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Thursday, June 27, 2013

A WEEKEND AT THE LAKE...



Whether you are at a lake house, dining aboard a boat or simply picnicking by the shore or by the pool, food just tastes better outdoors!  Here's a menu for the day that's sure to please:

We are typically sharing our meals with this crew!

DAY 1 
LAKE LUNCH:
CHICKEN SALAD CROISSANTS
CUCUMBER TOMATO SALAD
CHIPS
RED FRUIT SALAD

LAKE DINNER:
TEQUILA INFUSED QUESO
GUACAMOLE
FIRE ROASTED TOMATO SALSA
CARNE ASADA TACOS
MANGO JALAPENO MARGARITAS
S'MORES

DAY 2 
LAKE LUNCH:
SHRIMP SALAD
CHIPS
MIXED BERRIES
BLOODY MARYS

DAY 2 DINNER:
AHI TUNA over MIXED GREENS
SANCERRE
HOMEMADE PEACH ICE CREAM


CLASSIC CHICKEN SALAD
(Adapted from divadicucina)
Photo Credit: divadicucina

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 c mayonnaise (Hellman's of course)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 sweet onion (preferably Vidalia), finely chopped
2 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 TBSP pickle relish (optional)
1 tsp salt
pepper
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Place chicken breasts in large pot and cover with water or chicken broth.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Set a timer for 35 minutes.  Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to a simmer.  Total cook time ~ 35 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and cool. Place chicken in a food processor and pulse until desired shredding size (I like mine really shredded, but you can also chop the chicken into cubes, if preferred.).

In a large bowl mix together the celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, parsley, relish (if using) and salt and pepper.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add the chicken to the dressing, and stir to coat.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve plated as a salad or as a sandwich.

CUCUMBER-TOMATO SALAD
(Adapted from A Taste of Home)
Photo Credit: Ever new recipes

2 medium tomatoes, sliced and quartered (or a pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1 large hothouse cucumber, peeled and diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
herbs, if desired (such as parsley or fresh dill)

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber and onions. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk in the vinegar and water. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat.



Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with herbs if desired.  Serve with a slotted spoon.

RED FRUIT SALAD
(Adapted from Pip and Ebby)
Photo Credit: Pip and Ebby
I just love the idea of this bold colored fruit salad!  Simple and easy to make (other than coring the cherries - but WORTH it!), it just adds life to your meal!


Three 6-oz. containers fresh raspberries, rinsed
Two 16-oz. containers fresh strawberries, hulled, rinsed and chopped 
2 cups Bing cherries, pitted and chopped 
1 1⁄2 TBSP fresh basil, chopped 
2 TBSP granulated sugar 
Juice from 1 lemon
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

In a large bowl, combine the raspberries, strawberries and cherries. In a small bowl, combine the basil, sugar and lemon juice. Mix well and drizzle over fruit. Gently incorporate the liquid with a large spoon, being careful not to break the raspberries, until the fruit is thoroughly coated.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Now - how gorgeous is that salad????

TEQUILA INFUSED QUESO
(Adapted from Rick Bayless)



Photo Credit: Rick Bayless

1 Tbs. olive or vegetable oil
1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded (if you wish) and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Hot green chile(s) to taste (roughly 1 large jalapeño or 2 large serranos), stemmed, seeded (if you wish) and finely chopped
3 Tbs. tequila, preferably a silver tequila
8 oz. Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, mild cheddar or brick, shredded (you'll have about 2 cups).
1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Heat the oil in a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the tomato, onion and chile(s), and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tequila and cook, stirring, for a minute or so, until reduced to a glaze. (If you tip the pan toward an open gas flame, the tequila will ignite. If you choose this route, simply shake the pan back and forth until the flames subside and the tequila has reduced to a glaze.)

With the skillet of tequila-infused vegetables over medium-low, sprinkle in the cheese.

Stir slowly and constantly until just melted-too long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily and stringy. Scoop into a warm dish, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve right away with tortillas for making soft tacos or chips to dip.
***Note - this queso wasn't my favorite.  We were split down the middle - half of our group loved it and the other half really didn't like it.  There was an overwhelming veggie flavor, and the Mexican cheese was clumpy, so I ended up adding 2 cups additionally of Monterey Jack.

