Red Onions

Labor Day Weekend Picnic

August 31, 2013

Picnic 3Labor Day Weekend Picnic

Labor Day Weekend is the perfect weekend for a picnic.  To celebrate the end of summer I’ve organized a feast of some of America’s favorites – from fried chicken to chocolate cake, cheeseburgers to homemade strawberry ice cream. 

 

Parsley Potato Salad

Mushroom Artichoke Salad

Chile-Spiced Bean Salad

Crusty Parmesan Chicken Breasts

Deviled Eggs

Pickled Beets

Barbecued Cheeseburgers

Tomatoes

Radishes

Lettuce

Red Onions

Pickles

Olives

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberries

Beer

Lemonade

Coffee

Packing the picnic:  The salads can be prepared a day in advance.  It’s probably not necessary to double the recipes unless you have a large crowd to feed.  Be sure to include a serving spoon for each salad.  The Crusty Parmesan Chicken Breasts can be served either cold or warm.  Either bake it a day ahead, refrigerate it, and carry it in a cooler; or pop it in the oven about an hour before you leave and transport it hot.  The deviled eggs can be made from your favorite recipes or one from Tiny New York Kitchen.  They will need several hours to chill and must be packed in a cooler, along with the assortment of vegetables (each in a plastic container).  Take along a basket or platter for the chicken, a tray for the eggs, and serving forks. 

All of the barbecue equipment can travel in a sturdy cardboard box, if there’s room, lay the buns and cheese on top so they don’t get squished.  The hamburgers and condiments should be packed in a cooler. 

You can bake the cake and prepare the frosting well in advance; both can be stored in the freezer.  After thawing, the frosting should be beaten for a few minutes with an electric mixer.  A round plastic serving plate with a high, tight-fitting cover is ideal for transporting the cake; remember to carry along a knife and a cake server. 

In a cooler, pack the ice cream custard, berry mixture, and ice, each in its own container.  Take a hammer and large, heavy dishtowel for crushing the ice cubes, and rock salt for the ice cream freezer (which would be a non-electric one).  Pack the fragile ice cream cones and berries for garnish last. 

Keep the beer in the cooler.  For the lemonade and coffee, you will need a couple of thermoses.  Preheat the one for the coffee; don’t forget to take cream (kept cold) and sugar.  Pre-chill the other thermos and fill it with cold lemonade. 

At the site: Assemble the ice cream freezer and begin hand-cranking, taking turns so that everyone can participate.  If the ice cream is ready before it’s time for dessert, remove the dasher, cover the container, and let it stay in the freezer to ripen; don’t forget to dump out the salty water and pack the freezer with fresh ice. 

Fire up the barbecue about 30 minutes before you want to begin cooking.  Grill the cheeseburgers when the coals are gray.  Arrange the chicken in a basket, set out the rest of the food, and dig in.  

 

Easter Menu Ideas

March 30, 2013

Easter 1Easter Menu Ideas

The greatest feast of the Christian Church takes its name from that of Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn.  The feast, however, has another name, the Pasch, the Greek word coming from the Hebrew pesakh, the Passover.  This is the term for the feast which is used in nearly every language except English and German, but even these two languages use the words Paschal candle and Paschaltide.  In the churches of the Eastern Orthodox the feast of Easter comes somewhat later than in the Western calendar, but the observance is as great, if not greater.  Here are some Easter feast ideas that may be useful in your home this Sunday.

Easter Breakfast Or Brunch

Mini Frittatas: Cheddar, Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomato, Swiss, Bacon or Mushroom

Spring Onion Quiches With Gruyere Cheese: Cooked Leeks & Onions With Cheese & A Savory Egg Custard Baked In A Tart Shell

Asparagus, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche:  Asparagus, Baby Arugula & Goat Cheese Mixed With Egg Custard Baked In a Flaky Crust

Fresh Fruit Platter:  Sliced Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon , Pineapple, Grapes & Berries

Easter Appetizers

Asparagus Rolled In Pancetta

Mini Spinach & Ricotta Calzone

Bruschetta

Crudites Platter:  Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green & Yellow Squash, Sliced Cucumbers, Red/Yellow/Green Bell Peppers, Grape Tomatoes And Baby Carrots

Cheese Platter:  Classic American & European Cheeses Cubes & Wedges For Snacking.  Serve With Almonds & Crostini

Shrimp Cocktail:  Cook, Devein & De-shell Large Shrimp Serve with Lemons & Cocktail Sauce

Smoked Salmon Platter:  Sliced Salmon With Chopped Red Onions, Capers, Cornichons, Mustard Sauce & Horseradish Sauce

Whole Boneless Poached Salmon:  Poached In White Wine With A Light & Creamy Dill Sauce

Soups

Spring Pea & Onion Soup:  Pureed Spring Pea & Onion Soup Made With Celery, Leeks, Garlic & Thyme

Carrot & Fennel Soup:  Carrots, Fennel & Tomatoes Cooked In Vegetable Broth.  Pureed Smooth

Salads & Side Dishes

Shrimp, Spring Pea & Morel Salad:  Shrimp With Crispy Spring Peas, Morel Mushrooms & Tomatoes Lightly Tossed In A Lemon Vinaigrette

Golden Beet, Radish & Frisee Salad:  Golden Beets, Radishes, Frisee Served With Goat Cheese, Pecans & Champagne Vinaigrette.

Grilled Asparagus:  Marinate In Olive Oil & Kosher Salt.  Grill

Gnocchi, Peas & Pancetta:  Gnocchi, Peas, Panchetta, Ricotta Salata, Baby Arugula & Lemon Zest

Entrees

Honey Spiced Turkey Breast: Brine, Slow Roast Finished With Spices & Honey Glaze

Apricot Bourbon Glazed Ham:  Apricot Jam, Honey, Dijon Mustard & Bourbon Combined & Poured On Top Of Ham Then Baked

Victoria’s Apricot Pork Tenderloin

Rosemary Rubbed Leg Of Lamb:  Boneless Leg Of Lamb Marinated In Olive Oil & Herbs Then Roasted To Medium Rare

Grilled Salmon With Crispy Potato & Leek Fondue:  Grilled Salmon Topped With Melted Spring Leeks With A Touch Of Cream & Crispy Fingerling Potatoes

Rack Of Lamb: Roasted With A Variety Of Spices

Desserts

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cake

Yellow Cake With White Chocolate Ganache

Victoria’s Caramel & Chocolate Pecan Bars

Fruit Tarts

Hot Cross Buns

 

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