Although the weather is feeling more and more like summer, the calendar and the markets still have a little spring left in them, so I need to share this recipe before the thin and tender asparagus spears are replaced by the thick and hearty spears that are more suitable for the grill.
The recipe may seem daunting with several steps, but they all can be done in advance. The crêpes (I will do a tutorial on these thin pancakes in the future) can be made and kept in the refrigerator or frozen. The sauce can be made two days ahead, and the rolled crepes can be made up to one day in advance. Once made, all you have to do is slice and serve with the sauce just before your guests arrive. They are a perfect little amuse bouche when cut into 32 pieces, but when cut into 16 rolls and served with a sample salad, they also make for a nice lunch or light dinner.
*Note- If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that I was a little MIA last week (and part of this week). I really had good intentions of blogging with recipes to share, but with summer schedules, vacations, and personal matters (a.k.a, my house and yard need some organizational and cleaning attention ☺) I didn't find the time. So having said that, my posts will be a bit more sporadic and less frequent until I get a regular groove back. In the meantime, I will be featuring some round-ups of sweet and savory summer favorites from the archives. Happy cooking!
Prosciutto and Asparagus Crepes
Homemade Toulose Sausage
Flageolets with Garlic Confit and Thyme
Bibb Lettuce with House Vinaigrette
Rhubarb Dream and Whipped Cream
With a bounty of rhubarb in my garden, a dessert featuring that ruby stalk was in order. This was a recipe that was passed down to me from my mother-in-law many years ago and it is always a hit. I only made a few changes to her recipe, like a bit more confectioners' sugar and a pinch of salt in the crust. I add vanilla extract to the filling and I am a little more generous with the rhubarb. It is quite simple to prepare, which is always a bonus on a Sunday for me.
The crust is reminiscent of a tender shortbread and the filling, once baked, forms a meringue-like top with a rhubarb custard underneath. Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream (optional but good). This is a recipe that you will want for yourself and to pass on to others as well.
While the name doesn't make this the most appealing sounding recipe, it is quite tasty, which is why I am sharing it after enjoying it with my family this past Sunday. "What is shrimp paste," you ask? It is just a low-country version of potted shrimp or rilletes. Like the salmon rilletes, the protein is blended with a fat to make for a creamy and spreadable food. Anchovy paste is added in the is recipe, so you are likely not to need any additional salt, but do taste for seasoning to be sure.
How does one serve the paste? We slathered it on buttery crackers, but melba toasts and crostini would work as well. I think it would also be nice stuffed in vegetables like tomatoes or sugar snap peas. The paste would make lovely little tea sandwiches layered in between thinly sliced white bread with crusts removed.
Shrimp Paste and Crackers
Hickory Smoked Chickens
Corn on the Cob with Chive Butter
Lemon Chess Pie
There is nothing like hickory smoke to get one's mind right for summer food and fun. It gets the olfactory system and taste buds communicating just right for the brain to get the message--summertime is here to stay for a good while. Time to make some pie!
What better way to wrap up a great Summer meal than with a sweet, lemony kiss? This Lemon Chess pie brings the right texture and flavor to get all the senses in concert. It brings the mouth feel of custard with a slight crackle from the dusting of sugar that will speed your fork back to the plate for another bite. After the first serving, a slice is wonderful eaten with your hand the next day, no matter what time it is. My husband has even eaten it for breakfast at work.
What do you do when you are stuck in between seasons and you have a craving for fresh garden vegetables after a long cold winter? Try making this salad to satisfy the palate and tummy with a terrific 'tweener of a recipe.
The vegetables called for in this dish can be found year 'round with quality taste. Those sweet little cherub tomatoes are my go-to when the garden is without bounty. Either freshly roasted or jarred roasted red bell peppers can be used; whichever you have on hand. The creamy dressing is made with 1/4 cup of the sun-dried tomato pesto (I can't speak for the end results when using the store-bought variety). The dressing does make quite a bit and I don't like over dressed salads, so I dress half the vegetables and turkey with dressing and pass the remainder as needed per individual. Enjoyed as a hearty main dish salad meal or served over a bed of greens for a light lunch, this is a dish to get your taste buds ready for Summer.
I had a craving for a deep tomato flavor, but since tomatoes still aren't at their vine-ripened peak, I thought I would pull out this recipe from the repertoire to use for a weeknight meal. Simple, quality ingredients, easy to prepare, a variety of applications and tons of flavor? Now that's a recipe that I like. This is an excellent sauce to have on hand to toss with pasta for a quick meal or use as a topping to sautéed or grilled fish and/or chicken. It also makes for a nice spread on country bread or crostini. Use it as condiment for sandwiches or panini. Better yet, use it as an ingredient into a wonderful main dish salad dressing (just a little hint for my next post). Stay tuned...
Crunchy Grits-Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
This Sunday is a belated birthday dinner menu. My husband celebrated a birthday this past week, so it was his turn to choose the menu--and a good one it is. Especially since I had a little pork left in the freezer (takes a little of the Sunday dinner work load off of me).
I made this cake a couple months back for my father's birthday. My husband wasn't able to join us for the celebration, so I thought this would be a good excuse to make it again. But once you taste this cake, you will realize there is no need to have an excuse to make it. The cake itself is made with Nutella and ground hazelnuts. It is light and moist, but sturdy enough to hold the frosting. The frosting is a basic cream cheese frosting with Nutella added. It is lick-the-bowl good and takes the cake from delicious to ridiculous.
I took the day off this past Sunday from blogging our dinner menu in order to spend a wonderful Mother's day with my family, but I didn't take the day off from cooking. It was a delicious dinner that ended with this dessert that conjured up memories of my childhood and my own mother.
One of mom's desserts that was always well received consisted of a bowl of fresh summer strawberries, a bowl of sour cream, and a third bowl of light brown sugar. Pulling back the foliage and holding the stem end of the berries, we would dip the whole berry into the sour cream, then roll it into the brown sugar. Mmmm... I'm sure many of you know just what I'm talking about.
Now take that idea and put a little elbow grease into the concept and you have this dinner finale (or afternoon hand held snack☺).
The original recipe hits the mark on flavor, but the form of stabilizer was lacking (trust me, I have tried it without out it; a.k.a cue the dogs to clean up the kitchen fail). I used cream of tartar along with the lemon juice to ensure a tall and fluffy cake.