Cooking On The Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Summer is closing in, making it less likely you’ll want to spend your time cooking in a steamy galley. Here are recipes to help you beat the heat by cooking quicker, cooking earlier in the day, cooking outdoors, or not cooking at all.
Beef And Mushroom Salad
To make this cold, beefy, main-dish salad, grill extra steak the day before or purchase deli roast beef. If you buy from the deli, ask that the roast beef be sliced very thick, then cut it into strips when you get home. Cook the mushrooms in the cool of the morning and let them chill all day. This recipe goes well with light salad dressing such as red wine, raspberry, or walnut oil vinaigrette.
2/3-cup dry red wine or beef broth
1 small onion, cut into rings
Pinch salt, pepper
1/2-teaspoon dried marjoram, basil, or thyme
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 pound cooked beef, cut into strips
Bottled salad dressing
In a saucepan, bring the wine or beef broth to a boil with the onion slices and seasonings. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until the liquid almost completely evaporates. Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill. When you’re ready to serve, set out four plates; cover them with a layer of leaf lettuce, shredded lettuce, or torn buttercrunch lettuce; and drizzle with dressing. Divide the mushrooms among the plates and top with the beef strips. Pass the salad dressing again. Complete the menu with crisp matzo crackers, sweet butter, and fresh raspberries topped with lemon yogurt for dessert.
Bake this exotic chicken dish on the grill outdoors. Use hind (leg) quarters, the most economical chicken parts. The flavor slips under the skin and is basted into the meat by the oils in the skin.
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 chicken hind quarters
Mix the seasonings, garlic, and lemon juice into a paste. Slip a finger under the chicken skin to loosen it, then divide the seasoning paste among the four servings, spreading it under the skin as widely as possible. Put the chicken on the grill skin side up over hot coals for 15 minutes, then turn and cook another 15 minutes until it’s done through. If the chicken needs additional cooking, turn for another five to 10 minutes. Complete the meal with a salad of thinly sliced cucumbers in yogurt; your favorite chutney; puffy rolls; and cold, sliced cantaloupe for dessert.
Janet’s Big Batch Ambrosia
For a dessert with much less sugar, make this recipe with sugar-free pudding and fruit packed in its own juices. Select three different fruits from this list: mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, diced peaches or pears, fruit cocktail, pink grapefruit, or gooseberries. Don’t use dark berries, which discolor the mix. If you use fresh fruit, add 11/2 cups juice (including what’s produced from the fruit itself) to mix the pudding into a smooth sauce.
4-serving package instant vanilla pudding, regular or sugar-free
3 cans fruit, 15 to 20 ounces each, with juices
1/2-cup flaked coconut
Whipped topping (optional)
Place the instant pudding in a plastic resealable freezer bag. Open the cans of fruit and dump them all at once into the bag. Seal the bag and squeeze it with your hands to mix the pudding with the fruit juices. Add the coconut and mix well. Spoon the mixture into dishes and crown each with whipped topping if you like. This recipe makes eight to 10 servings. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Onion Ring Sandwiches
Assemble the sandwiches early in the day to grill or microwave for dinner. Real butter is best for caramelizing the onion. Use one very large or two medium onions to make a fat, juicy sandwich. For a heartier meal, go double on the cheese.
1 large onion, peeled and cut into rings
1 tablespoon butter
1 jar roasted red peppers, well drained (you’ll need 4 to 8 pieces)
4 to 8 slices provolone cheese
4 large buns, such as kaiser rolls
In a nonstick skillet, saute the onions in the butter until they are a rich, caramel brown color. Remove the onions from the skillet onto a paper towel to drain and cool. When you’re ready to make the sandwiches, layer the onions, roasted red peppers, and cheese. To wrap the sandwiches for cooking on the grill, use foil; to wrap for the microwave oven, use wax paper. Grill or microwave just until the cheese melts.
Keep a supply of hard-boiled eggs on hand during the summer, for they can be used in dozens of ways. This hot and hearty supper dish can be put together in minutes. Milk scorches easily, so use a nonstick pan, stir constantly, and keep the heat at its lowest setting.
12 ounces snow peas, trimmed and strings stripped off
8 ounces yellow squash, scrubbed and diced
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons instant-blend flour (e.g. Wondra)
1 to 1-1/3 cups milk
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
Scant 1/4-teaspoon nutmeg
Salt, pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cut the pea pods in half. In a saucepan, stir-fry the vegetables in the olive oil until they are crisp-tender. Stir the flour into the milk, then add to the vegetables and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, to make a thick, creamy sauce. If necessary, add more milk to make the desired consistency. Stir in the eggs just to heat through. Add the seasonings, spoon the stew over garlic toast, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve with a fruit salad. This recipe makes four servings. For dessert, bring out low-carb ice cream bars to eat on a sunset stroll.
Create a creamy, cool blending of flavors and textures when you combine homemade or deli coleslaw, cooked pasta, and cut-up meat to make a whole-meal salad. Sunflower “nuts” are roasted, salted sunflower kernels.
2 cups (1 pint) prepared coleslaw
1/2-teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1 cup pasta shells, cooked according to package directions and well drained
2 cups colorful mix of cut-up raw vegetables, such as slivered red and green sweet peppers, cucumber chunks, seeded tomatoes, sliced radishes, etc.
