My cooking classes are on hiatus until fall, and in the meantime I have been enjoying time with my family here in the Adirondacks at our annual gathering during the month of July.
There’s not a whole heck of a lot going on up here, but that’s exactly what I love about it and look forward to returning to each year. I’ve been doing a lot of hiking, kayaking, and just sitting on the dock listening to the loons.
While we are up here I also look forward to catching up with friends (who also return to this place each year) from neighboring homes around the lake.
Last night we had the opportunity to do just that. We attended a dinner party hosted by two gentlemen in their beautifully restored historic home on Mountain Lake.
The theme was casual gourmet barbecue that focused on fresh local ingredients. We all prepared something to contribute to the meal, and served everything buffet style. I love this style of entertaining, as it makes the guests feel right at home and comfortable, and also frees up the hosts’ time so they can spend time visiting with their friends.
We started the evening with wine and some fine New York dairy cheeses and artisan sausages, along with a savory pastry hors d’oeuvre. I don’t know about you, but when you have some really good cheese on the table and a glass of wine, it’s hard to think about moving on to eat anything else. If we had stopped there, it would have been okay with me.
But we did continue on, and the buffet table was set with gourmet burgers filled with blue cheese and mushrooms, and some amazing homemade bratwurst from the grill, along with some fresh salads.
Dessert had been assigned to one of our friends who also happens to be a pastry chef, so when that is the case, you always save room…and boy was I glad I did! He brought a lovely coconut cake and bread pudding, both of which were delicious!
We enjoyed such a nice evening talking and laughing. It was the kind of evening you just want to do over~great food, fun people, and a beautiful setting.
I was assigned to bring a salad, and after a visit to a nearby farmer’s market, I decided to make a salad with a blend of everything I picked up.. I knew I wouldn’t find quinoa up here in the mountains, so I brought some along with other hard to find items in my travel kitchen box.
Here is a look at the salad and a recipe for you:
Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whisk lemon zest/juice and next 7 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside until ready to toss salad.
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
3 small zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 ears fresh corn kernels, cooked
2 large tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 ounces baby arugula, sliced into a chiffonade
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Heat water to boil. Add quinoa, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes until done. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl to cool. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium high. Brush both sides of zucchini with oilve oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes per side and transfer to a cutting board. Cut grilled zucchini into 1/2-inch slices and add to bowl with cooled quinoa. Add remaining salad ingredients to bowl and toss with salad dressing.