Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Rolls are Perfect on Warm Summer Nights

I love preparing summer rolls on hot, humid summer nights when the only food I want to eat is cold, refreshing, and not too filling! 

Rice paper is thin and at first can be challenging to work with, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be rolling like a pro. These rolls can be assembled in advance; arrange them on a platter in a single layer, making sure that the rolls don’t touch one another because they’ll stick together. 

When buying mung bean sprouts look for plump, white sprouts; for optimum freshness, they should be purchased the day you plan to make the rolls.

Rice paper and hoisin sauce can be found in the international section of most grocery stores. 

Hoisin Peanut Sauce

¼ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari or low sodium soy sauce

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, water, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and tamari or soy sauce. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.

8 rice paper wrappers (8½-inch diameter wrappers)
8 large cooked shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
16 large fresh basil leaves
1 cucumber, peeled, cut into 3 x ½-inch sticks (16 sticks)
1 large ripe avocado, sliced (16 slices)
About 2 cups mung bean sprouts

  1. In a shallow dish that accommodates the rice paper wrapper (a pie plate works well) soak one sheet of rice paper in hot water for about three seconds or until soft and pliable. Transfer the paper to a cutting board. 
  2. Lay two halves of a shrimp, cut side up, in the center of the paper. Top the shrimp with two basil leaves. Top the basil leaves with two cucumber sticks, two slices of avocado and several mung bean sprouts. 
  3. Fold each side of the rice paper toward the center, take the bottom half of paper and fold it over the filling, roll to close.
  4. Serve immediately with hoisin peanut sauce or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

4 servings

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quench Summer Thirst with Refreshing Watermelon Granita

This beautiful and refreshing granita (granita is a cross between sorbet and a sno-cone) is super-simple to make! Plan accordingly, the mixture needs to stay in the freezer for several hours before serving.
Image result for free images of watermelon granata

½ cup water
⅓ cup sugar
5 cups watermelon
Fresh mint sprigs (garnish)

1.    In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2.    Place the watermelon in a food processor and add the sugar water and process until nearly smooth.
3.    Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Place in the freezer for several hours or until slightly firm, with a bit of a slush factor. (It helps to periodically move the mixture around using a fork so that it evenly freezes the mixture.) Serve immediately.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Cold and Creamy Cucumber Soup is Refreshing Supper Option

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced (about 3 cups)
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
A few grindings of fresh black pepper

      1.     In a medium pot over moderate heat, melt butter and sauté onion until transparent. Whisk in flour and slowly add chicken broth. Continue whisking until mixture is well combined. Add cucumbers to broth mixture. Cover pot and bring mixture to a boil, decrease heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until cucumbers are fork-tender. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool completely.
2.     In a food processor, puree the cucumber mixture until smooth. Add the yogurt, parsley, salt and pepper, and puree until velvety smooth.
3.     Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.

6 servings

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Strawberry Cobbler Cake Will Have Tasters Spooning for More

When these fire-engine red gems are in season, I love making this dessert, which is as much a cobbler as it is a cake, hence its name. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt.

4 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed, washed and quartered
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
½ cup milk
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1.     Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2.     Place the prepared berries in a 11 x 7-inch baking dish.
3.     In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Drop the butter chunks into the flour mixture. Cut in the butter with two knives (making slicing motions) or use your fingertips to incorporate until the mixture is somewhat crumbly. Add milk and stir until fully combined. Dollop batter over strawberries (the batter is thick and more like a dough than batter); the final topping and the baking process will evenly distribute the batter.
4.     In a medium bowl, combine the water and cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch has dissolved. Evenly pour the mixture over the batter. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the cobbler for 45–50 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm just as it is or with desired topping. Serves 8.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kohlrabi Gives New Meaning to Summer Coleslaw

This fun side dish is a delicious accompaniment with barbecued dishes and is a welcome replacement for traditional coleslaw.

Kohlrabi Coleslaw

½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

6 small kohlrabies, peeled and shredded
1 ripe avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds

Image result for free images of purple and white  kohlrabi

1.     In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the shredded kohlrabi and mix well. Add the avocado and sunflower seeds to kohlrabi mixture and gently toss. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings