Summer is my favorite time of year – blue sunny skies, lazy days on the patio, weekend trips to the beach and lake and backyard gatherings with friends and family. Most of all, I love the fresh juicy fruits of summer – stone fruits like peaches and plums and cherries and all the fresh berries in season like blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.
Over the July 4th holiday weekend we had a fun backyard BBQ at my parents house with some of my relatives that I haven’t seen in awhile. I used to look forward to all the fun cookouts we did every summer with my family and cousins when I was a kid so it was a fun surprise to hear they were coming over for the day.
I wanted to make a special summery dessert and something different than our usual holiday traditions such as Aunt Irene’s Reception Salad and Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie. I decided on a Peach-Raspberry Almond Vanilla Cream Tart made with luscious juicy fresh peaches and raspberries that are bathed in a gorgeous peach glaze. They lie on a bed of sweet creamy ricotta and cream cheese blended with a hint of almond and vanilla on top of a flaky buttery puff pastry as the base.
The combination of the sweet fruit and tangy sweet almond vanilla cream over the layers of flaky buttery pastry was the perfect refreshing yet sinful treat to top off an awesome hot Summer day out on the back patio. My Aunt and Grandma may not be with us anymore to make their legendary desserts, but I’ve decided to step in their shoes and make this delicious concoction a new yearly tradition for our family summer backyard gatherings going forward.
Savoring the Fruits of Summer :: Peach-Raspberry Almond Vanilla Cream Tart
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: Makes 2 tarts serving 12 to 16.
2 puff pastry sheets, defrosted
2 tablespoons water
2 peaches, diced
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 lemon rind quarters
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese (one regular, one light) at room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 peaches, sliced thin
1 cup raspberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Tart pastry: Rollout puff pastry sheets on a floured surface and place on two lightly greased rectangular baking sheets.
Score a 1-inch border around each pastry sheet. Beat eggs and water together and lightly brush the pastry sheets.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and let pastry sheets cool completely.
Glaze: Meanwhile, dice two peaches and add sugar, lemon juice, lemon rinds and 2 cups of water into a small-medium pan on the stove. Simmer over medium heat until the peach is soft and the glaze is thickened about 10-15 minutes. Remove the lemon rinds and let the glaze cool to the side.
Cream Filling: In a large mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat together with a mixer until smooth and spread evenly on to each pastry sheet, leaving a 1-inch border on the pastry. Arrange the peach slices on top of the cream filling in layered rows and brush the peaches with all but a few tablespoons of the glaze. Toss the raspberries with the rest of the glaze and randomly place on top of the peaches. Serve right away or keep cool in the refrigerator covered for a few hours.
To serve, cut the tarts into squares and garnish with toasted almonds or whipped cream if desired.
Chef’s Note: The pastry and cream filling is really delicious and super versatile for making any type of fruit tart. You can substitute the peaches and raspberries for any type of berry – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries or use fresh plums or kiwi fruit and adjust the recipe accordingly for the glaze and fruit topping. You can also substitute some toasted pistachios in place of the almonds. Get creative!
I recently took a cooking class at ICE that was all about Southern Cooking. In the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, I wanted share some of the awesome down-home Southern food we made. These are classic Southern recipes you’d find on the Sunday “Supper” table with a large group of friends and family, that scream the words “Southern Comfort” all around. Think Deviled Eggs, Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Cornbread, Coca-Cola Cake, Fried-Green Tomatoes, Fried Fruit Pies, BBQ Ribs, Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, Sweet Tea, Mint Juleps – savory, homey, sweet, hearty, comforting and yes, FILLING. I guess that’s why they call it ‘comfort food’ because once your done eating and your belly is full, all you really wanna do is take a big NAP (on a nice big hammock on the front porch – Yes Ma’am).
I had my first real taste of true Southern food when I visited Meridian, Missippippi with one of my best friends and her family back in high school. We rode in the back of a station wagon from Upstate NY to Mississippi in the sweltering heat for about 20 hours, and when we arrived I thought I had reached the equator – or HELL for that matter. I wasn’t there for even 2 hours before I got attacked by a swarm of tiny red ants when we visited her Grandfather’s farm house that first day, and almost passed out on the beach after laying out for 5 minutes it was so hot down there. But after a big glass of ice cold homemade sweet tea, some Biscuits and Gravy, a crunchy delicious piece of her Grandmother’s Fried Chicken and a plate of Fried Okra – all the hellfire deceased instantly. (Well at least for the moment!)
