New Castle News

June 15, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Lighter fare great during summer months

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Sometimes a cook just wants to hear the word “easy.”

And in warm weather, who wants to turn on the oven?

We would love to hear what you’re making during these warm months.

Meanwhile, Culinary Conversation offers a few selections that are perfect for summer.

The egg and tomato fans are a great first-course salad especially served with crusty bread.

Then there’s the salad that evolves from one of America’s favorite sandwiches — the BLT. You can keep the kitchen cool by cooking the bacon in the microwave. Layers of paper towels absorb the fat but the bacon stays crisp and dry.

And pasta primavera is a light dish that uses fresh vegetables and is certain to please just about everyone.

For dessert, why not try Naomi Judd’s lemon pie? Anything topped with meringue is a winner in my book. This would be great for that Fourth of July picnic.

Please share your favorite summer recipes with us at Culinary Conversation — a tasteful place to be.



Egg and

Tomato Fans

In a small jar, shake together vinegar, 1 tsp. salt and 1⁄8 tsp. pepper until salt dissolves. Add oil an shake again to combine.

Core tomatoes. Turn them upside down and cut thin vertical slices almost all the way through, leaving core ends attached. Cut tomatoes in half vertically. Put each half on a plate and fan out the slices. Peel eggs. Cut into thin slices. Tuck slices of egg between tomato slices.

Pour dressing over top and sprinkle with chopped chives or scallion tops.



Bacon, Lettuce

and Tomato Salad

Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. Cut bread into 1⁄2-inch cubes. Toss bread with 2 tbsps. of the olive oil. Cook in a frying ban over medium-high heat, stirring often, until golden.

Tear lettuce into pieces. Cut tomato into thin wedges. Crumble bacon.

In a small jar, shake together vinegar, 1⁄4 tsp. salt and 1⁄8 tsp. pepper until salt dissolves. Add remaining 3 tbsps. oil and shake again to combine.

Toss together lettuce, tomato, bacon, onion, cheese and dressing. Top with croutons.



Pasta

Primavera

Sauce:

Topping:

2 tbsps. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, pour enough water to come slightly below bottom steamer basket. Bring water to a boil. Place steamer in saucepan, being sure boiling water doesn’t touch steamer. Layer broccoli, then mushrooms, then zucchini in steamer. Steam, tightly covered, for about 3 minutes or until just crisp-tender. Set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or nonstick wok over medium high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat bottom of skillet. When oil is hot, add garlic. Sauté for one minute, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes and sauté for two minutes, stirring frequently, until tomatoes are slightly cooked but not wilted. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

In a blender or food processor, combine sauce ingredients. Process until smooth.

Pour sauce into a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm, two to three minutes.

In a large serving dish, stir pasta, vegetables and sauce to coat well. Top with 2 tbsps. Parmesan and pepper.



Lemon Pie

One, 9-inch baked pie shell

In a heatproof bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks to break them up and then set aside.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the hot water until smooth. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring. When the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, at a very gentle boil for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir several spoonfuls into the yokes. Stir this yolk mixture into the sugar mixture in the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring until thickened and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and butter. Place a piece of waxed paper directly on the surface of the filling and let the saucepan cool on a wire rack.

Remove the waxed paper and spoon the cooled filling into the baked pie shell. Top with meringue.

Meringue:

In a small saucepan, stir together the cornstarch, 2 tbsps. of the sugar and the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a simmer and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

In a large bowl, add the salt to the egg whites. With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat just until soft peaks form. Add the cornstarch mixture and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes.

Spread meringue mixture over cooled filling, making sure the meringue touches the pie crust edge all the way around.

Bake in preheated 350 oven until meringue is golden and its internal temperature registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve soon after. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.