Summer Berry and Chicken Salad

Summer Berry and Chicken Salad | Pinky's Pantry
Summer has kicked in with a vengeance! Boy is it Hot!….. with a capital H!  We’ve been experiencing some triple digit days these past couple of weeks. Believe me, 108 degrees is no picnic! This kind of heat makes me think of long, tall drinks, big bowls of ice cream, and cool refreshing salads.

This salad is a play on my friend Cyndi’s winter fruit salad. I thought why not do the same thing for the summer except using fresh berries? I had some leftover shredded rotisserie chicken so I added it in for some healthy protein. The salad made a great lunch served with some of No. 1’s homemade french bread and a cool glass of crisp white wine. Mm… mm… mm…..Summer Berry and Chicken Salad | Pinky's Pantry

SUMMER BERRY AND CHICKEN SALAD WITH LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING

Dressing:

  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
  1. Combine lemon juice, sugar, onion, mustard and salt in the container of a food processor or blender; process until smooth.
  2. With the machine running, add oil in a slow, steady stream and process until thick and smooth.
  3. Add the poppy seeds and pulse a few times to mix.

Salad:

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup pineapple tidbits (or pineapple chunks cut in half)
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
  1. Place the lettuce, chicken, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and nuts in a large salad bowl.
  2. Pour the poppy seed dressing over the salad.
  3. Toss to coat evenly.

 

Gazpacho Shots

Gazpacho Shots | Pinky's Pantry
I love Gazpacho. It’s a filling and refreshing soup that’s perfect on a hot summer’s day. Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish dish. It’s popular all over Spain and is made from a mixture of fresh raw veggies that typically include tomatoes and cucumbers. The soup also includes oil and vinegar, and in many cases, stale bread is added. The ingredients are pureed into a soup which is then served cold.

I really like Ina Garten’s recipe from her classic Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I usually make it when we want a light lunch, or when the weather outside erases my willingness to slave over a hot stove. Today I decided to serve the Gazpacho as an appetizer for a party. I poured it into shot glasses and balanced a little parmesan crouton on top of each glass. Don’t they look cute?
Gazpacho Shots | Pinky's Pantry

GAZPACHO SHOTS

  • 1 hothouse cucumber, halved, not peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (23 ozs.) tomato juice
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • ½ tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  1. Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
  3. After each vegetable is processed, pour into a large bowl
  4. Add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
  6. Pour into shot glasses.
  7. Top each glass with a parmesan crouton on a small skewer.

NOTE:  To make the parmesan croutons, slice some hearty French or Italian bread into cubes and place them in a ziploc bag. Pour in a little melted butter and some grated parmesan cheese. Zip the bag closed and shake until the bread cubes are well coated. Spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 350ºF until they’re crisp and golden brown.

Tomato Pie

Someone at work gave me a bag full of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from her garden. They were ripe, firm, and delicious. Is it any wonder that the French have referred to tomatoes as “pommes d’amour or love apples?

Actually, up until about the end of the 18th century, people believed tomatoes were poisonous. It wasn’t until 1808 that a Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson of Salem, New Jersey proved everyone wrong. The story goes that he stood on the steps of the Salem courthouse and ate a whole basket of tomatoes in front of a crowd of people who were convinced he was trying to commit suicide in public. When he didn’t die or even get sick, people changed their minds about the lowly tomato. So let’s hear it for Colonel Johnson! Without him, we may never have had delicious dishes like this Tomato Pie.

This dish is a yummy, Southern favorite. If you want, you could cut down the fat by using reduced-fat mayonnaise and reduced-fat cheese, or you could try lessening the topping to 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese. It’s less rich, but still delicious. Ask my daughter, Yissi. She loves Tomato Pie!

TOMATO PIE

  • 1 single pie crust (can use ready-made refrigerated crust)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
  • 4 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 small yellow onion, diced)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place tomatoes in a colander, toss with about 1/2 tsp. salt and allow to drain for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Pre-bake pie crust until light brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Remove crust from oven and lower oven temperature to 350°F.
  5. If desired, sprinkle bottom of crust with parmesan cheese.
  6. Lightly pat the tomato slices dry with a paper towel and layer them over the parmesan cheese in the crust.
  7. Top with basil and green onion.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. In a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and mozzarella.
  10. Dollop mayonnaise mixture on top of tomatoes and smooth to edges of crust.
  11. Bake 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
  12. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

NOTE:  If you want your pie to be juicy, omit Step 1 and just use your tomatoes as is.