Happy Labor Day Weekend! I hope that you are having a great weekend & doing some relaxing! Are you cooking? Maybe looking for an alternative to burgers? Well, then, do I have a menu for you! This Simple Do-Ahead Late Summer Menu is just that! This entire menu can easily be made ahead of time so you can put your feet up & relax. It’s that simple…
…and do you know what my favorite part of this menu is? The main course is a ONE-POT-WONDER!
Yep, I kid you not. Zoodles & Noodles with Brie, Tomatoes & Sautéed Chanterelles is a complete meal in itself. I originally created this vegetarian dish 3 years ago. For years, I’ve made Pasta with Brie & Tomatoes from Sheila Lukins and Julle Rosso’s 1982 classic The Silver Palate Cookbook. I love that cookbook. It was one of the first cookbooks I bought when I was in college. Anyhoo, while I love that recipe, I also really enjoy tinkering, as many of you know. Rather than being content with just Brie, tomatoes, basil & hot pasta…I decided the recipe needed a few things. First of all, cherry tomatoes…the pasta doesn’t get as watery & makes for a better presentation. Mushrooms…actually, sautéed chanterelles, that my dear Chip had given me. Also, Zoodles, or zucchini noodles…I bought my first spiralizer 3 years ago, so Zoodles have become a staple in our house. Lastly, lemon…is there any recipe that doesn’t improve when lemon is added? I don’t think so, do you?
Now, fast forward to a week or so ago. Chip texted me one evening to inquire as my whereabouts, as he had a huge bag of chanterelles that he had collected while in the woods that weekend. He is the best. He said, “Honey, we need to do a blog with these.” I immediately thought of this pasta dish. I went back & realized that the photograph was indeed awful…I love when that happens. Time to remake & rephotograph…& tweak. Yes, tweak…
…by that, I added more lemon…a little extra acid & zest truly enhance the flavors in the dish! I think it looks pretty tasty, don’t you? I love how the zoodles & noodles are about the same size…& I love all the colors! Adding the hot pasta last minute melts some of the brie, which coats the zoodles & noodles, making each bite silky, cheesy, smooth. This is summer in a bowl, dear friends! You can really taste everything in this dish…the ripe, juicy tomatoes…the minty basil…the crunchy thin zucchini…al that Brie…the woody, caramelized chanterelles & garlic…& the lemon brings it all together.
The best part is this dish is that much can be done ahead…early in the morning, dice your Brie & quarter the cherry tomatoes, then combine in a large bowl. If you are in a particularly decadent mood, use Délice de Bourgogne instead…this pasteurized triple-creme marries full-fat cow milk with fresh cream, producing an unapologetically rich, whipped delight…this Burgundian cheese has a thin, pungent mold rind that imparts straw and mushroom aromas, complementing the chanterelles impeccably. The buttery yellow, sweet cream interior pairs beautifully with the tomatoes & basil. Whether you use Brie or Délice de Bourgogne…or Camembert…it doesn’t matter…let the cheese & tomatoes sit all day on your kitchen counter…& go have some fun!
Be sure to prep your basil, zest/juice the lemons & spiralize the zucchini early in the day as well. When you’re ready to serve, all you have to do is quickly sauté the chanterelles & cook the pasta…add everything to the cheese & tomatoes…toss…serve. Does a main dish get any easier to prepare? Serve a nice Rosé & some warm crusty bread with warm butter, & you’re all set!
Since I was in “tweaking mode”, I looked through some of my older recipes & decided that Skinny Corn Chowder needed a photographic “re-do” as well. Doesn’t corn chowder sound delicious as a starter for a late summer menu? This soup is a must before fresh corn disappears! Skinny Corn Chowder is also a simple do-ahead recipe, which is great for a late summer menu. I tweaked the recipe by adding Brown Butter Lobster Medallions. Have you ever removed lobster tails from their shells? It’s so easy! Click here to learn. Once the intact tails are removed, cut into ½-inch slices & quickly sautéed in brown butter. Browning unsalted butter imparts a nutty flavor to the lobster when sautéed. After I ladled the chowder into soup bowls, I added 2 or 3 lobster medallions per bowl & sprinkled a little lemon thyme for taste & presentation.
What do you think of the napkin rings? Don’t you just love them? These Cactus Mesh Napkin Rings came from the Home Furnishings Collection of Gogo Ferguson, the creator & designer of Gogo Jewelry…click here to learn more. If you’re not familiar with Gogo’s jewelry, you must visit her website! Her jewelry designs are inspired by having grown up on Cumberland Island, Georgia. The jewelry, from earrings to cuffs to necklaces…pendants…bracelets & cuffs…even cufflinks…are works of art. The pieces are truly Nature Transformed. Please check out her website…with the Holidays right around the corner, you will find something for that special someone, I promise!
Well, let’s move onto dessert…what is a menu without this last course, I ask? Especially during the summer? It just isn’t summer without something sweet. In keeping with “simple & do-ahead”, I made Orange Blackberry Fool. A fool is classically an English dessert made with puréed fruit that is folded into custard & chilled. For me, that’s not easy. Instead, I puréed blackberries with a little sugar, fresh orange juice & Cointreau…I then chilled the purée, & folded it into whipped cream. I like to freeze the fool till just firm & serve it with a little reserved purée. This dessert is really yummy. The fool has the consistency of ice cream, & may even be a little creamier. It’s simply scrumptious.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Be sure to try this late summer menu…after all, tomorrow is #MeatlessMonday ? Cheers & have a great week!
A Simple Do-Ahead Late Summer Menu
Warm Crusty Bread & Butter