Tomatoes beg to be paired with basil; zucchini and cucumbers creep across the yard with abandon; watermelons are sweet as sugar as August winds down. The unofficial end of summer is around the corner and we will soon celebrate the harvest season.
But we still have many weeks to enjoy earth’s bounty with recipes from Shomrei cooks and Kiddushes.
This month the recipe column features one of Shomrei’s most well-known members. Rita Singer and her late husband Eric practically kept the synagogue going. Eric took care of the building and grounds while Rita supervised the flowers and indoctrinated many members in the secrets of hallah. Rita is also a regular on the Kiddush prep squad, specializing in perfectly sliced tomatoes. In addition, Rita is an expert quilter, baker, community activist and a generous and gracious hostess. Enjoy this dish which is a perfect accompaniment to almost anything.
Wild Rice Salad with Lime Vinaigrette Dressing (serves 8)
1 ½ cups wild rice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups chicken stock, heated
1 small yellow squash, diced
½ seedless cucumber, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
Garnish with a mint leaf and blueberries before serving. tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions for rice
- Rinse the rice in a strainer.
- Let soak overnight in cold water to cover.
- Rinse again and let drain.
- In a saucepan, heat olive oil, add rice, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes,
- Stir in heated chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Remove rice to a bowl and toss with some of the lime vinaigrette dressing. Let cool
- Toss with prepared vegetables and enough additional dressing to moisten.
- Adjust herbs and seasonings.
Directions for dressing (makes about 1 cup)
- Blend vinegar and lime juice.
- Whisk in oil and season with salt and pepper.
Note. Substitute vegetable broth or no chicken broth for chicken to make this a parve dish.
There have been requests for many recipes from recent kiddushes. Follow this link to Cold Cucumber Soup with Tapenade
Cucumber-Honeydew Salad with Feta
Who doesn’t savor a sweet, luscious honeydew melon? Like watermelon, it signals summer. This salad is a variation on the popular summer salad featuring watermelon. The sweet melon works so well off the mild cucumber and salty feta and can be served as an appetizer (try it on skewers), a light main meal with some greens or a dessert.
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon poppy seed (optional)
1 medium honeydew (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), seeds and cut into bite sized pieces (5 cups)
1 cucumber (12 ounces), unpeeled and cubed (2 cups)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion, briefly rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbles (1 cup)
1. Pour lemon juice into a large bowl and whisk in olive oil in a slow steady stream until incorporated.
2. Whisk in honey, salt, pepper, poppy seed, if using, and pepper.
3. Add melon, cucumber, onion and dill weed.
4. Toss to combine.
5. Cover, chill up to eight hours. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.
6. Just before serving top with feta.
NOTES: Replacing the honey with agave makes this dish vegan. The ingredients for the dressing can also be put into a tightly closed jar and shaken until combined. Chopped walnuts or pecans would add a nice crunch to the salad.
No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Mousse Cups (about 20 small dessert cups or 10 6-8 ounce cups)
What’s a celebration without a dessert? Lemon flavored confections are a perfect ending to any summer meal. This creamy dessert is simple to make and freezes beautifully for make-ahead ease. It requires no cooking on a hot August day. It can also be made parve.
1 cup heavy whipping cream or non-dairy whipped topping
1 cup canned lemon pie filling or lemon curd
12 ounces unwrapped cream cheese or Tofutti cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few drops of yellow food coloring, optional
1 cup powdered sugar
Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 cup graham cracker crumbs depending on how thick a “crust” is desired
4 Tablespoons sugar, to taste
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1.In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff.
2. Remove the cream from the mixer and set aside. You do not need to wash the bowl or beater.
3. Add the lemon pie filling and cream cheese to the mixer and beat until smooth.
4. Add the vanilla, food coloring and powdered sugar and beat until combined.
5. Using a rubber spatula, add the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, slowly, in batches, until it is fully incorporated. Set aside.
6. To make the crumbs, combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter.
7. Assemble the desserts by covering the bottom of the serving cup with a layer of crumbs. Pipe or drop the mousse over the crumbs to fill the cup to the desired depth. Add more crumbs on top.
8. Serve chilled or freeze and defrost about 2 hours before serving.
9. Garnish with a mint leaf and blueberries or the berry of your choice before serving.
Note: Add juice and rind of 1-2 lemons for more pronounced lemon taste.
Next month will feature a flavorful chicken recipe perfect for the first cool days of September and maybe something with a French influence as I travel to the south of France where duck reigns supreme, northern France where long simmering one pot dishes are king, and the northeast France where plums and macaroons are highlighted.