1 medium heart of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 of a loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
1tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grape and/or cherry tomatoes
3 slices bacon
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup torn fresh basil
Brush cut sides of lettuce and bread with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Thread tomatoes onto skewers,* leaving 1/4 inch between each tomato. For a charcoal or gas grill, place lettuce and bread, cut sides down, and tomato skewers on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes or until light grill marks appear on lettuce and tomatoes and bread is toasted, removing food from grill as it is done. Coarsely chop lettuce and cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Remove tomatoes from skewers.
For vinaigrette, in a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Cut up bacon; set aside. If necessary, add enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the reserved drippings to equal 3 tablespoons. Add onion to the reserved drippings; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Cook about 1 minute more or until reduced slightly, stirring to scrape up crusty browned bits.
In a large bowl combine lettuce, bread, tomatoes, bacon, basil, and cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
From the Test Kitchen TIP: This recipe can easily be doubled to serve 14 to 16 people.
*TIP: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes; drain before using.
Nutrition Facts: Per serving: 135 kcal cal., 9 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 4 g monounsatured fat), 13 mg chol., 245 mg sodium, 8 g carb., 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g pro. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, onions, jalapeno and a pinch of salt. Add enough of the buttermilk to make a stiff batter. You may not need the whole 2 cups.
Heat the peanut oil in a deep fryer or a large heavy bottomed pot to 250 degrees F.
Drop the batter into the hot oil by teaspoonfuls. The hushpuppies will turn over in the oil as they cook. They are done when they are brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep the hushpuppies warm while you fry the remaining batter. Serve hot.
Cook’s Note: If you can’t find self-rising cornmeal, substitute 2 cups cornmeal plus 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
1 16 -to-18-ounce box white cake mix (plus required ingredients)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
28 drops royal blue gel food coloring
4 drops violet gel food coloring
Unsalted butter, for the pan
3 pints raspberry sorbet
2 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
2 pints heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; coat a 9-inch-round springform pan with cooking spray.
Prepare the cake mix as directed, adding the cocoa powder and food coloring to the batter. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake until done, about 45 minutes.
Let the cake cool, then remove from the pan; level the domed top with a serrated knife. Use a 5-inch circle of parchment paper as a guide to cut a circle from the center of the cake (you won’t need the small circle). Freeze the large cake ring.
Cut a 6-by-30-inch strip of parchment paper. Clean the springform pan, then butter it and line the side with the parchment as shown; the paper will extend above the rim of the pan so you can build a tall cake.
Let 1 pint sorbet soften slightly at room temperature. Spread in the prepared pan, then lay a piece of plastic wrap on top and use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the sorbet into the pan in an even layer. Freeze until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Let 1 pint vanilla ice cream soften; spread in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and press evenly with the measuring cup. Freeze until firm, then repeat to make 1 more layer each of sorbet and ice cream (4 layers total). Freeze until firm.
Place the blue cake ring on top of the ice cream, pressing gently; return to the freezer while you prepare the next layer.
Cut off the top 1 1/2 inches of the remaining sorbet carton; remove the carton and wrap the sorbet loosely in plastic wrap. Press into a 5-inch round, then place the flattened sorbet into the hole in the cake, smoothing as needed. Freeze until firm.
Cut off the top 1 1/2 inches of the remaining ice cream carton (you won’t need the bottom). Flatten as you did the sorbet; place on top of the raspberry layer. Repeat with the bottom section of sorbet. Freeze until firm.
Beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Remove the springform ring and parchment collar from the cake. Cover the cake with the whipped cream. Freeze until ready to serve.
Photo by: Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Harget
Similar to an Arnold Palmer, this refreshing drink combines two summer favorites—Southern Living – lemonade and iced tea. Turn this into a cocktail by adding bourbon or spiced dark rum. Yield: Makes 8 cups
3 cups water
2 family-size tea bags
1 (1-oz.) package fresh mint leaves (about 1 cup loosely packed)
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups cold water
1 (6-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
Garnish: fresh citrus slices
1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Remove from heat, add tea bags, and stir in fresh mint. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
2. Remove and discard tea bags and mint. Stir in sugar until dissolved.
3. Pour tea into a 3-qt. container, and stir in 4 cups cold water and lemonade concentrate. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.
Bourbon-Lemonade Iced Tea: Prepare recipe as directed, and stir in 1 cup bourbon. Makes 9 cups.
Spiced Dark Rum-Lemonade Iced Tea: Prepare recipe as directed and stir in 1 cup spiced dark rum. Makes 9 cups.