A Picnic for Mom

May brings some absolutely beautiful weather to many parts of the world. Why not take advantage of it and treat Mom to a Mother’s Day picnic this year? Instead of traditional fried chicken or sandwiches, why not try an elegant meal consisting of a hearty slice of savory tart, a cup of chilled soup, some bread smothered in a tangy tapenade and some tart lemon cookies to finish the meal? Sound interesting? Read on for the recipes and have a lovely Mother’s Day!

Savory Mushroom Tart

For best results, use a variety of mushrooms. However, you can use one type of mushroom in a pinch!
  • 3 oz. dried porcini mushrooms -- reconstituted
  • 5 oz. shiitake mushrooms -- sliced
  • 5 oz. oyster mushrooms -- sliced
  • 1 1/2 c. cremini mushrooms -– sliced
  • 1/4 c. shallots –- peeled and chopped
  • 4 T. margarine
  • 2 T. brandy
  • 2 T. mixed fresh herbs of your choice – thyme and chives make a nice combination
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 9-inch pie crust
  • 2/3 c. grated Swiss cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a skillet, sauté the mushrooms and shallots in the margarine over medium heat. Add the brandy and herbs and cook about 4 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the cream, egg and egg yolks. Fill the pie crust with the cheese; place the mushrooms and shallots on top. Pour the cream and egg mixture over the mushrooms.

Bake the tart for about 30 minutes or until the filling is set. Cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving. This tart is wonderful at room temperature as well.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Chilled Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a chilled soup that’s packed with fresh vegetables and a little kick. Serve it in large mugs to keep it from getting messy.
  • 4 c. tomato juice
  • 2 c. chopped tomatoes
  • 1 c. chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 c. chopped red onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. thawed frozen or fresh corn
  • 1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onions
  • 1/4 c. chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 c. chopped mild green chiles
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. lime juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving. Serve chilled.

This may also be prepared by pureeing half of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and leaving the remaining ingredients finely chopped, if a chunky version is not desired.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus chilling time

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

This richly flavored spread can be also be used for dipping scallions and shrimp.
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 c. chopped kalamata olives
  • 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 3 T. chopped fresh basil

Chop and mash the anchovies on a cutting board. Put them into a bowl and mix them with the olives and Worcestershire sauce. Blend in the mayonnaise and add the remaining ingredients, blending well. Cover and chill.

  • Yields: about 2 cups
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes plus chilling time

Light and Fluffy Lemon Drops

These quick cookies couldn’t be simpler or tastier!
  • 1 pkg. lemon cake mix
  • 2 c. frozen nondairy topping -- thawed
  • 1 egg

Mix all of the ingredients together. Form into balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Do not over bake.

  • Yields: 2 dozen cookies
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes