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Picnic at the Beach



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Cliffside Table at Pickled Parrot at Sunset, Negril, Jamaica
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Recipe source
The Best of Gourmet, Vol. 1
from the Editors of Gourmet, 1986,
Condé Nast Books/Random House


Picnic at the Beach

Watermelon Screwdrivers
Fresh Tortilla Chips
Tropical Chicken Salad
Korean Beef Salad
Lobster Horseradish Salad
Pita Pockets
Chocolate Shell Cakes
Assorted Grapes


Watermelon Screwdrivers

3 pounds watermelon, rind and seeds
discarded, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 jiggers (3/4 cup) vodka
4 cups fresh orange juice, strained
4 mint sprigs for garnish

In a food processor or blender puree the watermelon with the lemon juice
in batches, transfer the mixture to ice cube trays with the dividers in, and freeze it. Divide the watermelon cubes among 4 glasses and into each glass pour 1 jigger of the vodka and 1 cup of the orange juice. Stir the drinks
and garnish each one with a mint sprig. Makes 4 drinks.


Fresh Tortilla Chips

Vegetable oil for deep-frying
12 corn tortillas, each cut into 6 wedges

In a large skillet heat 1/2 inch of the oil over moderate heat until it is hot,
in it fry the tortilla wedges into batches, turning them, for 30 seconds to
1 minute, or until they are crisp and just golden, and transfer them with a
slotted spoon as they are fried to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the chips
with salt to taste while they are still hot, let them cool, and transfer them
to a portable container. Makes 72 tortilla chips.


Tropical Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons minced peeled gingerroot
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt, drained in a
fine sieve for 15 minutes
2 whole skinless boneless chicken breasts,
poached (procedure follows), and cut
into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 mango, peeled and chopped coarse,
reserving a few chunks for garnish
1/2 honeydew melon, cut into balls with a
3/4-inch melon-ball cutter, reserving
a few balls for garnish
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
Pita pockets for serving
1 bunch of watercress, coarse stems
discarded, as an accompaniment

In a bowl whisk together the honey, the gingerroot, the cardamom, the
lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste and stir in the mayonnaise and
the yogurt. Add the chicken, the mango, the melon, and the mint leaves,
toss the salad well, and transfer it to a portable container. The salad may
be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Garnish the salad
with the reserved mango and the reserved melon and serve it in the pita pockets with the watercress. Makes about 4 cups.

To Poach Chicken Breasts

Whole boneless chicken breasts, halved
Chicken stock, canned chicken broth, or water

In a skillet large enough to hold the chicken breasts in one layer add
enough stock to cover the chicken and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken
and cook it at a bare simmer, turning it once, for 7 minutes. Remove the
skillet from the heat and let the chicken cool in the stock for 30 minutes.


Korean Beef Salad

For the marinated beef
1 pound sirloin steak, trimmed
1/2 pound onions, chopped coarse
6 tablespoons sake or dry Sherry
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper

For the dressing
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound small mushrooms
1/2 pound snow peas, blanched in boiling
salted water for 3 seconds, drained, and
patted dry, and strings discarded
Pita pockets for serving
2 cups alfalfa sprouts as an accompaniment

Prepare the marinated beef: In a baking dish large enough to hold the
beef and the onions in one layer whisk together the sake, the soy sauce,
the sesame oil, and the pepper, add the beef and the onions, and let the
mixture marinate, covered and chilled, stirring the onions and turning the
beef over several times, for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Make the dressing:
In a large bowl combine the garlic, mustard, honey, vinegar, and soy sauce, add the sesame oil and vegetable oil in a stream,
whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. The dressing may
be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
Remove the beef and the onions from the marinade and reserve half the marinade. In a large skillet heat the 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat until it is hot and in it sauté the beef, patted dry, turning it once, for 8
to 10 minutes for medium-rare meat. Transfer the beef to a cutting board
and let it stand for 10 minutes. The beef may be cooked 1 day in advance
and kept covered and chilled.
In the skillet cook the onions over moderately high heat, stirring, for 5
minutes, or until they are tender but still slightly crisp, and transfer them
with a slotted spoon to the bowl containing the dressing. Add the mush-
rooms with the reserved marinade to the skillet, cook them over moderate heat, stirring, until almost all the liquid is evaporated, and transfer them to
the bowl. The vegetable mixture may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
Holding a knife at a 45-degree angle slice the beef thin across the grain.
Add the beef to the vegetable mixture with the snow peas and toss the
mixture well. Transfer the salad to a portable container and serve it in
the pita pockets with the sprouts. Makes about 6 cups.


Lobster Horseradish Salad

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons bottled horseradish
2/3 cup vegetable oil
Two 1 1/2-pound live lobsters, cooked and shelled
(procedure follows) and chopped coarse
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels, cut from the cob
1/4 cup chopped scallion greens
Pita pockets for serving

In a large bowl combine the vinegar, the horseradish, and salt and pepper
to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. The dressing may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. To the dressing add the lobster, the tomatoes, the corn, the scallions, and salt and pepper to taste, toss the salad well, and transfer it
to a portable container. Serve the salad in the pita pockets. Makes about
5 1/2 cups.

To Cook and Shell Lobsters

3 tablespoons salt
Two 1 1/2-pound live lobsters

In a kettle bring to a boil 2 inches water with the salt and plunge the lobsters head-first into the water. When the water returns to a boil cover the kettle
and cook the lobsters for 7 minutes. Plunge the lobsters immediately into
cold water to stop further cooking. Twist off the tail section, break off the
5 fins at the tip, and extract the slivers of meat from each. Push out the tail meat in 1 piece with the fingers or slit the underside of the tail and break the shell apart. Break off the claws at the body, break them apart at the joints, and extract the meat. Twist off the legs and reserve them for another use.


Chocolate Shell Cakes

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into bits
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into bits
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder plus
additional for dusting the cakes
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting the cakes

Butter well and flour five 4-inch-wide scallop shells.
In a double boiler set over barely simmering water melt the butter and
the chocolate, remove the mixture from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl sift together the cocoa and the flour. In a bowl with an
electric mixer beat the eggs with the granulated sugar for 8 to 10 minutes,
or until the mixture is thick and pale. Sift one fourth of the flour mixture
over the egg mixture and fold it in gently. Pour in one fourth of the
chocolate mixture, fold it in gently, and continue adding the remaining
flour mixture and the remaining chocolate mixture alternately in the same manner, fold the batter gently after each addition until it is just combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared scallop shells and smooth
the top with a metal spatula, leaving a 1/4-inch rim around the shell and mounding the batter slightly at the hinged end. Arrange the shells on the
top of a muffin tin (this keeps them level so that the batter doesn’t spill
while the cakes are baking) and bake them in a preheated 375-degree F.
oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Invert the
cakes carefully onto a rack and let them cool. The cakes may be made 1
day in advance and kept in an airtight container. Sprinkle some of the
cakes with the additional cocoa and the confectioners’ sugar and rub the mixture in to give the shells a textured appearance. Makes 5 cakes.

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