Saturday, June 30, 2007

Easy Summer Supper

An easy supper after a busy day. Grilled sausages (smoked mozzarella and artichoke), pasta tossed with a touch of olive oil, parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley. I also served some asparagus tossed with olive oil, parmesan, and lemon zest.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Herbing up the butter

My last entry showed a photo of those incredible salmon sandwiches and the sweet corn I served with it. For the sweet corn (which was really good for coming from the store!) I made a cilantro compound butter.
Compound butter is regular unsalted butter with flavor added to it. Tonight I made two kinds, cilantro, and basil. The cilantro butter adds a freshness to the taste of the corn. I don't know about the basil butter - this is the first time I've made it, but I think it'll be great to use with an Italian meal.

It's easy to make - just chop the fresh herbs and mix with softened butter.

Then roll into a log shape inside some plastic wrap and chill. Since I made two kinds, I labeled them both and they are in the freezer. I can slice off discs to use whenever needed.
If you serve these to company, be sure to explain to them what they're for so they're not mistaken for terrible appetizers. :o)

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches

I saw this recipe on Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa the other day, and have been counting down the days when Greg and I would both be home for supper so I could make it.
It was worth the wait!
I grilled the salmon fillets for 4 minutes on each side, then let them rest just about 5 minutes before assembling the sandwiches. They were moist and perfect.
The sauce is really yummy - the capers give it a little tang. Try to use fresh herbs if possible.

2 pounds fresh salmon fillets
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

For the sauce (make this a bit ahead of time):
1 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
12 fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped scallions, (white and green parts)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons capers, drained

To assemble:
6 fresh white or brioche rolls (4-inch round)
1/4 pound mesclun mix or fresh basil leaves

For the salmon, heat coals in an outdoor grill and brush the top of the grill with oil. Rub the outside of the salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the salmon is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

For the sauce, place the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, basil, dill, scallions, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until combined. Add the capers and pulse 2 or 3 times.

To assemble the sandwiches, slice the rolls in 1/2 crosswise. Spread a tablespoon of sauce on each cut side. On the bottom 1/2, place some mesclun salad and then a piece of salmon. Place the top of the roll on the salmon and serve immediately.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sipping some love...

Many of you know that Greg and I like wine. Cheap, expensive, red, white, sweet, dry. Between the two of us, we pretty much like it all. There has been a very large bottle of red wine in the cupboard for many months - I guess Greg thought it good for a family gathering sometime. And it was. As we planned the menu for yesterday, Greg mentioned we should serve that bottle of wine. I was skeptical that anyone would want wine at lunch if they wanted to get anything else accomplished that day. He suggested making sangria. I Googled for a recipe and this is what I found:
1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
1 Lime cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
Splash of orange juice
2 Shots of gin
1 Cup of sliced strawberries or raspberries (may use thawed or frozen)
1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)
4 Cups ginger ale

I loosley based my recipe on this one. Here's what I did:
Poured the entire bottle of wine into a large plastic jug. Cut up a lime and a lemon and squeezed those into the wine, then dropped the lemon into the jug (the lime was a little old and the peel not so attractive). I didn't have an orange, and we forgot to get one at the store, so I just added a little extra orange juice concentrate. A couple of spoonfuls of sugar, two shots of really good gin, and it sat in the frig for several hours. Just before serving, I added 2 liters of ginger ale to the jug. Poured it into a pretty pitcher, and served it with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and grapes in the cups.
It was a hit! Here's an email Randy sent early this morning:
"Need new pictures for screen saver. Please send me some of kids to choose from. Also, the drink in the glass pitcher at Sunday lunch was great, please send some of it too."
(The photo is off the www - I didn't get a picture of mine.)

Feasting with Family

Tried something yesterday that I've wanted to do since I first read about it in a magazine many years ago. Cousin Bobbi wrote about it on her blog awhile back, and I got her recipe. I thought our Father's day gathering would be a good time to try it. We liked it well enough, I just think I needed 2 spice bags instead of 1, and next time I'll make garlic butter for the dipping.
Here's the recipe Bobbi sent:
Seafood Boil
Boil 8 small red potatoes, 4 ears of frozen corn on the cob, 1 onion, and 4-5 garlic cloves with a crab/shrimp spice packet for 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes of boiling, add 1/2 lb andouille sausage links, chopped. The last 5 minutes of boiling time, add 1 lb shrimp. After 30 minutes of boiling time has elapsed, remove large pot from heat and cover with a lid. Let it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes, then pour out liquid. Put the seafood boil on jelly roll pan covered with paper sacks to absorb the remaining liquid. You can also add crawfish, crab legs, or lobster tails. Serve with melted butter and lots of napkins. No utensils required, just use your fingers.
We obviously tripled the recipe, which is why I should have had another spice bag. The corn did have a nice "zip" to it, though. :o)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Grilling is Peachy!

Ben and Greg grilled some awesome steaks for supper, but I was busy in the house and didn't get any photos. For dessert, Abbie and I prepped some peaches and plums, then Ben grilled them. We sprinkled on a little cinnamon and drizzled some honey while they cooked, then served them hot with vanilla ice cream. MMMMM...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Grandma Regier's Rhubarb Dessert

We made this after supper for a bedtime snack. Ben and Abbie say they've never had rhubarb (Tonita?). They LOVED it! I was a bit worried about Abbie's fingers as she cut up the rhubarb stalks, but they stayed in one piece. Whew! :o)

4 C rhubarb

1 C sugar

1 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry Jell-O

1 white Jiffy cake mix

1/3 C margarine (diced)

Put in a greased 8 x 8 cake pan in the order listed. Pour 1 Cup water over other ingredients. Do not mix. Bake at 350 for one hour or a little less.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Citrus Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Oranges

My nephew earned his keep tonight by preparing this dish for us for supper. I don't usually like sweet sauces or marinades on my meat, but this was pretty tasty.

1 (12 oz.) jar orange marmalade

1/3 C orange juice

1/4 C olive oil

1 TBS white wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1 tsp. pepper, divided

6 (1/4-1/2"thick) bone-in pork chops

3 large oranges, cut into 1/4" slices

1. Place marmalade, orange juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a blender; process until well blended.

2. Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper evenly over pork. Place chops and 1/2 C of marinade in large Ziplock bag; seal and shake to coat. Chill 2 hours. Drain, discard marinade from bag.

3. Grill pork, covered with grill lid, over med-hi heat, 4-5 minutes on each side or until no longer pink or til juices run clear.

4. Grill oranges 1-2 minutes on each side or til grill marks appear. Serve chops w/ remaining marinade and grilled orange slices.

Ben found this recipe at WalMart in the produce department on one of those little cards they have strategically placed around the necessary ingredients.
The grilled oranges just had kind of an added "toasty" flavor to them. They were good with the pork.