Much Ado About Stuffing

Much Ado About Stuffing

A Tasty and Refreshing Summer Lunch Menu

100 in the shade? Don’t fret. Yesterday we hosted our lovely French Friends from Montpellier, Lyon, and Lot, and despite that cruelly oppressive heat, we all happily munched our way through this tasty, easy to prepare menu.

Cool Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Tomato-basil guacamole
Evil Quesadilla Bread
Tomato Peach Salad with Mint and Red Onion
Grilled Ratatouille with fresh corn
Smoked trout and salmon Platter with assorted olives, capers, lemon and scallion
Fresh Herb Cream Cheese
Devilled Eggs
Assorted Tapenades and Hummus spreads with crusty bread

Pecan Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Almond fudge

Cucumber Soup
1 large English hothouse cucumber, peeled, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) buttermilk, or plain yogurt
1 avocado, quartered, pitted, peeled
4 tablespoons chopped red onion
Handful of fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup seeded chopped tomato
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
Combine cucumber and buttermilk in blender. Chop 1/4 of avocado; set aside for salad. Cut remaining avocado into chunks. Add avocado to blender; then add 2 tablespoons red onion and 1 tablespoon basil. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Mix reserved avocado, remaining 2 tablespoons onion and 1 tablespoon basil, tomato and lime juice in small bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover soup and tomato salad separately and refrigerate.) Ladle cucumber soup into 4 bowls. Dollop each with 1 tablespoon yogurt; top with tomato salad and serve.

Quesadilla Bread
This recipe is from Thrill of the Grill. So I guess it could rightfully be listed under my great-recipes-of the 1980’s. I first had it at Cathy Collins’ house, and she said the same thing I say to you now. I know that when you see the ingredients you will shriek and never want to be my friend again, but this makes an enormous amount. Its enough for a restaurant. I just never figured out how to make it smaller, and the pan it calls for (a half-sheet cake pan) is one of my kitchen standbys (standbies?). So here it is, make it or not….

1 cup pastry flour
2 cups all all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp fresh cracked pepper
12 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound butter, melted
3 cups grated sharp cheddar
1 1/2 cups sour cream

  1. preheat oven to 375, grease a 12 x 17 inch baking pan
  2. sift flours, baking powder, salt, set aside
  3. beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks
  4. beat egg yolks and sugar together until light
  5. fold into the whites,
  6. working steadily, fold in the dry ingredients, melted butter, cheese, and finally sour cream
  7. pour batter into greased pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until the entire top of the bread is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean
  8. Let bread cool completely, then turn it out onto a wire rack and cool completely. 

Can be made ahead, and cut into squares or sticks, and, if desired toasted, grilled or re-heated in oven to serve hot, or just serve cold.

Tomato Peach Salad
for 8 people

Cut an assortment of 4-5 tomatoes, yellow, red, cherry, whatever into chunks
Cut 4 peaches into chunks
roughly chop a handful of fresh mint (1/4 cup packed leaves)
if desired mix in some thinly sliced celery, or a bit of red onion
add a healthy dose of Olive oil, some balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix and let sit for an hour or two to meld flavors.
If you have any left over, buzz in the blender for a delicious gazpacho

Improvisation: Grilled “Ratatouille” with corn
Go to the farmers market and buy some fresh and delicious vegetables, eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, red onion, tomatoes. Slice them up big enough that they won’t fall between the grates on your grill, sprinkle with olive oil
Heat up the grill and grill vegetables till slightly charred. cut in chunks. put in bowl with some olive oil, vinegar, and whatever fresh herbs you have/like, like oregano, thyme, marjoram, chives.
Grill or steam young corn and cut off the cob, mix in with vegetables.

Insanely Easy Chocolate Fudge or Hot Fudge Sauce
This is so easy its almost a joke. Great for late night chocolate cravings. If you pour it into a greased 8×8 inch pan and let it cool it becomes fudge. If you want fabulous hot fudge for ice cream sundaes, just cool slightly.
Melt a pound of chocolate in microwave, or double boiler. (whatever chocolate you have- chips, bars)
Stir in a can of condensed milk, a tbsp of vanilla, and 3 Tbsp of Karo Syrup if you have it otherwise leave it out.
Pour into greased pan and sprinkle with roughly chopped almonds or walnuts if you like nuts.


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