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May menus; light lunch the grandchildren can put together. Italian picnic you can make ahead.

Lavish use of light and colorful fruits and vegetables distinguishes these May meals. To honor mothers of any generation, youngsters familiar with simple kitchen techniques can easily prepare the first menu for a tea party (or perhaps for a change-of-pace lunch).

If this month's warm weekends entice you outdoors, you can get our Italian-inspired picnic ready ahead of time.

For supper, bright green spring vegetables emphasize freshness in the chicken soup.

Tea party

With only a little help, childre 8 to 12 can manage this tea party.

Crunchy Peanut Sticks

Frosted Kiwi Slices and Berries

Herb Cheese Sandwiches

Herbal Citrus or Spice Tea

Make the peanut sticks weeks ahead and freeze; the recipe makes about 5 dozen. Frost and chill fruit and make the sandwiches 1 to 4 hours ahead. Crunchy Peanut Sticks

1/2 loaf (1-lb. size) thin-sliced white sandwich bread

3/4 cup creamy-style peanut butter 2 tablespoons salad oil

Trim crust from bread slices; also cut 2 slices (use any end crusts) into strips. Lay pieces on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Cut each remaining bread slice into 6 equal strips. Arrange strips slightly apart on another 12- by 15-inch baking sheet.

Bake crusts and break in a 275 [deg.] oven until dry and crisp, about 20 minutes.

Whirl crust pieces in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs form; pour into a pie pan and set aside.

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine peanut butter and oil. Stir over medium heat until smooth. dip each breadstick into peanut butter mixture, then roll in toasted crumbs. Place sticks slightly apart on ungreased baking sheets. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, at least 1 hour. Serve frozen; to store, package in plastic bags and freeze for as long as 3 months. Makes about 5 dozen sticks; allow 6 for a serving.--Lois Dickston, Atherton, Calif. Frosted Kiwi Slices and Berries

2 firm-ripe kiwi fruit

10 to 12 large strawberries

1/4 pound white candy coating

1 teaspoon solid vegetable shortening, optional

Peel kiwi and cut into thick slices; let stand on paper towels, turning, to absorb excess juice. Wash strawberries but do not hull; let dry on paper towels.

Place white coating in the top of a double boiler set over hot water; stir until melted and smooth. If too thick, add vegetable shortening and stir until melted. Remove from heat but keep pan over hot water.

Dip rounded edge of each kiwi slice about halfway into white coating and place on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper. Hold each strawberry by the top; dip tip about halfway into the coating; set on pan with kiwi. Chill, uncovered, until coating hardens, at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Serve cold. Makes about 24 fruit pieces; allow 3 or 4 for a serving.--Dora Freestone, Laguna Hills, Calif. Herb Cheese Sandwiches

Bake or purchase 12 to 18 baking powder biscuits or small soft rolls and 1 package (3 1/2 oz.) herb-flavored cream cheese. You'll also need sprigs of watercress. For each sandwich, split a biscuit or roll in half. Spread one piece of biscuit or roll with cheese and add a few watercress leaves; top with remaining half of biscuit or roll. makes 6 to 8; allow 2 or 3 for a serving.

Italian spring picnic

Split and fill the rosemary bread, or simply cut in wedges to stop with eggplant relish, salami, and cheese. For dessert, purchase Italian cookies such as coconut macaroons or biscotti.

Dry Salami

Eggplant Relish

Provolone

Lettuce Leaves

Rosemary Flatbread

Italian Cookies

The relish needs a few hours to stand for flavors to mellow; you can prepare it up to 5 days ahead. Allow 1/4 pound total of salami and cheese for each serving. Eggplant relish

2 medium-size eggplant (each about 1 1/4 lbs.), stems removed

3/4 cup olive oil or salad oil

2 large onions, sliced

1 medium-size tomato, cored, peeled, and chopped

2 celery stalks, diced

Water

1/4 cup drained capers

6 pitted Spanish-style or black ripe olives

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Peel eggplant if desired, then cut eggplant into 3/4-inch cubes. Pour 1/2 cup of the oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan and place over medium heat. Add eggplant, cover, and cook until lightly browned, about 25 minutes; stir often. Lift eggplant from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add remaining oil to pan and cook onions, stirring often, until limp, about 10 minutes. Add tomato and celery and cook until celery is tender to bite, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a little water to keep from sticking. Stir in the capers, olives, pine nuts, reserve eggplant, sugar, and vinegar.

