I’m definitely tired of shovelling stuff that isn’t even snow, but some evil compound designed to pack 18 inches of snow into about 9 inches of Arctic Concrete, although I’m still fine with seeing snow and wearing sweaters. But some of the rest of us here at Pergola House have the Winter Blues & Blahs. So we had a Summer Picnic this week-end! Here is the invitation:
In deference to aging knees I put the picnic table-cloth on the table rather than the floor. I thought about using paper plates and cups, but decided to pretend we have a butler and use the Belleek, the Waterford, and the Edgeworth silver.
The starter was shrimp and corn chowder, riffing of a recipe by Clayton Bernard Jr. Now I hate to disagree with Clayton, but honestly, if you use the food processor correctly, it’s just as smooth as using a blender. The trick is to thoroughly puree the cooked corn (and couple of braised onion slices) in the processor without the liquid — the milk it was simmered in — before adding the liquid. I also put a half-cup or so of corn kernels in along with the shrimp for sautéing The other thing is that it reheats (in the microwave) perfectly well, and next time I’d do it all the day before.
The salad was a riff of Jacques Pepin’s cabbage salad — made in smaller amounts in individual bowls. It was pretty and crunchy, with anchovy goodness.
The main course was a half a New York strip steak and Oven-Fried Chicken (corral and coop?), chicken being the oven-fried version of Frank McClelland’s fried chicken which starts with a fantastic buttermilk/citrus zest marinade, overnight. I just don’t do Fried Chicken in all that oil. My amazing broiled potatoes and simple asparagus for veg. Dessert was, well, fab. Sections of blood orange drizzled with homemade ginger syrup, served in my grandmother’s antique sherbet glasses. I had figured one orange per person, but could have easily eaten two all by myself.
We turned the heat up enough to wear polo shirts and t-shirts and dresses and sandals, and the evening was a genuine mini-vacation.