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Monday, June 29, 2020

al fresco DINING


318 Forum asked five favorite chefs to share with our readers a summer recipe that would be enjoyable with an outdoor spread.

They responded joyously with some light and delicious dishes sure to delight your family or guests. So when planning your next gathering or meal ... take it outside! Sample recipes from food experts Blake Jackson, John Strand, Jessica Tyler Comegys, John Cariere and Shelly Marie Redmond (pictured left to right). We've also included a few items that fall into the "What's in Store" category and are sure to add to your experience.

Summer Shrimp Salad with Honey Mint Vinaigrette

Jessica Comegys, Glow Alchemy Kitchen/Caspiana Catering

For the Vinaigrette

• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar (or rosé)
• ¼ cup honey
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 2-3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
• 2-3 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup sunflower dressing

For the Salad .

• 6 cups mixed greens salad
• 2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
• ½ an English cucumber, sliced thin
• 1 avocado, cubed or sliced
• 1 cup heart of palm, sliced
• 1 lb. boiled shrimp, peeled


1. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until well combined. I like to pulse in a blender.

2. Layer the cantaloupe, cucumber, shrimp, heart of palm and avocado on top of the mixed greens.

3. Top with as much dressing as desired. Any leftover vinaigrette can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week.

Spring Berry Trout Meunière

Chef Blake Jackson, Drake Catering, Whisk Dessert Bar


• 4 4-6 ounce filets of trout, preferably speckled
• 2 large eggs
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/2 cup flour
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Lemon


• 2-3 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup blackberries
• 1/4 cup blueberries
• 1 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
• 1/2 shallot, minced
• Salt and pepper to taste


Whisk eggs and milk with a squeeze of lemon. Soak fish up to 6 hours. Mix flour and season. Prepare a medium-high heat skillet. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter. Dredge fish in egg mix then in flour and place in skillet. Depending on the thickness of fish, 3-4 minutes per side. I add butter right before I flip, so the uncooked side gets that semi-fried texture.

Puree berries ahead of time. In the same skillet as the fish, add butter, shallot and Serrano and season. When shallots become translucent, add berries. If you like tangy, I'd add lemon juice to taste. Drizzle sauce over fish and serve.

Salsa Chicken Wraps

We have both a keto and low-net carb taco Tuesday night for you and your family. With only three ingredients and your favorite taco toppings, you can easily switch taco night from stovetop to slow cooker to keep the temperature of your kitchen down. Be sure to use Mission Carb Balance Wraps to up the fiber and keep low net carb, Siete wraps for gluten free, and lettuce to keep keto.

• 1 pound boneless chicken breast
• 1 16-ounce jar of salsa (look for 3 grams of carbs or less per serving)
• 8 Mission Carb Balance Wraps (high fiber), Siete wraps (gluten-free), lettuce (keto)
• Optional toppings: Light sour cream, 2% shredded cheddar cheese, pico, jalapeños, cilantro.


• Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

• Combine chicken breast and salsa in slow cooker.

• Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
• Serve on your wrap of choice.
• Top with various toppings.
• Yield: 8 wraps.

Recipe was developed by Shelly Marie Redmond, MS, RD, LDN. She is the creator of the KLA Kitchen – a clinic devoted to ketogenic, low-carb and antiinflammatory eating. She is the author of the "Skinny Louisiana" series and is the co-founder of the Migraine and Anti-Inflammatory Institute of the South opening late summer 2020.

Roasted Tomato Feta Rigatoni

Courtesy of Chef John Cariere and Mary Clinton Taliaferro

• 1 pound rigatoni pasta
• 6 ounces fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 16 ounces of Greek olives
• 2 pounds crumbled feta cheese
• 2 pounds assorted cherry tomatoes
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• Salt (remember, feta is slightly salty)
• Pepper to taste
• Crushed red pepper


Boil pasta according to directions. Toss tomatoes with feta, olive oil, Greek olives and garlic. Spread on cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes . Drain the pasta and toss with the tomato mixture and fresh basil. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if desired. Best served warm, but fabulous for leftovers as well.

Mediterranean Shrimp Salad (4-6)

By Chef John Strand, Accents Personal Chef Services

• 1 cup baby artichoke hearts, drained
• 3 plum tomatoes, cut into thin rounds
• 1/2 cup sliced and pitted Kalamata olives
• 1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
• 3 cups coarsely chopped romaine heart
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano
• 16 ounces of shelled and precooked jumbo shrimp
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano finely minced
• Salt and pepper to taste


Combine the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and pepper in a nonreactive bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. In a separate bowl, toss shrimp with extra virgin olive oil and oregano then season with salt and pepper; set aside until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature and plate individually. Lay shrimp over each salad and serve.

Gazpacho in a Bell Pepper Bowl (4-6)

By Chef John Strand, Accents Personal Chef Services


• 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
• 2 scallions
• 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed
• 1 celery stalk
• 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves (no stems)
• 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
• 1/2 English cucumber, skinned
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup canned tomato juice
• 4 bell peppers, any color, or assorted colors, tops sliced off, seeds and membranes hollowed out


Dice tomatoes. Roughly chop remaining veggies and toss in a large bowl along with oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Transfer small batches to a blender or food processor and blend until mixture is a coarse liquid. Transfer to a bowl and add tomato juice. Chill in refrigerator for two hours. Serve in hollowed-out bell peppers.

Let's take it outside!
What's in store?

C & C Mercantile and Lighting has a hit with their Camp Craft Cocktails. These fun, pre-made jars of dried fruit are a great start to a perfect summer cocktail. Just add your favorite spirit and refrigerate for three days to infuse. Flavors include Brunch Punch, Pineapple Jalepeno and Hibiscus Ginger Lemon, among others.

Ivy and Stone caught our eye with this beautiful and earthy table setting. Their clay dishes and bowls are perfect for the veranda, and their florals are a complement to any setting.

Lewis Gifts has a surprise for you in their line of mosquito repellents. Eucalyptus-fragranced, the jumbo incense burns for three hours and keeps mosquitos away. The candles are a sea
salt fragrance and boast a 60- to 90-hour burn time, depending on size. They really work!


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