FIRE ROASTED SALSA
(Adapted from Rick Bayless)
Photo Credit: Tastespotting.com

1-2 fresh jalapenos
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBSP lime juice
 Salt

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Roast the chiles and garlic by placing in a small skillet over medium heat until they are soft and a bit brown (~ 10 minutes for the chiles and 15 minutes for the garlic).  Cool, then pull the stems off the chiles, and then roughly chop (tossing the seeds if you want it less hot!).  Peel the skin off the garlic.  Scoop everything into a food processor and pulse until coarsely pureed.  
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add salt to taste.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


CARNE ASADA TACOS
(Adapted from Closet Cooking)
Photo Credit: Closet Cooking


1 1 lb flank steak
2 TBSP oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 TBSP lime juice (I use Key Lime)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
1/2 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 TBSP cilantro, chopped
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Marinate the steak in the mixture of the remaining ingredients for at least 8 hours (or overnight).


Grill the steak over medium-high heat, about ~ 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing it thinly across the grain.

MANGO JALAPENO MARGARITAS
(Adapted from How Sweet Eats)
Photo Credit: How Sweet Eats

I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to serve these!  This Mexican themed meal is begging for them!  The trick here is locating some REALLY good and ripe mangoes.  Sometimes that can be a challenge.  And some advance prep in needed in preparing jalapeno tequila and mango simple syrup.  But...IT'S WORTH IT! ;0)

2 ounces Grand Marnier
1 1/2 ounces jalapeño tequila
2 ounces lime juice
2 1/2 ounces mango simple syrup
1/2 mango, peeled and chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
salt for the rim
lime wedges
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

For jalapeño tequila: add 2 sliced jalapeños to a large jar or container and cover with 1 1/2 cups of tequila.

Let sit for 24 hours, then strain before using. Keep in a sealed container for a few weeks, preferably in the fridge.

For mango simple syrup: combine equal parts sugar and water (I suggest 1 cup of each), bring to a boil and let sugar dissolve, then turn off heat and let cool completely.

Combine 1 cup simple syrup + 1/2 mango (peeled and cubed) in a blender and blend until combined.

To make the margaritas, rim the ridge of your glass with a lime wedge and dip in margarita salt. Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, grand marnier, simple syrup and lime juice with ice, and shake for about 30 seconds. Pour over ice and squeeze in lime slices. I also took a few of the jalapeños from the tequila and removed the seeds, then toss them in the margarita.

And IF we have ANY room left from our culinary journey of a day, we will build a little bonfire and roast marshmallows and have S'Mores.  No recipe needed for that right?
Photo Credit: theberry.com
INA'S SHRIMP SALAD
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

This dish is THE perfect shrimp salad!  This recipe feeds 12, so I halved it for our group of 6.

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon cut into quarters
4 pounds large shrimp in the shell (16 to 20 shrimp per pound)
2 cups good mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 cup minced red onion (1 onion)
3 cups minced celery (6 stalks)
Bring 5 quarts of water, 3 tablespoons salt, and the lemon to a boil in a large saucepan. Add half the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Cook uncovered for only 3 minutes or until the shrimp are barely cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water. Bring the water back to a boil and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Let cool; then peel, and devein the shrimp.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine or vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and dill. Combine with the peeled shrimp. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.  Serve cold as a salad or stuff large tomatoes with the shrimp OR scoop inside croissants.

AND BLOODY MARYS GO GREAT WITH THIS LUNCH!
And...since this weekend is the one following July 4th, I'm serving THIS fruit platter with the shrimp salad:

Photo Credit: mudandcamo

SESAME CRUSTED AHI TUNA STEAKS over greens
(Adapted from Becoming Domestic)

I LOVE ahi tuna!  This recipe is perfect, and it's such a refreshing cold dish that's easy to make and tastes great on a hot summer day.
Photo Credit: Becoming Domestic
4-4 oz. sushi grade ahi tuna steaks
1 tbsp. sesame oil
4 tsp. white sesame seeds
4 tsp. black sesame seeds
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Mixed salad greens
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Pat tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Rub sesame oil on steaks. In a shallow bowl, mix black and white sesame seeds. Dip each steak into the sesame seeds, covering entire surface.

Place in a hot pan over high heat. Sear about 2 minutes on each side.

Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette

1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. red wine
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Mix all ingredients together.
Serve as is over salad, or heat in the microwave for 30 seconds if just dipping tuna.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
And I usually come up with some creative fun drink to go with a meal, but with this one I'm serving my all time favorite wine:
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Our (especially Jack's!) favorite way to end the day at the lake....

Monday, June 10, 2013

WHAT TO SERVE FOR FATHER'S DAY!!!

It's Dad's day!  I'm planning a day's menu that's easy on the grill guy (DAD) but delicious and celebrates all that summer has to offer.  We'll picnic for lunch and then grill shrimp for dinner. DELISH!

