I grew up watching my father pour iced tea and lemonade into the same glass out in a hay field to quench his powerful thirst. Many years ago, my mother and I would take iced tea, lemonade, and cookies out to the fields where my dad, brothers, and hired hands would be baling hay on a hot, humid summer afternoon. We were always a welcome interruption! Many years later I heard the combination called an "Arnold Palmer" after the golfer, apparently the drink was his favorite, too! ( In my mind it will always be the "Bill Nelson"). This is my favorite summer beverage, as well. To kick it up to cocktail level, I add some of my Limoncello and serve it as we sit out on the deck or patio enjoying the evening. Either version is awesome, so be sure to have the makings for this drink in your refrigerator all summer long!
1 gallon-size tea bag, or equivalent number of smaller bags to make one gallon of tea
1 1/2-2 cups sugar (adjust to your preference)
1 1/2 cups strained, freshly-squeezed lemon juice
In a 1-gallon pitcher with lid, place 1 quart of almost-boiling water. Add the tea bag(s) and allow to steep for 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the tea bags. Immediately add sugar to the hot teat and stir until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and stir. Add 4 cups of ice and enough cold water to make 1 gallon of "Arnold Palmer". Place in the refrigerator and chill until very cold, 3-4 hours.
Serve over ice. To make the "Grown-Up" version, pour 1/4 cup of Limoncello over ice in a tall glass, then fill with the Arnold Palmer mixture.
Your guests will suspect you're a rock star when you present these impressive twists. They'll know you are when they take that first bite! Puff pastry strips that have been spread with a little grainy mustard sauce and covered with prosciutto or Swiss are wrapped around blanched asparagus spears, brushed with eggs wash, and sprinkled with black pepper and shredded Parmesan. The grainy mustard sauce used to spread on the pastry is also used as the base for the dipping sauce. One bite and this appetizer will shoot to the top of your appetizer chart!
12 medium stalks of asparagus, hard ends removed and trimmed to 6-7 inches
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
2 ounces of very-thinly sliced prosciutto OR
6-8 slices Swiss cheese, for vegetarian version
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sriracha, depending on your taste
Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg, beaten thoroughly with 1 teaspoon of water (egg wash)
Finely grated, good quality Parmesan cheese
Freshly-ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425-degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray lightly with non-stick spray.
In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Bring a pot (large enough to hold the asparagus) of water to a boil. In the meantime, place a cup or two of ice in a large bowl and cover with cold water (ice bath). Set aside.
When the water boils, add the asparagus and cook (blanch) for about one minute. Remove with tongs and place in the ice bath until they are cold. Lay out on paper towels and pat with additional paper towel until completely dry. Set aside while preparing the pastry.
Place the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board. Sprinkle with a little additional flour and roll gently with a rolling pin to about 12 X 8-inches. Spread the pastry with a very thin layer of the mayo mixture (an offset spatula works great here). Cover with a layer of either the prosciutto or Swiss cheese (there can be a few gaps, just cover as much as possible). With a pastry or pizza cutter (or very sharp chefs knife, if you don't have one) cut in half in lengthwise. Cut each half into 2, creating quarters. Cut each quarter into thirds, resulting in 12 long strips of pastry covered with either cheese or prosciutto.
Place a strip of the pastry in front of you, then place a piece of asparagus at the bottom of the strip at an angle, with the tip lower and the end slightly higher. (The pastry should cover the lower third of the asparagus tip.) Pinch the pastry together a bit, then roll (retaining the angle) so that the edges of the pastry just barely touch as it is rolled. Pinch the pastry together at the bottom of the asparagus, trimming if needed. (I overlap it a bit if there's not too much excess!.)
Place each piece on the prepared baking sheets as they are completed. When finished, brush all of the pieces lightly with egg wash, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan and black pepper.
Bake for 22-27 minutes, until a dark golden brown. (Don't underbake or the pastry will be wet inside rather than crisp!)
Add the Sriracha and Worcestershire to the remaining mayo-Dijon mixture and place in a serving bowl.
Place the pastries on a platter and serve with the sauce on the side.
