Home Cooking: Green is the theme for easy summer entertaining | SummitDaily.com

Home Cooking: Green is the theme for easy summer entertaining

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Home Cooking

Visiting friends and using an unfamiliar kitchen with limited supplies is no reason to not entertain while you’re on vacation. This week, I am in Florida visiting Mom and staying on the beach in a condo that belongs to friends of ours. As is our tradition, I make dinner for my friends as a way to say, “thank you.”

I like to make a dinner that is easy to assemble and get to the table so that I can spend my time enjoying my friends rather than stuck in the kitchen. This menu meets all those requirements.

And since the weather here has been unusually hot and humid with temperatures in the 90s, I wanted to start our meal with an elegant chilled soup — in this case, a cucumber soup — which has the benefit of being prepared in one step in a blender or food processor and is best made several hours before so that it can chill in the refrigerator. The soup was accompanied by a very simple shrimp ceviche, and I’ll admit I actually cheated and cooked the shrimp so the whole thing could be thrown together at the last minute and served as a beautiful garnish to the cucumber soup.

The main course was equally simple because I know my guests are very health conscious and prefer to eat chicken or fish. I made a lovely chicken piccata, which is made using just one frying pan, accompanied by roasted Brussels sprouts and an herbed green rice. In total, I used three pans and the blender for a second time.

For dessert, I served a store-bought Key lime pie, which was absolutely delicious.

My guests were relaxed, and I was able to spend the evening enjoying their company. I hope easy recipes like these will inspire you to invite friends and family to enjoy a sit-down dinner together.

Chilled cucumber soup
Courtesy Suzanne Anderson

Chilled cucumber soup

Ingredents:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint and thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for two to five hours. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or shrimp ceviche.

Simple shrimp garnish

Ingredents:

  • 4 cooked and chilled jumbo shrimp, cut into half-inch pieces
  • 1 avocado, cut into half-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cucumber, scoop out seeds and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced

Directions:

Toss together, taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Serve as garnish to chilled soup or with crackers as an appetizer.

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Cut Brussels sprouts in half. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.

Herbed rice
Courtesy Suzanne Anderson

Herbed rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 2 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 young green onions, chopped (use white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Splash of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Rinse basmati rice in a fine mesh colander until the water runs clear, then soak the rice for 30 minutes in water, covering the rice by an inch. Drain.

2. In a pan with a lid, sauté the green onions and garlic gently until just tender. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains and allow to cook for 1 minute.

3. Meanwhile, combine the parsley and water in a blender (or food processor) and process until the herbs are finely chopped. Pour the water over the rice, and stir to combine the ingredients.

4. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered and let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork.

Chicken piccata
Courtesy Suzanne Anderson

Chicken piccata

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 8 chicken breast cutlets
  • Flour to dredge
  • 2 limes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Dredge each cutlet in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, then fry for 3 minutes on each side in a pan with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove chicken from pan and let rest on a plate. Deglaze the pan with white wine or chicken stock. Add in the capers and lime juice and 1 tablespoon of butter. Whisk all together and pour over the chicken cutlets. Serve immediately.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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