When it comes to lake day dish preparations, sacrificing lounge time for stove time is not on the agenda. And with few gourmet groceries around most lake house communities, a quick trip to the market for important ingredients like baguettes and basil leaves isn’t always possible.That’s why we asked four local chefs and restaurateurs to give us recipes for portable meals that can be made in advance. All will withstand the car drive in a cooler, are easily multipliable in case our guest list grows, and all require minimal finishing touches upon arrival. Best of all, the meals are as delicious as they are gorgeous.Serve on stylish melamine dishware to create an elegant banquet and invite friends and neighbors to gather ’round. The time and effort involved won’t take a moment away from your hammock-napping, magazine-flipping or wakeboarding goals this summer.Clay PigeonMarcus Paslay, Executive Chef & OwnerA tangy potato salad is a lake day menu staple, best served the day after prep, when the flavors have been given ample time to meld and the vinegar has mellowed. Same goes for chimichurri, a thick herb sauce that’s as common in Argentina as salsa is in the U.S. It’s a must for grilled meats, especially Paslay’s wood-fired skirt steaks. Make his menu shown here by preparing everything but the meat in advance. It’s best grilled lakeside among family and friends with a glass of Argentinian Malbec in hand. Mariposa’s Latin KitchenIrma Gamez, Executive Chef & OwnerNo matter our location, we always feel like we’re dining by a shoreline when indulging in Gamez’s tropical ceviche with crispy plantain chips, best enjoyed with a lime-heavy margarita. Now we can make a batch of our own for lake day festivities with her easy recipe. Start the process a full day in advance, as the fish and shrimp need 24 hours to cure in a salt and lemon juice brine. Gamez says fresh-squeezed orange, pineapple or mango juice may be added to the end product for a more tropical taste. Serve with tortilla or plantain chips, found in most gourmet grocery stores and Latin markets. Oliva Italian EateryCynthia Loeb, OwnerThese Mozzarella Caprese Sandwiches (easy to assemble in advance or upon arrival) make for a cheerful presentation when served open-faced, showcasing some of summer’s seasonal best — thick, juicy tomatoes and fragrant basil. Loeb, who’s worked in restaurants from Switzerland to New York City, shares recipes for her Keller Italian restaurant’s house pesto and house balsamic vinaigrette. Both make more than enough for additional uses, such as drizzling atop salads or as a dip for crudités. Magnolia Cheese CompanyJen Williams, Executive ChefEasy to transport, visually appealing and always impressive, kebabs are a summertime staple with endless possibilities. Williams offers this chilled variety that combines spice from red curry with a cool cucumber-feta dip. While Williams’ compilation of crisp bibb lettuce, snappy snow peas, San Marzano tomatoes and piquant shrimp is impressive, it’s the Yarra Valley feta that’s the star here. Made from cow’s milk, unlike typical feta made from sheep’s milk, the Australian cheese comes marinated in garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Magnolia Cheese Company owner Elizabeth Northern says the entire ensemble is beautiful with any sparkling wine.
Dishware (clockwise from top)
• Ceviche and chips on Meridian melamine dinnerware, $5.95-$6.95, Pier 1 Imports.
• Potato & green bean salad in Threshold Coastal melamine serving bowl, $12.99, Target.
• Skirt steak on Threshold melamine salad plate, $2.49, Target.
• Shrimp kebabs on orange melamine serving platter, $9.99, Target.
• Potato & green bean salad and kebab on Sea Life Waterfront plate, $3.99, World Market.
• Mozzarella Caprese sandwiches on Threshold melamine skinny oval serving platter, $9.99, Target.
Mozzarella Caprese sandwiches
2 small baguettes (approximately 8 inches), sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons House Pesto (recipe follows)
1 mozzarella log, sliced into six rounds, approximately 3/4-inch thick
2 Roma tomatoes, thickly sliced
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. Make pesto and balsamic vinaigrette and set aside.
2. Brush insides of sliced baguettes with pesto and place under broiler until lightly toasted. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Layer one side of each baguette with sliced mozzarella rounds, Roma tomatoes, pepper and salt. Garnish with a thin layer of balsamic vinaigrette, fresh chopped basil and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Top with remaining baguette halves and serve.
