August menus: skewered beef goes into pocket bread. Teamwork produces chicken dinner with berry tarts.
For a beach picnic, bring along a hibachi or small barbecue to assemble the make-ahead elements for hot beef sandwiches.
The chicken dinner with berry tarts can be managed by one cook, but it's more fun and faster if a team tackles the meal. Chores separate easily; the whole family can pitch in, or two busy couples can share the work and rewards.
With a few at-home preparations, all you have to do at the picnic site is grill the meat and set out a tray with pocket bread, slaw, and melon wedges.
Sesame Beef and Onion in Pockets
Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
Crenshaw Melon Wedges with Lime
Just before you leave or the day before, marinate the beef strips on skewers with green onions. Make the cabbage and carrot slaw up to 4 hours in advance. Pack meat and salad in leakproof containers and transport in an ice chest with the melon, lime, and iced tea. Grill the meat at the site, then spoon some of the salad with barbecued meat and green onions into pocket bread halves for neat sandwiches.
Sesame Beef and Onion in Pockets 2 tablespoons sesame seed 2 tablespoons salad oil 1 tablespoon minced garlic 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup soy sauce 1-1/2 pounds boneless lean beef steak such as sirloin, about 1-1/2 inches thick 12 green onions Cabbage and carrot slaw (recipe follows) 4 to 6 rounds of pocket bread (about 7-in. size), cut into halves
In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan, stir sesame seed in salad oil over medium-low heat until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add garlic, ginger, sugar, pepper, and soy.
Trim and discard excess fat from meat. Cut meat into 1/8-inch-thick slices 4 to 5 inches long; mix meat with soy marinade. Trim root end and cut tops off onions to make them 4 inches long.
Using thin bamboo skewers, string meat on skewers, running skewer through one end of each meat strip. Alternate every 3 slices of meat with an onion, running the skewer through its root end. Place skewers in a 9- by 13-inch pan and pour remaining marinade over them. Cover and chill, turning skewers occasionally, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Place skewers on a grill 2 to 4 inches above a solid bed of hot coals. Cook, turning once, until meat is browned and onions are wilted, 7 to 8 minutes total.
To serve, place a spoonful of cabbage and carrot slaw and a few pieces of meat and onion into each pocket bread half. Offer with remaining slaw. Serves 4 to 6.
Cabbage and carrot slaw. In a bowl, stir together 1/3 cup white wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cut about 8 ounces napa cabbage crosswise into think shreds to make 4 cups. Stir cabbage and 2 cups shredded peeled carrots (about 3 large) into vinegar mixture. Serve; if made ahead, cover and chill up to 4 hours.
Cooking as a team becomes part of the entertainment and a time-saving way to put together a meal. This menu, of chicken in paprika sauce followed by berry tarts, can be managed by one cook, but preparation is faster when the work is shared.
Sliced Cucumbers and Tomato Wedges
with Vinaigrette Dressing
Pepper Chicken Paprika
Buttered Rice-shaped Pasta
Fresh Berry Tarts
White Zinfandel Ice Water
With a team approach, one pair of cooks can start on the dessert while the other prepares the chicken. If you're cooking the menu alone, make the dessert ahead and let it chill while you make the chicken. Last-minute details include boiling tiny rice-shaped pasta and assembling cucumber and tomato slices with vinaigrette on individual plates for salad.
The dessert recipe makes 2 small or 1 large tart. Serve a small tart or a portion of the large one for dinner; save the remainder for the next day. Consider offering it for breakfast; berries and custard are a wonderful way to start the day.
Pepper Chicken Paprika 1 broiler-fryer chicken, about 4 pounds, cut up 2 tablespoons salad oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons paprika 3/4 cup each regular-strength chicken broth and dry white wine (or all broth) 4 medium-size red or yellow bell peppers 1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3/4 cup sour cream Salt
Rinse chicken and pat dry. Pour oil into a 12- to 14-inch frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken without crowding, and brown on all sides; remove pieces as browned to make room for remaining chicken.
When chicken is browned and set aside, add onion, mushrooms, and paprika to pan and cook, stirring often, until onion is limp and mushroom liquid has evaporated. Add broth, wine, and all the chicken but the breast. Bring to boling, then adjust heat to simmer. Cover and let simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place peppers in a 9- or 10-inch pan and broil 2 to 3 inches from heat; turn to char evenly (takes about 20 minutes). Put peppers in a paper or plastic bag; let stand at least 10 minutes.
When cool, pull skin from peppers and pull out stems and seeds. Cut peppers lengthwise into quarters and set aside.
After chicken has cooked 25 minutes, add breast to broth. Simmer, covered, until breast is no longer pink at bone in thickest part (cut to test), 15 to 20 minutes.
Lift chicken from sauce, put on a platter, and surround with peppers; keep warm. Skim off and discard fat from pan juices. Stir flour and sour cream until smoothly blended; stir into pan juices. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sauce thickens and begins to boil. Season to taste with salt, then ladle over the chicken. Serves 4 or 5.
Fresh Berry Tarts
Pastry cream filling (recipe follows)
Butter pastry shells (recipe follows)
About 3 cups raspberries,
blueberries, blackberries, or 6
Spoon pastry cream filling into pastry shells; cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.
Remove any stems or hulls from berries. Rinse berries and dry on paper towels. To serve, place berries, stem end down, slightly apart on filling. Remove pan sides; cut tarts into wedges. Cover and chill leftovers up to overnight. Serves 8.
Pastry cream filling. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, mix together 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch until well blended. With a whisk, beat together 1 cup milk and 3 large egg yolks. Then whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pastry cream boils and thickens. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Let stand at room temperature, whisking occasionally, until smooth and completely cool to touch, about 15 minutes.
When mixture is cool, beat 1 cup whipping cream until it holds stiff peaks. Whisk about 3/4 cup of the whipped cream into egg mixture until smooth, then fold in remaining whipped cream to blend.
Butter pastry shells. In a food processor or bowl, mix 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) firm butter or margarine, in small pieces; process or cut with a pastry blender until mixture forms fine crumbs. Add 1 large egg yolk; process or stir with a fork until dough holds together. Press dough evenly over bottom and sides of two 7-1/2-inch tart pans with removable bottoms (or an 11-in. tart pan with removable bottom). Bake in a 300[deg.] oven until pale gold, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool. If made ahead, cover and let stand as long as overnight.
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|Date:||Aug 1, 1985|
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