Lunch at the Farm

Lower Alabama celebrity-in-residence Lucy Buffett shares some of her favorite easy, breezy recipes for a light summer meal at her country house.

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Summer Shrimp Salad

3 pounds boiled shrimp, peeled and chopped into medium to large pieces
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped green onion
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon LuLu’s Crazy Creola Seasoning
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed
lemon juice

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring gently.
2. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Serves 20. See serving suggestion below.

Summer Shrimp Salad Wrap

1 tortilla (8 or 10 inches in diameter)
5 fresh baby spinach leaves (stems picked off and rinsed)
1/4 – 1/2 fresh heirloom tomato (diced)
1/2 cup Summer Shrimp Salad, recipe above
1/2 slice thinly sliced prosciutto, sautéed for 10 seconds on each side. After prosciutto is sautéed, cut into a chiffonade.
grape tomatoes to garnish

1. Place wrap on a clean, flat surface.
2. Line spinach leaves leaving 1 inch from the left, right, and bottom edges.
3. Sprinkle tomatoes on spinach leaves.
4. Spread Summer Shrimp Salad on tomatoes and spinach.
5. Sprinkle prosciutto on Summer Shrimp Salad.
6. Starting with the left and right sides, fold tortilla over 1 inch toward the center, then start rolling from the bottom up, being sure to keep the left and right sides tucked in as you go.
7. Cut wrap in half on a diagonal with a serrated knife. Place a tomato on a 3-inch frill pick, and stick through 1 half. Repeat with the other half. Makes 1 wrap.

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Sweet & Spicy Icebox Pickles

1 (1-gallon) jar whole kosher dill pickes
4 medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced
20 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
2/3 cup fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced in thin half moons
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
8 cinnamon sticks
4 cups sugar
4 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup apple cider vinegar

1. Drain and cut dill pickles into 1/4-inch slices. (You can save the pickle juice and use it to marinate oysters before frying them.)
2. Place sliced pickles and remaining ingredients in a steel bowl or large plastic container with an airtight lid.
3. Using your hands, toss well, cover and refrigerate overnight. The pickles will reduce in volume, so the next day you can return them to the jar for easier storage.
4. Refrigerate for at least a week, turning topsy-turvy every day. Pickles are ready when sugar has dissolved and all dill flavor has vanished. Makes 8 pints.

Lulu clue: These pickles will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely. I have canned them to make them shelf stable in order to give as Christmas gifts. When I do, I remove the cinnamon sticks before placing the pickles in canning jars, because the heat from the hot water bath releases too much cinnamon flavor.

Chunky Cherry Tomato Salsa

2 pints cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 jalapeño, with seeds, finely chopped
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate. Makes 4 cups.

Lulu clue: This fresh salsa is almost too simple to prepare, but so lovely over fresh grilled fish, a light Sunday morning omelet, or with tortilla chips and a beer. Jalapeño seeds add heat; if you want a milder salsa, remove the seeds.

L.A. (Lower Alabama) Caviar

4 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Prepare dressing. See recipe below.
2. Place peas in a large glass or bowl.
3. Add remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over top and toss well. Transfer to a plastic container, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
4. Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers. Makes 20 – 25 servings.

L.A. (Lower Alabama) Caviar Dressing

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

Orange Cupcakes with Orange Fudge Icing

any white, yellow or orange-flavored box cake mix
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest
Orange Fudge Icing, see recipe below
candied orange peel to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking cups into two 12-muffin pans.
2. Mix cake mix, orange juice, vegetable oil, eggs, and orange zest in large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes.
3. Spoon batter into baking cups and bake for 15 minutes. Check cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick or wooden skewer into the center. If any wet batter sticks to the toothpick, continue to bake for 3 – 5 minutes. Be careful not to overbake!
4. Cool completely before icing. Garnish with candied orange peel.

Orange Fudge Icing

1 stick salted butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange liqueur

1. Melt butter and add cocoa. Stir until smooth.
2. Add one cup sugar and a small amount of orange juice, mixing until smooth. Repeat twice and beat icing until smooth and spreadable.
3. Add orange zest and orange liqueur, mixing thoroughly. If icing is a little too stiff, add more orange juice or liqueur. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lulu clue: I wish I knew who decided to combine chocolate and oranges! I would buy them a margarita! What a brilliant, innovative idea. Orange-chocolate is truly one of my favorite flavors. This is my fast and easy way to indulge one of my guilty pleasures!

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