Dining In

Adventures In Dining

By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist   

Nothing was predictable for a lunch gathering we held recently. There were strawberries and capers in the green salad, cloves of boiled garlic threaded on skewers with shrimp, and chopped mangoes and cucumbers topped crab quesadillas.

Two little boys visiting us looked slightly horrified at this conglomeration and stuck with corn on the cob.

The rest seemed to love the surprises and gobbled up everything. Those children, too, will probably become more adventurous when they grow up. Our guests were polite and pleasant; however, I never believed in preparing special meals for children who early on proclaim likes and dislikes. I was reared in the “eat what’s put before you school,” as were most Depression and World War II children.

Today’s children would have a hard time even conceiving of being that grateful for food — any food.

Well, I didn’t intend to get off on a lecture when all I want to suggest is that if you’re looking for a bit of dining adventure, you’ll enjoy these recipes. You might want to have some corn on the cob on the menu, too!

Each of these recipes involves a base of purchased Crosse & Blackwell products — chutney, mint sauce and cocktail sauce. The mint sauce was new to me. I found it makes a very interesting salad dressing. Expensive crab in the quesadillas is nice but not necessary. We tried them both ways.

Tomato, Garlic and Shrimp Skewers


1⁄3 cup seafood cocktail sauce

1⁄4 cup olive oil

3 lg. cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 T chopped fresh basil or 2 t dried basil, crushed

1⁄4 t salt

1 lb. raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

12 to 14 large cloves garlic, peeled

1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup water, boiling

1 basket (about 16) cherry tomatoes

4 to 6 10-inch skewers

Hot cooked rice

Directions: Combine cocktail sauce, oil, finely chopped garlic, basil and salt in large bowl. Mix well. Add shrimp, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Add the 12 to 14 garlic cloves to boiling water. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Peel. Alternately thread the shrimp, garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes on skewers. Grill or broil, turning and basting with remaining marinade, until shrimp turn pink. Serve over rice. Serves 4 to 6.

Crab Quesadillas with Mango Mama Salsa


1⁄3 cup mango chutney, mild or hot

1⁄3 cup mango diced, peeled and pitted

1⁄3 cup red onion, chopped

1⁄3 cup cucumber, seeded and chopped

3 T fresh cilantro, chopped

1 T fresh lime juice

1 t fresh ginger, grated

11⁄2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

4 to 6 oz. flaked crabmeat, optional

6 8-inch flour tortillas

1 T vegetable oil, divided

Sour cream, optional


Directions: Place chutney in medium microwave-safe container. Microwave on high for 30 seconds or until steaming. Stir in mango, onion, cucumber, cilantro, lime juice and ginger. Set aside until ready to serve. Combine cheese and crabmeat (if using). Lay 3 tortillas on work surface. Divide cheese mixture evenly among tortillas. Spread cheese mixture over tortillas. Cover with remaining tortillas. Heat 1⁄2 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook quesadillas one at a time for about 2 minutes per side or until cheese has melted and tortillas are crisp and lightly browned. Repeat with remaining tortillas adding oil as necessary. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Transfer to serving platter. Serve with chutney salsa. Top with sour cream, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Mixed Greens with Strawberries & Toasted Walnuts


1⁄2 cup mint sauce

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1⁄2 T Dijon mustard

10 cups mixed salad greens

11⁄2 cups strawberries

1⁄2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

2 T capers

Directions: Combine mint sauce, oil and mustard in small bowl. Whisk until well blended. Combine salad greens and strawberries in large bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss salad. Sprinkle with nuts and capers. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.


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