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Salad, dessert made for summer

Thursday, June 20, 2002

If you're looking for light, refreshing recipes for steamy summer days, you'll find them here today.


Picnic Salad makes use of locally grown strawberries and spinach. The berries and spinach are tossed with a dressing made of walnut oil, champagne vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, onion, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. You may think this an odd combination, but -- trust us -- the ingredients blend well and produce a sweet, flavorful dressing that complements the berries and spinach.

Where do you find walnut oil and champagne vinegar? Jennifer Kiley of Lawrenceville, who sent the recipe, found the oil at her neighborhood Giant Eagle and the champagne vinegar at the Community Supermarket in Aspinwall. We found both at the Uncommon Market, 1798 North Highland Road, Upper St. Clair.

A few notes from Jennifer: "The dressing can be prepared ahead of time and stored and refrigerated in a tightly covered container. I use prewashed baby spinach because it is less work, (no tough stems to remove)."

Jennifer's recipe answers a request from Marianne Corbett of Ross: "I was recently at a party where someone brought a salad from The Everyday Gourmet in Aspinwall. They termed it a 'California Salad' with lettuce and cut strawberries, with this most wonderful dressing."

Pam Schaffer of West Mifflin requested a recipe for a dessert called Lemon Bisque. Pam explains: "It has a bottom crust of crushed vanilla wafers -- crushed wafers were sprinkled on top for garnish. My mother made this dessert a good 25 years ago, and now we are going crazy trying to find it."

You can relax, Pam. Beverly Clayton of Plum and Ruth Snatchko of Oakdale sent the recipe. We tested it and we enjoyed every spoonful!

Lemon Bisque is an airy dessert with the No. 1 flavor of summer -- lemon. It's made with evaporated milk and lemon gelatin. It's a refreshing dessert that's perfect for a picnic or barbecue.

Picnic Salad

1 package fresh spinach (preferably baby spinach)
1 quart strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup walnut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced onion
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Combine spinach and strawberries.

Thoroughly combine dressing ingredients and pour over all. Toss gently.

Here's Beverly Clayton's recipe for Lemon Bisque.

Lemon Bisque

3/4 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup orange juice
1 small box lemon gelatin
1 cup sugar (scant)
1 large can evaporated milk, chilled well
Vanilla wafers

Crush vanilla wafers (about 40). Line bottom of 9-by-13-inch pan, leaving some for top (about 1/3 or so).

Heat but do not boil the juices. Add the sugar and gelatin and mix to dissolve. Cool and let congeal at room temperature.

Whip cold evaporated milk until thick. Whip congealed gelatin mixture and fold into whipped milk. Pour into pan. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top of bisque and chill several hours. Serves 10 to 12.

Note: We placed the milk in the freezer for about 35 minutes to chill quickly.


While vacationing in Maui, Paul Piatek of Wexford discovered garlic peppercorn ketchup. Paul enjoyed the condiment so much that he brought several bottles home. Now that he's nearing the end of his supply, he hoped someone would know how he can order more.

Reader Matt Fronzaglia of Colorado Springs, Colo., suggests the Maui Jams, Jellies, Mustards, Syrups, Sauces, Chutney and More! Web site, www.maui-info.com/jam.html. We checked it out, and sure enough the ketchup and a number of other items can be found and ordered through this site. If you're leery of ordering merchandise via the Internet, call 808-661-1457. As far as we know, you can't find the ketchup in Pittsburgh.


Julie McClelland of Uniontown is looking for a recipe for lentil salad. "The salad is served cold and it has some kind of oil and vinegar dressing."

Susan Henderson of Bloomfield would love to have the recipe for Kaufmann's Tic Toc Room coleslaw.

Barbara Thaw of Bell Acres writes: "Does anyone have the ingredients for the sweet and sour salad dressing that is served at the Wooden Angel? It's superb, and I would love to be able to re-create it."

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com Please include a name, neighborhood-/city/borough/township and state and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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