LUNCH MENU:
ITALIAN PANINI
CHIPS
FRUIT SALAD

DINNER MENU:
GRILLED CHILI GARLIC SHRIMP
OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES
MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE
ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH PARMESAN
CRUSTY FRENCH BREAD
FRUIT SANGRIA

DESSERT:
PEACH CRUMBLE BARS

ITALIAN PANINI
(Adapted from Saveur)
Photo Credit: Saveur
1 6" rectangular piece focaccia or ciabatta
2 thin slices prosciutto
2 very thinly sliced Italian salami slices
2 thin slices fontina
1⁄2 cup arugula
2 TBSP aged balsamic vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Split focaccia (or ciabatta, which is what I'm using) in half and drizzle olive oil on bottom half.  Then place prosciutto, salami, fontina, and arugula on bottom half.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Drizzle with vinegar, and season with salt and pepper, and cover with top half.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Wrap each panini separately with tightly wrapped saran wrap or tin foil, and you're all set for your picnic, boatride, or tailgate party! Serves 1.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
GRILLED CHILI GARLIC SHRIMP
Photo Credit: Saveur

¾ cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4-6 small fresh red Thai chiles (my local store didn't have these, so I opted for jalapenos)
1½ lb. raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. roughly chopped parsley, for garnish
Rustic country bread, for serving
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Toss the shrimp with the oil, garlic, and chiles (or jalapenos). 



I baked in a 425 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.  Can also grill and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through.  Stir in parsley and serve with bread on the side for dipping. Can also be cooked on the stove.


OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES
(Adapted from Ina Garten)
Photo Credit: Tyler Florence

4 pints cherry tomatoes
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped or julienned
Sea salt

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil on a sheet pan. Spread them out into one layer and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the tomatoes are soft.
Transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter and sprinkle with basil leaves and sea salt.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Serve hot or at room temperature.

MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE
(Recipe from Bon Appetit)
Photo Credit: Bon Appetit
I got this recipe from the most recent Bon Appetit magazine, and it is just fabulous!  I'll be making it again and again~

Mixed greens (whatever you like)
1 shallot, minced
2 TBSP Lemon juice
1 TBSP Rice vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Combine 1 finely chopped shallot, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I use Nellie and Joe's Lemon), and 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar in a jar; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Let sit 20 minutes. Add 1/3 cup olive oil and cover. Shake to combine.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH PARMESAN
(Adapted from Food.com)

1 1/2 lbs asparagus
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt
ground pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Trim and/or peel tough ends from asparagus.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus with olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange asparagus in an even layer on the baking sheet.

Cook about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Roast in the oven until asparagus is tender and cheese has melted, about 5 more minutes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Serve immediately.

Here are a couple of shots of the food plated:
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
FRUIT SANGRIA
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

2 ripe plums, pitted and cut into wedges
1 large Gala apple, cored and cut into 1/8-inch wedges
1 navel orange, thinly sliced crosswise, larger slices halved
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) raspberries
1 cup vodka
2 bottles dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc, chilled
1/4 cup superfine sugar
Yields 6 servings.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Combine plums, apple, orange, raspberries and vodka in a nonreactive bowl. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 2 hours. Combine wine and sugar in a pitcher, and stir until sugar dissolves. Add fruit mixture, and stir gently to combine. Serve over ice.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
***Note: I didn't LOVE this sangria.  It needed to be a bit sweeter and fruitier for my taste.  All I could taste was the wine, so it basically was a wine cooler - not my fav.  Perhaps if it marinates longer?

PEACH CRUMBLE BARS
(Adapted from The Kitchn)
Photo Credit: The Kitchn
These bars are absolutely devine!

Base Dough
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
1/2 packed cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Peach Filling
2 pounds peaches, unpeeled (about 8 peaches)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Pecan Oat Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour, divided
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Glaze
Juice of 1 lemon, about 3 tablespoons
1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer) cream the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Turn off the mixer and add in the flour, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients in just until the dough is soft and pulled together.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and refrigerate while preparing the filling and topping.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Roughly chop the peaches into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Wipe out the mixer bowl and mix 1/4 cup softened butter with the oats, flour, pecans, cinnamon, and salt until soft and crumbly. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter and set aside to cool.


Spread the chopped peaches over the chilled dough base. Evenly crumble the topping over the peaches, and drizzle with the melted butter.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.

Whisk together the lemon juice with enough powdered sugar to make a thin glaze.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Drizzle over the bars.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Cool (or chill) for at least an hour before slicing and serving. I do recommend chilling these; they will stay fresh (and slice more cleanly) for about 5 days when stored well-covered in the fridge.