Tidewater Kitchen - August 2008

Summer Lunches

by

Pamela Mereidth-Doyle

   This year, welcome summer with a gathering of family and friends for a lunch on your front porch or lawn. For these lazy outdoor meals, use tableware that evokes the season with colors that remind us of the garden and casual pieces that are simple yet sturdy.
    For your outdoor luncheon, soup is just as popular as sandwiches and salads. Not only is it satisfying, but it’s good for you, too!
    If you make soups the night before, they can be a quick warm-up for lunch the next day, whether it is at home or at the office. A lot of soups take on more flavor the next day as well.

ALMOND TEA
3 tea bags
6 cups water
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla extract

Steep the tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes.
Boil the sugar in 4 cups of water for 5 minutes and then add lemon juice and flavorings. Combine the liquids and heat. Serve hot or cold.
Makes 7 cups. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

MOM’S FAMOUS & DELICIOUS FRESH MINT TEA
6 cups water
1½ cups mint leaves, crushed
½ cup sugar

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and pour over crushed mint. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 to 7 minutes.
Discard the mint.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon, lime or orange.

RASPBERRIES & CHAMPAGNE
2 cups fresh raspberries
3 T. Framboise
3 cups champagne
Sprig of mint
Edible flowers

In a bowl, using the back of a spoon, lightly crush the berries to release their juices and fragrance.
Sprinkle the liqueur over the berries and let stand for 10 minutes.
Spoon the berries and the juices into individual glasses and pour champagne in each. Garnish with a mint sprig and edible flowers.

EDIBLE FLOWER
LUNCHEON APPETIZER

1 cup cream cheese
5 T. sour cream
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. flavored honey
2 t. vanilla extract
1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
¼ cup chopped yellow raisins
18 edible flowers and their leaves

Soften the cream cheese to room temperature. Blend all the ingredients together, with the exception of the flowers. Form the mixture into tiny balls using a small cookie scooper. Place on a piece of waxed paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Fit the ball into the center of each flower. Arrange on a plate covered with the large dark leaves of nasturtiums.
For a nice little touch, you may top each filled flower with a smaller flower such as a violet or a tiny forget-me-not.
Some edible flowers are day lily, Johnny jump-up, gladiolus, nasturtiums, pansies, rose petals, chive flowers and marigolds. Warning: Some flowers are poisonous, so check with your local garden center or florist. If you’re not sure if it’s safe, don’t try it!

MIXED FIELD GREENS with a SHERRY VINAIGRETTE
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch butter lettuce
1 head of radicchio lettuce
1 red pear, sliced
½ cup toasted pecans, optional
¼ cup Gorgonzola cheese, optional

Dressing:
4 T. sherry vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
2 heaping T. honey
¾ cup good quality olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the lettuce greens in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the cheese and nuts.
In another small bowl whisk together the honey, Dijon mustard, sherry, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until the dressing is well blended.
Pour the dressing over the lettuce until it is lightly coated. Toss the lettuce and serve immediately.

ASPARAGUS VICHYSSOISE
2 lbs. asparagus spears
4 cups chicken stock or 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth, undiluted
½ cup white onion, finely chopped
1 cup red potatoes, diced
1 12-oz. can evaporated skim milk
¼ t. sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of nutmeg, optional
Lemon rind strips or chives

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Remove the scales from the stalks with a vegetable peeler. Cut the asparagus spears in half.
Bring 2 cups or 1 can of chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the asparagus, cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Set aside asparagus and broth.
Place 1 T. of olive oil in a larger stock pot. Add onion and sauté until tender. Add remaining can of broth or 2 cups of stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until potato is tender.
Combine the potato mixture and asparagus, including broth, and pour into a food processor or blender. Be careful as hot liquid can expand and explode in a blender. Do not over-fill. Blend in small batches until all ingredients are smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the milk, salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
Before serving, taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with chives or lemon rind strips. Serves 6.

CHILLED CURRY
CHICKEN SOUP

3 T. unsalted butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped into pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 t. curry powder
Dash of hot sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup peas, cooked and pureed
1½ cups heavy cream or evaporated skim milk
1 cup chicken breast, cooked and finely diced

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in onion and apple pieces and cook slowly until soft but not browned.
Add flour and curry powder and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix in hot sauce, cayenne pepper and chicken broth. Stir until smooth.
Add pureed peas, stirring over high heat until soup boils. Remove from heat, cool slightly and puree in a food processor or blender.
Chill thoroughly. Stir in cream and diced chicken before serving. Serve in chilled bowls. You may add almonds, mint leaves or flaked coconut on top. Serves 6 to 8.

CHILLED RASPBERRY SOUP
1½ T. unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
¾ cup hot water
3 10-oz. pkgs. frozen raspberries, thawed
3½ cups low-fat sour cream
11/3 cups pineapple juice
11/3 cups evaporated milk
11/3 cups grenadine
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Mint sprigs and fresh raspberries for garnish

Soak gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. Stir in hot water and dissolve over low heat.
Push raspberries through a strainer to remove seeds, then puree.
Combine all ingredients and place in a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with mint and fresh whole raspberries. Leftover soup can be frozen for a yogurt stick snack.

BLUEBERRY CHILLED SOUP
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups water
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
¼ cup evaporated milk or heavy whipping cream
Fresh blueberries, sprig of mint and pansies for garnish

In a large saucepan, simmer blueberries, lemon juice and cinnamon stick in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, or until berries are soft. Stir in salt and sugar.
Mix cornstarch with 2 T. water to make a slurry and add to blueberry mixture. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick.
When cool, puree soup in a blender. Stir in ¼ cup milk or cream. Refrigerate until cold.
Serve in champagne glasses rimmed with colored sugar crystals. Garnish with whipped cream and blueberries.
This soup tastes better when made the day before and chilled thoroughly.

