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A Continental-Style Garden Buffet

by Lou Seibert Pappas

For a gala summer garden party for a dozen or more, a French country style buffet provides a delightful repast. The wholesome breads can be purchased or home-made in advance. The terrines are excellent prepared two to three days ahead of time. Include a platter of raw vegetables with a dill dip and finish off with some wonderful fruit sorbets if at home, or tote a basket of seasonal fruits -- apricots, cherries, and strawberries -- if on a picnic outing.

Depending on your guests, you may choose to serve some of the fruit-flavored sparkling mineral waters, beer, or wines such as rose and lighter reds.

Grammy's Four Grain Bread
makes 3 loaves

2-1/2 cups water
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
2 packages active dry yeast
Zest of 1 orange, cut in julienne pieces
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup canola oil or butter
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup milk
1-1/2 cups barley flour
1 cup rye flour
3 cups bread or unbleached flour

Note: The flours may vary in this wholesome bread. If barley is unavailable substitute whole wheat.

Place in a saucepan 2 cups of the water and the oatmeal; bring to a boil for 1 minute, and pour into a mixing bowl; let cool to lukewarm temperature. Sprinkle yeast into the remaining 1/2 cup water and let stand until dissolved. Add the orange zest, yeast, salt, oil and molasses to the mixture. Heat milk until warm and stir in. Gradually add the barley, rye, and bread flours, mixing to make a soft dough.

Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, grease top lightly, cover and let rise until doubled in size. Turn out of pan, punch down, and knead to remove air bubbles. Divide into three parts and shape into loaves. Place in greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pans or shape into round loaves and place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when thumped.

Pistachio-Studded Chicken Terrine
makes about 8 servings
Lively with spices and lemon tang, this green-nuggeted creamy terrine is an excellent hearty meat topping for crackers or whole-grain toast.

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts, boned and skinned or turkey breast
1 pound lean ground pork
1-1/2 teaspons salt
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and ground allspice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon each freshly ground pepper and ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 egg white
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons pistachios
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns

In a small skillet saute the onion in oil until soft. Grind chicken or turkey in a food processor or food grinder. Place the sauted onion, chicken, pork, salt, thyme, allspice and lemon peel in a bowl, mixing for until blended well. Add pepper, nutmeg, egg, egg white, milk powder, stock, sherry and garlic. Mix until blended. Spread half the mixture in a greased 8 by 4-1/2 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with half the pistachios. Cover with remaining meat mixture and sprinkle with remaining nuts. Decorate top with bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover with foil. Place in a pan containing 1 inch of water and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours or until set. Remove from water and chill 1 day before serving.

Hint: If desired, make 2 days in advance and chill.

Meat Loaf Cordon Bleu Omelet
makes 8 servings

1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 slices sour dough French bread, cubed or 1/4 cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1-1/2 pounds ground veal or turkey
1/2 pound ground pork
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese or low-fat cheese
2 to 3 ounces prosciutto, very thinly sliced

In a small skillet, saute the green onions in oil over medium heat until soft; set aside. In a mixing bowl combine the bread or wheat germ, sherry, broth, eggs, salt, pepper, mustard, oregano, garlic and 3 tablespoons of the parsley. Add the ground meats and mix until blended. In a greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan, pat out half the meat mixture into a rectangle about 6 by 10 inches. Mix together the sauteed onions, cheese, prosciutto and the remaining 3 tablespoons parsley and pat this over the meat. Pat out remaining meat on a sheet of waxed paper, making another 6 by 10-inch rectangle. Lay this over the cheese and ham filling and press the edges of the meat layers together, forming a compact rounded loaf. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until juices no longer run pink. Serve hot or chilled.

Dill Dip with Vegetables
makes 3/4 cup dip

1/2 cup light-style sour cream
1/4 cup light-style mayonnaise
1 teaspoon beau monde seasoning
1 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 tablespoon instant minced onion or 2 tablespoons minced shallots
Assorted vegetables: tiny green beans, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, quartered mushrooms, asparagus spears

For the dip, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, beau monde, dill, and onion or shallots. Turn into a serving bowl and surround with vegetables.

Strawberry Sorbet
makes 1 quart

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 baskets (1-3/4 pounds) strawberries, hulled

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, cook until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and let cool. Puree or crush the strawberries and stir in the sugar syrup. Chill thoroughly. Freeze according to the directions for your ice cream maker. Or for a freezer method: Pour the prepared mixture into a 9-inch square pan. Cover with foil or plastic wrap. Place in the freezer and freeze until firm, about 2 to 3 hours. Scrape out into a food processor or electric mixer, and process or beat until light and fluffy but not thawed. Return to the pan, cover, and freeze until firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Leek and Prosciutto Omelet
makes 6 servings

3 leeks, thinly sliced (white part only)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or ham
1/4 cup freshly shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese

Using a large non-stick skillet, saute the leeks in 1 teaspoon of the oil until soft and glazed. Add remaining oil to pan. Beat eggs until blended and mix in salt, pepper, tarragon, parsley and half the prosciutto and cheese. Pour in egg mixture and cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining prosciutto and cheese. Slip under the broiler to brown the top lightly. Cut into thin wedges to serve.

Nicoise Olive Pesto
makes about 1 1/4 cups
This robust pesto makes a great spread on Italian breads -- focaccia, pizzettes, or toasted crusty loaves.It also uplifts baked fish such as halibut steaks or swordfish.

3/4 cup pitted Nicoise-style olives
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves or Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 shallots, peeled or green onions (white part only)
2 tablespoons walnuts or pitachios
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, place the olives, basil, shallots, nuts, and garlic. Process until finely minced. Add the oil and cheese and process until mixed in. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and chill.

Lou Seibert Pappas is a former food editor of the Palo Alto Times Tribune and a home economist with Sunset Magazine. She currently writes food, home, and travel-related articles for national magazines and newspapers and is the author of more than 30 books.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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