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June menus.


The long, bright days of June make the outdoors appealing for many hours. Match the sun's leisurely pace with casual, easy-to-cook alfresco meals that merit lingering attention.

On the deck of a houseboat--or in the garden--offer a portable salad buffet based on cold noodles and a spicy Thai dressing. On the terrace, imagine viewing the Mediterranean Sea as you sip cool wine and lazily peel salt-grilled shrimp, Italian-style, from their shells. For another simple escape, carry a casserole and crisp salad to a shady patio.


Thai Noodle Salad Buffet

Beer or Iced Tea

Pineapple Blossoms

Whether you serve this meal on a boat, as along the canals of Thailand, or in the garden, the salad buffet is easy to transport on a big tray. Guests assemble their own salads, seasoning with the flavors of Thailand. Conclude with fresh pineapple.

Prepare the chicken, noodles, and dressing in advance. The rice noodles can be found in Asian markets and many supermarkets. Or use the more widely available dried angel hair pasta. Assemble salad ingredients and condiments up to 4 hours ahead (even earlier for some elements).

For a unique addition, grow your own mung bean sprouts. Look for the small green beans at health food stores or Asian markets.

To grow bean sprouts. Place 1/2 cup dried mung beans in a 1-quart wide-mouth jar. Half-fill jar with water. Cover with cheesecloth; secure with jar ring or a rubber band. Let soak overnight. Drain water through the cheesecloth top. Place jar on its side in a dark, warm (68|degrees~ or above) place. Several times a day, rinse seeds with water and drain through cheesecloth. Grow until sprouts are 1 to 2 inches long, 2 to 3 days. Use, or store in a plastic bag up to 2 days. Makes about 4 cups (about 3/4 lb.).

Thai Noodle Salad Buffet

4 chicken breast halves (2 to 2 1/2 lb. total), skinned

1 pound dried angel hair (capellini) pasta or thin rice noodles (mai fun)

1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil or salad oil

1 large (1-lb.) European cucumber, cut into thin slivers

1/2 to 3/4 pound bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

3/4 cup finely chopped salted roasted peanuts

Lemon wedges (optional)

Chili dressing (recipe follows)

In a 5- to 6-quart pan, bring 2 1/2 to 3 quarts water to a boil on high heat. Add chicken and return to a boil. Cover pan tightly; remove from heat. Let stand until meat is white in thickest part (cut to test), 20 minutes. If still pink, return to water, cover pan, and let stand; check for doneness at 2- or 3-minute intervals. Remove chicken from water; cool.

Meanwhile, return water to a boil on high heat. Add pasta and cook, uncovered, until barely tender to bite, about 3 minutes for angel hair, 2 to 3 minutes for rice noodles. Drain and immerse noodles in cold water. Add oil to water.

When noodles are cool, lift small handfuls of noodles out of water, draining briefly. Loosely coil each handful of noodles and set on a wide platter, stacking if needed. (If making ahead, cover and let stand at room temperature up to 4 hours.)

Tear chicken into shreds; discard bones. (If making ahead, cover meat and chill up to 1 day.) Arrange chicken, cucumber, sprouts, onions, cilantro, basil, peanuts, lemon, and noodles in individual bowls or mound in separate piles on a platter.

To assemble salad, place a few noodle coils on a plate. Add chicken, cucumber, onions, cilantro, basil, peanuts, lemon, and chili dressing to taste. Serves 6.

--Mary Robins, Menlo Park, California

Per serving: 597 cal. (23 percent from fat); 50 g protein; 15 g fat (2.2 g sat.),' 67 g carbo.; 255 mg sodium; 84 mg chol.

Chili dressing. In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup rice or wine vinegar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil, 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed dried hot red chilies, and 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced. Makes about 1 2/3 cups.

Per tablespoon: 20 cal. (50 percent from fat); 0.3 g protein; 1.1 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 2.3 g carbo.; 318 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.


Taleggio, Mozzarella Fresca, or Italian Fontina Cheese

Crusty Bread

White Bean Salad

Etrusca Salt-Grilled Shrimp with Vegetables

Pinot Grigio or Dry Sauvignon Blanc


Vin Santo-Peach Splashes

It's more work to shop for this Italian lunch than to cook it. For best choices on cheese, wine, olive oil, and biscotti, visit a good deli or well-supplied supermarket.

This grazing-style menu fits perfectly into a lazy Sunday afternoon. Set the whole menu on the table and let diners proceed at their own pace. Have them start with Italian cheeses and bread as appetizers, then move on to the main course of salt-grilled shrimp to peel and dip in olive oil and vinegar.

