Monday, July 27, 2009

Family Affair

Summertime in my family means lots of picnics and barbeques because there are so many of us and because we all love to eat and be together. Saturday, it was my cousin Saul's turn to host the festivities. His annual barbeque goes something like this: he supplies homemade barbeque chicken, beef, and pork and the rest of us supply side dishes and drinks to share. This year, I made a side and a dessert. Cucumber salad at Dawn's request and fruit pizza:

Recipe for cucumber salad:
3 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced in half moon shapes
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 vidalia onion, also sliced in half moons
8 0z. ciligiene mozzarella
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dill
coarse salt (sea or kosher is fine) and pepper to taste

Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle with salt. Using flat edge of knife blade, grind into a paste. Add to a bowl with lemon juice, pepper, and dill. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify. Pour over mixture of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and mozzarella. Toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving (I made it the day before and left it overnight).

Recipe for fruit pizza*:
1 package of gluten-free sugar cookie mix (I used Namaste's cookie mix, but choose what you like best)
2- 8 oz packages of mascarpone cheese
1- 8 oz package of extra creamy CoolWhip
1 pint each of blueberries, raspberries, and black berries
12 oz. canned peaches packed in juice
16 oz. cherry preserves
1/4 cup sugar

Make cookie mix according to package directions and press into a standard sized cake pan. Bake until light brown on top (with Namaste mix that was about 28 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool fully. In the meantime mix the mascarpone cheese, CoolWhip, and sugar and wash and prep berries. Warm preserves until slightly runny ( 2- 30 rounds in the microwave on med-high heat worked for me). Once the cookie base is completely cool to the touch, spread the cheese mixture over it. Assemble the fruit on top. Drizzle preserves over the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving (again, I made it the night before and let it set overnight).

*This recipe can also be used with a variety of fruit, preserves, using cream cheese, or with any cookie base you'd like to try, so have fun and improvise.

The rest of the food there was amazing. Even better was the chance to catch up with family members I only get to see once in a while. That's what I call success.

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