One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Darling Bakers' Beach Party

The Darling Bakers had a "beach party" yesterday! Here's how I got in the beach mood for my version of the party.
Having to beach it in landlocked Dallas, Texas took a little imagination (and several trips to places like Ross, Tuesday Morning, Pier One, etc...) So, I layered the table with a beach blanket first to get me in a beach frame of mind. A few little shells, some pretty little flip-flops, a sand bucket & pail, and a few other things really got my juices going!

Among all the little treasures I found, a message in a
bottle washed up on my table.

Pour soul!!

On to the food!

My little party started with Baked Clams (served here on a bed of coral-colored lentils to keep them from flying around the platter.)

The main course was Chilled Lobster and Asparagus with a Shallot-Tarragon Vinaigrette. Evidently there was a run on fresh tarragon in the Dallas area this week as there was none to be found ANYWHERE. So, I substituted minced, fresh chives and a pinch of dried tarragon. To add to the summer-at-the-beach feeling, Sparkling Lemonade with Fresh Raspberries was the beverage of choice. Ahhh...

For dessert, I tried a new recipe for Ricotta Pots with Raspberries. Very light, very souffle-like, the perfect ending for the meal.

Thanks to the Darling Bakers for coming up with such a fun idea. It was a great way to spend a chilly weekend!


The recipes:

Baked Clams

1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 egg, beaten
2 cans minced clams, drained
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, divided

Saute the onion, pepper, celery, and mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the butter until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the beaten egg, the minced clams, and 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs.

Separately, mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Spoon clam mixture into shells. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixtgure over the top. Bake at 350 F. for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are dark golden brown.


Sparkling Lemonade with Fresh Raspberries
Serves 6

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
1/2 cup sugar syrup (recipe below)
6 splashes of club soda or seltzer
1 cup fresh raspberries
6 lemon slices for garnish

In a pitcher, combine the juice, sugar syrup, and 1 quart of cold water. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pour the lemonade over ice-filled glasses, adding a splash of club soda or seltzer to each glass and stir. Garnish with raspberries and lemon slice.

Sugar Syrup
Makes about 2-1/2 cups

In a heavy saucepan, bring 4 cups sugar and 2 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate in a covered container. Will keep for up to 3 weeks.

Source: The Beach House Cookbook, copyright 2005


Chilled Lobster & Asparagus with Shallot-Tarragon Vinaigrette
2 servings

4 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt
2 (1- to 1-1/4 pound) live lobsters
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small head Bibb lettuce
Garnishes: fresh tarragon sprigs, lemon wedges

Bring 4 quarts water and salt to a boil in a large stockpot. Plunge lobsters, head first, into boiling water; return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes; drain and cool.

Remove meat from claws and tails. Chill lobster meat.

Cook asparagus in boiling water to cover 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and pat dry. Set aside.

Combine olive oil and next 7 ingredients in a jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously.

Arrange lettuce leaves, lobster, and asparagus on plates; drizzle with dressing. Garnish, if desired.

Source: The Coastal Living Cookbook, copyright 2004


Ricotta Pots with Raspberries
Serves 4

4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1-1/3 cups fresh ricotta
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (see note below)
7 ounces (about 1-2/3 cups) fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 4 1-cup capacity ramekins or souffle dishes.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and superfine sugar until thick and pale. Add the ricotta, pistachio nuts, lemon rind, and juice and mix together well. Fold the ricotta mixture into the beaten egg whites, stirring gently until just combined.

Divide the raspberries among the ramekins and spoon the ricotta filling over top. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Dust with confectioners sugar to serve.

Note: To make vanilla sugar, split a whole vanilla bean in half lengthwise and place in a jar of superfine sugar (about 2 pounds). Leave for at least 4 days before using.

Source: The Quick Recipe Cookbook, copyright 2000


La Table De Nana said...

Lori what a wonderful post and thread! You did well where you shopped and honored the scenario with truly appropriate and wonderful recipes..
You did so well.A lot of heart and imagination..Bravo!

a quiet life said...

oh how i loved your party! and so happy to see the recipes here, thank you darling for a wonderful beachin time!

Lori (All That Splatters) said...

Thank you so much. The two of you have really inspired me to try to improve my photography. I love cooking with you!! xoxo

Miss Laura Lu/RMS4291960 said...

Hello Lori! Oh my gosh that looks so good! And what a party! I bow to your culinary skills of which I have none! God Bless! Lauralu :)

MaryBeth said...

Everything sounded simply divine, your table scape was very beach festive..Great Job!!

Thibeault's Table said...

Lori, I love how you went all out for your beach party. Everything looks wonderful. And your note in the bottle is adorable. I showed Moe your baked clams and he is salivating over them. Guess I'll have to make them for him. Thank you for posting the recipes.

Sylvia said...

Hi Lori
Your menu is actually a fest. Wonderful beach inspiration, thinking you are in Texas !!
Beautiful photos, great effort and nicely done

a quiet life said...

congrats on fg!

Lori (All That Splatters) said...

Thanks, Jain - it's my first FG acceptance! I feel like I made it to the big leagues! :D

Dawn Marie said...

I thought I was a good cook. NOPE, I dont think so anymore. I have so much to learn. I just scrolled thru your blog and I feel like a new cook. I definitely will be back and looking forward to trying some of these recipes. The lemonade is a keeper once summer hits Wisconsin..and the mushroom lasagna is one I think i would love.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Ooooh recipes. Now I am excited!!So so gorgeous!

What IS fg?

Signed, clueless

Dragana said...

Lovely menu - lobster, clams, raspberries and ricotta - to die for! The pressure is on for the 17th!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and what great fun! A beach party in the winter. And everything looks so good and I must try those ricotta pots!

Peabody said...

What a great looking salad.

Lori (All That Splatters) said...

Linda/Lime in the Coconut, FG = Foodgawker (, a wonderful site full of great foodie pictures! Also check out, the cadillac of foodie pictures!

Thank you all for your kind comments. This was a lot of fun!!

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

This beach party was amazing!!! All the Darlings did an incredible job. I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to have participated had I been able, after seeing your post,lol!;O The tablescapes beauty matches the presentation of your dishes!!

Sweet Wishes,

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