My second experience tasting Southern food was in Columbia, South Carolina when I went to USC for a few semesters and ended up transferring there because I was so charmed by this unique Southern town. I’ll never forget the game day tailgating parties full of glorious southern banquets (and Bourbon!) that took up the entire parking lot across from the football stadium and lasted all day until we passed out from the heat, or the food (or most likely the Jack and Coke’s we had in our water bottles that we snuck into the game with!)
There was also the local street vendor in Five Points (where all the bars and restaurants are on campus) who walked around selling spicy boiled peanuts to all the crazy drunk kids going in and out of all the bars staggering home to their dorm rooms. If you take a drive down to South Carolina, you can’t miss the huge giant peach water tower in Gaffney on the way down (or the massive retail outlet there!). Peaches are lovely. Peaches are everywhere down South. Peach pie, peach fritters, peach cobbler, peach tarts, peach salads, peach jam….ok, now I’m getting hungry.
We took roadtrips to Charleston, SC and experienced the low-country cuisine like Shrimp and Gravy, Red Beans and Rice or Frogmore Stew (a South Carolina specialty made with shrimp, corn, new potatoes and sausage). The downtown Sunday market is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, handmade baskets, art, crafts and great southern and low-country food. If you’ve never been to this town before, you MUST make a trip – the architecture, the Sunday markets, the seafood, cobbled streets, southern hospitality and warm breezes off the ocean will charm the pants right off of you.
Our Spring Breaks had to be semi-close by because none of us could afford to fly anywhere, so we hopped in our e-roller scooters and took roadtrips to nearby towns like Savannah, GA or to the beach in the Florida panhandle (otherwise known as the Redneck Riveria – Destin, Panama City Beach, Pensacola) and ate spicy boiled Crawfish – “sucking heads and pinching tails”, while slugging down a good ice cold Budweiser or two.
Then, I moved to Atlanta after I graduated from college (swayed by a great friend of mine that I met at the University of SC) and unexpectedly stayed there for 12 years – and that’s where I really learned how to cook and love Southern food. There was something about the flowery, green smell in the air down in Georgia, and the charming friendliness of the people – a realness and down-to-earth manner that made me feel like I belonged in this strange Southern universe (even if I was just a damn Yankee that moved down South to get away from Mom and Dad after college).
Fried Chicken and Waffles, BBQ, more peaches (every street in Atlanta is named “Peachtree”), trips to the Dillard House in the Georgia mountains, day trips and weekends at the lake – I couldn’t get enough of this place. We grilled out almost every weekend on the deck or at the lake with our friends (and made awesome steaks and burgers with Dale’s Seasoning which are Ah-mazing).
My ex was from Alabama and Texas, so you can only imagine the Southern food and hospitality that I was exposed to. We ate the best BBQ south of the Mason-Dixon line in Selma, Alabama at a little truck stop called Lannie’s Barbeque, that served hot fresh bbq pork sandwiches on toasted buns with homemade cole slaw, southern green beans and a side of cornbread with extra sauce for mopping. There was never a trip to Selma without a stop here. Or a mandatory trip to Dreamland BBQ for a whopping plate of messy delicious ribs in Tuscaloosa for Alabama ‘Game Day‘. Roll Tide! (I was always still a diehard Gamecock fan though, even if Alabama kicked our ass).
His Mom was an amazing cook too, and every holiday we would go to their “camphouse” in the woods. The men would go deer and bird hunting for the day, and the women would stay home and prep for the big mid-day feast: slow-cooked collard greens with smoked ham, deep-fried turkey, slow-roasted pork butt, fried okra, skillet baked cornbread with jalapenos and cheddar, pecan pie, homemade flaky buttery biscuits, sweet tea, and the list goes on. On Friday nights we always went to “Mac’s Fish Camp” on the Alabama River (which tragically burned down in 2007 and is no longer around). We ate the best cornmeal-crusted fried catfish that would blow your mind – whole, right off the bones, served with fresh corn on the cob, cole slaw and hushpuppies. Even on the sweltering dog-days of Summer like they have down South, there’s something about the savory, buttery, comfort food down there that makes you feel right at home.
