Morning news anchor, Zoraida Sambolin, challenged me to create a romantic picnic in the park for two featuring bison. Having never even tasted bison, I was definitely feeling the challenge. But, I soon discovered that not only did I like the taste of bison, I was able to incorporate it into a great dish perfect for a picnic. I wanted to create a menu that could be prepared ahead so you can relax and enjoy the picnic with very little food preparation. So, all four of these can be made early in the day or the night before.
Bison Roll Ups
1 Bison Strip Steak (14 oz - 16 oz size)
2 tbl Worchestershire Sauce
2 tbl Shallots, minced
2 tbl Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 tbl Olive Oil (plus an additional tablespoon for cooking)
1 tbl Balsamic Vinegar
5 oz pkg Baby Greens
1/2 cu Roasted Red Peppers, cut in long thin strips
Dijon Mustard for garnish
Select a steak that is at least 1 1/2" thick with as little marbling as possible. Place the steak on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut thin slices lengthwise down the entire length of the steak (yielding slices roughly 1 1/2" wide x 4-5 long"). Try to cut as many full pieces a possible. Cut any remaining bits of steak away from the fat. Discard fat and set aside the strips of meat.
In medium sized bowl, whisk together Worshestershire sauce, shallots, mustard, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Toss meat in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour and then remove and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Carefully lay bison strips into skillet and sear for about 15 seconds per side and then remove to a paper towel. Work in small batches so you don't overcook the meat.
Gather together 4-5 stemmed pieces of greens and a strip of red pepper. Take a strip of bison and wrap it around the stem end of the greens. Place the roll up seam side down on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining strips of meat. With small pieces, you can combine two and overlap them as you wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For presentation, place roll ups in a row on a serving platter and garnish the meat with a dot of Dijon mustard.
Cucumber Soup with Carrot Swirl
makes 4 cups
2 cu Greek Yogurt
2 tbl Heavy Cream
2 Seedless Cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
3 green onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 Jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tbl Fresh Oregano, roughly chopped
1 tbl Fresh Dill
2 Garlic Cloves, smashed
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
Carrot Puree Swirl
1 lg Carrot, peeled and diced
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 tbl Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbl Sour Cream
1/4 cu Chopped Chives
a few sprigs of Fresh Dill
Put yogurt and heavy cream in a blender at high speed. Open feed tube on top of blender and gradually add remaining ingredients. If you don't have a feed tube on your blender, place all ingredients in the blender at one time, cover and blend until smooth. Cover soup and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile place carrots in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes until carrots are tender. Remove from heat and drain. Allow carrots to cool and then place them and the remaining ingredients in a blender or small food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a sealable bag and refrigerate.
To server, pour soup into chilled bowls. Cut a small hole in the corner of the disposable bag and swirl the mixture into each bowl. Garnish with chopped chives and fresh dill.
makes four 5" tarts
2 containers of Fresh Blackberries, washed and air-dried
1 1/4 cu Flour
1/3 cu Granulated Sugar
1 tbl Orange Juice
1 tsp Orange Zest
1/2 cu Butter, cubed
1/2 tsp Salt
6 oz Mascarpone Cheese
1/4 cu Caramel Sauce (below)
1/2 cu Raspberry Preserves
Powdered Sugar for garnish (Optional)
four 5" tart pans with removable bottoms
Preheat oven to 425F.
Place flour, sugar, orange juice and zest in a food processor and pulse until well incorporated. Add butter and pulse until mixture comes together to form a crumbly dough. Transfer to a lightly floured board and shape the dough in to a ball. Divide into four equal portions and press each into the bottom and sides of each tart pan. Poke the bottom multiple times with a fork and place tarts shells in the freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until golden brown. If shells have puffed up too much, use the bottom of a glass to gently press shells down. Allow shells to cool and refrigerate for an hour.
Meanwhile, mix together mascarpone cheese and caramel sauce. Once tart shells have cooled, divide filling into four portions and spread on the bottom of each shell. Divide blackberries into four portions and place them close together, standing up, on top of the filling.
Heat raspberry preserves in a small saucepan just until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and strain. Brush the strained liquid over blackberries. Place tarts in the refrigerator for at least an hour. To serve, dust tarts with a bit of powdered sugar.
White Bean and Corn Salad
15 oz can Whole Kernal Corn (or two fresh ears of corn grilled and then kernels removed)
1 15 oz can White Cannellini Beans
2 Green Onions, chopped, green parts included
2 tbl Red Onion, chopped
3/4 cu Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tbl Fresh Basil, chopped
2 tbl Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 tbl Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 clove Garlic, smashed and minced
1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Fresh Lime Juice
2 tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 tbl Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice and oil until it emulsifies. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and pour dressing on top. Toss well and serve.
1 1/2 cu Granulated Sugar
1/4 cu Water
1 1/4 cu Heavy Cream
Place sugar and in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Once the mixture reaches boil, stop stirring and let mixture cook until it reaches an amber color, about 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture burn.
Remove pot from heat. THIS MIXTURE IS VERY HOT AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE CAREFUL WITH THIS NEXT STEP! Pour cream around the edge of the pan while stirring mixture with a long wooden spoon. The mixture will bubble up to over three times its volume and steam will rise. Be prepared for this and keep you hands away from being directly over the pot. Continue stirring until bubbles subside. Return pot to a very low simmer and stir until mixture is smooth.
Remove from heat and pour sauce into a heat proof container and allow to cool. If you have undissolved bits in your mixture, you can stain it into the container if you like. Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce into a separate container. Cover the remainder and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.