The versatility of this menu makes it perfect for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Serve it straight off the stove, or plate it on a formal table in your dining room.
The deviled eggs and asparagus roll-ups can serve as appetizers or accompany the salad. The cake starts with a cake mix (my kind of baking!), can be made a day or two ahead. It just gets moister!
For the Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits, I buy my shrimp peeled and deveined to save time. Be sure to have all the vegetables chopped and the remaining ingredients measured out and ready to go. It helps this recipe come together quickly.
Have fun with this menu. It’s a very doable feast that welcomes spring in the most delicious way.
Audrey’s Grecian Orange Cake
1 box moist yellow cake mix
1 small package instant lemon pudding
4 large eggs
¾ scant cup salad oil
¾ cup water
Preheat oven to 325°.
Beat all ingredients on low speed in an electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven; with a wooden skewer, punch 100 holes through to the bottom. Pour icing (recipe below) over cake, and unmold when almost cooled.
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 ounces orange juice concentrate
In a small saucepan, melt butter; then add sugar and orange juice. Stir until warmed and thoroughly combined.
Butterhead and Arugula Spring Salad
For the dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons honey
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small shallot, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¹⁄³ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Add olive oil in a slow stream, and whisk to emulsify quickly. Set aside.
FOR THE SALAD:
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
3 cups lightly packed arugula, about 3 ounces
3 radishes, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons pink or rainbow peppercorns, lightly crushed
½ cup salted and roasted Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, combine the butter lettuce (tear any extra-large pieces into bite-size pieces), arugula, radishes, and half of the peppercorns, almonds, and cheese. Drizzle half of the dressing around the sides of the bowl, then use tongs to lightly toss the salad. Do not overdress this salad.
Transfer salad to a large platter, drizzle with remaining dressing, and top with remaining half of peppercorns, almonds, and cheese. Serve immediately.
Deviled Eggs Run Through the Garden
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
Garnishes: pickles, capers, radishes, bacon, cheese, jalapeños, fresh herbs, celery, and olives (or whatever you have on hand). Get creative!
Bring a medium-size saucepan to a boil. Gently place the eggs into the pan. Boil for 15 minutes; remove from the stove, and run cold water into the pan. Remove eggs, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Peel eggs, discarding the shells. Cut eggs in half lengthwise; remove yokes, and place in a small bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and fill each egg half with mixture. Garnish and chill until ready to serve.
Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits
SERVES 4 TO 6
FOR THE CHEESE GRITS:
2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup stone-ground yellow grits
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Bring water and milk to a boil over high heat. Add salt to the water, and stir in grits. Lower heat to medium-low, and simmer until cooked, stirring frequently. Refer to the package directions for cooking time. Remove from the heat, and stir in butter and cheese.
FOR THE SHRIMP MIXTURE:
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces Conecuh sausage, sliced
½ small onion, diced
½ red pepper, diced
½ green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Season the shrimp with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp about 2 minutes per side, until they are pink and opaque. Remove to a plate.Add the sausage to the skillet, and cook until browned on both sides. Remove to plate.Add the remaining butter to skillet, along with diced onion, pepper, and celery. Sauté until softened.Add in garlic, flour, and remaining Creole seasoning. Stir until well combined. Gradually add in chicken broth, continuously stirring. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Taste gravy, and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in the shrimp and sausage, along with the cream. Cook everything together for a minute or two, then serve over grits.
Make-Ahead Asparagus Roll-ups
MAKES 60 BITE-SIZE PIECES
20 medium-size stalks fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
1 (20-ounce) loaf white bread, crusts removed, discarding end pieces
1 (7.5-ounce) container chive-and-onion cream cheese spread
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
In a large saucepan, bring ½ inch of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water. Drain and pat dry. Set aside. Flatten bread with a rolling pin. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on each slice of bread. Top with an asparagus spear. Roll up tightly with seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut roll-ups into thirds, and brush with melted butter. Place baking sheet into freezer for about an hour until butter coating is chilled. Place in a zip-top plastic bag until ready to bake. If roll-ups are not frozen, bake at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes.
Note: These can be made two weeks ahead and frozen. When baking from the freezer, allow roll-ups to thaw on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking per directions above.
Learn from Leslie: For a filling option instead of the chive and onion, use ½ plain cream cheese and ½ blue cheese.