One Day Before the Celebration

Everyday Divas Celebrations
with Mimi and Sue
Summer Closer

We recommend tasting the purée as you are adding the leaves.  We started with just a few because I didn't want to end up with purée that tasted like mouthwash.  Then I was adding a few at a time and Sue told me:  "you're a wimp".  So, we added them all, tasted the purée and it was perfect.   

We really have no commentary on this other than it's easy as he**. (Fill the letters in yourself.)

White bean and basil purée
(for the tri-colored mini peppers)

  • 1  15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsps freshly squeeze lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Process in a food processor until smooth.  Spoon into  a plastic container, tightly seal and store in refrigerator.  
White bean, sweet pea  and mint purée

  • 1/2 can (15 oz) cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz frozen sweet baby peas boiled for 2 minutes in chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves

Process in a food processor until a little chunky.  Spoon into  a plastic container, tightly seal and store in refrigerator.  
Sauce for lemon spaghetti

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3) lemons
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest 

Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid that fits tightly.   Vigorously shake and set aside.  We refrigerated it to get it out of the way.  You can take it out up to 8 hours ahead of time to allow the oil that has congealed to reach the proper consistency.  ​

I never had this before Sue made it and I now I am totally hooked.  I am amazed at what a creamy sauce this makes.  It was so delicious I had two heaping servings. 

One of the guests was insisting that Sue must have put butter in the sauce because it was so rich.  She thought Sue was holding out on a special recipe!!  

Marinade for gin and juniper pork tenderloin

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup Tanqueray gin
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 juniper berries (crushed with a rolling pin)
  • 6  cloves garlic coarsely chopped

Combine ingredients and refrigerate.​
Watercress Soup

  • 3 bunches of watercress
If the watercress still has roots attached cut them off.  Thoroughly rinse and spin dry.  Separate the leaves from the stalks.  Coarsely chop the stalks and set aside.

  • 4 leeks
Cut the roots from the bottom of the leeks and the green stalk from the top of the leeks and discard.  You should only have the white part left. Halve the white part lengthwise and separate the leaves.  Run under cold water to remove all grit.  Coarsely chop and set aside.  Put all of the chopped leeks into a salad spinner.  Rinse again and spin dry.

  • 2 russett baking potatoes
Peel and thinly slice.

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Heat in a large saucepan over medium heat.  When oil is shimmering add leeks and watercress stalks. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Do not brown​ the leeks.

  • 6 cups chicken stock
Add to vegetables in the saucepan along with the sliced potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.  Allow to cool.

Process mixture in a food processor, 1 to 2 cups at a time with some of the watercress leaves and the créme fraiche.  After processing each batch pour into a large mixing bowl.  When processing is complete mix and taste.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.  Pour into a plastic container, tightly seal and store in refrigerator.  

While Sue was slaving over the tiramisu, I was separating those leaves and stalks.  Boy is it tedious so you need a lot of patience.  You also have to be very certain that your watercress is completely clean.  It's really unappetizing when you take a spoon of soup and bite down into grit.  Yuck. 

Here's how I do it which Mimi never knew before she saw me.  Put the watercress in your salad spinner, fill it up with water, swish it around and then let it sit for a few seconds.  Lift the spinner basket and throw out the water.  Do this 3-4 times (depending upon how dirty the greens you are cleaning were) and you will have perfectly clean greens.  You can do the same thing with the chopped leeks to make sure they are perfectly clean.