For dessert, pair ripe fragrant peaches with the sherrylike Italian Vin Santo or a fruity, lightly sweet late-harvest dessert wine. Serve biscotti to dunk into the wine.

White Bean Salad

2 cans (15 oz. each) cannellini (white kidney) beans or pinto beans

2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley

Drain beans. In a bowl, mix with vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil. If making ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day. Serves 4 or 5.

Per serving: 120 cal. (27 percent from fat); 6.3 g protein; 3.6 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 16 g carbo.; 276 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Etrusca Salt-Grilled Shrimp with Vegetables

1 1/2 pounds extra-jumbo (16 to 20 per lb.) shrimp

Extra-virgin olive oil

About 2 tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt

About 1/4 pound Belgian endive, rinsed and crisped

1/2 pound small romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped

1/2 to 3/4 pound red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, rinsed and stemmed

Balsamic or red wine vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

Insert a toothpick under the back of the shrimp between shell segments and gently pull up to remove vein. If vein breaks, repeat in another place. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Mix shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil, then roll in salt to coat lightly.

Arrange endive, lettuce, and tomatoes in bowl.

Place shrimp on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds). Cook, turning once, until shrimp are opaque in thickest part (cut to test), about 8 minutes total. Transfer to plates. Serve hot or warm, accompanied by cruets or bottles of oil and vinegar. Individually, in small bowls at the table, blend a little oil in vinegar to make a dressing. To eat, peel shrimp and season foods with dressing and pepper. Serves 4 or 5.

--Ruggero Gadaldi, Etrusca, San Francisco

Per serving: 162 cal. (28 percent from fat); 24 g protein; 5 g fat (0.8 g sat.),' 4.9 g carbo.; 1,939 mg sodium; 168 mg chol.

Vin Santo-Peach Splashes

1 medium-size (about 1/2-lb.) ripe peach, peeled and sliced

1 to 1 1/2 cups chilled Vin Santo, late-harvest Gerwurztraminer, or late-harvest Johannisberg Riesling

Place the peach slices equally in 4 or 5 wineglasses. Fill glasses with wine. Sip wine and eat fruit with a spoon. Serves 4 or 5.

Per serving: 47 cal. (0 percent from fat); 0.3 g protein; 0 g fat; 4.2 g carbo.; 2.4 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.


Eggplant-Cheese Casserole


Mixed Green Salad





An all-vegetable casserole fortified with ricotta and cheddar cheese makes an easy meal for the family; you can start it up to 2 days ahead. While the casserole bakes, mix salad greens with your favorite dressing.

Eggplant-Cheese Casserole

3 small eggplants (about 3 lb. total), stemmed

1 large (about 10-oz.) onion, chopped

1 large (about 1/2-lb.) green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

3/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs

1 large (3.8-oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

1 cup (1/2 lb.) ricotta cheese

2 cups (1/2 lb.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

Cut eggplants into 3/4-inch cubes. In a deep 4-quart casserole, mix eggplants, onion, bell pepper, crumbs, olives, and tomato sauce; cover tightly. Bake in a 400|degrees~ oven until vegetables are soft when pressed, about 1 1/2 hours; stir after 45 minutes, re-covering tightly. (If making ahead, let cool and chill, covered, up to 2 days. Reheat, covered, in a 400|degrees~ oven until hot, about 30 minutes.)

Spoon ricotta in dollops onto hot vegetables; sprinkle with cheddar. Bake, uncovered, until cheddar melts, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8 servings.

--Eleanor Bitter Reynolds, Sacramento

Per serving: 303 cal. (48 percent from fat); 15 g protein; 16 g fat (8.9 g sat.); 28 g carbo.; 736 mg sodium; 45 mg chol.

To use our nutrition information

Sunset recipes contain nutrition information based on the most current data available from the USDA for calorie count; grams of protein, total fat (including saturated fat), and carbohydrate; and milligrams of sodium and cholesterol.

This analysis is usually given for a single serving, based on the largest number of servings listed for the recipe. Or it's for a specific amount, such as per tablespoon (for sauces), or by a unit, as per cookie.

The nutrition analysis does not include optional ingredients or those for which no specific amount is stated (salt added to taste, for example). If an ingredient is listed with an alternative, the figures are calculated using the first choice or a comparable food. Likewise, if a range is given for the amount of an ingredient (such as 1/2 to 1 cup butter), values are figured on the first, lower amount.

Recipes using regular-strength chicken broth are based on the sodium content of salt-free homemade or canned broth. If you use canned salted chicken broth, the sodium content will be higher.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Bateson, Betsy Reynolds; Anusasananan, Linda Lau
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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