water
    • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup long grain white rice
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Summer Beans, Carrots and Radishes:

    • 1 pound assorted beans (wax beans, purple heirloom beans and haricots verts)
    • 12 fresh baby carrots with tops
    • 3 radishes
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Salt and ground black pepper

    Poached Salmon:

    • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) Atlantic salmon fillets
    • 4 cups water
    • 1 lemon, quartered
    • 1/2 of a yellow onion, halved
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh dill weed
    • Salt and ground black pepper

    For Raita Sauce, in small bowl combine Greek yogurt, whipping cream, mayonnaise, parsley, mint, coriander, and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve, or up to 24 hours.

    For Lemon Rice, in medium saucepan combine 2 cups water, butter, lemon peel, and salt. Bring to boil. Add rice, reduce heat. Cover; simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

    For Summer Beans, Carrots and Radishes, trim stems from beans. Scrub carrots well under running water. Trim tops and bottoms of carrots at a slight angle. Slice carrots in half lengthwise, if desired. Trim tops and root ends from radishes and thinly slice. In very large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add beans and carrots; cook two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup water to skillet; cover. Steam vegetables over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in radishes; season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

    For Poached Salmon, rinse salmon fillets; set aside. Wipe out very large skillet. Add 4 cups water, lemon, onion, 1 tablespoon salt, and dill weed to skillet. Bring to boil. Add salmon to skillet. Cover; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 6 to 8 minutes or until salmon flakes when tested with fork. Remove salmon from skillet; season with salt and pepper. Serve salmon topped with Raita Sauce and with Beans, Carrots and Radishes and Lemon Rice on the side. Makes 6 servings.


  • Peter Krumhardt

    Open Layer Cake with Berries and Salted Caramel Sauce

    Call this cake “luscious.” Filled and topped with Chantilly Cream, raspberries, and peaches, then drizzled with Salted Caramel Sauce, it makes a show-stopping wow of a dessert.

    For completed cake:

    • 1 recipe Yellow Cake
    • 1/3 cup peach preserves
    • 1 recipe Chantilly Cream
    • 1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries
    • 1 fresh peach, peeled, pitted and sliced (1 cup)
    • Fresh mint leaves
    • 1/2 cup Salted Caramel Sauce

    Yellow Cake:

    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
    • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 5 egg yolks
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1-1/2 cups whole milk

    Chantilly Cream:

    • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
    • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

    Salted Caramel Sauce:

    • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream
    • 2 teaspoons fleur de sel

    For Yellow Cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 8x1-1/2-inch round baking pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper or parchment paper; set aside. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In very large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar; beat until it is light in color. Beat in egg yolks, egg, and vanilla until combined. Alternately add flour mixture and milk. Divide batter between prepared pans (pans will be very full).

    Bake 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool layers in pan on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Set on wire rack, topside facing down, until they are cool.

    For Chantilly Cream, in chilled large bowl beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

    For Salted Caramel Sauce, in 2-quart saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil gently, uncovered, at moderate rate 18 to 20 minutes until it is a nice caramel color (do not stir). Remove from heat. Gradually pour in cream while whisking vigorously. If caramel hardens at the bottom, return it to medium-low heat and cook until the sugar lumps dissolve. Stir in salt. Let sauce cool a few hours before serving. Chill any remaining sauce up to 1 week.

    To assemble cake, lay one yellow cake layer on flat serving plate. Spread peach preserves on top of cake layer. Layer 1 cup Chantilly Cream over preserves. Top with 1/2 cup raspberries and a few peach slices. Place remaining cake layer on top.

    Spread remaining Chantilly Cream over top layer. Decorate with remaining raspberries, peaches and mint leaves. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Just before serving, drizzle cake with Salted Caramel Sauce. Pass with any remaining sauce. Makes 12 servings.