Here is a picture taken at the cafe of a customer favorite that debuted one hot day in June. The combination of flavors is a knock-out! The bright colors and beautiful presentation make this salad almost too lovely to eat, but don’t let that stop you! Serves 6
3 medium oranges, supremed, (segments cut away from the membrane) save the juices by prepping over a large bow., you will need 1/4 cup juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons grated ginger root, packed
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
3 cups sliced Romaine lettuce
6 cups thinly-sliced Napa cabbage
2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2"matchsticks
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed and dried
1 cup cashews, chopped
6 scallions, sliced thin on the diagonal
Combine orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce in a bowl; transfer 1/2 cup to a large pan or skillet (to cook chicken in).
Slowly whisk the vegetable oil and sesame oil into remaining orange juice mixture to make vinaigrette; set aside.
Bring orange juice mixture in the pan to a boil. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken registers 160 degrees, 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Transfer to sheet pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil pan juices until reduced to 1/4 cup; set aside. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Off heat, add chicken, accumulated juices, and 2 T. vinaigrette to skillet. Toss to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Place remaining vinaigrette into a serving container.
Toss romaine, cabbage, bell peppers, cilantro, cashews, and scallions together. Divide among 6 large plates; arrange chicken and orange sections over the top of the salad.
Garnish with additional chopped cashews and cilantro, if desired. Serve dressing on the side.
With just two slices of bread, this is a slightly shorter club sandwich, but you will never miss that third slice of bread! Swirled marble rye bread is lightly toasted, then one side is spread with Russian dressing and the other get a thick schmear of mashed avocado, (a method that evolved after serving it with sliced avocado, which tended to squirt out the side of the sandwich when eating!). After that, layers of turkey, tomatoes, red onions, bacon, and Romaine are added. This was a "Top-5" choice at the cafe, with good reason!
For each sandwich:
2 slices marble rye bread, lightly toasted
1-2 Tablespoons Russian dressing (see below)
2-3 Tablespoons mashed avocado (see below)
1 large lettuce leaf (Romaine, Bibb, or your favorite)
2-3 thin slices of tomato
Slice of red onion
3 ounces of deli turkey
2-3 slices crisply cooked bacon
Spread one side of the bread with Russian dressing, the other side with mashed avocado. Add the lettuce, tomato, onion, turkey, and bacon to the bread with Russian dressing, then top with the avocado-covered bread.
Combine 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1 Tablespoon sweet pickle relish, about 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Will keep for a couple of months in the refrigerator.
Place a medium-sized avocado in a bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, and squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime over it. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Press plastic film firmly down onto the top of the avocado mixture if making ahead or to store any leftovers. Contact with air causes the avocado to brown, so be certain there are no areas where the plastic is not in contact with the avocado.
This soup is full of fresh herbs, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and has some macaroni thrown in for substance. Delightfully fresh with flavor to spare, this easy soup is just the thing as a first course or light entree on a cool summer evening. (I served it up with some cheesy flatbread in the picture!) Leftovers are perfect for a healthy, quick lunch with a little salad or half-sandwich. The macaroni is cooked separately to keep it from swelling too much and thickening the soup. Some extra water or broth may be needed when reheating leftovers.
4 ounces elbow macaroni (gluten-free, if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup finely-diced red onion
2 Tablespoons finely-minced garlic
3 cups diced canned tomatoes, or 4 cups fresh diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh chives
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon very finely-minced fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and toss with 1 T. olive oil.
While the pasta cooks, warm the remaining oil in a stock pot and slowly saute the onion and garlic until soft, but not browned. Add the tomatoes, stock, and herbs and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pasta, vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until heated through. Serve immediately.
Who doesn't love a peanut butter cookie? The rich, peanut flavor after a bite through the crunchy exterior make these cookies crave-worthy. I've tried many a peanut butter cookie recipe, but this version (adapted from a Cook's Illustrated cookbook) is my all-time fave. Adding ground whole peanuts to the batter lends extra flavor and texture to this cookie. Bet you can't eat just one! Makes about 3 dozen.
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts, ground in the food processor or chopper until the consistency of coarse bread crumbs(Measure the peanuts before grinding!)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Line baking sheets with silicon baking liners or parchment.
Whisk together the dry ingredients and peanuts in a medium bowl until very well combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until well-combined, don't over-mix.
