Shore Thing • By Andrea Gable
Recipes by Reizel Baker
Photographed by Dennis McDaniel
Summer days at Lake Oconee are meant to be savored, down to the last remaining sun drops falling at the end of a long day. A cup of coffee on the porch overlooking the lake. Wet bathing suits forgotten on the floor. A swaying hammock and a book in the shade. Buzzing jet skis and long boat rides. Summer at the lake affords many ways to entertain visiting family, out-of-town guests, or neighbors – a favorite among many is dining al fresco on the dock or a relaxing dinner cruise.
A picnic on the lake should be refreshing and replenish the energy soaked up by the sun and swimming. When planning the menu, forego soggy sandwiches and salty chips for heartier and healthier alternatives. With a little creativity tossed into the cooler on your way to the dock, you can turn a plain picnic into a floatable feast.
Local resident Riezl Baker, full-time realtor and mom to Stuart, 9, and Remi, 6, spends lots of time entertaining on the lake with her husband, Ted. “We love to take a picnic lunch to an island with the kids, or have dinner and cocktails on the boat at sunset,” she says.
Summer never seems to cease at the Baker household, which plays host to small, intimate groups of friends to large gatherings of fifty or so families. Not daunted by large crowds, Riezl grew up around lots of food as a child in the Philippines, inheriting her mother’s passion for cooking.
“Some of my vivid memories of growing up are of family get-togethers, centered around a long table of food, with my mom, uncles, and aunts bringing out dish after dish from the kitchen,” says Baker. “Mom was a superwoman who could create a fabulous meal from scratch for a room full of people without lifting a finger – or at least it seemed that way.”
Now Baker is filling up her own family’s table, making it look every bit as effortless. “Cooking to me is a creative outlet and should be relaxing,” she says. “That’s why I love ‘make-ahead’ foods that don’t take you away from friends and family – especially when you get to spend a day on the lake.”
With a little planning, she proves you can reinvent a traditional picnic lunch and prepare gourmet options that don’t require arduous effort in the kitchen.
The following recipes are some of Baker’s most requested that can be prepared in advance, packed neatly in a cooler, and enjoyed out on the lake.
Shrimp & avacado Salad Cups
STip: Use a muffin tin to hold these salad cups in place while in the cooler.
1 lb cooked jumbo shrimp, chopped
1 Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 medium tomato, diced
juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
½ c chopped red onion
1 tsp olive oil
½ red bell pepper, seeded, and sliced into strips
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and separate lettuce leaves. Combine all ingredients. Add salt and pepper as needed. Scoop one tablespoonful atop lettuce leaf. Top with red bell pepper strips.ummer days at Lake Oconee are meant to be savored, down to the last remaining sun drops falling at the end of a long day. A cup of coffee on the porch overlooking the lake. Wet bathing suits forgotten on the floor. A swaying hammock and a book in the shade. Buzzing jet skis and long boat rides. Summer at the lake affords many ways to entertain visiting family, out-of-town guests, or neighbors – a favorite among many is dining al fresco on the dock or a relaxing dinner cruise.
Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dressing
Assorted fruits in season such as cantaloupe, pineapple, oranges, strawberry and kiwi
1 ½ Greek yogurt
¼ cup honey
Cut up your favorite fruit in squares and place them in skewers alternating the colors. Combine the honey and yogurt and serve dip with the fruit skewers.
Printed in the July 5th, 2012 edition.