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Lite End of Summer Fare


Bill Miller
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If you have a refreshing recipe for this time of the year, post it here.

CHICKEN BREASTS IN CUCUMBER/LEMON SAUCE

This from The Inn at Cedar Falls, Logan, Ohio

2 large English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/4 in slices

7 Tbls unsalted butter, room temp

1 Tbls plus 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/8 tsp white pepper

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

1 tsp evoo

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup whipping cream

2 Tbls plus 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbls fresh dill, minced

1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked al dente

Place cucumbers in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain 1 hr. Pat dry. Melt 3 Tbls butter in heavy skillet over med heat. Saute cucumbers until lite brown--about 7 min--set aside.

In a small cup, mix 1 Tbls flour and 1 Tbls butter to smooth paste--set aside.

Place remaining 1/2 cup flour in shallow baking dish. Add white pepper and season with salt. Coat chicken with flour mixture, shake off excess.

Melt remaining 3 Tbls butter with oil in another large skillet over high heat. Add breasts and saute until brown, about 2 min per side. Do not burn. Add 1/2 cup stock. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until chicken is cooked thru, about 4 min.Transfer chicken to a platter and slice into 1/2 in. slices. Cover

Add remaining 1/2 cup stock to same skillet. Increase heat to high and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup , about 3 min. Add cream and bring to a boil. Whisk in flour butter paste until incorporated, reduce heat and simmer until sauce consistancy, stirring frequently, about 2 min. Stir in lemon juice and 1 Tbls dill. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add chicken and cucumbers to sauce and heat thru. Serve over freshly cooked angel hair pasta--sprinkle with remaining dill.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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This is a recipe from Patricia Wells's "At Home in Provence" cookbook. I served it warm for dinner last night, but today at lunch I had it cold, and it was even better. The extra day made all the flavors meld even more...fabulous on a warm day!! I took the time to make the homemade vegetable stock and it was great. But I'm sure canned will be fine.

Maggie's Vegetable Potage

4T extra-virgin olive oil

1 leek, white part only, trimmed, scrubbed, and chopped

Salt to taste

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 turnips, peeled and chopped

2 zucchini, peeled and chopped

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped

A handful of minced cabbage

1/2 head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped

Hot water

1 quart vegetable or chicken stock (recipe for veggie stock follows)

1 small wedge Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In large, heavy-duty stock pot (about 8-qt. capacity), combine the oil, leeks, and 1t salt, and cook until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Add carrots, turnips, zucchini and potatoes in small batches, cooking each vegetable for several minutes before adding the next one. Once all the vegetables are lightly browned, add the cabbage and lettuce, stirring vigorously until wilted. there should be almost no liquid left at this point. Add hot water just to cover the vegetables and simmer, covered, until carrots and turnips are soft, about 25 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add the stock and simmer gently, covered, for 30 minutes more. Taste for seasoning. (I added more salt and also freshly ground pepper. Nothing else is needed!)

While the soup simmers, prepare the cheese. Using a vegetable peeler, shave long thick strips of the cheese into a bowl. If the chunk of cheese becomes to small to shave, grate the remaining cheese and add it to the bowl. Set aside.

Remove stockpot from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the stockpot until smooth. Taste for seasoning.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and place cheese shavings on top. Serve immediately. (Or...cool to room temperature then chill overnight. Fabulous!!!)

Serves 6-8

Note -- the lettuce may sound odd, but it's a common French custom and it adds some nice color to the finished soup. Also, you don't have to chop the veggies very fine since they will all be blended later. I chopped mine fairly coarsely into chunks and they cooked up just fine and then blended very easily.

