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Dining In: Savory summer selections

Grilled Steaks & Tomatoes with Basil-Garlic bread
(Recipe from the Beef Industry Council)
   2 beef T-bone or Porterhouse steaks, cut 1-inch thick
   3 Tbsp. olive oil
   1 tsp. dried basil leaves
   1/2 tsp. garlic powder
   1 loaf (8-oz.) French bread
   6 tomato slices, 3/4-inch thick
   2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
   Combine oil, basil, and garlic powder; reserve. Place beef steaks on grid over medium coals. Grill steaks approximately 10 to 14 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning once. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
   Meanwhile, cut bread in half lengthwise; brush 1 1/2 tablespoons basil mixture evenly on cut side of bread. Brush remaining basil mixture on one side of each tomato slice.
   About 5 minutes before steaks are done, place bread, cut-side down, and tomatoes on grid with steaks; grill 2 to 3 minutes. Turn bread and tomatoes over; sprinkle with cheese. Continue grilling 1 to 3 minutes or until bread is golden brown and tomatoes are just heated through. Cut bread diagonally into slices. Remove bones from steaks. Carve steaks into thick slices. Serve with bread and tomato slices. Makes 4 servings.

Picnic Torte
   2 large zucchini, trimmed and shredded
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1 Tbsp. butter
   1 Tbsp. olive oil
   3 large leeks, trimmed, halved, well rinsed, and sliced
   1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
   1/2 c. ricotta or cottage cheese
   1/2 c. grated Parmesan
   2 Tbsp. pine nuts
   Salt and pepper to taste
   Pinch ground nutmeg
   1 egg
   1 egg white
   In colander, toss shredded zucchini and salt. Let stand over bowl about 2 hours to drain off liquid. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9-inch pie plate. Set aside. In large sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil over medium heat. Add leeks and toss. Cover pan, lower heat, and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium high. Add zucchini and thyme. Cook, stirring constantly, until zucchini turns bright green. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
   In a large bowl, blend cheeses and pine nuts. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg. Beat well, then beat in egg and egg white. Drain off any liquid from vegetable mixture, then stir into cheese. Spoon into prepared pie pan. Press top flat. Bake in preheated oven 1 hour, or until top is golden and firm.
   Let stand at least 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. Can be prepared a day in advance.

Antipasto Rice
   1 1/2 c. water
   1/2 c. tomato juice
   1 c. uncooked rice
   1 tsp. dried basil leaves
   1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
   1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
   1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
   1 7-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
   1 (2 1/4-oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained
   2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
   2 Tbsp. lemon juice
   1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
   2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
   Combine water, tomato juice, rice, basil, oregano, and salt in a 2-3 qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil; stir once or twice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in artichokes, red peppers, olives, parsley, lemon juice, and black pepper. Cook 5 minutes longer or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Dijon Vinaigrette
(For topping asparagus spears, mushroom, green beans)
   2 Tbsp. olive oil
   2 Tbsp. Balsamic or red wine vinegar
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
   1/2 tsp. lemon juice
   Shake all ingredients in covered jar and refrigerate until ready to use. Shake before using. Makes about 1/3 cup.