True Southern food and hospitality is all about eating and sharing big homemade meals with large groups of friends and family. My cooking class was almost 5 hours long and we made so much food you could feed a small Confederate Army. Thus, this post only has half of the food we made for our Southern feast that day so I’m making this Part 1. The recipes below include: Classic Deviled Eggs, Country Smoked Ham with Red-Eye Gravy, Southern Collard Greens, Cornbread, Coca-Cola Cake and of course, some homemade Southern Sweet Tea to wash it all down with. Stay tuned for Part 2 later this week for some more down-home, get-in-my-belly, authentic Southern Comfort food. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to take a nice, long nap on the hammock between now and then…
6 hard-cooked eggs (1 week old eggs are easier to peel than super fresh eggs)
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or to moisten
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, or to taste
Paprika, for garnish
1-2 tbsp chopped Parsley leaves
Equipment: ice water bath
Put eggs in a saucepan that will hold them in one layer. Cover with cold water by 1 inch. Heat just to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Allow the eggs to “cook” in the hot water for 15 to 17 minutes and then immediately transfer to the ice water bath to cool and stop the cooking.
When well-chilled (you may have to replace the ice water bath with cold water or more ice to keep them cold and fully chill), roll them gently on the countertop and crack the shell all over.
Peel under cold running water and reserve.
Cut the hard-cooked eggs in half length-wise and shave a bit from the bottom of each half so it will lay flat on a serving dish.
Remove and mash the yolks; combine with mayonnaise, mustard, salt and relish.
Refill the centers of the egg whites with the mixture (use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, ideally). Garnish with paprika and chopped parsley, refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 12 deviled eggs.
Country Ham Steak with Red-Eye Gravy
1 bone-in fully cooked ham steak, about 2 pounds (salt-cured country ham or a center-cut slice of ham)
Butter, vegetable oil, lard or shortening, as needed
3/4 cup strong black coffee
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Melt sufficient butter or other fat to film the bottom of the skillet. Add the cooked ham, and cook to warm through and brown the meat. Reserve the ham.
Over high heat, add the coffee to deglaze the pan; scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits.
Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
To serve pour the gravy over the ham to serve with the ham or serve gravy in a separate pitcher.
Southern-Style Braised Collard Greens
2 pounds of collard greens (can substitute kale, turnip greens, or mustard greens)
1 ham hock (or 6 slices of cooked bacon)
1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt
Sherry or cider vinegar, optional (for serving)
Tabasco/Louisiana Hot pepper sauce or pickled pepper juice, optional (for serving)
Clean and wash greens well; remove tough stems and ribs. Cut the greens up into large ribbons or chunks and place in a deep pot; add onion. Wash off the ham hock and add to the pot. Add red pepper and salt. Add enough water to cover greens, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the greens until tender, about 1 hour (up to 2 or 3 hours is fine as long as they don’t get mushy). Add more water as needed, taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve with corn bread, and pass the vinegar and hot sauce.
Serves 4 to 6.
Classic Southern Cornbread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease pan
Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved (don’t over mix!). Allow the mixture to site at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and preheat a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
When ready to bake, coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with butter (and be careful – pan is very hot!)
Pour the batter into the prepared pan,
and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares or wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra butter if desired.
We used to make it with green chilies or jalapenos and cheddar cheese – if you want to try this version, chop the chilies (about 1/2 cup) and some shredded cheddar (about 1 cup) and add it to the batter before pouring into the cast-iron skillet. Delicious!
Makes 1 (10-inch) skillet of cornbread, approx. 8 to 10 slices or squares.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup Coca-Cola
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; grease and flour a 13×9 inch baking pan.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Combine 1 cup butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1 cup of Coca-Cola in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add marshmallows and vanilla, stirring until marshmallows are melted.
