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Saturday, July 2, 2016

SUMMER WEEKEND WITH FRIENDS!


It is SUMMER TIME!!! Hands down my favorite time of year!  Anyone that knows me knows that I pretty much abhor cold weather - don't like freezing, bundling up, bad hair, snow, rain, sleet, winter sports - you name it. Not for me.  I relish NOT having to worry about whether or not I have enough layers on to survive the day.  Give me sunshine, warmth, boating, beach, pool, grilling out your favorite foods, and lounging outdoors any day!

We spend a lot of time with friends on weekends during the summer.  Here's a menu that we served recently while having fun with some good friends.  And I owe the lunch menu entirely to our good friends Claudia and Robert - thanks for the good times and good food always!

LUNCH:
PASTA SALAD WITH FIELD PEAS
HAM AND TURKEY ROLL-UPS
AVOCADO MAYO
FRESH CHERRIES (ice cold!)
TO DRINK? - - - AN OREGON PINOT GRIS


DINNER:
BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH HORSERADISH SAUCE
ROLLS
BITTER GREENS SALAD
SWEET POTATO WEDGES
GRILLED CORN

PASTA SALAD WITH FIELD PEAS
(Adapted from Southern Living)


4 cups fresh or frozen field peas, cooked, drained, and cooled
8 ounces of your favorite pasta, cooked, rinsed with cold water, and drained (I used what I had on hand - bowtie)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
2 TBSP chopped fresh dill
2 TBSP chopped fresh mint
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (optional) 
capers, optional

DRESSING
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 TBSP country-style Dijon mustard
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 tsp honey
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Toss together field peas, pasta, bell peppers, parsley, basil, dill, mint, and, if desired, chicken.
catebogue
Whisk together white wine vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil until incorporated. 



Pour dressing over the salad, and gently toss until coated. Add 1-2 TBSP of capers and toss just before serving, if desired.

AVOCADO MAYO
(Adapted from Food.com)

Stumbled on this recipe recently and HAD to try!  It replaced the usual mayo (Hellman's always for me) with one that is so much more healthy and delicious made with avocados and olive oil.  Better for you AND better tasting.

2 avocados
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice (or the best purchased one you can find)
1/2 - 1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cut the avocados in half. Scoop out the flesh and put it into a food processor. 

Add lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper and blend together. 
  With food processor running, add olive oil slowly. You many have to stop the machine several times to redistribute ingredients. Puree to a smooth creamy mixture.

Makes ~ 1 - 1 1/2  cups.

HAM AND TURKEY ROLL UPS


1 lb Virginia Baked Ham, sliced thin
1 lb Oven roasted turkey breast, sliced thin
1 lb Havarti with Dill, sliced thin
1 lb Havarti with Jalapeño, sliced thin

This simple preparation of cold cuts is genius for a picnic or boat outing.  It's visually more appealing that just slapping the food on a platter, and it makes it so much nicer for serving.

Simply purchase whatever deli meat and cheeses you like, and have them sliced thin.  Then roll one piece of meat and one slice of cheese together, so it's easy to pick up and enjoy.  You can then either make a sandwich with the roll-ups or nosh alone with the avocado mayo - delish!!!

BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH HORSERADISH SAUCE

This is the Mac Daddy cut of meat, so you want to make sure you cook it properly.  Since it's summer, I want to grill this tenderloin.  But we call it "grill-roasting" so it is tender and tasty!

Grill-roasting involves building a two-zone indirect fire—that's a fire in which most of the coals are piled up on one side of the grill to create a hot zone, while the rest create a cooler zone on the other side.

For the beef tenderloin:
1 beef tenderloin
2 to 3 tsp salt
1 to 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

For the horseradish sauce:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP sour cream
1 TBSP prepared horseradish
2 TBSP milk
Freshly ground black pepper

At least 45 minutes prior to grilling, salt the tenderloin and allow it to rest at room temperature. Then coat the meat with the melted butter, so it develops a crust when you sear it.

Sear the tenderloin for about 2 minutes on each side.

After searing, transfer the roast to the cooler side of the grill, cover it, and allow the meat to cook over indirect heat until it hits the desired final temperature—120°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, and so on. This will take anywhere from 15-25 minutes, with one turn of the meat during that time to maintain the evenness we're working towards. Don't cook the tenderloin anywhere above medium. Without any real fat on this cut to lubricate the meat, it becomes quite dry and almost chalky tasting.

Once it hits your desired doneness, transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, the core temperature will continue to rise by a few degrees, while the rest of the meat will slowly relax, allowing it to retain more juices during carving.
serious eats
SWEET POTATO WEDGES
GRILLED SWEET POTATO WEDGES
(Adapted from Serious Eats)


For the Seasoning:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and each cut into 8 equal wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley leaves

To make the seasoning: Mix together paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl, set aside.

Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Move potatoes to hot side of grill and cook until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer potatoes to a serving platter and sprinkle with prepared seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately or wrap up and serve at room temperature at your tailgate or picnic.

BITTER GREENS SALAD
(Adapted from the NYT)
1½ tsp whole-grain mustard
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
3 to 6 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
black pepper
14 oz mixed frisée, radicchio and dandelion greens, washed, dried and torn into pieces

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mustards and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice.

While whisking vigorously, drizzle in the olive oil until thickened. Adjust lemon juice to taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Place greens in a serving bowl and toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat them. Reserve any remaining dressing for another use.

GRILLED CORN ON THE COB

4 ears corn, shucked
Salt, pepper, chili powder
1/2 stick melted butter

Place corn on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Salt and pepper the corn, and sprinkle chili powder all over.  Then pour the melted butter over and roll each cob so each is coated.

Grill for 8-10 minutes.