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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....

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