Aerin Lauder Serves a Spring Spread at an Iconic Palm Beach Hotel

From branzino to blackberry, the dinner menu is light and tasty.

aerin lauder traditional home

Carmel Brantley

Aerin Lauder’s heritage is beauty, so it’s no surprise that her eponymous brand is poised to deliver those pretty moments that give life its charm.

trad home spring 2023

Carmel Brantley

The granddaughter of cosmetics legend Estée Lauder is celebrating 10 years at the helm of her own company, which takes beauty beyond the vanity. When she was asked to design one of the private villas at The Colony—the 75-year-old Palm Beach, Florida, luxury hotel known for its iconic pink structure—Aerin saw an opportunity to create an environment where a guest would not only want to sleep but to live when away from home. She transformed the villa’s courtyard, where she hosted guests for a dinner party, giving the vacation destination the intimacy of a private home.

“There’s something luxurious about being on holiday but feeling like you are home,” Aerin says. “So many hotel properties have rooms and suites that can accommodate entertaining so you can enjoy the space without the pressure of going elsewhere. Plus, in this instance, the hotel has a wonderful restaurant, Swifty’s, that makes entertaining so much easier.”

The Colony is celebrating 75 years with a full renovation of its luxury rooms. A pool situated across from the main hotel is for private use by guests who are staying in the eight villas. One of The Colony’s hallmarks is a pink golf cart with a scalloped top.

tabletop traditional home

Carmel Brantley

To set the table. Aerin took advantage of Florida’s natural lush surroundings. A sage green linen cloth draped over the table was punctuated with white dishes and orchids in multiple colors and varieties. Vintage bamboo chairs are a nod to the bamboo furniture used to outfit the villa. Bamboo flatware is from Aerin’s line.


The spring menu was created to be on the lighter side. It’s loaded with flavors that are delicious but not overpowering in the balmy climes. With the Atlantic Ocean just steps away, a seafood entrée was an ideal choice. Branzino lies on a bed of rice that contrasts the sweetness of spring peas.

Before the fish was served, the beef carpaccio appetizer and a salad of mixed greens topped with burrata, sliced almonds, and pomegranate seeds made sure the meal checked the boxes of both land and sea. Delicate puff pastry with an almond-based filling offered a sweet finish.

aerin lauder traditional home
Aerin Lauder with The Colony’s owner, Sarah Wetenhall.

Carmel Brantley

“I’ve always loved to entertain—and the worlds of home and travel,” Aerin says. “The brand that I’ve built allows me to share these passions with everyone by showcasing product that’s inspired by other places. To me, it’s most wonderful and magical when a destination feels like home.”

The villa Aerin designed features vintage bamboo furniture plus new merchandise from her own collection. Inside the villa designed by Aerin sits her brass “Butler” tray stand and “Shagreen” tray.

“The products that I source for my brand are reminiscent of places where I’ve traveled,” Aerin says. “In our stores, we aim to create different destinations. When I entertain, I like to introduce people to each other. Through my merchandise, I like to introduce people to the world.”

mojitos traditional home

Carmel Brantley

Key Lime Mojitos

Start to Finish: 5 minutes

  • 1 fluid ounce key lime juice of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum
  • Key lime slices
  • Mint sprigs

In collins glass or 10- to 12-ounce glass, combine lime juice, mint leaves, and sugar. Use muddler or back of a spoon to crush mint against side of glass until mint is bruised and sugar dissolves. Fill glass three-fourths full with ice. Add rum, and top with sparkling water. Garnish with key lime slices and mint sprigs. Makes one serving

beef dish traditional home

Carmel Brantley

Beef Carpaccio

Hands On: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • 8 ounces beef tenderloin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, shave
  • 1/2 cup microgreens

Freeze beef for 2 hours. Chill serving platter.

Remove beef from the freezer. Cut into ¼-inch-thick slices.

Lay beef slices between sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to pound slices until paper thin. Remove plastic wrap. 

Lay beef on a chilled platter, overlapping slices slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Garnish with lemon zest, capers, Parmesan, and microgreens. Makes eight servings.

