This past weekend my daughter Claire hosted a baby shower for her sister, Whitney, along with Whitney's close friend, Allison. Yes... I'm going to be an Oma. The event took place in my home, and my contribution for this gathering was lunch. The plan (for months) had been a luncheon outdoors on the patio and in the garden, of course! But the weather turned against us with 90+ degree heat and unbearable dew points that forced everyone attending inside; not ideal in our minds, but we made it work...
Appetizers were placed in the living room.
Tomato tarts (recipe HERE) and main course salad were served in the kitchen.
I have been making my version of this chicken, corn and avocado salad (recipe below) since eating it at a local restaurant this spring.
Dessert was 3 Rhubarb and Almond Cakes and Chocolate Bouchons (recipe HERE) Yes... I always prepare more than we need.
Drinks consisted of Mimosas made with Prosecco, Rosé, and non-alcoholic Watermelon-Ginger Spritzers (recipe HERE), which were just the thing on a hot, sultry day.
The baby girl is due in September... a sister for Midge the French Bulldog.
CHICKEN, CORN, and AVOCADO SALAD
The ingredients of the salad below are approximate
• 1 Rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat from the bones cut into bite-size pieces
• 16-ounce can organic corn, drained
• a handful of Medjool dates, pitted and diced
• 1-2 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 5-ounce bag of Italian greens (or combine romaine, butter lettuce, and radicchio)
• 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
• goat cheese, as much as you like for tossing on top of salad
• apple cider vinegar
• extra-virgin olive oil
• salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large bowl, gently combine the chicken, corn, dates, avocado and greens.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Poor dressing over salad and gently toss. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
3. Sprinkle almonds and goat cheese over the top of the salad and serve.
RHUBARB and ALMOND CAKE
adapted recipe from The Floating Kitchen
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup almond meal
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 pound rhubarb
• 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
• 1/3 cup sliced almonds
• Confectioners' sugar for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. Generously coat the parchment paper and the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup of the sugar and the butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the yogurt, orange zest and extracts and beat until just incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Add dry ingredients to the cake batter, adding in one-third at a time, mixing on low speed until none of the white streaks remain. Set aside.
4. Trim rhubarb of leaves and if the stalks are wide, slice them in half lengthwise. Cut the rhubarb stalks into pieces 1 1/2-inches in length.
5. Spread about half of the cake batter evenly over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Layer about half of the rhubarb over the batter in a single layer, leaving a half-inch space uncovered around the edges of the pan. Spread the remaining cake batter over the rhubarb and arrange rhubarb pieces on top. You may not need all of the rhubarb. Sprinkle the sliced almonds and turbinado sugar over the cake.
6. Place the cake on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, run a knife around the outer edge of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Cut into slices and dust with the Confectioners' sugar.
• The cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
TAKE a LOOK:
There's an obvious shift this week to how and what I'm making for our dinner. Over the past couple of months, every meal consisted largely of produce from the vegetable garden. With this Mexican Tortilla Casserole, the only home-grown ingredient was the lone cherry tomato on the top. My garden still boasts kale, some beans, and an occasional cucumber... and, don't let me forget red cabbage! My husband also planted watermelon radishes and a second crop of lettuces; but for the most part, it's coming to an end.
As much as I miss my garden vegetables when I no longer have them, I am always ready for cool weather meals that simmer on my stove throughout the day. Desserts that consist of stone fruit and berries (most likely tarts and galettes) are replaced by apples, pears, and a good amount of chocolate... I love fall!
This Mexican Tortilla Casserole is simple and quick to assemble. And, feel free to swap out ingredients to your liking.