Light Summer Fare

It happened again. The gourmet girls met for another amazing meal. We met last night, Tuesday, June 22nd at Bridget's (my) house. We started off the evening with yummy Marinated Feta and Olive Skewers by Lynley. The salad was Jodi's contribution - the Basil Green Goddess Dressing was awesome (Barefoot Contessa at Home)! I skewered up Grilled Herb Shrimp with Mango Salsa (Barefoot Contessa Parties!) and Lara's Black-Eyed Pea Salad was the perfect side (Paula Deen - The Lady and Sons Cookbook), especially with all of the fresh herbs from her garden! LS hit a home-run with her Summer Solstice Bread and just when we thought the night couldn't get any better, Andrea treated us to Liege Waffles with whipped cream. It was the pearl sugar that made it! Apparently the only two stores who carry it are Ikea ($3.95 for a 20 oz bag) and The Old Dutch Store in Sugarhouse (20 oz box for $5.95). As always, we had a great meal and a great time. Coincidentally, three of our dishes had fresh chopped basil! Unfortunately Raquel couldn't join us this time. We're all excited to meet at Miss Jodi's next month for some Indian Cuisine!
Marinated Feta and Olive Skewers
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp orange zest
3 TBS orange juice
1 tsp cracked black pepper
4 oz feta cheese, cut into 24 (1/2 inch) cubes
24 mint leaves
1/4 large English cucumber, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
12 pitted green olives, halved
24 (6 inch) skewers
In a medium bowl combine the fennel seeds, orange zest, orange juice, and pepper. Gently stir in feta and marinate for 1 hour or more. To make the skewers, place a mint leaf about 2/4 inch up the skewer, then add an olive half, then a chunk of cucumber. Gently place a cube of the marinated feta on the end.
Bibb Salad with Basil Green Goddess Dressing
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tsp chopped garlic (2 cloves)
2 tsp anchovy paste
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
3 heads Bibb lettuce

Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. (If not using immediately, refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.) Cut each head of lettuce into quarters, remove some of the cores, and arrange on 6 salad plates. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and add to the plates. Pour on the dressing and serve.
NOTE: According to Mr Produce Man at Harmons, "Bibb" lettuce and "Butter" lettuce are the same thing.

In Barefoot Contessa Parties!, she lists the grilled shrimp and mango salsa together. The link above to the mango salsa is the same recipe, just served with seared tuna.
Black Eyed Pea Salad

3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped green onions, with tops
1 large tomato, diced
1 TBS fresh minced thyme
1 TBS fresh minced rosemary
4 TBS fresh minced parsley
2 TBS fresh minced oregano
Mix olive oil, vinegar, and sugar together and pour over the rest of ingredients. Mix well and chill. Use a slotted spoon to serve.
Mid-meal shot

And another mid-meal shot . .
Update: Andrea asked me to add this insider's tip . . .

This recipe suggests using a Belgian waffle iron with an adjustable temperature gague but my Krups Belgian waffle iron has only two settings...on and off so if your iron is like mine then here is a tip we found for cooking the waffles without burning the sugar. Scoop the dough onto your iron, close the top and unplug the iron. The iron will be hot enough to cook the waffle in about about 3 minutes without burning the sugar outside. Also, I have made these with and without the cinnamon and we think they are better WITH the cinnamon added. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche and fresh fruit for a yummy dessert!
Laura, Lara, Jodi, Lynley, Andrea & Bridget

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