Pour mixture over dry ingredients and blend in well. Add the buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda and pecans, if using. Beat well.
Spread batter in the pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake bounces back when lightly touched near the center. Cool completely.
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
6 to 7 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand blender), blend the softened butter with cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, and Coca-Cola. Beat ingredients until smooth and creamy; spread on cooled cake with a spatula. If desired, sprinkle finely chopped pecans over the top. Serve warm.
Makes 1 (13×9) cake.
1 ounce loose black tea
1 quart hot water
1 quart room temperature water
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Infuse hot tea into hot water for 4 to 5 minutes, strain the tea into room temperature water. (we used to bring water to a boil in a large saucepan and then turn it off and infuse large tea bags in the hot water and add additional room temp water). Sweeten with simple syrup if desired and garnish with lemon wedges. Mint leaves are a nice twist too.
3 cups sugar
3 cups cold water
For simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a small non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil, and cook until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely (before putting ice in it or the tea will turn cloudy and taste bitter).
Can be kept in the refrigerator for a month or more in a tightly sealed container.
I recently picked up a cookbook at a conference called Recipes Worth Sharing by Favorite Recipes Press. It’s a collection of the most prized, tried-and-true tested home cook recipes from some of the most popular regional community cookbooks and charitable organizations in America. I remember my Mom and Grandmother would occasionally cook from these spiral-bound community cookbooks and they usually made some type of yummy salad or casserole dish for a Sunday family brunch or neighborhood potluck supper. Usually these cookbooks go unappreciated or overlooked, but this one deserves to be noticed.
The reason I picked up this book was mainly because of the recipes themselves, not the beautiful photos which normally are what grab my attention when I pick up or buy a cookbook. The recipes are a collection of delicious comfort food, down-home favorites and are not particularly complicated to make but delicious all the same. A lot of these recipes remind of the Southern cooking I experienced and learned to make when I lived in Atlanta and made trips to Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans – lots of seafood, fresh veggies and salads, grilled and roasted meats, pasta dishes, homemade breads, pies and desserts, and of course the delicious creamycasseroles made out of basically EVERYTHING under the sun. The foods and recipes in this book are the ones that your Grandmother and Mother probably made too, and passed along to their friends at church, bridge club or the local junior league. Fussy and stuffy recipes they are not, but simple, delicious and comforting – they are indeed.
The recipes in the book are organized in typical categories: Appetizers and Beverages, Breads and Brunch, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, Entrees, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables and Sides, Cakes, Pies and Cookies, Desserts, and Kid’s Recipes. I’ve gone through the book and picked out a sampling of my favorite recipes below (a few from each category) to share with you. I hope you enjoy them and maybe even try a few for your next potluck party or family picnic. If you want to check out the cookbook for yourself – you can preview and purchase the cookbook online. Enjoy!
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked crab meat, drained
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup cooked shrimp, cut into small pieces
40 frozen phyllo cups, thawed
Grated parmesan cheese
Blend the cream cheese, milk, horseradish, butter, wine, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Fold in the crab meat, scallions and shrimp. Fill the phyllo cups with the seafood mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cheese and almonds. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until heated through.
Recipe from Toast of the Coast, The Junior League of Jacksonville, Florida
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped green chilies
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (1-pound) round loaf French or Sourdough bread
Combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, ham, green onions, green chilies and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and mix well. Cut a thin slice from the top of the bread loaf; reserve. Remove the center carefully, leaving a shell. Cut the bread from the center into 1-inch cubes. Fill the bread shell with the dip; top with the reserved top. Wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with the bread cubes, crackers or chips.
Recipe from Downtown Savannah Style, The Junior League of Savannah, Georgia.
Pirate’s Milk Punch
1 cup sugar
1 cup bourbon (not sour mash)
1 cup French brandy (Cognac)
1 cup vodka
2 ounces pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the sugar, bourbon, brandy and vodka in a gallon container with a lid. An empty gallon milk jug will work. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and nutmeg; shake well. Add the milk, 2 cups at a time, until the jug is full; shaking well after each addition. Chill for 8 to 24 hours before serving. Serve very cold or over ice in old-fashioned glasses. Sprinkle freshly grated nutmeg over the top before serving.
