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April menus; portable Easter buffet, make-ahead breakfast or brunch, turkey steak barbecue.

Pursuit of fresh air and sunshine influences April meals. For a beautiful Sunday, perhaps Easter, there's a handsome meal to assemble on a tray to transport outside. The make-ahead aspects of the light breakfast on page 220 make it easy to serve on a weekday; consider presenting it at a table set up by a sunny window. And for a weeknight, the quick barbecue supper gives you an excuse for a breath of fresh air before dining inside.

Outdoor Easter buffet

Moving this meal outside is simple--the main course fits on one large platter and is easy to manage. Roasted Leg of Lamb Wild Rice Waffles Asparagus with Oranges Zinfandel or Sparkling Water with Lime Fresh Strawberries Chocolate Bonbons

You can prepare the waffles--a delicious way to stretch costly wild rice--and asparagus while a leg of lamb roasts; or cook both dishes the day before and reheat them. Serve lamb juices or melted butter to spoon onto the crisp waffles.

For dessert, munch sweet spring strawberries with elegant chocolates from a chocolatier (or the Easter bunny). Wild rice Waffles 2 eggs, separated 1-1/2 cups milk 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) melted unsalted for sated butter or margarine 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/3 cup coarse-ground buckwheat flour (or 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour) 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour 1/2 cup coarse-ground or regular cornmeal 2 teaspoons each sugar and baking powder 1 teaspoon salt Melted unsalted or salted butter or salad oil Cooked wild rice (directions follow)

Beat egg yoks with milk and the 1/2 cup melted butter until blended.

Stir together all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add egg mixture and stir just to blend.

Whip egg whites until soft peaks form; fold gently into the batter.

Heat a waffle iron to medium or medium-hot, Brush grids lightly with some of the melted butter. Ladle batter onto center of grid (for a 9-in. square iron, use 1 cup batter) and quickly spread out slightly, then sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of the wild rice. Close iron and bake until waffle is browned on the outside and is dry in the middle (make a small crack in waffle to test), 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat to make each waffle.

Serve waffles as they are baked; or let cool on racks, then wrap airtight and chill up to 1 day. Reheat in a single layer on a rack in a 350[deg.] oven for 3 minutes, or reheat individual waffles in a toaster. Makes 6 to 8 servings.--Kathi Riley, San Francisco.

Cooked wild rice. Rinse 3 tablespoons wild rice with water; drain. Combine with 1 cup water and bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Drain; use hot or cold. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days. Asparagus with Oranges Water 1-1/2 pounds asparagus, tough ends removed 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil 1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed 1-1/2 teaspoons shredded orange peel 1/4 cup orange juice Salt and pepper Orange slices

In a 12- to 14-inch frying pan, bring to boiling enough water to cover asparagus. Lay spears in pan and boil, uncovered, until stems are just tender when pierced, about 4 minutes; drain. (If you want to cook ahead, at once immerse asparagus in cold water to cool quickly; drain. Cover and chill as long as overnight.)

In the same pan, melt butter with garlic and orange peel. Add aparagus. Cook over high heat, shaking pan to mix flavors, just until asparagus is hot, about 1 minute (2 to 3 minutes if chilled). Lift out asparagus and put on a serving platter. Stir orange juice into the frying pan and boil on high heat until reduced to about 3 tablespoons liquid. Pour over asparagus; add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with orange slices. Makes 6 servings. Breakfast for the sunroom

Despite its elegant look, this breakfast is quite basic. Poached prunes are served with their juices and a custard sauce. Prunes with Two Sauces Toasted Fruit-Nut Bread Butter Hot or Iced Cranberry Juice

Start prunes and make custard at least the day before. Bake or buy a fruit-nut bread (consider banana, date, or apple); toast thick slices to serve. Prunes with Two Sauces 3 tablespoons oolong or orange pekoe tea leaves 2 cups (about 1/2 lb.) prunes with pits 2 cups dry white wine or water 1 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 1 slice lemon peel, yellow part only, about 1/2 inch wide and 4 inches long Vanilla custard (recipe follows)

Place tea leaves in a tea ball or tie up in a small cheesecloth rectangle. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine tea, prunes, wine, water, sugar, and peel. Cover; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to just under a simmer. Cook until prunes are slightly plumped, about 1 hour.

With a slotted spoon, remove prunes; set aside. Lift out and discard tea. Boil syrup down to 3/4 cup. If made ahead, return prunes to syrup, cover, and chill up to days. Serve at room temperature.

With a slotted spoon, lift prunes from syrup and spoon equally onto the center of 4 salad plates. For each serving, pour an equal amount of prune syrup around prunes; pour custard around one side of prunes. Makes 4 servings.--Judy Rogers, Berkeley.

Vanilla custard. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, stir 2 tablespoons sugar with 3 egg yolks until blended, then add 3/4 cup milk and a 6-inch piece split vanilla bean (or you can add vanilla later). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until custard coats the back of a metal spoon in a smooth, thin layer, about 5 minutes (do not allow custard to reach scalding or it will curdle).

Remove custard from heat and lift out vanilla bean (if desired, rinse, let dry, and store for future use in a tightly closed jar of sugar--it flavors the sugar); strain custard if desired. If you did not use the bean, stir 1/2 teaspoon vanilla into the custard. Let custard cool; serve at room temperature (if made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days). Spring barbecue for three or four

Grill the turkey steaks on the barbecue, arrange on a platter, and flank with garbanzo puree and tomato and pepper salsa.

You can buy canned halvah--to stuff the dates--in most supermarkets. Barbecued Turkey Breast Steaks Hot Garbanzo Bean Puree Tomato and Pepper Salsa Lemon Wedges Toasted Pita Bread Halvah-stuffed Dates Toasted Almonds Split pita bread, spread with butter, and toast under the broiler. Serve with grilled turkey and sauces. Barbecued Turkey Breast Steaks

Buy turkey breast cut into 1/2-to 1/3-inch-thick steaks (or have your meatman cut them for you); you'll need 1-1/2 to 2 pounds. Brush the steaks with olive oil or salad oil. Grill 4 to 6 inches over a bed of hot coals until lightly browned on both sides and white in center (cut to test), 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serves 3 or 4. Hot Garbanzo Bean Puree

Tahini is easier to use, but if you don't have a can on hand, you can toast sesame seed for a similar flavor. 1/4 cup sesame seed or tahini (ground sesame seed) 1 can (1 lb.) garbanzo beans 3 tablespoons olive or salad oil 1/4 cup lemon juice 2 medium-size cloves garlic, minced or pressed Salt Lemon wedges

In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir sesame seed until golden. Put in a food processor or blender.

Drain beans; reserve liquid. Put beans, 1/2 cup of their liquid, oil, lemon juice, and garlic in with seed; whirl until almost smooth, then add salt to taste. (You can cover and chill up to 1 day.)

In a covered 1-1/2- to 2-quart pan, warm puree, stirring occasionally, over medium heat. (If puree thickens when made ahead, thin to original consistency with some of the reserved bean liquid.) Serve hot with lemon wedges. Serves 3 or 4. Lydia Raymond, Mendocino, Calif. Fresh Tomato and Pepper Salsa

In a bowl, mix 1 large cored and chopped tomato (including juice and seeds); 1/4 cup chopped fresh agree anaheim (California) chilies; 3 tablespoons each minced green onion, salad oil, and red wine vinegar; and 1 tablespoon chooped fresh cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, or cover and chill up to 1 day. Serves 3 or 4.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Apr 1, 1984
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