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Food + Drink SEEN in the Kitchen

SEEN in the Kitchen: Four Culinary and Cocktail Experts Create an Elevated Al Fresco Meal

August 2, 2020

Planning a socially distant outdoor dinner party this August? We have just the menu! Whip up these fresh and delicious recipes, courtesy of local chefs

By Dorothy Hernandez

Photography by Brett Mountain

Host: Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield

For better or worse, dinner parties look a little different this summer. But just because you have to sit 6 feet apart on the back patio doesn’t mean you can’t relish a delicious meal with your family and friends. With that in mind, SEEN invited four talented women in Detroit’s food scene to celebrate the season by sharing dishes and drinks that are close to their hearts — and that you can easily recreate at home.

The Menu

Roasted beet hummus; pickled beets; watermelon, feta, and mint salad; Creole cornbread; and huckabuck
by Ederique Goudia, co-founder of Gabriel Hall restaurant

Summer grilled stone fruit salad with herb-grilled shrimp
by Reva Constantine-Smith, executive chef at Great Lakes Culinary Center

Garden Breeze
by Raven Love, co-founder of Double Strained Collective

Mshabek
by Lena Sareini, pastry chef at Selden Standard

Meet The Chefs

Reva Constantine-Smith

Reva Constantine-Smith, executive chef at Great Lakes Culinary Center

Reva Constantine-Smith is not a fan of eating outside (she hates bugs, she admits with a laugh). But these days outdoor dining is a necessity, not just personally but also professionally. At the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield, Constantine-Smith, who’s executive chef, hosts events from weddings and graduation parties to cooking competitions — with all events now taking place outside.

This month, she will celebrate a personal milestone (her wedding anniversary) outdoors. “I’m not going to restaurants and things like that,” she says.

When she cooks for her loved ones, she likes to expand their culinary horizons by putting creative twists on staples. Take the fruit-forward salad she makes for her mom: mixed greens tossed with “whatever kind of fruit,” (she uses berries) plus goat cheese, candied pecans and apple cider vinegar. “I’ve been making that for her forever, because she loves it so much [and] my daughter loves it,” says Constantine-Smith. “I like incorporating new things for them.”

Raven Love

Raven Love, co-founder of Double Strained Collective

In 2016, Raven Love got her first serving job in a farm-to-table restaurant — but it wasn’t the kitchen that piqued her curiosity. “I was most captivated by the art and alchemy happening behind the bar,” she recalls. Today she is a craft bartender, freelance bar consultant and co-founder (with fellow Detroit bartender Brian Edwards) of Double Strained Collective, which works to uplift the voices of and provide resources for marginalized communities in Detroit’s hospitality industry.

Through her work, Love has come to see sharing food with others as the ultimate act of love. “I’ve always found the greatest joy in trying the different foods people bring and hearing the stories behind those dishes,” she says. “There’s nothing like laughing and bonding over a shared meal with friends. Good weather and fresh air are just the bonus.”

Ederique Goudia

Ederique Goudia, co-founder of Gabriel Hall restaurant

For Ederique Goudia, who grew up in Wallace, Louisiana (about an hour away from New Orleans), some of her most cherished memories revolve around hanging out at a good old Louisiana crawfish boil. Hosting a crawfish boil is the equivalent to someone saying, ‘I’m throwing some meat on the grill,’” she says. “Doesn’t need to be a special occasion and there are no invitations; it’s about people coming together for good food and great times.”

That spirit informs her West Village restaurant, Gabriel Hall, which focuses on Creole cuisine and live music. (Goudia is also the program associate for FoodLab, a nonprofit that supports food entrepreneurs, and co-founder of a foodservice-based consulting company called In the Business of Food.)

Southern hospitality also plays into Goudia’s cooking, and she often draws on family recipes like Creole cornbread — something her grandmother made often. “Word traveled fast so if you didn’t get over to her house quickly then you missed out,” she recalls. “Luckily we lived only a few streets away.”

Lena Sareini

Lena Sareini, pastry chef at Selden Standard

When Lena Sareini was younger, her extended family would get together for weekly barbecues at her grandparents’ home in East Dearborn. “There was always a bounty of the classics, like fattoush, hummus, lamb and rice, and of course all of the kabobs,” recalls the Detroit resident. “I enjoyed many summers [of] eating so well.”

Sareini’s skills — which she shows off at Selden Standard in Midtown — have been recognized by the James Beard Foundation and Food and Wine, which named her one of the Best New Chefs of 2020. Part of her success lies in embracing tradition. Early in her career, she says, “I tended to stray away from my Lebanese roots because I didn’t want to be predictable. But now I want to go back and kick young Lena for thinking that way.”