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Vegetable Stock (Patricia Wells calls it "Potager Stock")

4 leeks, cleaned and chopped

4 carrots, scrubbed and chopped

4 turnips, scrubbed and chopped

4 ribs celery, cleaned and chopped

4 onions, halved but not peeled

1 head of garlic, halved but not peeled

2 ripe tomatoes, halved and seeded

2 large bunches flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

1 large bunch thyme

1 large bunch rosemary

2 bay leaves

6 whole black peppercorns

4 quarts water

Place all ingredients in an 8 qt. stockpot. Bring to boil; lower the heat and simmer UNCOVERED, for 1-1/2 hours. Strain the stock, pressing out as much moistrue as possible from the vegetables. Discard vegetables and herbs. The stock may be chilled, covered, 2-3 dfays or frozen up to 2 months.

Note -- the pot will be VERY full. I kept gently pressing the herbs and veggies into the water and once it started simmering, everything became submerged. Also, you don't have to peel any of the veggies, which makes this really easy.

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GRILLED SHRIMP

Great way to take advantage of the late summer shrimp harvest. Get fresh shrimp if you can, or buy previously frozen Gulf shrimp to support the folks affected by the hurricane.

Medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (as much as you need)

Marinate the shrimp for several hours in a mixture of vegetable oil and your favorite hot sauce. I like Half Moon Bay's golden habanero.

To grill, either thread shrimp on skewers, leaving space between each one or use a fish grilling rack and grill a small pile at a time. Just a couple minutes on each side over a medium grill until just cooked and browned some.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Sprinkle with fimely chopped cilantro if desired.

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In Nigella's "Forever Summer" book, she has a watermelon and black olive salad that sounded weird, but was quite good. Basically, you macerate some thinly sliced red onion in lime juice, add some Spanish black olives (not specified as such in the original but I think the flavour contrast with the watermelon is better than with, say, Kalamata), little cubes of feta, and watermelon chunks, and toss it all together with some oil and S&P. Fresh mint and/or parsley can be added and I tossed in some diced mild green chiles.

For a hearty but cooling main dish salad, an old favorite is to take some chopped raw veggies (flexible, but should include cucumber, radishes, and tomato for sure, and some green onions or red onion) and mix with sour cream plus cottage cheese. Season it generously with S&P. You could also add some fresh dill. This one is vaguely Polish in origin. You could substitute yogurt for the sour cream if you like. Yogurt plus more finely chopped veggies, with some cumin and cayenne makes a great dip which you could serve alongside some homemade or store-bought hummus and pitas for a light lunch or supper.

I also like to make very simple main dish salads with precooked seafood like prawns, crab, or 'bugs' from the fishmonger, plus salad greens, a light, lemony dressing, and possibly any other salad veg that would go well.

The Moosewood Cookbook has some nice salads and cold soups, including a great recipe for gazpacho if I'm remembering correctly.

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Don't throw anything at me because this is an "Emeril" recipe. I found it while desperately searching for new ideas for the cherry tomatoes from my garden which are threatening to take over my life and it was serendipitous that I also had both ricotta salata and pecorina left over from another dinner in my fridge. So I tried it, and it was awesome. I make it with just cherry tomatoes, omitting the heirloom. I've been making it so much lately I'm getting sick of it.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/re...6_20256,00.html

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In Nigella's "Forever Summer" book, she has a watermelon and black olive salad that sounded weird, but was quite good.  Basically, you macerate some thinly sliced red onion in lime juice, add some Spanish black olives (not specified as such in the original but I think the flavour contrast with the watermelon is better than with, say, Kalamata), little cubes of feta, and watermelon chunks, and toss it all together with some oil and S&P.  Fresh mint and/or parsley can be added and I tossed in some diced mild green chiles.

I do a modified version, watermelon, feta, mint, cucumber chunks and strawberries if we have them.... got an olive hater in the house :wacko:

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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I'm definitely taking advantage of the last of the really good produce before the Wisconsin winter. Tonight I'm making Green Tomato Soup from the Epicurious database. Not "cool" per se, but it should be fresh and light and delicious. Plan on topping it with grilled shrimp- I think it will go nicely with the bacon and tomato flavors.

"It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you."

-Nigel Slater

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