Another Delicious National Day

Today was tough to pick just one National Day to focus in on. Four of the National Days inspire amazing talking points, none “food” based. On the other hand, two are great food focal points, just not together. Let me explain . . .

We have Merry-Go-Round Day, Threading the Needle Day, Hire a Veteran Day and National Parent’s Day (4th Sunday in July). Merry-Go-Rounds conjure up all sorts of wonderful childhood memories and images of a bygone era. Threading a Needle can be looked upon as the literal interpretation – to guide thread through a sewing needle. For those of you who are up there in age (like yours truly), this can be a daunting and often times frustrating task. But then again, treading a needle could also imply finding a path through two opposing views. Now that opens up a whole wheelhouse of conversation, doesn’t it? Then we’ve got Hire a Vet – who can’t get behind that? It’s all about honor and respect. Which brings us to National Parents Day. In May we celebrate Mothers, in June it’s all about Fathers. So it stands to reason that in July we recognize the importance of the partnership of Parents.

On the food front, we have Hot Fudge Sundae Day and Wine and Cheese Day. Both delicious, but hardly served together. That is unless you are very, very pregnant or very, very strange. Now I know last year we managed to combine the two, with wine and cheese as appetizers for National Cowboy Day, and hot fudge Sundaes for dessert. That was fun. This year I decided to go in another direction – and it’s all about the wine and cheese.

Wine and Cheese Supper
Appetizer – Apple and Goat Cheese Crostini
Wines as desired

Main Course
Skillet Chicken Breast with Tomatoes and Spinach
Parmesan Spinach Risotto
Warm Bread
Toss Arugula Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette and Shaved Parmesan
Wines as desired

Strawberry Wine Cream Cheese Dessert
Wines as desired

Apple Goat Cheese Crostini
1 Baguette
Olive Oil as needed
4 oz Goat Cheese
3 tablespoon fresh Thyme
1/2 teaspoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Pinch Kosher Salt
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Lemon
Additional Thyme Garnish

Slice baguette into nice rounds about 1/4-inch thick. On baking sheet, arrange bread slices. Lightly drizzle both sides with olive oil.

Adjust oven rack a few inches from broiler element. Heat broiler, place baguettes in oven and toast for 2 minutes per side, until lightly toasted. Remove from oven, let cool.

Strip thyme leaves from the sprigs and place in a small mixing bowl. Add goat cheese, salt and pepper, cream together. Set goat cheese mixture aside.

Thinly slice apples, cut each slice in half if needed to fit 1 or 2 slices on each baguette slice. Place apple slices into a medium size bowl.

Zest lemon, set zest aside. Cut lemon, squeeze juice over apples to prevent apples from browning. Toss apples to coat, drain off any excess lemon juice.

Smear a dollop of goat cheese on each crostini. Place a slice of apple on each crostini top with an a sprinkling of lemon zest, and additional thyme leaves. Dress platter with a few sprigs of thyme.

Skillet Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and Spinach
2 medium Roma Tomatoes
1 Garlic Clove
6 oz Baby Spinach
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Chicken Breasts
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup White Wine

Slice tomatoes into rounds, set aside. Peel and chop garlic, set aside. Rinse, trim and pat try the spinach, set aside.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with garlic, oregano, seasoned salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet; cook in the dry pan for 10 minutes. Turn chicken, add stock, cover and continue to cook until juice of chicken is clear, about 15 minutes longer.

Add butter, swirl to melt. Stir wine into skillet. Top chicken with tomato slices. Cover; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tomatoes are softened and juices released into the sauce. Add spinach. Cover; cook a minute or 2 longer just until spinach is wilted.

To serve, slice breast, fan out. Top with tomatoes and spinach. Drizzle a little pan drippings over the breast.

Parmesan Spinach Risotto
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 medium White Onion minced
4 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 tablespoons Butter, divided
1-1/2 cup Arborio rice
3/4 cup good White Wine
6 oz. fresh Baby Spinach
1 cup Parmesan Cheese

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Peel and mince onion, set aside. Peel and finely chop garlic, set aside.

In a large, heave saucepan over medium heat, add all of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter, and the diced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until onions are tender and translucent. Add garlic, cook about a minute longer, until fragrant.

Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring continuously, until all the liquid is fully absorbed.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock to the pan, and stir until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the rice is just tender and the risotto is smooth and creamy, about 30 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low, stir in the fresh spinach, and cook for 5 minutes longer until the leaves are fully wilted

Stir in the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese

Toss Arugula Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette and Shaved Parmesan
Arugula Salad
16 oz Arugula
2 cups Grape Tomatoes
Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Rinse arugula, scatter into a large platter or salad bowl. Cut tomatoes in half, scatter over greens. Toss to blend. Chill well before serving.

Place shaved Parmesan Cheese in a small bowl to garnish salad as desired.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/4 cup Red-wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Sugar
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Olive Oil

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and continue whisking until thickened.

When ready to serve, whisk dressing one last time. Drizzle dressing over salad, toss to coat. Serve with shaved Parmesan and enjoy.

Strawberry Wine Cream Cheese Dessert
Pretzel Crust

1 cup crushed Pretzels
4 teaspoons Sugar
1/3 cup Butter

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Spray sides only of 9-inch springform with cooking spray.

Crush pretzels in a food processor, place in a small bowl and set aside. Melt butter, set aside.

Add sugar to the crushed pretzels; mix well. Add melted butter; stir until well combined. Press mixture in bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in the heated oven for 8 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and let crust cool completely.

Cream Cheese Filling
1/4 cup Cold Water
1 envelope Unflavored Gelatin
8-oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Sugar
8-oz tub frozen Whipped Topping, thawed

Place cold water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over water; let stand 3 minutes to soften. Heat over low heat, until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until well blended. Beat in gelatin mixture until blended. Place bowl in freezer for 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese mixture at high speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust. Refrigerate while preparing topping.

Strawberry Wine Topping
2 (10-oz.) packages frozen Strawberries in Syrup
1 1/2 cups boiling Water
6-oz package Strawberry Gelatin
1/4 cup Sweet Dessert Wine

Partially thaw strawberries, break apart and set aside.

Bring water to a full boil. In medium bowl, combine strawberry gelatin and boiling water; stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Add frozen strawberries and a splash of wine. Stir to separate strawberries and thicken gelatin slightly. Pour evenly over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set.

1 cup fresh Strawberries
Mint Leaves as desired

When ready to serve, remove springform side, transfer dessert to a round platter such as a cake plate.

Cut strawberries in half, arrange around the base of the dessert and a few on top.

Tuck mint leaves around the fresh berries, serve and enjoy with a nice dessert wine.

Note: This dessert can be prepared a day in advance. Garnish just before serving.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

8 thoughts on “Another Delicious National Day”

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