Monday, May 17, 2010

Savory & sweet summer grilling menu from Nielsen-Massey

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the grilling season and it is the perfect time for entertaining. Gathering family and friends for an evening of fellowship and food is the fun part. Deciding what to serve can be the challenge. Choosing some make-ahead recipes along with a quick, healthy grilled entrée gives the host the chance to enjoy the party and time with the guests. Fresh foods enhanced with flavors from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas punch up sweet and savory recipes and lend your dishes depth and flair. So, send out those invitations and fire up the grill. The Memorial Day menu is set and it is time to celebrate the season.

Easy, elegant entertaining starts with a mouth-watering menu filled with traditional summer-time flavors that can easily be assembled and served. Find the complete Memorial Day menu for eight guests at Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and let the summer fun begin.

Memorial Day Menu

Summertime Coolers
Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes
Vanilla-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette on baby salad greens
Lemon and Rosemary Risotto (From Century of Flavor)
Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade
Nielsen-Massey's Signature Vanilla Whipped Cream on fresh strawberries

Savory red, white and bleu appetizers play out the patriotic theme of the Memorial holiday and offer a tasty morsel to guests. "Nielsen-Massey's Pure Lemon Extract complements just about any dish," says Beth Nielsen, Chief Culinary Officer at Nielsen-Massey. "It is the perfect partner with herbs such as garlic and parsley. Using pure flavors saves time but does not compromise taste."

Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes

2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons finely minced shallots
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
⅛ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 ounces blue cheese crumbles
2 pints cherry tomatoes (approximately 48)

Combine the wine and shallots in a small bowl. Let stand.

Combine the cream cheese, garlic, lemon extract, white pepper, cayenne pepper and shallot mixture in a mixing bowl. Beat until well blended using an electric mixer. Fold in the bleu cheese with a wooden spoon. Cover and chill.

Rinse the cherry tomatoes. Remove the tops by slicing a small amount off each tomato. Scoop out the seeds with a small measuring spoon. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each tomato so it will stand upright when plated. Fill each tomato with ½ tablespoon of the chilled Lemon-Bleu Stuffing using a pastry bag or spoon.

Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract adds depth of flavor to this five-ingredient dressing, perfect on fresh baby salad greens. Left over dressing can double as a marinade for chicken, fish, pork or vegetables.

Vanilla-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette and Greens

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

20 ounces baby salad greens

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. To serve, toss baby greens in a large bowl with ¼ cup of the vinaigrette to coat the leaves. Makes ¾ cup.

In just 12 quick minutes, family and friends will enjoy a grilled-to-perfection salmon filet. This flavorful fish is complimented by the sweet and savory herb infused marinade.

Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade

Vanilla Balsamic Marinade
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1-1/2 teaspoons dried organic parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons dried organic basil
½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

8 (4 to 6 ounce) 1-inch thick Salmon fillets
canola oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the marinade, combine the olive oil, shallot, parsley, basil, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and vanilla paste into a blender container and puree. Pour evenly into two containers and set one container aside.

For the salmon, preheat the grill. Brush each fillet with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the tops of the fillets with the marinade, discarding any remaining marinade. Place the fillets marinated side down on a grill rack over direct heat. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes or until dark grill marks appear and the marinade begins to caramelize. Turn the fillets and grill for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Serve with the reserved marinade. Serves 8.

Elegant entertaining becomes easy with a bit of organization. The recipes are gathered and the timetable below provides the instructions to create a memorable evening.


That morning
Mix up the Summertime Coolers, refrigerate
Prepare Lemon-Bleu Stuffed Tomatoes, refrigerate until ready to serve
Make the Vanilla-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette, refrigerate

Several hours ahead
Wash and slice the strawberries, chill
Wash and dry the salad greens, chill until serving
Prepare the Vanilla Balsamic Marinade for the salmon

30 minutes before serving
Prepare the Lemon and Rosemary Risotto
Whip the cream
Bring the stuffed tomatoes to room temperature

Just before serving
Brush the salmon with the marinade, grill and serve
Drizzle the dressing on the salad greens

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