Cheryl’s Cuisine: August 2022

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

There’s nothing like a crisp summer salad during scorching summer days.  We’re not only talking about lettuce, tomatoes and onion….Use your imagination.  Look through your refrigerator and pantry.  Here are some new ideas to expand your repertoire.  Note:  For those recipes using cooked chicken, if you’re pressed for time….Rotisserie Chicken from the store to the rescue!

Market Salad:

1 cup fresh green beans
1 cup fresh corn, about 1-2 ears
1 Tbsp. fresh basil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
1-10 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-10 oz. can black olives, drained and sliced

Cook green beans to crisp-tender, about 15 minutes in boiling water.  Cool completely; cut into bite-size pieces.  Break ears of corn in half and cook in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes.  Cool completely and cut kernels off. 

NOTE: To cool beans and corn quickly, place in ice water for a few minutes, then drain.  Slice basil leaves into ribbons. Whisk together mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil.  Combine tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, corn and green beans.  Add basil and vinegar mixture.  Toss and serve well chilled.

***

Aspen Salad:

6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cubed, sauteed
2 crisp apples, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 -8 cups assorted salad greens
1/2 cup slivered almonds or walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup currants or raisins
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Toss cooked chicken, apples, celery and salad greens.  Make dressing.

Dressing:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss lightly.  Sprinkle with nuts, currants and cheese.

***

Chicken Rice Salad:

1-6 oz. pkg. chicken flavor rice mix (Near East)
2 scallions, chopped, including tops
1/2 green pepper, diced
1-8 oz. can black olives, sliced and drained
2-6 oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. curry powder
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting butter.  Cool to room temperature.  Add scallions, olives and pepper.  Drain artichokes, saving marinade.  Mix marinade with mayonnaise and curry until smooth.  Add all to rice, add chicken and mix well.  Slice artichokes and add.  Refrigerate until serving time. 

NOTE: Shrimp may be substituted for chicken.

***

Provincial Salad:

8 cups mixed salad greens
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can artichokes, drained (reserve liquid)
1 can hearts of palm, drained (reserve liquid)
1-6 oz. can pitted black olives, drained (reserve liquid)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, sliced thin
3/4 cup Feta cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil

Rub serving bowl with crushed garlic.  Add salad greens.  Cut artichokes in half and hearts of palm into 1/2″ slices.  Halve olives.  Add tomatoes, green onion and half of the Feta.  Gently toss .  Cover bowl and refrigerate.  Combine 1/4 cup of reserved artichoke liquid, 1/4 cup of hearts of palm juice and 1/4 cup of reserved olive juice with the lemon juice and olive oil.  Shake well. Dress the salad right before serving.  Garnish with remaining Feta.

***

Fire and Ice Tomatoes:

6 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium green pepper, cut in strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

Place vegetables in large bowl.      

Dressing:
1 Tbsp. +  2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup cider vinegar

Place dressing ingredients in small saucepan and bring to boil for 1 minute.  Pour hot mixture over vegetables and cover.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Serve with slotted spoon.

***

Now, for a bit of sweetness…

Fresh Fruit Salad with Orange Liqueur Dressing:

2 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1-2 fresh mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup cantaloupe balls
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup seedless green grapes (I use the Cotton Candy variety)
3-4 kiwi, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup sour cream
4 Tbsp. packed brown sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. orange-flavored liqueur (such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Drambuie)

Combine fruit and toss gently with liqueur.  Combine sour cream and 3 Tbsp. brown sugar.  Set dressing aside.  Serve fruit mixture with sour cream dressing.  Sprinkle with remainder of brown sugar.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: July 2022

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

When I think about a “perfect” summer,  for me it includes not turning on the oven.  Yes, I love cooking, but that’s why we have grills.   Thoughts of light summer meals…cool, refreshing and casual…are just a few of my favorite summer memories.

One item I really enjoy is Boursin Cheese.  It’s a soft combination of milk, cream, garlic, parsley, chives, salt and white pepper. The cost is approximately $7 for a 5.2 oz. ball.  New to the company is Boursin Chimichurri Style….Just tried this week and it’s a winner…packs a punch…only a dab needed on a cracker.

I’ve been making homemade Boursin for years…and it goes a long, long way.   You can serve it on crackers, slices of zucchini,  baked potatoes, toast points, etc.  It’s a definite summer treat.

Homemade Boursin Cheese:

2-8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp.  dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. rosemary

Whip all ingredients with electric beaters.  Store in refrigerator.  Make in advance to merge flavors.

