Lunch on a Summer Afternoon

Take a cue from the Europeans and spend Sunday afternoon savoring a leisurely lunch under the trees. Find a shady area on your patio, porch or terrace, or set up a large table in the backyard. Dress the table with colorful linens, and set out jars of fresh flowers and baskets of crusty bread.

This menu celebrates the season's bounty, including that summertime favorite, vine-ripened tomatoes. Everything can be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature, from a cooling cucumber soup and herbed chicken to a luscious plum tart. A chilled white wine complements these flavors perfectly. Have a pitcher of iced tea on hand as well. Then relax and enjoy the day with your guests.