Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Menu

 What would be better then dinning al fresco on your patio with a bowl of fresh creamy tomato basil soup accompanied by wonderful salad and light dessert 

~ Menu~
Fresh Tomato Basil Soup
Italian Chicken Salad served with butter lettuce
White Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake Pots
with ruhbabrb compote

Tomato Basil Soup

4 tomatoes - peeled, seeded and diced
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
 2 tablespoons of butter
 salt and pepper to taste

(This soup is amazing. try not to skimp on the ingredients)

Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot.

Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.

 ~Italian Chicken Salad

This salad is light but totally satisfying, perfect for a warm summer evening.

Serves (6)
5 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (from about 3 purchased roasted whole chickens)
1 cups roasted red and yellow bell peppers, drained, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup paper-thin slices red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup drained capers
1/2 cup dried cherries
3/4 cups (about) Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 butter lettuce leaves (from about 3 large heads)
1 (2-ounce) piece Parmesan, shaved with vegetable peeler


Toss the chicken, bell peppers, onion, parsley, almonds, and capers in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Season the chicken salad with salt and pepper, to taste.

Arrange 1 large lettuce cup and 1 small lettuce cup on each plate, overlapping slightly. Spoon the chicken salad into the lettuce cups. Drizzle more vinaigrette over the salads. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

Do-Ahead Tip: The chicken salad can be prepared 4 hours ahead and refrigerated. Just before serving, spoon the salad into the lettuce cups.

~ Red Wine Vinaigrette:
This yields about 1 3/4 cups, but you can store the rest of the dressing for later. This is my favorite go to vinaigrette. I love this recipe.

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually add the oil and blend until emulsified.

~ Deconstructed White Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote
Serves 6
1 cup of organic ginger snap
1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
2 cups or 16 oz of cream cheese
1 cup of white chocolate
1/2  cup of cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of icing sugar

Crush the cookies in a food processor until you have fine breadcrumbs. Pour in the melted butter and ginger and process until everything is mixed through.

Gently push the biscuit base into individual serving pots and set aside. Don't press down too hard as you want nice loose spoonfuls of biscuit with the cheesecake mix.

Slowly melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a small pot of simmering water.

Put the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and add the white chocolate, cream, vanilla extract, and sugar.

Beat all the ingredients together until you get a nice light mixture.

~ Compote
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 2-3 oranges
4 cups chopped rhubarb
3 strips orange rind, removed the white part

In a medium pot over a medium-high heat, bring the orange juice and sugar to a boil. Add in the chopped rhubarb and the orange rind. Simmer the mixture until the rhubarb tender. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Spoon the cream cheese mix into the serving pots, smooth the top and Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Add a spoonful of the compote just before serving.

Note: If you end up with leftover of the rhubarb compote you can add it with vanilla yogurt or strawberry yogurt, topped with granola and a touch of honey.

 If your entertaining, I love the idea of serving this yummy dessert in a mini mason jar. Tie on a calligraphy tag with some ribbon.
cheesecake recipe from
whisk in the pantry

Enjoy! Xoxo CC

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