Sunday Suppers: artisanal simplicity

Sunday Suppers.  Artisanal simplicity.
Quick coordination for a crowd.

The Menu Shoppe has it covered…great tips for great menus…and good times with good company.

Bleu Cheese and Chives Straws
Cucumber Salad
Vegetable Ragout with Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar
Tropical Fruit with Ginger Syrup
Bleu Cheese and Chives Straws
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups–level with a knife. Combine flour and butter in a food processor–pulse to blend. Add cheese, chives, salt, and pepper–pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle water into flour mixture until dough forms a ball. Roll dough into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle. Wrap dough in plastic wrap–refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Cut dough crosswise into 64 (1/4-inch-wide) slices. Place 1/2 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool straws completely on wire racks.
A delightfully light offering.
Cucumber Salad
6 Persian cucumbers
1 chopped hard-cooked egg
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
salt and pepper to taste
*optional: a crumble of bleu cheese
Coarsely chop 6 Persian cucumbers  into 1/2-inch chunks–place in a serving bowl. With a rubber spatula, press 1 chopped hard-cooked egg through a wire sieve onto cucumbers (or dice egg finely). Whisk together 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and
1 teaspoon lemon juice, whisk in 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until thick, add salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves. *Add a crumble of bleu cheese for extra sparkle.
A rustic ragout…serve as a light stew or atop pasta.
Vegetable Ragout with Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar
8 artichokes (about 9 to 12 ounces each)
28 baby carrots, greens trimmed
24 cherry tomatoes (about 1 pound), halved
12 ounces button mushrooms, halved
1 10-ounce package frozen baby peas, thawed
* or fresh equivalence
1 10-ounce package frozen baby lima beans,
thawed * or fresh equivalence
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 ounces Parmesan cheese
2 lemons, halved
Using vegetable peeler, cut Parmesan into thin shavings. Set aside.
Squeeze juice from lemons into large pot–add lemons. Fill pot with water. Cut stem and top 1/3 from 1 artichoke. Starting at base, bend leaves back and snap off where they break naturally–continue until all tough outer leaves have been removed. Using small sharp knife, trim outside of base until smooth and no dark green areas remain. Cut artichoke lengthwise into quarters. Cut out choke from quarters. Cut each quarter in half, making 1/2-inch wedges. Place artichoke pieces in lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes. Cover pot and bring to boil. Boil artichokes until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; set aside. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate). Cook 28 baby carrots in large pot of boiling water 5 minutes. Drain carrots well. (Carrots can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate). Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and mushrooms. Sauté until tomatoes and mushrooms release juices, about 8 minutes. Add artichokes, carrots, baby peas and lima beans. Cook until lima beans and peas are tender and juices thicken slightly, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup butter and stir until melted. Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer ragout to large bowl. Toss with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with Parmesan shavings.
A simple fruity dessert.  Marinate…then serve with pound cake or biscotti.
Tropical Fruit with Ginger Syrup
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cubed
6 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
3 mangoes, peeled and cubed
3 star fruit, sliced
1/2  Caribbean Red papaya, peeled, seeded, and cubed
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
*for extra dazzle, add a dash of coconut rum, or drizzle some Canton ginger liqueur.
Simmer water, sugar, and ginger in a small saucepan 5 minutes. Remove from heat–pour liquid through a wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl, discarding ginger. Stir in lime juice–cover and chill syrup. Combine kiwi fruit and next 4 ingredients in a trifle bowl or large serving bowl. Drizzle cooled syrup over fruit–toss gently. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
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