Now This is Summer!

June 12, 2009 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

Blog Food I 001    We’ve had a short string of glorious 78° days under clear, sunny skies.  Great walking weather and perfect grilling weather.  A Minnesotan without the distraction of weather complaints has to find something constructive to do with her energy, so I plan an end-of-week gathering with nieces and nephews.  The menu, a bit of “fix ahead” and some simple picnic fare:  Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts, Wild Rice Salad, Aunt Susie’s Bean Medley, Double-Deviled Eggs, and some hot Whole Wheat Sour Dough Bread.  For the sensible, a Fresh Fruit Bowl – perhaps sliced apples, oranges, and bananas; for my irritatingly slim brother-in-law and those not-yet-calorie-conscious younguns, Banana Split Ice Cream Cake Roll.

 A day ahead, make the ice cream cake by assembling:

 1/3C flour                    1/4C cocoa powder                 1tsp baking powder                 ¼ tsp salt

4 eggs-separated        1tsp almond extract                1/3C sugar                              1/2C sugar

1qt banana split ice cream, softened                         12oz frozen sweetened raspberries

hot fudge sauce          chopped pecans                      chopped almonds

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt.  In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with almond extract on high speed for 5 minutes, then gradually add the 1/3C sugar and beat for 5 minutes longer.  In yet another separate bowl (sorry) with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.  To the egg whites, add the ½C sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Next, fold the beaten yolks into the beaten whites and sprinkle the flour mixture over the top, folding it in gently until well-distributed.  Then grease and flour a 15x10x1” baking pan and spread the batter evenly in the pan.  This bakes for 12-14 minutes at 375° or until it springs back after a light touch.  IMMEDIATELY, turn out loosened cake onto a cotton (non-terry cloth) kitchen towel which has been generously dusted with powdered sugar and roll cake in the towel, starting from the 10” edge; let cool on a wire rack.  Before filling, unroll the cake and ditch the towel.

Spoon and spread ice cream over unrolled cake and then re-roll cake.  Wrap in plastic wrap then foil and freeze at least 5 hours.   To make the sauce, bring the raspberries along with juice to a simmer in a small saucepan and cooked until slightly reduced and thickened – about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool.

To serve, slice ice cream cake roll into 1” slices and top each slice with a dab of raspberry sauce and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce.  Pass bowls of chopped almonds and chopped pecans for the final touch.

Also well ahead of time, mix up a batch of Good Seasons™ Italian Dressing using olive oil and cider vinegar and pour 1/4 of it over 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (for every six servings) in a shallow dish big enough to accommodate them.  Cover and refrigerate chicken, turning occasionally, for at least three hours.

According to the chicken experts, you should choose fairly plump breasts for grilling rather than thin-cut, sear them for two minutes on each side over a double layer of good hot coals, move them over a single layer of coals for five minutes, and them finish them off with the lid closed over an area of the grill that has no hot coals under it for another 3-5 minutes.  Also let them rest – as you would steak – for about 5 minutes off the grill before slicing into them.

For the salad, you’ll need:

 3C cooked wild rice                2 med carrots                         2 med celery stalks                

3 large green onions               1-8oz can water chestnuts      3TB canola oil                                    

3TB lemon juice                      ½tsp curry powder or paprika

Cut the carrot, celery, and green onion into thin slices and cut the chestnuts into slivers.  Combine these with the wild rice, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and curry powder and toss with rice mixture to distribute.  Cover and chill until time to serve. 

For the beans, a lighter, less sweet version of that rather heavy dish known as calico beans.  Using canned beans makes a large batch, but the leftovers are pretty darned tasty.  Have on hand:

1 lge green  + 1 lge yellow pepper, chopped             1 med onion, chopped

1-16.5oz can Bush’s traditional baked beans             1-14.5oz can chopped tomatoes

1-19oz can cannellini beans                                       1-14oz can rinsed black beans

1-16oz can drained garbanzo beans                           1-16oz can drained butter beans

                                                            2tsp onion powder

In a large, wide-bottomed saucepan coated lightly with olive oil or canola oil, sauté onion and peppers until onion is translucent and peppers are tender – about 12 minutes.  Add baked beans (with that disgusting fat pork chunk removed) and all remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and cook for at least ½ hour, stirring occasionally.  May be refrigerated or held on the stovetop at this point until ready to serve.  Heat through thoroughly before serving.

According to the egg experts – I wonder which came first, the chicken experts or the egg experts? – the concept of deviled eggs dates way back to ancient Rome, while the name itself wasn’t attached until the 1700s.   The nefarious moniker simply refers to hot and spicy or piquant treatments, suggestive of a certain uncomfortable dwelling place.  We’ll leave “piquant” for another day, another dinner party.

For this decidedly non-Mediterranean Diet version, to serve six:

12 eggs                                    1/4 C Miracle Whip                                    2 TB light sour cream              

1 TB sweet pickle juice            2 tsp yellow mustard                            1 small can deviled ham

                                                snipped fresh parsley                                

Eggs that have been around a few days peel more easily than fresh eggs, and this cooking method should also help you achieve a clean-peeled egg for stuffing.  Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring water to a boil, remove from heat, cover pan, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain off cooking water and cover eggs with cold water, refreshing water as necessary to cool eggs.  Peel eggs under cold running water, starting at the broad end where there is an air pocket under the shell.  Cut eggs in half lengthwise, remove yolks to a medium bowl, and mash to a fine consistency.  A ricer works nicely for this, but a fork will do, too.  Stir in Miracle Whip, sour cream, pickle juice, mustard, and deviled ham, and mix well.  Spoon filling back into egg halves and garnish with parsley.

Here’s hoping that your summer is off to a fine start as well.  And with a nod to the good people at Good Seasons™, buon appetito.

Entry filed under: Musings of a Midwestern Foodie. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Very Chilly, Very Easy A Mother Reflects

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