Shape into 2-inch balls. ( I use a small scoop to portion, then roll to smooth.) Place on baking sheets and flatten with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
Bake until puffed and lightly browned, 10-13 minute. The cookies will finish cooking on the baking sheets after removing from the oven and cooling on the baking sheets for 4 minutes. When firm, transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
This is a delicious, easy way to prepare salmon, and a great weeknight meal! Serving it with the Orange Scented Couscous with Herbs & Almonds is a must, as the flavors complement the fish perfectly, and it is a fast side dish. My husband, who is not a fan of salmon, even loves this version. Asparagus in the spring, or Brussels sprouts in the fall, are great vegetables to serve on the side. Serves 4
1 Tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until a bit thickened. (Set aside 2 tablespoons for drizzling over the cooked fish).
4-6 to 8ounce portions of fresh salmon fillets (The origin of the salmon is not nearly as important as its condition. Firm, pink, and with a clean, not fishy, aroma are what you are looking for when buying salmon)
Orange Scented Couscous with Herbs & Almonds
Place the salmon on a small baking sheet and brush all over generously with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to come to room temperature, about an hour. Preheat the grill or broiler. Medium heat works well, so adjust your grill or broiler accordingly.
Oil the grill grates or broiler pan well, and place the salmon with the skin side toward the heat source, (skin down on the grill, skin up under the broiler). Cook until the skin is crispy and browned, and the salmon is cooked through, 5-15 minutes, depending on thickness. (If the fillets are really thick, it might be necessary to finish cooking them in a 400-degree oven for a few minutes after grilling or broiling to finish the cooking and prevent the skin from becoming burnt. Just place the broiler pan or a rimmed baking sheet with the fish in the preheated oven until the flesh is cooked and flakes easily. I like the skin a bit charred so I always cook it with direct heat until done.)
Serve over Orange & Herb Scented Couscous.
If you haven't tried couscous, now you have a reason! A tiny pasta (Israeli couscous is much larger and takes a bit longer to cook), it doesn't even really require cooking, just a 5-minute soak in hot liquid. This version uses orange juice and water to infuse a little orange flavor, and onion, garlic, orange zest, herbs, and toasted chopped almonds round out the flavor and texture of this addictive side dish. It pairs perfectly with the salmon pictured, but is equally delicious with chicken or pork. This is a must try!
2 Tablespoons grapeseed, or other neutral-flavored oil
1/2 cup finely-diced sweet onion
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1 cup couscous
2 Tablespoon finely-minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely-minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons freshly-grated orange zest
1/3 cup toasted, chopped or slivered almonds
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan until it starts to shimmer. Add the onion and cook until it softens and becomes slightly translucent, do not brown. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and carefully add the butter, orange juice and water. Return to the heat and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the couscous. Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let stand for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid, add the herbs, zest, and almonds, and fluff with a fork until well combined.. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve immediately.
This chocolate cake is always Barry's birthday cake! It is truly a chocoholic's dream, with moist dense, chocolatey cake robed with frosting that is truly like fudge once it is on the cake and sets for a bit. If you or someone you love needs a serious chocolate fix, this is your recipe!
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
(All ingredients need to be at room temperature!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/ teaspoon baking soda
1/ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3.6 ounces) shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
8 ounces (by weight) sour cream
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Grease and line the bottoms of 2 9-inch round cake pans, cut parchment paper to fit the bottoms, place in the pan, then grease the parchment. You may also use baker's spray. (I always use the parchment to insure a smooth bottom.)
Place a mesh strainer or use a sifter over a bowl and add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the shortening and sugar and beat until well combined. With the mixer of medium-low, beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla. Beat in the melted chocolate and the sour cream.
Add the dry ingredients and milk, in 3 additions. Start with 1/2 of the dry ingredients, add the milk, and then the remaining dry ingredients. Beat just until combined. Scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well blended.
Divide into the cake pans, weighing will guarantee equal layers! Smooth the tops. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the racks and cool completely.
Frost with Fudgy Frosting
12 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
4 ounces (1 stick) butter
8 ounces sour cream
1 pound powdered sugar
Melt the chocolate chips, cream, and butter over very low heat. Transfer to bowl of a stand mixer and cool for 30 minutes. Mix in the sour cream until well combined, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar.