Friday, April 06, 2007

Recipes of the Week

I'm having Easter dinner with friends at David and Michelle's house this weekend. We usually split up the courses for holidays and this year I'm in charge of salad and dessert. I'm making Green Salad with Asparagus, Oranges, and Red Onion and Lemon Pudding Cake with Chantilly Cream and Berries. Here are the recipes for both.

Serves 8

The asparagus and orange segments are arranged in a sunburst pattern on a large platter, with baby greens and sliced red onion in the center. Or plate individually using the same star burst pattern.

For dressing:
2/3 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin), plus more for asparagus
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

For salad:
24 asparagus spears, trimmed
4 oranges
12 cups mixed baby greens
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Chill until cold.

Make salad: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. (Dressing, asparagus and orange segments can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.)

Arrange asparagus spears in sun burst pattern on platter. Place orange segments between asparagus spears. Mound greens in center of platter. Sprinkle salad with basil and tarragon. Top with red onion slices. Drizzle some dressing over. Pass remaining dressing separately.

Lemon-Buttermilk Pudding Cake with Chantilly Cream and Berries
Serves 6-8
From Big Small Plates by Cindy Pawlcyn

I got the recipe for this cake from my cousin Joan years ago. You can bake it in an eight-inch-square glass baking dish or, for individual servings, in eight 4-ounce ramekins.

2/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 ½ cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs, separated

1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 pints fresh raspberries or blueberries, mashed
¼ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup of sugar and the flour. Add the lemon juice, zest, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and egg yolks. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the buttermilk mixture. Using the whisk attachment of a mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy. Sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and whip until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk and buttermilk mixture. The batter should be smooth and thick.

Pour the batter into a baking dish and place the dish in a water bath with the water halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake 23 to 30 minutes, until slightly brown and beginning to crack but still jiggly. The smaller the baking dish, the less time will be needed to reach this stage. Cool to room temperature.

While the cake is in the oven, make a Chantilly cream by whipping together the cream, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Keep chilled until needed.

To serve, turn the cake out onto a serving platter. (Individual ramekins do better in low, rimmed soup dishes.) Spoon on mashed berries and sprinkle with sugar. Finish with a dollop of cream and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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