Sareini combines her craft and culture to delicious effect, churning out Middle Eastern-inspired desserts like chocolate halwa with tahini caramel and labneh cheesecake (both of which are on the menu at Selden). “[I realized that] if anyone was going to highlight the beautiful food we have to offer,” she says, “it had to be me.”

al fresco recipes

The Recipes

Watermelon, feta,and mint salad

By Ederique Goudia

Whenever possible, Goudia uses seasonal produce from local farms in her cooking. “I’m always looking to find ways to highlight what they’re growing right here in Detroit,” she says.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 pounds seedless watermelon (about 1 small or 1/4 large), rind removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon, plus 4 (2-inch) strips zest
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Up to 4 ounces arugula leaves, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces feta cheese

Directions:

Place watermelon chunks in a large bowl. Finely chop lemon zest. Add lemon juice and half of zest to bowl with watermelon. Add oil, mint, and arugula (if using) and toss until watermelon is evenly dressed. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer salad to a wide, shallow bowl or a large plate and spread out evenly. Crumble feta over the top. Sprinkle with remaining lemon zest. Drizzle with more olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve immediately.

Pickled Golden Beets 

By Ederique Goudia

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound golden beets (scrubbed, cleaned, peeled and sliced to ¼ inch thickness)
  • 1 cup tarragon vinegar 
  • 1⁄2 cup white vinegar 
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon dill 

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat then cover. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely before storing in the fridge tightly covered.

Huckabuck

By Ederique Goudia

Huckabuck recipe

Also known as frozen cup, this Southern icy treat gets a healthier spin with fresh fruit juice instead of Kool-Aid.

Ingredients: 

  • 54 ounces watermelon juice
  • 18 ounces mango puree
  • Zest from half a lemon

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. Divide evenly among 6 cups. Freeze for 24 hours. Using the heat of your hands, squeeze and loosen the huckabuck out of the cup, flip it, and place it bottom up back in the cup.

Summer grilled stone fruit salad with herb-grilled shrimp

By Reva Constantine-SMITH

This salad is a favorite among Constantine-Smith’s family — she makes it often for her mother and daughter.

Ingredients: 

  • Salad
  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 4 plums, cut in half and seeded and grilled, cut in quarters
  • 10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup candied pecans
  • 1 small log goat cheese
  • Place mixed greens on a platter or large bowl. Top with grilled plums, tomatoes, pecans and goat cheese.

Apple cider vinaigrette: 

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 ½ cups light olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, shallot and brown sugar in blender. Blend until combined about 30 seconds. Turn blend on medium and slowly drizzle in oil. Season with salt. and pepper and serve with salad.

Candied pecans: 

  • 4 cups pecan halves
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Add the pecans to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Add the egg white and water to a separate bowl and whisk together until well combined and frothy. Pour the egg white mixture onto the pecans and stir until all of the pecans are fully coated.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour the cinnamon sugar mixture over the pecans and stir until all of the pecans are fully coated.

Spread the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring the pecans every 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Grilled shrimp:

  • Zest from 1 lime
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large (or 2 smaller)
    clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves,
    loosely packed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves,
    loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves,
    loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds large shrimp (16/20 count or larger), peeled and deveined

Directions:

Add the lime zest, lemon zest, salt, pepper  and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the garlic is broken into little bits, then add the basil, cilantro, parsley, chives and thyme. Run the motor for about 5 seconds to get everything moving, then slowly stream in the olive oil until everything is well combined.

Transfer marinade to a zip-top bag with the shrimp, seal the bag, then squish everything around until the shrimp are all fully coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight, turning the bag every so often to make sure the shrimp are marinating evenly.

When ready to cook, preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Remove shrimp from the marinade,

Grill shrimp for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on size, or until they’re slightly charred on the outside and pink / opaque throughout. Be careful not to overcook, as the shrimp will turn rubbery and tough.

Garden Breeze

By Raven Love

This light and sippable drink can be made in advance in a big batch — just multiply the ingredients and pour into a pitcher.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Lillet Rose
  • .75 ounce grapefruit liqueur
  • .5 ounce lemon juice
  • .5 ounce rose syrup
  • Lemon slices and basil for garnish (Love dehydrates her lemons, but regular lemons work fine.)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a shaker and pour into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Mshabek

By Lena Sareini

Mshabek recipe

Popular across the Middle East and in India, mshabek (which goes by several other names) is a Lebanese-style fritter soaked in rose water syrup. Sareini pairs hers with saffron custard, pistachios, pine nuts, coconut powder, fig-leaf oil — and fresh flowers from Detroit’s Fisheye Farms.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1-1/12 cups warm water
  • Oil, for frying

For sugar syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • Juice from half a lemon

Lena Sareini

Directions:

Whisk together cornstarch, flour, oil, and yeast.

Add water gradually and mix until you get a thick dough. Batter should resemble pancake batter.

Using a piping bag, pipe the batter into spirals in 350 degree oil. Deep fry until golden brown in color. Flip to fry both sides evenly.

Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Immediately dip into cooled sugar syrup. Turn if necessary to coat all sides.

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