Light summer menu

We are in the middle of August.

Seating on my terrace I am looking at the trees and observing that nature’s bright green colors are starting to fade, meaning that little by little summer is entering its last stage.

Lately, every time I have the opportunity I am eating my meals outside and enjoying the nature around me. Because the holiday season is coming in three months with plenty of cookies and other sweets, I am satisfying my sweet tooth with plenty of fruit.

In this menu I exchanged guacamole for a light avocado mouse, whose lemony taste pairs well with slices of chicken breast spiced with sumac.

Ground sumac is a spice commonly used in the Middle East, often put on meats or salads.It has a lemony taste so it goes well with avocado. It is easily available and if your local supermarket doesn’t carry it , you can find it in Middle Eastern stores.Clafoutis is an easy to make classic french cherry  dessert. I decided to make sour version. In this menu I combined red pepper and feta.

For the end of the meal I prepared melon balls soaked with orange juice, agave syrup and pinch of ground cardamom. T he cardamom gives a little unexpected refreshing taste, but you can omit it. Toasted almonds add crunchiness.

You can be creative and use simple plastic cutlery. I love outdoors cutlery that is available in Switzerland. Stores are filled with large variety in several shapes and colors. Creative use of transparent plastic cutlery makes the menu colorful.

Melon salad with toasted almonds and cardamom

Makes about 6 servings

  • 2 melons
  • 1 orange
  • 2 cardamom seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup or honey
  • 3 tablespoons /20g sliced almonds

Toast the almonds. Heat the ungreased skillet on medium heat. Put a single layer of sliced almonds so they color evenly. Roast  until golden color then put aside.

Squeeze the orange juice.

Crush the cardamom seeds, take the inside and ground in mortar and pestle.

Cut the melon in half. Scoop out the seeds and with a melon baller shape the balls. Put them into a bowl and pour the orange juice and agave syrup over it. Take a pinch of ground cardamom and dust over ( don’t put too much because it will overpower the taste of fruit, a little goes long way).

Mix well and put into the refrigerator to cool. When ready to use, sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Clafoutis with roasted peppers and feta cheese

Makes about 6 small cups

  • 100ml double cream ( US heavy cream), 1/2 cup
  • 50 ml full fat milk / 1/4 cup
  • 25g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon shredded basil
  • 40g feta cheese / 1/2 cup

Roasted peppers

Preheat the broiler.

Prepare the peppers for roasting. Cut the pepper into 2-3 lobes. Remove the seeds. Trim the white membrane. Lightly oil the baking sheet as well as the peppers and put them skin side up. Broil the peppers about 5 inches from the heat until some areas of the peppers start to blister and turn brown in color.

Using tongs, transfer the peppers to plastic bag. Tie the bag and leave them for 20 minutes, then remove the skin. This technique makes peeling the skin of the peppers much easier.

Cut the peppers into strips, then into small squares. Put on a side. If left with extra roasted pepper, cover them with a little bit of olive oil and put them into refrigerator. It will last for up to one week.

Clafoutis

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Cut the feta cheese into small squares or big crumbs.

Sift the flour onto a baking paper or an aluminum foil for an easier transfer.

Cut the basil leafs into a thin strips.

In a small blender add the eggs. Blend for a couple of seconds.

Add the sifted  flour and a pinch of salt.

Divide roasted peppers, feta cheese and basil into silicon cups. Leave some of the ingredients on the side.

Pour the batter over and top with the ingredients left on a side. An easy way to fill the cups is to put the batter in a measuring pitcher.

Put the silicon cups on a baking sheet, then put it in the oven on the medium shelf. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.

When finished take them out and let them sit for 5 minutes to cool. They will collapse but that is ok.

You can serve the clafoutis directly from the silicon cups.

Avocado mousse and chicken breast with sumac

Makes about 6 small cups

  • 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 tablespoons creme fraiche / about 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • salt

 

Cut avocado in half. Twist the avocado halves in opposite direction. That way you will separate them. You can use a big spoon to scoop the stone out from one half. Cut the avocado into big chunks and put them into a small blender. Blend for couple of seconds.

Little by little start adding the creme fraiche, lemon juice and finely chopped mint, blending in-between each addition. Add a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth.

Transfer into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until preparing chicken.

Chicken with a sumac

  • a big piece of chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon of ground sumac
  • salt

Cut a chicken breast into a 3.5-4cm/2 inches wide strips.

Put a bit of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat to medium-high.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and sumac. Turn and repeat.

Fry chicken on both sides until done for about 5-6 minutes. When chicken is cut it shouldn’t be pink inside.

Take the chicken pieces out and let them rest for about 5 minutes.

Cut into squares about 3.5-4 cm (1.5 inch) in size.

Thread  each piece onto the small wooden skewers.

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