summer

Red, White & Blue Cobbler

This is a perfect dessert for the 4th of July, for several reasons.  First, berries are coming into season, and are available at reasonable prices.  Second, obviously, it's red, white, and blue! And lastly, it is the quickest cobbler you'll ever make.  I had doubts when I first discovered this recipe, as the ingredients gave me pause-would this work?  I decided to try it out, and I am so glad that I did. I made a few adjustments, but you'll simply rinse and dry the berries, then whisk together 4 (yes I said 4) ingredients.  Drop the berries over the batter, sprinkle with sugar, bake, and voila, a dessert fit for company.  And don't forget the ice cream, it is a must!  Serves 8   (Adapted from Cook's Country.  You'll probably want to print this without pics, to save paper!)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) self-rising flour

1/2 cup whole milk

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

6 ounces each of blueberries and raspberries (2 1/2 cups total), gently rinsed and dried with paper towel

1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.  Grease a 13 X 9-inch baking dish and set aside.

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a bowl, then pour into the prepared baking dish.  Evenly sprinkle the berries over the top.  Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top of the cobbler.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.  Cook on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then serve topped with ice cream. 

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Asparagus, Cucumber & Rice Salad

This is a most unusual, and delicious, salad!  I once served it to a group of Japanese businessmen at a luncheon I catered, and they gave it rave reviews!  That was the litmus test for me, and this salad was on my catering menu from that day forward. This is a great summer salad, cool, yet satisfying.  A cup of chilled soup, piece of grilled chicken or salmon, and a serving of this salad makes for a perfect hot weather dinner. Serves 6

1 3/4 cups water

1 cup long-grained rice

1 pound of asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber

3 green onions, chopped

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons sugar

1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Colorful lettuce and fresh dill sprigs

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the rice, return to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork; transfer to a bowl.

Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water until cool, drain well, and pat dry with a paper towel.

Add the asparagus, cucumbers, and green onions to the rice in the bowl.

Combine the Dijon, sugar, vinegar and dry mustard in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in the oil.  Add the chopped dill. (The salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated separately and held for up to one day.). 

Mix the dressing into the salad.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Line a large bowl with the lettuce and mound the salad in the bowl.  Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill.

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