Makes 1 gallon (16 servings).
Recipe from The Life of the Party, The Junior League of Tampa, Florida.
6 English muffins, split into halves
Butter to taste
12 slices Canadian bacon
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
To prepare the eggs, toast the English muffin halves and spread with butter. Brown the Canadian bacon in a skillet; drain. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until light and frothy. Add the cheese, salt and pepper and mix well. Arrange the muffin halves in the bottom of a baking dish, split side up. Top each muffin half with a slice of Canadian bacon. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the Canadian bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until eggs are set. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Slice into squares around the muffin halves.
To prepare the sauce, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and Tabasco sauce in a blender and process until smooth. Bring the butter to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and immediately add to the egg yolk mixture in a find stream, processing constantly at high speed until combined.
To serve, top each serving with a spoonful of Hollandaise sauce. Note: The sauce can be kept warm in a baking dish placed in a pan of hot water.
Recipe from Shall We Gather, Trinity Episcopal Church, Wetumpka, Alabama.
White Spanish Gazpacho
3 cucumbers, peeled and cubed
1 small garlic clove
3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
3 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and salted
Puree the cucumbers and garlic in a blender. Pour into a bowl. Whisk in a small amount of chicken broth until smooth. Whisk in remaining chicken broth gradually. Whisk the cucumber mixture gradually inot the sour cream in a bowl. Stir in the vinegar and salt. Chill, covered, until cold. Ladle into 6 chilled soup bowls. Top each with equal portions of the tomatoes, parsley, green onions, almonds and croutons.
Recipe from Recipes of Note, Greensboro Symphony Guild, Greensboro, NC
Sweet Tart Salad
Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10 ounces salad greens or 16 cups torn lettuce
4 cups chopped Granny Smith apples
2 cups garlic bagel chips, crushed
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon pepper
For the dressing, combine the sugar, oil, vinegar, poppy seeds, paprika and Worcestershire sauce in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and seal tightly. Shake to mix. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. The flavor is enhanced if made in advance and chilled.
For the salad, mix the salad greens, apples, bagel chips, cheese, pecans, and pepper in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Tables of Content, Junior League of Birmingham, Alabama.
Toasted Brie Chicken Tea Sandwiches
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup red grapes, sliced
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Italian herbs
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
6 to 12 croissants
2 (8 ounce) wheels Brie cheese, rind removed and cheese sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the chicken and broth in a roasting pan. Roast for 12 to 18 minutes or until cooked through. Do not allow the chicken to brown. Drain and discard the broth. Place the chicken in a large bowl and let stand until cool. Mix the mayonnaise, grapes, celery, Italian herbs, pepper and onion powder in a bowl. Stir in the chicken. Cut each croissant into halves crosswise and cut each half into halves horizontally. Toast the croissants. Place a slice of Brie on half of the croissant pieces. Top with the chicken mixture and the remaining croissant pieces.
Makes 12 to 14 sandwiches.
Recipe from Savor the Seasons, The Junior League of Tampa, Florida.
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons salad oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Juice of 2 garlic cloves
4 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, cut into 12 slices
1/4 cup crumbled crisp-cooked bacon
Combine the artichokes, hearts of palm, green onions and parsley in a bowl and mix gently. Add a mixture of the salad oil, lemon juice and garlic juice and bleu cheese; toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. The salad may be prepared to this point one day in advance. Line 6 chilled salad plates with romaine. Arrange 2 tomato slices on each salad plate. Top with the artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with the bacon just before serving.
Recipe from Art Fare, Toledo Museum of Art Aides, Toledo, Ohio.
Father Art’s Pozole
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
10 tomatillos, husked, cored and cut into quarters
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 (15-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
2 whole dried red chiles, stems removed
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add the pork and saute until brown on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Combine the pork mixture with 3 cups of chicken broth in a large saucepan. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is very tender. Combine the remaining 2 cups chicken broth with the tomatillos and cilantro in a blender and process until pureed. Add the puree, hominy and red chiles to the pork mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the chiles and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with chopped onion, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, cheese, cilantro and lime wedges.