Variation: Beet Carpaccio

Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim tops and bottoms from 12 ounces red and/or yellow beets (two to three medium). Place in 2-quart baking dish; add ½ cup water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Let cool. Rub off skins with paper towel. Slice ⅛ inch thick using a mandoline. Season and garnish as for beef version.

traditional home spring 2023 spread

Carmel Brantley

Arugula and Burrata with Pomegranates and Toasted Almonds

Start to Finish: 15 minutes 

Salad Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In screw-top jar, combine vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Cover; shake well until combined.


  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill 
  • 5 cups arugula
  • 3 cups baby spring greens
  • 8 2- to 3-ounce balls burrata cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

In large bowl combine pomegranate seeds, shallots, and dill. Toss together with salad dressing; set aside.

In another bowl combine arugula and spring greens.

Pile arugula mixture on individual plates. Top each salad with burrata. Spoon pomegranate mixture on top. Drizzle salads with any remaining dressing. Top each salad with almonds. Makes eight servings.

trad home spring 2023

Carmel Brantley

Branzino with Beurre Blanc Sauce over Rice Pilaf with Spring Peas and Shallots

Hands On: 20 minutes 

Total Time: 45 minutes

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8 fresh, whole branzino, head and tail removed, if desired
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 lemons, sliced and seeds removed
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed Italian parsley leaves
  • 8 sprigs dill 
  • 16 whole chives
  • Rice Pilaf with Spring Peas and Shallots
  • Beurre Blanc Sauce
  • 8 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line three 15×10×1-inch baking pans with parchment paper; coat with nonstick cooking spray.

Open the cavity of each branzino; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Stuff each branzino with lemon, leek, parsley, dill, and chives. Make three shallow cuts across the skin of each fish.

Place fish on prepared baking pans (do not crowd fish). Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

Serve with rice pilaf, beurre blanc, and lemon wedges. Garnish with additional fresh herbs. Makes eight servings.

Rice Pilaf with Spring Peas and Shallots 

In large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium. Add ½ cup thinly sliced shallot. Cook until very soft, about 8 minutes. Add 2 cups long grain white rice; cook 1 to 2 minutes to toast slightly. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in 4 cups water, 1 cup frozen or fresh English peas, and 1 bay leaf. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat; remove bay leaf. Fluff rice with a fork.

Beurre Blanc Sauce

In medium saucepan combine ½ cup dry white wine, ¼ cup minced shallot, and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Boil gently, uncovered, 7 to 9 minutes or until almost all liquid has evaporated. Stir in ¼ cup heavy cream. Bring to boiling; boil about 1 minute to thicken cream slightly. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cut 1½ cups butter into 2-tablespoon pieces. Using a wire whisk, stir in butter, one piece at a time, allowing each piece to melt before adding the next. Season to taste with salt and ground white pepper.

puff pastry dessert with almond paste and blackberries

Carmen Brantley

Blackberry and Blueberry Puff Pastry with Frangipane and Vanilla Ice Cream

Hands On: 30 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • 8 frozen puff pastry shells*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups Frangipane
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 lemon slices, quartered
  • Powdered sugar
  • 8 1-inch scoops vanilla bean ice cream
  • 8 small mint sprigs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Place puff pastry shells on prepared baking sheet. In small bowl whisk together egg and heavy cream. Brush pastries with egg wash. Bake 15 minutes.

Using small serrated or paring knife, remove top half of center of puff pastry shells; fill shells with frangipane (2 to 3 tablespoons each).

Return pastry shells to oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes more or until center of frangipane is just set. Remove from oven. Let cool to room temperature.

Fill pastries with blackberries and blueberries; tuck a quarter slice of lemon into each pastry. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream and mint sprigs. Makes eight servings.


In mixing bowl, cream ⅓ cup softened unsalted cultured butter and ⅓ cup sugar using electric mixer. Add ⅔ cup almond meal, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and pinch of salt. Mix well; set aside.

Editor’s Tip: To prepare homemade puff pastry shells, let two sheets frozen puff pastry thaw until just pliable. Using a 3-inch scalloped round cutter, cut out 16 circles; discard scraps. Using a 2-inch round cutter, score circles in centers of 8 scalloped rounds (do not remove center pieces). Place 8 unscored rounds on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Top each with a scored round. Brush tops of stacks with egg wash. Place baking sheet of pastry rounds in freezer for 15 minutes; remove from freezer. Bake pastries 10 minutes. Continue as directed above

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