2 cups cooked meat (chicken, turkey, pork, ham), diced
Bottled ranch dressing
Lightly toss together the coleslaw, celery seed, pasta, vegetables, and meat. Pile onto four serving plates, drizzle with dressing to taste, and sprinkle with sunflower nuts. Complete the menu with sesame breadsticks, iced tea, and slices of low-carb cheesecake for dessert.
For this recipe use a good quality deli turkey, sliced to order so it isn’t too thin. Packaged Swiss cheese is fine, as long as it comes in eight slices to the pound, not 12.
16 stalks fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4-cup Italian dressing
4 thick slices hearty egg bread, toasted
4 slices deli roasted turkey
4 thin slices sweet onion, such as Vidalia (optional)
4 slices Swiss cheese
Early in the day, cook the asparagus in a hot, nonstick skillet with the olive oil just until it’s crisp-tender. Place the asparagus in a lidded container or resealable plastic bag and add the Italian dressing. Place in the refrigerator and allow it to chill the rest of the day. To assemble the stacks, place four asparagus spears on each piece of toasted bread. Top with a slice of turkey, a slice of onion, and a slice of cheese. Heat the sandwich in the microwave oven just until the cheese melts. Serve one sandwich per person; two for hearty eaters. This is a knife-and-fork meal that goes well with chilled cranberry sauce and a handful of celery sticks. For dessert, sip iced coffee laced with your favorite flavoring.
Most of the work for this recipe can be done early in the day, but it’s important to assemble the stuffed oranges just before serving so the juice doesn’t pool at the bottom of the orange shell.
4 large navel oranges
1/2-teaspoon ground ginger
8-ounce cup orange-flavored yogurt
2 to 3 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
2 cups cooked chicken, turkey, or ham, diced
1/2-cup frozen peas, thawed
Slice the oranges in half and remove the fruit while keeping the orange skin intact. Cut up the fruit, drain it well, and save the juice for another recipe. In a bowl, whisk the ginger into the orange yogurt. Add the cut-up orange pieces, celery, meat, and peas to the yogurt; toss lightly; and place in the refrigerator to chill. Just before serving, use a draining spoon to pile the salad into the orange skins, planning two halves per person. Complete the plate with breadsticks and a lettuce wedge drizzled with blue cheese dressing.
Hot weather cooking tips:
- Grill fish fillets in a well-greased basket with halved, seeded cucumbers to serve as a hot vegetable. Complete the meal with grilled zucchini, carrot-raisin salad, caraway rye rolls, and fruited gelatin.
- Experiment with fruit salsas that can be served with meats from the grill. Start with 2 cups of cut-up fresh fruit (melon, strawberries, citrus, peaches, pears), then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, finely diced sweet onion, and a handful of chopped cilantro.
- Use precooked chicken strips to create whole-meal salads.
- Make a bed of shredded lettuce on each plate and top each with two fresh or canned pear halves. Fill the cored-out parts of the pear with crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with blue cheese dressing for lunch or a light supper.
- Buy your favorite chicken nuggets, cook in the microwave oven according to package directions, and serve with a dip made from equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise. Flavor each batch of dip to taste with one of the following: Dijon mustard, dried dill weed, ketchup, mango chutney, salsa, or cranberry-orange relish.
- Stuff green bell peppers or hollowed-out tomatoes with deli-bought potato salad and serve with cold cuts.
- Early in the day, make ham and cheese sandwiches on buttered bread and place them, butter side out, on foil. Wrap and keep cold. For lunch or dinner, grill them in their wraps over medium-low coals until the bread is golden on the outside and the cheese is melted. Serve with a version of the dip described above.
- Begin a hot morning by serving cold cheesecake for breakfast. Buy the best quality New York-style cheesecake. Put a can of crushed pineapple in the refrigerator the night before and top the cake with it for a juicy sauce that isn’t too sweet.
- Halve several small cantaloupes, remove the seeds, and chill. Generously fill the cantaloupe cavities with homemade or deli chicken salad to make a main-dish meal.
- Discover how delicious cold vegetables can be. Early in the day steam fresh broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, portobello mushrooms, or other favorites until they are just crisp-tender. Drizzle with Italian dressing or your favorite vinaigrette and chill. Serve cold with meat from the grill.
Books for cooks
The “125 Best” series of cookbooks now includes 125 Best Vegetarian Recipes ($18.95, Robert Rose Inc.) by noted food critic Byron Ayanoglu. Of the 125 recipes included, more than 50 are, or could be modified to be, completely vegan. Non-vegetarians who are trying to get more vegetables into their diets will love many of the recipes as side dishes or even as main dishes. When you make mushroom risotto or a stir-fry with meaty cashews, nobody even misses the meat. Many of the recipes are fussier than need be, but readers will see obvious shortcuts, such as using canned beets instead of fresh in the delicious, offbeat Beet and Lentil Salad. The book can be purchased at bookstores, through online booksellers, or from the publisher by calling (800) 387-5085.
How do chefs put those finishing flourishes on their plates? Now you can find out how to make a design using a fruit squeeze, a hot sauce, or a savory confit. Visit www.terrapinridge.com or call (800) 999-4052 to learn about gourmet sauces packaged in squeeze bottles. Squiggle the lime coconut sauce on a dessert or put roasted yellow pepper sauce on a sizzling steak. Terrapin Ridge sauces also can be found in specialty food stores with prices that range between $5 and $7 per bottle.