***

Here are some other quick “cool” ideas for the lazy days of summer!

Peppery Pimento Cheese:

1-1 lb. block sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1-4 oz. jar sliced pimentos, undrained
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. salt
1 or 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients.  Serve on crackers.

***

Tortilla Dip:

2-4 oz. cans chopped green chiles
2-4 1/2 oz. cans chopped black olives
3 tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Serve with tortilla chips.

***

Romaine, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad:

2 heads romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
2 avocados, sliced
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
2 cups fresh grapefruit sections

Combine romaine, avocados, grapefruit and olives in large bowl. Add Red Wine Vinaigrette, tossing to coat.  Serve immediately.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 red onion, grated

Whisk all ingredients together.

***

Best Shrimp Salad:

1-16 oz. pkg. small shell pasta
2 lbs. cooked, frozen salad shrimp, thawed and drained
1 cup chopped celery
6 green onions, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Russian salad dressing
2 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

Cook pasta according to package directions (without adding any oil or salt) until al dente; drain.  Combine shrimp, celery and green onions in bowl and mix well.  Combine mayonnaise, salad dressing, capers, lemon juice, celery seeds, salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning in a bowl and mix well.  Add mayonnaise mixture to shrimp mixture and toss to coat.  Stir in pasta.  Chill, covered, until serving time. 

***

Mini Cheese Balls:

2-8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup minced green onion
1 (2  1/2oz.) pkg. thinly sliced deli ham,  finely chopped
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Mix cream cheese, onion, ham and Worcestershire sauce.  Shape into walnut-size balls.  Roll in chopped nuts.  Refrigerate until serving. Serve on crackers or toothpicks.

***

And, what’s life without dessert?

Amaretto Cheese Spread:

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur
1-(2 1/2 oz.) pkg. slivered almonds, sauteed in butter

Blend Amaretto into cream cheese. Form a ball and chill until firm. Before serving, cover with almonds and allow to reach room temperature.  Serve with thinly sliced apples and pears.

***

Cheesecake Bonbons:

1 small store-bought cheesecake
1-12 oz. pkg. milk chocolate chips, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Cut cheesecake into 24-36 small squares.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheet; freeze 1-2 hours.  Remove frozen bonbons from freezer and dip into melted milk chocolate.  Place back on parchment paper until set.  Once set, drizzle with either semi-sweet or white chocolate, or both.  Once set, may be placed in zip-lock freezer bags.  Will keep frozen for up to 2 months.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: June 2022

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Within the past two weeks, I’ve received notices that two of my favorite cooking magazines have ceased publication….Fine Cooking and Rachael Ray.  This is just a small part of our “changing times”.  

When I was growing up, my mother used to subscribe to McCall’s Magazine.  I was always awaiting the Betsy McCall cut -outs with new outfits each month.  For younger readers, I’m sure you have no idea what I’m referring to.

Anyway, moving on to the early 1970’s, McCall’s started publishing McCall’s Cooking School.  This was one of my first experiences in tackling some new recipes.  Eventhough I made my first “from scratch” eclair in Fourth Grade, I was always challenged to make new and exciting recipes.  

As I still have these magazines treasured in my home, I am paying homage to cooking magazines, past and present, with some recipes that I cooked, and still do, from McCall’s.

Chicken Breasts Tarragon:

4 whole chicken breasts (about 1 lb.) each
2 Tbsp. salad or olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
6 shallots, chopped
2 pared carrots, sliced into ¼” rounds
¼ cup Cognac or brandy
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon or 2 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup light cream
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. flour
½ lb. mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Sprigs of tarragon for garnish

Bone chicken breasts; wash and dry.  (Or buy them already boneless).  Remove skin; cut breast in half.  In 6 quart Dutch oven, heat oil and 2 Tbsp. butter.  Add chicken breasts, half at a time, enough to cover bottom of pan; saute’, turning on all sides, until brown. Remove chicken as it browns.  Brown rest of chicken.  

To drippings in Dutch oven, add shallot and carrot; saute, stirring 5 minutes or until golden.  Return chicken to Dutch oven; heat.  When hot, add Cognac or brandy, white wine, chopped tarragon, salt and pepper.  Bring to boiling,  reduce heat and simmer gently, covered, 30 minutes.  Remove chicken to heated serving platter; keep warm.  Strain drippings in Dutch oven, return to Dutch oven.  In small bowl combine cream, egg yolk and flour; mix well with wire whisk.  Stir in drippings in Dutch oven; bring just to boiling, stirring.  Add more wine if sauce seems too thick.  Meanwhile, saute’ mushrooms in hot butter 5 minutes, until tender.  Spoon sauce over chicken.  Garnish with tarragon and mushrooms.  Serves 8.