SHRIMP SALAD
2 lbs. shrimp, cooked and cleaned
2 cups seedless green grapes
2 cups cashew nuts (optional)
½ cup low-fat sour cream
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 T. minced onion
2 T. green pepper
1 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 t. curry powder
½ t. sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut shrimp into small pieces, halve grapes and place in a large bowl with cashews. Blend in remaining ingredients. Mix everything together and chill for several hours. Serve with salad greens and grape clusters.

INCREDIBLE CHUTNEY CHICKEN SALAD
4 whole chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
½ cup low-fat sour cream
¼ cup milk
1 T. curry
2 T. Major Grey’s Chutney
1 cup yellow raisins
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup grapes, cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut chicken into cubes. Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, curry, Chutney, raisins, celery, grapes, salt and pepper. Blend the dressing with the chicken and serve with a nice simple green salad, rolls, fruit salad and a sorbet.

CHICKEN MOUSSE SALAD
4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 T. Knox gelatin
1 cup slivered almonds
2 cups hot chicken broth
5 T. fresh lemon juice
2 cups finely minced celery
1 cup grapes, cut in half
½ cup cold water
3 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1½ cups mayonnaise
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook chicken in chicken broth. Cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Soften gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes and add to hot chicken broth.
When broth is cool, add all the ingredients except the mayonnaise. Season to taste.
When thoroughly cold, add mayonnaise and put in mold or 9”x13” pan.
Toast almonds and place on top of chicken mousse.
This is great with aspic salad. Serves 16 to 18.

CRAB and RICE SALAD
1 lb. fresh crab meat
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups frozen small peas, cooked
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup sliced green onions
½ cup low-fat sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 t. Old Bay, optional
2 T. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Combine crab, rice, peas, celery and green onions in a bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl make the dressing. Mix together the lemon juice, mayonnaise, sour cream, Old Bay and freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Mix the ingredients all together. Chill for 24 hours and serve on a bed of lettuce. Serves 6.

RICE SALAD
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup yellow raisins (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
1 16-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
½ cup sliced green onions
1 cup cashews, optional (don’t add until the last minute)
Dressing:
2/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 T. curry powder
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. honey
1 T. cider vinegar
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper and dry mustard

Cook rice in broth for about 15 minutes or until rice is done. Drain and let cool on a cookie sheet covered with foil.
Whisk the dressing together.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix in the dressing. Add the cashews right before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

FETA, BASIL, TOMATO and ANGEL HAIR PASTA
2 cups plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ cup basil, chiffonade
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
6 garlic cloves
½ cup Feta cheese, cut into pieces (or smoked cheese)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
¼ t. sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup of your favorite salad dressing
1 lb. angel hair (or your favorite) pasta

In a bowl combine the tomatoes, basil, parsley, Feta, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Toss to mix well.
Boil the water and add the pasta. Cook according to the directions or until al dente. Add the dressing and combine.
Let chill in the refrigerator and serve. Serves 6.

GAZPACHO SALAD
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3 cups tomato juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 t. sea salt
Dash of hot sauce
3 small plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
½ medium bell pepper, diced
½ cup chopped onion
1 T. chopped chives
¼ cup celery, chopped
Dressing:
1 ripe avocado
1 T. lemon juice
½ cup light cream
½ cup sour cream
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 t. sugar
1½ t. sea salt
2 T. grated onion
Dash of cayenne pepper

Sprinkle gelatin over tomato juice and stir over low heat until dissolved. Remove from heat and add vinegar, sea salt and hot sauce. Chill until partially set. Add vegetables and stir.
Pour into a 1½-quart mold or pan.
Peel and mash the avocado with the lemon juice. Stir the light cream into the sour cream and add the seasonings. Stir in avocado and chill. Serve with the dressing.

MOLDED LEMON SALAD
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water
6 oz. low-fat cream cheese
3 T. sugar
1 cup 2% milk
½ cup boiling water
1 (6-oz.) can frozen lemonade, thawed
1 qt. strawberries and blueberries

Soften the gelatin in cold water, then dissolve in boiling water. In another bowl blend the cream cheese and sugar, gradually adding milk. Add gelatin to the cream cheese mixture. Add lemonade and blend.
Pour into a 1-quart mold and refrigerate until jelled. Unmold and fill center with strawberries and blueberries.

LIGHT LEMON SQUARES
1 cup flour
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
Topping:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ t. flour
3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a medium bowl, mix the pastry ingredients together. Press into a greased 8”x8” pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Combine all of the topping ingredients and beat until well blended. Pour over baked pastry and return to oven. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool pan on wire rack before cutting. Sift additional confectioner’s sugar on top.

CHAMPAGNE SORBET
1½ cups sugar
3 cups water
1¼ cups Champagne

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the Champagne and set it aside to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled – about 2 hours.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to directions or place in a zip-lock bag to freeze for 4 hours. Place in blender and serve.

FROZEN CITRUS SOUFFLÉ
¼ cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
¾ cup lemon juice or any other citrus juice
½ cup sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
2 cups evaporated milk, placed in freezer 1 hour before using

Coat six ½-cup ramekin dishes with nonstick cooking spray. Cut pieces of waxed paper long enough to encircle each dish, then fold each piece to create a strip about 3 inches wide. Ring the top of each dish with a strip so that it stands about 2 inches above the rim and tape it in place. Chill dishes.
Pour the water into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let stand for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the lemon juice and half of the lemon zest. Place over medium-low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar and gelatin, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool until thickened.
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the evaporated milk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped evaporated milk into the lemon mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared dishes, carefully pouring or spooning it in. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.
Remove the waxed paper from each soufflé dish and set on individual dishes. Garnish with remaining lemon zest and fresh mint sprig.