cover and simmer gently over low heat, stirring often, to blend flavors, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cool, then cover and let stand at least 4 hours. Serve at room temperature; to make ahead, cover and chill up to 5 days. Makes about 5 1/2 cups, 6 servings. Rosemary Flatbread

8 to 10 sprigs fresh rosemary, each 6 to 8 inches long (or 2 teaspoons dry rosemary)

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (about 110 [deg.])

1 tablespoon olive oil or salad oil

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon coarse salt

Set aside 2 rosemary sprigs. Strip leaves off remaining sprigs and coarsely chop; you should have 2 tablespoons.

In a bowl, combine yeast and water; let stand until softened. Stir in chopped herb, oil, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour.

If using a dough hook, mix in enough remaining flour (about 3/4 cup) to form a soft dough; beat 5 minutes on high speed. If mixing by hand, stir in enough remaining flour (about 3/4 cup) to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes; add flour as required.

Turn dough over in a greased bowl, cover, about 45 minutes.

Punch down dough, then knead briefly to expel air; roll out dough on an oiled 12-by 15-inch baking sheet or 14-inch pizza pan, forming a 12-inch round. With fingers, poke indentations--about 1 inch apart--all over the top.

Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place until puffy, about 20 minutes. Brush with egg yolk glaze and sprinkle with salt. Lay reserved rosemary sprigs in center; press lightly into dough.

Bake in a 375[deg.] oven until golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack. If made ahead, wrap airtight; store up to 1 day. Makes one 12-inch loaf, about 15 ounces.

Verdant soup supper

Float toast slices spread with herb mayonnaise in each bowl. For dessert, indulge in the amaretto cheesecake on page 191.

Spring Harvest Chicken Soup

Amaretto Cheesecake

If you have leftover chicken on hand, you can make a quick version of this soup by starting with broth instead of water. Cook all the vegetables in the sequence directed, then add cooked chicken, cut into bitesize pieces. Spring Harvest Chicken Soup

1 broiler-fryer chicken (3 to 3-1/2 lbs.)

2 cups or 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) regular-strength chicken broth

8 cups water

1 large onion, cut into chunks

1 clove garlic, halved

1/2 pound asparagus

2 medium-size leeks

1/4 pound green beans 1/2 pound peas in the pod, shelled

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

Toast rounds (recipe follows)

Herb mayonnaise (recipe follows)

Rinse chicken; save giblets for another use. In a 6- to 8-quart kettle, combine chicken, broth, water, onion, and garlic. Cover and simmer until thigh pulls easily from bone, about 45 minutes. Lift out chicken. When cool, pull meat off bones into bite-size pieces; set meat aside.

Return bones and skin to kettle, cover, and simmer another 30 minutes. Pour soup through a strainer, discarding bones, skin, and residue. Return soup to kettle.

Meanwhile, snap off and discard tough asparagus ends, cut off tips and set aside. Cut stalks into 1-inch pieces. Trim off root ends of leeks and tough tops. Split leeks lengthwise and rinse well; thinly slice. Snap off and discard ends of beans; cut beans into 1-inch pieces.

Bring soup back to simmering; add vegetables and simmer, uncovered until they are bright green, 5 to 7 minutes. add cooked chicken and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Have diners spread toast rounds with herb mayonnaise and set in their soup plates. Ladle in the hot soup. Makes 4 quarts, or 8 servings.

Toast rounds. Thinly slice 1 slender baguette (8 oz.) and set in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake in a 350[deg.] oven until toasted, about 15 minutes; cool.

Herb mayonnaise. Combine 1 cup homemade or purchased mayonnaise, 1 clove garlic (minced or pressed), and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, and marjoram (or use 1/4 teaspoon of each dry herb). Cover and chill 2 hours or up to 3 days.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1984
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