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Cooking Class: Summer Dipping Bar

Check out these great sumer recipes from my cookbooks for entertaining this summer. Hire me to come teach your group how to make these recipes by emailng tmharelik@gmail.com. Buy the books online with me and I'll sign/send your copies personally.

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Strawberry Basil Balsamic Lemonade

Featured inTrailer Food Diaries: Dallas/Fort Worth Edition. Adding a splash of balsamic glaze to this strawberry basil lemonade makes a tasty summer drink.

  • 1 pound frozen strawberries
  • 15 medium basil leaves
  • juice of 9 lemons, deseeded
  • 1 cup sugar
  • balsamic glaze, a few squirts

Cook down strawberries for about 15-20 minutes until soft then pull from heat. Add the basil leaves to the hot strawberries and steep for 30 minutes.

Blend or puree the basil and strawberry mixture and strain through chinois, china cap or other straining device. Add fresh lemon juice (or 1 container of simply lemonade) & sugar. Add balsamic glaze to taste & adjust lemon/sugar as needed. (If you do not have balsamic glaze, add 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar). Stir well, serve cold.

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Challah Chicken Salad

Featured in The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook. “If using one whole chicken, this recipe will make approximately 6 to 8 portions, depending on [the chicken’s] size.” —Catie Randazzo

  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh celery
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (add more if desired)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • salt to taste
  • bread, to build sandwiches
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • pickles, to taste

Pull the chicken off of the bone in chunky rustic pieces, using both the dark meat and the white meat. Place meat into a bowl. Add dill, parsley and tarragon to the chicken. Add zest and juice of one lemon and mayonnaise and mix. Salt to taste. Serve on desired bread, with sliced red onion and pickles.

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Green Chile Hummus

Featured inTrailer Food Diaries: Austin v2. The New Mexican green chile is the star of this popular dip. This makes about 1 quart.

  • 3–4 medium-sized garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeño (roughly chopped)
  • 1 (29-ounce) can garbanzo beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup mild chopped green chiles (if using hot, omit jalapeño and only use ½ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (optional, but I like and suggest it)
  • ¼ cup packed chopped cilantro

Place garlic and jalapeño in food processor and run until finely chopped. Add beans, tahini, cumin, salt, pepper and lime juice and process.

Begin adding water until a thick puree forms but is still pretty tight. Next drizzle in oil. Paste should be smooth but still a little “tighter” than normal hummus.

Taste and adjust salt, pepper and lime juice if necessary. Add green chiles, sambal and cilantro and pulse until combined but not really blended. Alternatively, you can remove hummus to a bowl and fold in chiles and cilantro to keep from over processing. Serve with frybread, pita, tortilla chips or fresh veggies.

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Cow Dog Artisan Chutney

Featured in The Big Bend Cookbook. Makes about 3 cups.

  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ¾ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-inch cube fresh ginger, grated
  • 1¾ cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a heavy pot and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 30 or more minutes or until mixture thickens and apples are transparent. Cool and store in glass or plastic in the refrigerator.

Marci Roberts’s Pesto

Featured in The Big Bend Cookbook

This probably goes against every professional chef’s protocol for pesto. I just came up with this after being unsatisfied with using a food processor and a pestle and mortar. I never researched. I just kept experimenting until I got the flavor I was looking for. I don’t measure. I just go by the look and taste, so I have a general idea of quantities, but you may find that you like more of one ingredient, so go for it! This recipe makes 2–4 servings depending on how much pesto you like on your pasta. James[who?] likes to drown his; I like mine on the light side.

First and most important requirement is to grow your own basil. I have galvanized stock tanks in front of the French Company Grocer where I grow food. Basil is in one of them for my pesto. I take the most tender leaves, wash and dry them, then lay them out on a big wood cutting board. I start off with a half grocery bag of basil. I take a big pizza cutter and start going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back…you get the idea…until you get little chunks, but they are still chunks. They will never be pulverized. I like the flavor you get from the larger chunks.

Then I pour pine nuts—start with a cup or so—on the same cutting board and chop the pine nuts until you get the size of chunks you like. Now you can probably do this in a food processor, but I still like the chunks I get with the knife. Then I can control exactly when I want to stop. And it is a great meditation.

I grate some parmesan cheese, more coarse than fine. Start off with more than a cup. I found if you keep each ingredient chunky, each flavor is more distinguishable. You get a pure burst of basil, then parmesan, then garlic, pine nut…yum.

Chop some garlic cloves, get some fine olive oil, some ground Himalayan salt and combine all of these ingredients until you get the ratio that pleases you. It is different for everyone, so be prepared to do a lot of tasting. I look at the pesto visually and see if I like the ratio of the different colors. I try not to use a ton of olive oil, but it is really hard!

It is so good I like to eat it all by itself, but certainly on pasta. I don’t eat wheat, and Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta is my favorite. If I have some special friends over, it is always a treat to prepare this for them. I can only prepare it as the basil grows for me. Last year, I had issues and had no basil crop at all, so I am looking forward to my pesto I haven’t had for a couple of years!