Upgrade your Fourth of July picnic

July 1, 2012 6:36:11 AM PDT
The Fourth of July holiday is in the middle of the week this year, but that's no reason not to celebrate!

As many will have the day off, how about getting outside and celebrating with a picnic? Chef Renee Everett from Le Cordon Bleu (www.chefs.edu) came into our ABC7 studio kitchen to show us dishes that make for great picnic fare.

Chef Renee's Recipes: Cool Shrimp Rolls with Quick Pickles and Cilantro Herb Vinaigrette Slaw

For the Shrimp Salad:
makes 4 sandwiches or 4 salads
1lb. cooked shrimp
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
dash cayenne pepper
2 pinches salt
1/2 lemon squeezed over the shrimp
2 tsp chopped chives
1 tbs thai basil leaves (the tiny center leaves can be left whole, larger leaves rough chop)
2 tbs greek yogurt or mayo (just enough to coat the shrimp)

Toss all ingredients together and chill until ready to serve.
This can be made a day ahead and left to chill overnight.

Quick Pickles:
1/2 cucumber, sliced thin, longwise
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
1/2 jalepeno, sliced thin
1/2 cup vinegar (any except balsamic is fine)
1/4 cup sugar

Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil.
Pour over vegetables, and let sit until pickles change color slightly and are room temperature.
Leftover pickles can be stored an a jar and stored in the fridge.

For a Gluten Free/carb free version:
Skip the bread, and serve the shrimp salad over the slaw for a light a refreshing salad.

Cilantro Herb Vinaigrette Slaw

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 scallions, green and white part, cleaned
3 tbs Quick Pickle liquid
1 heaping tsp cumin
1 clove garlic
5 mint leaves
juice of one lime
1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola, grapeseed, soybean, rice bran)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender.
Blend, and slowly add oil to emulsify vinaigrette.
Taste, and adjust seasoning.

For the slaw:
2 cups shredded cabbage (napa, green or red or a combination of all three)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 scallions, sliced thin
6 mint leaves, roughly chopped
sprig of tarragon, roughly chopped
2 tbs chives, roughly chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss with enough vinaigrette to coat, and chill until ready to serve.

Gluten Free Pound Cake
1 pound butter, softened
3/4 pound sugar
7 eggs, separated (whites whipped to stiff peaks; yolks reserved)
1 pound Gluten Free Flour *see note
6 tbsp Half & half
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbp grapefruit zest

Gluten Free Flour:
Blend 1 1/4 pounds rice flour (fine grind) with 1/4 pound tapioca starch, 1/2 pound potato starch and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum. Reserve any leftover flour for another use.

Cream softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks, vanilla and grapefruit zest.
In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to a stiff peak, and set aside (add this to batter last)
Add flour to butter, sugar, yolk mixture. Mix well.
Add 1/2 & 1/2, mix well. Batter should be thick.
Fold in egg whites, and stir gently to fully incorporate whites
Pour batter in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, and bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.
Let cool, and serve with your favorite berries, ice cream, flavored yogurt or enjoy plain.