Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Picnic Salads & Desserts

Maybe you and your family are invited to a family reunion or an outdoor party summer ...

So this month Kelly will be hosting an outdoor picnic at her house with Salads & Desserts You Would Bring To A Picnic as our theme.

Kelly setup a wonderful picnic area in her backyard for us to relax and enjoy a great evening outdoors. She had tea lights at each of our seats, pansies in our wine glasses and fresh cut flowers from her garden as our centerpiece.

Nantucket Lemonade

Prepared by Kelly

Nantucket Lemonade

This punch gets its name from a concoction the author whipped up for a dockside get-together on the island several summers ago. The ginger ale balances the tart lemon and lime citrus tones, while the cranberry juice adds sweetness and vivid, festive color. After all, if you're going to name a drink after one of the cranberry capitals of the world, the juice should star.

Serving: 12

  • Punch bowl and glasses
  • 5 cups lemonade, homemade or good-quality purchased
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 cups vodka
  • 2 cups chilled ginger ale
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • Frozen cranberries and lemon slices for garnish

Combine the lemonade, cranberry juice, lime juice and vodka in the punch bowl and mix well. Just before serving, slowly pour in the ginger ale. Add the ice cubes. Garnish with the frozen cranberries and lemon slices and serve immediately.

Notes: For non-alcoholic Nantucket Lemonade, substitute 2 cups additional ginger ale and 1 cup additional cranberry juice for the vodka. For a picnic or harbor cruise, mix the punch directly in a small insulated cooler for instant and easy transportability.
Prepared By Kelly

"I have always wanted to attempt to capture "Chat-a-Wyle's" pasta salad and I think I may have found it" ... Kelly

Sweet & Sour Pasta Salad


* 1 (16 ounce) package tricolor spiral pasta
* 1 medium red onion, chopped
* 1 medium tomato, chopped
* 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
* 1 medium green pepper, chopped
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup vinegar
* 1 tablespoon ground mustard
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder


1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large serving bowl. Add the onion, tomato, cucumber, green pepper and parsley; set aside.
2. In a saucepan, combine the dressing ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Farmer's Market Salad With Strawberries & Goat Cheese

Prepared By Kathy

Farmers Market Salad With Strawberries and Goat Cheese

  • Fresh salad greens for 2 servings (loose leaf lettuce, romaine, dandelion, spinach and baby arugula would all work well, as would a good spring mix)
  • 6 to 8 strawberries, or more if you like
  • A few drops good balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 ounce fresh goat cheese (about ¼ cup crumbled)
  • 1 plump farmers market scallion (or 3 thin supermarket ones)
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (regular or herb-flavored)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  1. Rinse the salad greens well, tear into large pieces, and either pat dry or spin in a salad spinner. Refrigerate if not serving the salad right away.
  2. Rinse the strawberries under cool running water, and cut off the green cap and any tough core with a paring knife. Cut strawberries in half if they’re small, in quarters if they’re larger.
  3. Place the strawberries in a small bowl and drizzle with a few drops of good balsamic vinegar if you have it. The rich sweetness of the vinegar complements the flavor of the strawberries, but if you don’t have any good balsamic vinegar, you can skip this step. Set the strawberries aside until you’re ready to add them to the salad.
  4. Unwrap the goat cheese and break into small pieces. If the cheese is so soft it doesn't crumble easily, you could instead spread it on thin slices of toasted French bread and then cut the slices into small pieces, so they become goat cheese croutons.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, place the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl, and add a little salt and pepper. Whisk together until the salt is dissolved and the mustard and vinegar are well incorporated. Then whisk in the oil in a steady stream until the vinaigrette thickens and looks smooth. Stir in the chopped scallions. Taste and add more salt if needed, and if the dressing is too tart, add a pinch of sugar.
  6. To assemble the salad, place the greens in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette until the greens are lightly coated. Divide the greens between two plates, top each with the crumbled goat cheese, and arrange the strawberries on top.
Makes 2 servings.

Fresh Veggies & Dip

Prepared By Karen

Knorr Easy Vegetable Dip

  • 1 package Knorr® Vegetable recipe mix
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 container (16 oz.) sour cream

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Cover and chill 2 hours to blend flavors.
Stir before serving. Serve with your favorite dippers (carrots, broccoli, celery, snow peas, etc.).

Heavenly Orange Fluff

Prepared By Kathy

Heavenly Orange Fluff

  • 2 – 3 oz pkgs orange flavored gelatin
  • 1 – 13 ½ oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 – 6oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2 – 11 oz cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 -3 ¾ oz package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Dissolve gelatin in 2 ½ cup boiling water.
  • Add undrained pineapple and concentrate.
  • Chill until partially set.
  • Fold in oranges and pout into a 9 x 13 pan.
  • Chill until firm.
  • Beat pudding and milk with a rotary beater until smooth.
  • Fold in whipping cream.
  • Spread over gelatin.
  • Chill

Tall and Creamy Cheescake

Prepared By Debbie

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

For the crust (omit the crust for Passover or see above):
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream

To make the crust:
1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don't worry if the sides are not perfectly even.

3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

To make the cheesecake:

1. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

2. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a smaller pan or a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.)

3. Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn oven to 200 degrees and bake for 1 hour 30 mins or until cheesecake is not jiggly (I baked it for almost 2 hours).

4. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack. Once cool, remove cheesecake from springform pan. (I kept the cheesecake in the pan while chilling overnight - this helps it from sticking or falling apart)

5. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.

6. Serve with macerated strawberries (see below), blueberry sauce (see below), chocolate sauce, canned cherry or blueberry pie filling or whatever you like on your cheesecake .. or just plain.

Macerated strawberries: To bring out the full flavor of strawberries, place hulled and sliced berries in a bowl and sprinkle with granulated white sugar (about 2 tablespoons (28 grams) per pint). Let the berries and sugar macerate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Blueberry Sauce:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Wash and crush blueberries; add sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mix well. In a small saucepan, bring blueberry mixture to a boil; boil 1 minute. Add vanilla. Chill. Serve over puddings, cake, cheesecake or ice cream.