A trio of summertime eats

| July 9, 2021 | 0 Comments
Extra Light Waffles with Summer Fruits are a perfect way to make a breakfast guest feel special. (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Extra Light Waffles with Summer Fruits are a perfect way to make a breakfast guest feel special. (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Regardless of all that is happening around us, summer is the time to celebrate the outdoors — barbecuing, al fresco dining and savouring the flavours of the season. If you are in search of some easy inspiration, consider my Extraordinary Roast Beef Bites, where mini popover shells prove to be the perfect base upon which to build scrumptious hors d’oeuvres. Although the popovers may be prepared well in advance, they actually can be made in a matter of minutes and are at their best when presented within a couple of hours of baking. To add a touch of pizzazz to my Tantalizing Crispy Chicken Wings, I frequently serve them for a casual evening dinner either al fresco on the patio or in the dining room, but always enhanced by the soft glow of candles. The Extra Light Waffles — a popular choice for a special breakfast — also deserve recognition as a dessert with unquestionable appeal, particularly when enticingly topped with fresh summer fruit, decadent crème fraîche and maple syrup. Bon Appetit!

Extra Light Waffles with Summer Fruits
Makes 4 servings

How to make a summer brunch memorable? After a savoury main dish, complete the occasion with a serving of these exquisitely light waffles, temptingly garnished with crème fraîche and fresh summer fruits.

4 individual one portion-sized waffles (recipe follows)
2/3 cup (170 ml) crème fraîche or sour cream, divided
1/3 cup (80 ml) maple syrup, divided
1½ cups (375 ml) sliced fresh strawberries
1½ cups (375 ml) sliced fresh peaches

Garnish (optional)
Edible flowers and/or sprigs of fresh herbs

1. Place each of the 4 waffles on 4 separate dinner plates.
2. Top each waffle with a dollop (1 tbsp or 15 ml) of crème fraîche and drizzle with 1 tsp (5 ml) of maple syrup. Then, add about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of both sliced fresh strawberries and peaches before topping with another dollop (1 tbsp or 15 ml) of crème fraiche.
3. Artistically, drizzle each waffle and plate with maple syrup (about 2 tsp or 10 ml.)
4. If desired, garnish each serving with edible flowers and/or sprigs of fresh herbs.

Extra Light Waffles
Makes 1 cup or 250 mL of batter
or 1¼ large “4-segment” Waffles

Who doesn’t like waffles? This quick and easy recipe makes light waffles that also freeze well. The recipe can be successfully multiplied as required.

½ cup (125 ml) cake flour
2 tsp (10 ml) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
Pinch of baking soda
½ cup (125 ml) water
1 tbsp (15 ml) egg yolk
1 tbsp (15 ml) melted butter
1½ tsp (8 ml) vegetable oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) egg white, beaten until foamy

1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolk. Add to flour mixture and whisk thoroughly.
3. Whisk butter and oil into the batter, and then the egg white.
4. Pour batter as required into a preheated waffle iron; close lid and cook until done.

Extraordinary Roast Beef Cocktail Bites are a bite-sized version of a roast beef dinner. (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Extraordinary Roast Beef Cocktail Bites are a bite-sized version of a roast beef dinner. (Photo: Larry Dickenson)

Extraordinary Roast Beef Cocktail Bites
Makes 16 hors d’oeuvres

Family and guests rave about this hors d’oeuvre. It’s a creative cocktail twist on a traditional roast beef dinner. Roast beef teams up with goat’s cheese, red pepper jelly, a few arugula leaves and a final touch of horseradish, all layered on mini popover shells.

2 oz (60 g) cooked roast beef/steak (preferably rare), sliced thinly (i.e., 1/6 inch or 0.4 cm)
2 oz (60 g) goat’s cheese (wheel type)
To taste, salt and crushed black peppercorns
16 prepared mini popover shells* (recipe attached)
32 small fresh arugula leaves
1 1/3 tbsp (20 ml) slightly spicy red pepper jelly, divided
1 tsp (5 ml) bottled prepared horseradish

1. Divide roast beef into 16 portions; season with salt and crushed black peppercorns. Slice goat’s cheese into ¼ inch (0.6 cm) slices and divide into 16 portions.
2. To each popover shell, add 1/8 of a teaspoon (0.5 ml) of red pepper jelly, then one dollop of goat’s cheese. Top with 2 arugula leaves (folded if necessary) and add a second touch of red pepper jelly. (Apply the jelly in such a way as to glue the leaves together.) Then add a portion of roast beef/steak (folded as required) and finally, just a touch of horseradish.
4. If not serving promptly, cover loosely with plastic wrap and serve within an hour.
Mini Popover Shells
Makes 48 pieces (or 1 cup/250 ml of batter)

Add another tasty dimension to your hors d’oeuvre repertoire by topping these herb-infused mini popover shells with creative fillings of choice.