Makes 1 cup
4 cups fresh basil leaves (lightly packed)
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino/Parmesan blend
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
2. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Makes 7 cups
2 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. Whisk oils together until combined and set aside.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a blender. Slowly pour oil mixture into blender and blend until emulsified.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 480 calories, 28 grams fat, 45 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 19 milligrams cholesterol, 605 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, 51 percent of calories from fat.
— 12477 Timberland Blvd., Keller, 817-337-6999, www.olivaeatery.com
Grilled skirt steak with chimichurri
Grilled skirt steak
2 skirt steaks
4 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chimichurri (recipe follows)
1. Allow the steaks to come to room temperature. Coat evenly with oil then season with salt and pepper.
2. Grill steaks over a hot wood fire. Let rest 5 minutes, slice, then drizzle the chimichurri over the steaks and serve.
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, roasted and chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon each)
Mix all ingredients together and let sit for one hour before using.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 407 calories, 36 grams fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 1,131 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 79 percent of calories from fat.
— 2731 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth, 817-882-8065, www.claypigeonfd.com
Potato & green bean salad
10 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
20 green beans
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup red grape tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon garlic, roasted and chopped
1 tablespoon minced shallots
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup malt vinegar
1 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon of each)
1. Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until just cooked through, about 10 minutes, then cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Blanch green beans in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Transfer green beans directly into ice water, then drain.
3. Once potatoes and green beans are cooled, combine with red onions and grape tomatoes in a bowl and set aside.
4. In a separate bowl combine mustard, garlic, shallots and parsley. Slowly pour in the oil while whisking vigorously. Pour the mixture over the potato mixture and mix well. Allow to sit for 1 hour before serving.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 697 calories, 55 grams fat, 46 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, no cholesterol, 694 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 70 percent of calories from fat.
3 5-7 ounce tilapia fillets
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice from 20 lemons
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 mango, diced into cubes
1 cup pineapple, diced into cubes
1 jalapeño, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice from 6 limes
1. Cut tilapia and shrimp into even cubes. Place fish and shrimp in separate containers and add fresh-squeezed lemon juice and kosher salt to each. Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
2. The next day, drain tilapia and shrimp and run cold water over each to rinse off excess salt. Combine tilapia and shrimp with all other ingredients. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 235 calories, 3 grams fat, 19 grams carbohydrates, 34 grams protein, 126 milligrams cholesterol, 925 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 11 percent of calories from fat.
— 5724 Locke Ave., Fort Worth, 817-570-9555, www.mariposaslatinkitchen.com
Red curry shrimp kebabs with feta dipping sauce
12 prepared Red Curry Shrimp (recipe follows)
Feta Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
12 snow peas
12 San Marzano tomatoes, halved
1 head local bibb lettuce
1. Prepare red curry shrimp and set aside.
2. Prepare feta dipping sauce and chill.
3. Blanch snow peas until al dente. Shock in cold water to stop cooking process.
4. Layer shrimp, snow peas, San Marzano tomatoes and one to two leaves bibb lettuce on each skewer. Repeat until skewers are full, using two shrimp per skewer. Serve with chilled Feta Dipping Sauce.
Red Curry Shrimp
1/8 cup red curry paste
2 tablespoons five spice powder
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 pound raw Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Combine all ingredients and allow shrimp to marinate for at least 1 hour.
2. Grill or saute shrimp to desired temperature. Let cool and set aside.
Feta dipping sauce
5 ounces Yarra Valley marinated feta (found at Magnolia Cheese Company), strained, reserving marinating oil
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely minced
1/2 cucumber, skinned, seeded and grated
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except reserved feta marinating oil in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the oil, breaking up the feta to create a smooth sauce. Keep chilled.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 4: 433 calories, 22 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 33 grams protein, 205 milligrams cholesterol, 1,295 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber, 44 percent of calories from fat.
— 1251 W. Magnolia Ave., 817-945-2221, www.magnoliacheese.com