***

Vichyssoise:

1 lb. leeks
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 lb. potatoes, (3 medium), pared, cut into ½” cubes (2 cups)
½ tsp. salt
Dash white pepper
2 cans (13 ¾ oz. size) clear chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup light cream, chilled
½ cup snipped chives

Trim leeks; cut off roots and tips and most of the dark green, leaving some of the light green. Wash leeks thoroughly and drain.   Slice leeks crosswise, about ¼” thick.  You should have about 2 cups of leek slices.  Have chopped onion ready; combine with leeks.  Melt butter in 5 quart Dutch oven.  Saute’ leeks and onions over medium heat until they are soft and golden, about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally with wooden spoon. Be careful that leeks and onions DO NOT brown; if they do, soup, which should be creamy white, will be discolored.

Add potatoes, salt, pepper and chicken broth to leek mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered 45 minutes, or until potatoes are soft, almost mushy. This is important to insure that the soup will be smooth.  Remove from heat.

Put potato-leek mixture into blender container, 2 cups at a time, and blend, at low speed, until mixture is smoothy.  Puree’ should measure about 5 cups.  In small saucepan, heat milk until bubbles form around edge of pan.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Add hot milk to potato-leek mixture; mix well with whisk. Refrigerate, covered 6 hours or overnight.  Before serving, gradually add light cream; mix well.  Pour into 8 chilled soup cups. Top with chives.  

Note: Traditionally, this is served very well chilled, however, it may also be served hot.  Can sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.    

***

Gazpacho Gelatin Salad:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups V-8 juice (cocktail vegetable juice)
½ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. oil
¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup diced cucumber
½ cup diced green pepper
½ cup diced onion

Sprinkle gelatin over juice; heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved.   Combine with next 5 ingredients; chill until slightly thickened.  Fold in remaining ingredients.  Fold in remaining ingredients.  Turn into 4-cup mold.  Chill until set.

***

Crepes Suzette:

Crepes:
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
¼ cup salad oil
2 eggs, 2 yolks
1 ½ cups milk

Orange Sauce:
¼ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. coarsely shredded orange peel
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup orange sections
¼ cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
Butter or margarine

Orange Butter:
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
¼ cup grated orange peel
¼ cup brandy

For Crepe Batter: In medium bowl, combine flour, oil, eggs, egg yolks and ½ cup milk; beat with rotary beaters until smooth.  Add rest of milk, beating until blended and smooth.  Refrigerate, covered, for 2 hours or overnight.  

For Orange Sauce:  In medium skillet, melt ¼ cup butter.  Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, shredded orange peel and juice; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until peel is translucent–10 minutes.  Add oranges and ¼ cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

For Crepes: Slowly heat a 7″ skillet until a drop of water sizzles and rolls off.  For each crepe, brush skillet lightly with butter.  Pour in 2 Tbsp. batter, rotating pan to cover bottom of skillet evenly.  Cook until lightly browned.  Turn; brown slightly.  Cool on rack; stack with waxed paper between.  

For Orange Butter:  In small bowl with electric mixer, cream butter with sugar until fluffy.  Blend in Grand Marnier and orange peel.  Use to spread on crepes, about 1 Tbsp. for each one.

Fold crepes in half, then half again.  Arrange in pattern in orange sauce in chafing dish or skillet; cook over low heat just until sauce is hot and crepes are heated through. Note: Crepes and sauce may be made ahead and refrigerated separately.

To serve flaming: Bring crepes to tale right in chafing dish or skillet.  Gently heat brandy in small saucepan just until vapor rises,  no longer.  Ignite with match and pour flaming brandy over heated crepes.  Serve with sauce.  Serves 6-8.

***

Strawberry Sherbet:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 cups milk
1 1/3 cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup fresh strawberry puree (½ pint strawberries)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

In small, heavy saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup milk; let stand 5 minutes to soften.  In medium bowl, combine remaining milk, sugar, salt and strawberry puree.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add lemon juice.  Heat gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved.  Remove from heat; slowly stir into mixture in bowl.  Turn into 9×9″ square pan.  Freeze until frozen 1″ from edge.  Turn into chilled bowl; with electric mixer, beat mixture quickly until smooth, but not melted. Return to pan.  Freeze several hours or until sherbet is firm.   Makes 8 servings.

Note: To make strawberry puree’:  Wash and hull fresh strawberries; Turn into blender; blend for one minute.