2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) soft butter (for buttering pans)
½ cup (125 ml) sifted all-purpose flour
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
½ cup (125 ml) milk
1½ large eggs
1½ tsp (8 ml) melted butter
1½ tbsp (23 ml) finely chopped fresh dill weed
1/3 tsp (2 ml) crushed dried tarragon leaves

1. Heavily butter 4 mini muffin pans with 12 mini cups each.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour and salt together.
3. In a second medium-sized bowl, beat together milk, eggs and melted butter. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in dill weed and tarragon.
4. Let mixture rest refrigerated overnight (or for at least 30 minutes at room temperature). (Makes about 1 cup or 250 ml of batter.)
4. Drop 1 tsp (5 ml) of popover batter into each buttered cup of the muffin pans.
5. Bake popovers in the centre of a preheated 400 F (200 C) oven until deep, golden brown in colour (about 8 to 10 minutes).
6. Remove pans from oven, loosen popovers with the tip of a small sharp knife and transfer to cooling racks. (Note: The centres will collapse to create mini popover shells.)

Make ahead tip: Mini popovers may be made in advance. Wrap them in plastic wrap, place in an airtight container and store refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for weeks. Note: Allow popovers to return to room temperature before using. To restore original quality, wrap popovers in aluminum foil and heat in a preheated 300 F (150 C) oven for just a few minutes.

Tantalizing crispy chicken wings come with a caveat: They are addictive. (Photo: Margaret  Dickenson)

Tantalizing crispy chicken wings come with a caveat: They are addictive. (Photo: Margaret Dickenson)

Tantalizing Crispy Chicken Wings
Makes 4 servings

Warning: The crispiness, caramelization and the rewarding combination of spices may make these wings addictive, even if you aren’t a chicken wing fan. The baking powder draws the moisture out of the skin, giving the final product its crispiness while locking in the flavourful juices. Applying dots of tomato paste before grilling will enhance caramelization and browning.

1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
2/3 tsp (3.5 ml) ground coriander
½ tsp (3 ml) ground nutmeg
1/3 tsp (2 ml) salt (first addition)
Pinch of chili powder
2½ tsp (13 ml) baking powder
1/3 tsp (2 ml) salt (second addition)
Pinch of crushed black peppercorns
2 lb (900 g) chicken wings, drumettes and winglets
1 ½ tsp (8 ml) finely minced fresh garlic
1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste
1 2/3 tbsp (23 ml) olive oil

1. In a small bowl, mix together cumin seeds, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, salt (first addition) and chili powder. Set aside.
2. In another small bowl, mix together baking powder, salt (second addition) and crushed black peppercorns.
3. Arrange wings in a large baking dish (or on a platter). Sprinkle with the baking powder mixture and toss to coat wings evenly.
4. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Arrange wings on the rack and refrigerate for two or three hours, uncovered.
5. Before baking, allow the wings to come closer to room temperature; then transfer the wings to a large baking dish or platter, sprinkle with the spice mixture; toss to evenly coat. Then sprinkle with minced garlic and toss to distribute evenly. Finally, dot with tomato paste and lightly rub over surface of chicken wings.
6. Brush wings gently, but thoroughly, with garlic infused olive oil and arrange on a well-oiled preheated barbecue grill (400 F or 200 C). Close lid and grill until first side of wing pieces appears rather crispy and brown (about 2 to 3 minutes).
7. Promptly turn off one burner and while turning the wing pieces over, arrange all of them over the unlit burner. Close lid and cook until juices run clear (only a matter of minutes). NOTE: Total cooking time is about 12 minutes.

Margaret Dickenson is a cookbook
author, menu/recipe developer and a protocol, business and etiquette instructor.

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Category: Delights

About the Author ()

Margaret Dickenson wrote the awardwinning cookbook, Margaret’s Table — Easy Cooking & Inspiring Entertaining (www.margaretstable.ca).

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