½ (16-ounce) loaf party pumpernickel bread (diced)
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup tarragon vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Dice 1 cup each: Green onions, Green pepper, Cucumber, Celery, Cherry tomatoes, Green olives
64 ounces tomato juice, such as V8
Parsley, basil, and garlic to taste, chopped into small pieces, extra for garnish
Avocado (right before serving)
In a large bowl, combine all but the last two ingredients. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight. Add diced avocado, and drizzle with olive oil right before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Makes 2 1/2 quarts.
Learn from Leslie: Loaf party pumpernickel is the 3-inch-square, thinly sliced bread used for appetizers. It’s found in most groceries in the bread aisle or deli area.
Leslie’s Basic Pesto
6 “fists full” of basil leaves (about 6 cups)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup olive oil
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until thoroughly combined and finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice if needed.
2. Scoop pesto into an ice cube tray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place into a freezer ziplock bag. Store in freezer until ready to use. Makes 12 (1¼-inch) squares or 2¼ cups.
Learn from Leslie: Once the pesto is frozen, you can remove the cubes from the tray and keep them in the freezer bag. This will free up the tray to make more.
Chicken-and-Spinach Pesto Pinwheels
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup Leslie’s Basic Pesto
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
2 eggs lightly beaten
1½ to 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of wax paper. With a meat pounder, flatten chicken breasts to ½-inch thickness.
2. Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto evenly on each chicken breast, and top with spinach, dividing it evenly. Beginning at one end of the chicken breasts, roll tightly, and secure with two pieces of kitchen twine.
3. Dip into eggs, then Panko, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. Slice
into 4 to 5 slices, removing the kitchen twine before serving. Serves 4.
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled shortening, such as Crisco
1. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all ingredients are moistened (about 5 to 6 tablespoons); gently shape dough into a flat disk.
2. Roll disk to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
NOTE: One recipe makes about 12 to 14 (3-inch) squares for shortcake with a few extra scraps for tasting. It’s perfectly acceptable to freely cut the squares, but I used a ruler to get an exact count to go with the recipe.
Simply peel and slice 1 peach per person, and place in a bowl with ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and a dash of fresh nutmeg. Allow sugar to dissolve and become syrupy, about 5 minutes. Layer piecrust, peaches, and whipped cream; repeat twice. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger crowd.
Learn from Leslie: Two simple ingredients make up this unforgettable topping—whipping cream and a dash of sugar.