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Fresh Air Feasting

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Dining outdoors is such a simple thing, yet it’s one of the great pleasures of summer. Sitting in dappled shade or beneath the stars somehow makes it easier to enjoy the slower pace and the freshest tastes of the season.

The recipes presented here are from Jeff Raider, former chef at Valley restaurant in Garrison (and now executive chef at One in Irvington), with a peachy dessert from pastry whiz Laura Digiorno (who still creates her sweet treats at Valley). “All these dishes are fairly simple, and great if you want to get most of the work done ahead of time,” says Raider, who notes that each can be served warm or cold. Prepare everything before your guests arrive (or even the day before), then when you’re ready to eat just toss the shrimp on the barbie for a couple of minutes and you’re done.

The menu works for either lunch or dinner. The recipes serve four, but are easy to double. Set the table to set the mood. We left ours uncovered to show its weathered charm, but a colorful cloth would add a festive air, and white damask a touch of elegance. Linen napkins, china, glass and silverware make the meal seem even more of a celebration. Seat everyone on sturdy, comfortable chairs (there are lots of lovely outdoor fabrics for cushions), and your contented guests will surely linger for hours.

“On a beautiful night, there’s nothing better than eating outdoors,” Raider says. “In the Hudson Valley, where we have a limited number of warm nights, you can appreciate it even more.”

Asian BBQ Glazed Shrimp with Garden Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4
1 teaspoon peanut oil • 1 cup Spanish onions, diced • 4 table-spoons chopped garlic
• 2-ounce piece ginger, smashed • 4 tablespoons sliced scallions • 4 tablespoons chopped lemongrass • 1 cup fresh orange juice • 1 teaspoon sambal •â€Š 1/4 cup honey
• 1 cup Hoisin sauce • 1 cup ketchup • 1 cup rice wine vinegar •â€Š 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon five-spice powder • 6 leaves Thai basil • 3 leaves fresh mint • Kosher salt to taste • Fresh ground black pepper to taste • 20 extra-large shrimp, peeled
• 4 skewers • 2 teaspoons olive oil • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1. Warm peanut oil in a medium nonreactive pan on medium heat 2. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, scallions, and lemongrass and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent 3. Mix in the orange juice, sambal, honey, Hoisin sauce, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, and the five-spice powder 4. Whisk the ingredients together and bring to a slow boil. Simmer 35 minutes, stirring constantly 5. Remove from the heat and stir in the Thai basil and mint
6. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper 7. Cool and strain the glaze, and refrigerate until ready to use. (The glaze can be made ahead of time and will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week) 8. Heat the grill 9. Place 5 raw shrimp on each skewer, season with salt and pepper, and brush on the barbeque glaze 10. Grill until done, about 2 minutes on each side. Garnish with sliced scallions.

Chilled Corn Soup with Crab and Scallions

Serves 4
1 teaspoon olive oil • 1/2 small spring onion, peeled and roughly chopped • 1 clove fresh garlic, peeled, roughly chopped • 2 1/4 cups light chicken stock • 1 1/4 cups fresh corn, shucked • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste • 1 scallion, sliced thin • 8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat • optional garnish
1. Heat the oil in a medium nonreactive soup pot over medium flame. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes 2. Add stock, bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes 3. Add corn, bring to boil, simmer 4-6 minutes until corn is tender
4. Pour entire contents into a blender, process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste 5. Pour into a nonreactive container and chill. Serve in bowls with crabmeat in the center, surrounded by scallions. Garnish with dots of smoked paprika oil.
Panzanella Salad
Serves 4
5 large ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into medium dice • 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced • 1 red onion, cut into medium dice • 1 cup olives • 1 loaf rustic bread • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • 1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped • 1/4 bunch fresh mint, chopped • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped • To taste: salt, freshly ground black pepper, chili flakes
1. Slice the bread into thick slices and grill, then cut the grilled bread into 1-inch cubes. 2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes so the flavors can combine.

Roasted Spring Vegetables

Use baby vegetables if you can find them, or cut regular ones into smaller pieces. You can substitute your favorite summer vegetables. Makes 4 – 5 cups.
5 tablespoons olive oil • 1 red onion, chopped into small dice • 6 garlic cloves, peeled • 1/2 cup quartered cremini mushrooms • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced • 1 cup red and yellow peppers, cut into large dice • 1 cup cauliflower florets • 1/2 cup quartered pattypan squash • 1/2â€cup fresh peas, shelled and blanched •â€1/2 cup cherry heirloom tomatoes, cut in half • 2 tablespoons fines herbes (parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon), chopped • 1 teaspoon lemon juice • Kosher or sea salt to taste • Fresh ground black pepper
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees 2. Toss the red onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, peppers, cauliflower and pattypan squash with the olive oil 3. Roast the vegetables in the oven until tender, about 20 minutes 4. Add the peas and tomatoes 5. Stir in the fines herbes and lemon juice 6. Season with salt and pepper.

Individual Peach Cobbler

Serves 4
FOR THE FILLING: 4 ripe yellow peaches, peeled and chopped into medium dice • 1/2 cup light brown sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour • Pinch of salt
1. Mix the peaches, sugar, vanilla, flour and salt together in a medium bowl 2. Let the filling stand for 15 minutes to allow the peaches to release their juices 3. Fill four 4-ounce ramekins with the peach mixture
FOR THE CRUST: 8 tablespoons softened butter • 1/4 cup sugar • 1 egg • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour • 1/8 teaspoon salt • 1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Mix the butter and sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color 2. Add the egg and vanilla until incorporated 3. Add the flour and salt and mix until a soft dough forms. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour 4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness 5. Cut dough into strips long enough to cover the ramekin 6. Cover each ramekin with six strips of dough in a criss-cross pattern, then brush the crust with the heavy cream 7. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream. â—
 

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