Note: Pozole can be prepared a day or two in advance and chilled, covered, until needed. Reheat over low heat to serve.
Recipe from The Bells are Ringing: A Call to Table, Mission San Juan Capistrano Women’s Guild, San Juan Capistrano, California.
6 whole chicken breasts, split and skinned
3 1/2 cups ice water
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne to taste
Spray a baking sheet 3 times with a nonstick cooking spray. Rinse the chicken. Place the chicken in the ice water in a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into a medium bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, flour, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, Creole seasoning, thyme, basil, oregano, black pepper and cayenne in a sealable plastic bag, shaking to mix. Remove 2 pieces of chicken from the water; coat with yogurt. Place the chicken in the plastic bag with seasonings, shaking to coat. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Spray the chicken lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Place the baking sheet on the bottom oven rack. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour, turning every 20 minutes to assure even browning.
Recipe from A Taste of the Good Life: From the Heart of Tennessee, St. Thomas Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee.
1 stick butter
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons flour
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 pound grated Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon sherry wine
Red pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 pound white crabmeat
Melt butter in heavy pot and saute onions and parsley. Blend in flour, cream and cheese, until cheese is melted. Add other ingredients and gently fold in crab meat. This may be served in a chafing dish with Melba toast or in puff pastry shells.
Recipe from River Roads Recipes: The Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine, Junior League of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Baked Heirloom Beets with Balsamic Vinegar
1 pound of beets various colors, leaves and stems trimmed (golf ball size)
10 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup fresh marjoram or oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the beets, garlic, and marjoram on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring the sides of the foil up. Pour a mixture of the vinegar and olive oil over the beet mixture and seal the foil.
Bake for 1 hour or until the beets are tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel and slice or chop the beets, reserving the juices. Serve the beets with the reserved juices over watercress or mixed salad greens or as a side to grilled meats. Serve at room temperature if desired.
Recipe from California Mosaic, The Junior League of Pasadena, California.
Church Street Squash
2 pounds yellow or zucchini squash (or medley of both)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, plain
1 tablespoon paprika
Cook squash until tender. Mash with fork after draining. Let stand until cool. Saute onion in 2 tablespoons butter until yellow, not brown. Mix squash, onion, cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper and egg. Gently pour into greased casserole. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top and dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle paprika on top. Cook, uncovered 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly. It does freeze well after cooking and covered.
Recipe from Charleston Receipts Repeats, Junior League of Charleston, South Carolina.
Fresh Peach Crisp
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine or butter
4 cups fresh peaches, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon; cut in margarine or butter with 2 knives or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Combine peaches, lemon juice and water; spoon into a greased 9x9x1 3/4 inch baking dish. Sprinkle flour mixture over peaches. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake 35 to 45 minutes longer.
Recipe from Savannah Style, Junior League of Savannah, Georgia.
1/2 cup margarine
1 (6 ounce) package chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 (10 1/2 ounce) package mini marshmallows
4 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup peanuts, optional
Combine margarine, chocolate chips, and peanut butter in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until melted, stirring until smooth. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Blend in cereal and peanuts. Spread in 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Chill until firm. Prepare frosting by melting chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together, blending until smooth. Spread on chilled bars. Cut into 2×1-inch bars.
Makes 60 bars.
Recipe from Children’s Party Book, The Junior League of Hampton Roads, Virginia
Peaches. There’s something so satisfying about biting into the sweet, juicy flesh that quenches the thirst for a cool and refreshing treat in the summertime.
Even the perfectly round shape, bright peachy red and fuzzy exterior gives it a heavenly appeal.
This summer salad recipe pairs white peaches with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella tossed in a tangy sweet vinaigrette. It’s refreshing, light, and the salty prosciutto paired with the cool, mild mozzarella and sweet peaches is a combination to die for. You can also substitute the mozzarella with Ricotta Salata (fresh ricotta) or Feta cheese, and add some sliced or slivered almonds for crunch if you like. Serve this salad with some crusty bread and a glass of white wine – perfect for a lunch or dinner side salad with an Italian dish.