Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Supper: Summer Cold Tapas

Sunday Supper Menu:
Freshly Pickled Cucumbers

Watermelon, Mint & Feta Salad
Salmon 'n Avocado Crostini

With the steady high temperatures on the coast
, I was in no mood to turn on the stove for anything. So I made an entire Sunday Supper without using heat. Alright, alright. I did toast the herb butter bread for a minute but that was it. Once again I challenged myself by making a food that I normally avoid - white, creamy sauces. The watermelon salad has a feta and mint dressing that is made from a greek yogurt base (lots of white going on there). And the salmon crostini was topped with homemade mayonnaise (I avoid mayonnaise at all costs).

Pickled Cucumbers (prepared a few days ahead of time) by Penelope Casas, Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain

2 kirby (bumpy) cucumbers, peeled and quartered lengthwise

Coarse Salt
Tarragon vinegar
4 peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 clove 1 small bay leaf 1/2 small onion, slivered
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
Sprinkle the cucumber quarters with salt and leave in a colander to drain for 1 hour. (Ran to the grocery store during that hour) Cut each quarter into 1-inch chunks. Place in glass jar and cover with vinegar and water in the proportion of 1:2. Season with salt, peppercorns, fennel seed, clove, and bay leaf. Add onion and garlic, cover, and refrigerate for a few days. Cucumbers will last a few months.

N.B. Tarragon vinegar? Good thing I made these on Friday night. Where do buy such a thing when one did not think ahead. No idea. The local grocery store did not have it so I just added some dried tarragon to white wine vinegar.

Chopped Vegetables, Watermelon, Mint & Feta Salad
Adapted by Smitten Kitchen from Bon Appetit

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1 1/2 cups diced watermelon, seeded if necessary

1 large green bell pepper, seeded, cubed

2 kirby cucumbers, cubed
1/2 cup very thinly sliced radishes

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

8 ounces feta cheese crumbled
1 white onion, chopped, divided

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves, divided

1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine tomatoes, watermelon, green pepper, cucumbers, radishes, and 2 tbsp EVOO in a medium bowl. Add half each of feta, onions, and mint. Mix remaining feta, onions, mint, and oil in food processor. After mixed well, add yogurt and oregano. Pulse to blend and season with a little pepper. I left the dressing on the side so people could add as much as they wanted. I found that I wanted just a tablespoon but I'm sure that has something to do with my fear-of-white-sauces-thing. Keeps for 3-4 days and makes about four servings.

Salmon 'n Avocado Crostini

Adapted by Ca
yenne, inspired by Smoked Fish on Avocado Rounds recipe from Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas

1 small avocado
1 pint canned salmon
2 stocks celery, small dice
3 dill pickles, small dice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
Hard rye crackers or freshly toasted bread
Homemade Mayonnaise (recipe below)

Drain, flake, and check for bones in the canned salmon. Place into a bowl and add the celery, onion, and pickles. Mix well. Add tablespoon each of Dijon mustard and extra virgin olive oil (may have to adjust depending on how well the salmon is sticking together looking for tuna salad consistency here). Salt and pepper to taste (careful with the salt because canned salmon and the pickles are salty - I rarely have to add salt). Toast bread and layer avocado and then salmon salad on top. Drizzle with homemade mayonnaise and garnish with parsley (optional).

Mayonnaise (makes 1 1/4 cups)

1 egg plus 1 yolk
1/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup olive oil, or a mixture of olive and another vegetable oil

Place the whole egg, egg yoke, mustard, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl and blend well. Whisk with one hand and drizzle in the oil very gradually. Continue beating unil thick and silky. Takes about 10-15 minutes. Lasts for 2 days in the fridge - of course any raw egg is eaten at your own risk.

N.B. check how fresh your eggs are! fill a bowl with water and gently drop your raw egg into it. If it floats then you better cook the blazes out of that egg, if it sinks fresh off the farm.

photo credit: Cayenne 08.30.09

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