Summer Table Cookbook Livens Up The Season’s Menus

The Summer Table cookbookSummer is here and we can embrace the season with outdoor picnics and dinners, local produce and exciting new flavor combinations. Author, Lisa Lemke, offers a bountiful selection of recipes to do just that in her new book, The Summer Table, published by Sterling Epicure.

You can go beyond the basic grilled burger or steak with her ideas that are easy to do and will wow your guests. Lemke is a food consultant, recipe developer, food stylist and television chef in Sweden. “In my world, I call all of this ‘food for entertaining,” because that’s exactly what it is all about. Food is meant to be shared.”

There are dozens of unique twists and interesting combinations for any meal. The Asparagus Tart with Creamy Ricotta is perfect for brunch or as a dinner appetizer. For a picnic, try the Noodle Salad with Sesame and Lime, Crispy Hoisin Chicken or the Creamy Satay Dip with Cucumber Spears.

You won’t want to miss out on her creative and delicious salsas like Caper and Apple Salsa with Dill for fish or her Asian Cherry Salsa for barbecued ribs.

The many beautiful color photographs will inspire you to try these recipes and bring people together to share the results.

Here are three of our favorites from Lemke’s The Summer Table: Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Bacon for brunch, Grilled Mexican Corn with Mozzarella and Cilantro for your next barbecue followed by the creamy Italian dream dessert, Panna Cotta Pie with Summer Berries.

“The combo of grilled corn, mozzarella, and cilantro is guaranteed to be the hit of the party,” Lemke said. “Especially if you can get your hands on super fresh corn from your local farm, CSA, or farmers market. It is amazingly good!”

If you are looking for a very simple to make but impressive and delicious summer dessert, Lemke’s panna cotta is perfect. “There’s a reason why the creamy Italian dream called panna cotta is the favorite at a large party,” Lemke said. It’s easy to make and flavor any way you like. In this recipe, I use only fine vanilla beans and use the panna cotta as pie filling. Just before serving, I scatter an assortment of fresh summer berries over the top. It’s so simple and yet so insanely good!”


Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Bacon 282Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Bacon

Makes 8 servings

Butter for the pan
8 eggs
8 strips cooked bacon
6 green asparagus spears, cut into large pieces
Salt and black pepper
Chile sauce for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter eight cups of a jumbo muffin pan or prepare a baking sheet with large, sturdy paper muffin liners, preferably double-layered so that they’re a little more stable.

Crack an egg in every cup and add one slice of bacon. Distribute the asparagus in the cups. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the middle of the oven for 15–17 minutes.

Serve the eggs warm and, preferably, with a good chile sauce.

Grilled Mexican Corn with Mozzarella and CilantroGrilled Mexican Corn with Mozzarella and Cilantro 282

Makes 4 servings


2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon tomato paste
4 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles
1/2 stick melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons honey
4 fresh ears of corn with husks
Salt and black pepper
4 1/2 ounces (about 1 cup) grated mozzarella
1 sprig of coarsely chopped cilantro
Finely chopped jalapeño chile (optional)
Cooking twine
Aluminum foil

For the marinade, mince or crush the garlic and combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Pull back the husks on each ear of corn without tearing them off completely and tie them together with cooking twine. This will be a useful handle when eating the corn. Trim the cobs, brush off any silk, and brush a thick layer of the marinade on each cob. Place the corn in a plastic bag and let it marinate for about an hour.

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to high heat. Remove the corn from the bag, season each cob with salt and pepper, and wrap each cob in aluminum foil. This will make four grill packets with the husks sticking out.

Place the packets on the grill over hot coals with the husks sticking out of the edge of the grill so they don’t burn. Close the lid and grill the corn for 15–20 minutes or until the corn feels soft when you prick it with a toothpick. Turn the packets halfway through the grilling time. If the corn is really fresh, a shorter grilling time may be enough, and if it’s a little older, it may need a little more time on the grill.

Open the packets and top with grated mozzarella, cilantro, and, optionally, chile. Serve immediately.

Panna Cotta Pie Panna Cotta Pie with Summer Berries

 Makes 8–10 servings

Pie Dough
SCANT 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter
1 small egg
Egg Wash
1 whipped egg white
1 teaspoon heavy cream or milk

4 1/2 gelatin sheets (about 1 rounded tablespoon powdered gelatin, such as Knox)
1–2 vanilla beans
3 1/4 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 pint berries in season

Combine all the dry ingredients for the pie dough in a bowl or food processor. Cut the butter into cubes and work them into the dry ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Add the egg and work it in quickly to form a dough.

Roll out the dough into a circle (slightly less than ⅛-inch thick) on a sheet of parchment paper
with a little flour, then roll up the paper into a roll and let it chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Cover a 9-inch springform pan with the pie dough. Prick the bottom and let the pie dough rest
in the fridge for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F.

Bake the pie shell in the middle of the oven for 12–15 minutes or until it begins to get some color. Mix the egg white and cream for the egg wash and immediately brush the warm bottom of the pie crust with the mixture. This seals the tiny holes in the bottom of the crust so that the filling doesn’t leak out. Let the pie shell cool.

Place the gelatin sheets for the filling in cold water and let them soak for 10 minutes. Split the
vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds and the scraped beans in a pot together with the cream and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the gelatin sheets to the pot. Stir the mixture with a spoon and let it rest for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the vanilla beans with a slotted spoon and pour the mixture into the pie crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge at least three hours or until the filling has solidified. Top the pie with berries just before you serve it.

Photography by Asa Dahlgren


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