Monday, September 20, 2010


Quite a caloric performance this weekend.  You'd think we were trying to win a contest or something. I should probably be ashamed of myself, but I'm kind of not, because it was blissful.  Hubby put all of the grills to work and did a stellar job.

Before my relatives arrived, I made banana crunch muffins in preparation for their early morning departure the next day.  These are delightfully sweet, but the banana presence is prominent enough to make it feel like an appropriate start to the day.  I'll note here that three of my recipes this weekend came from Barefoot.  I know I need to change it up, but when we're entertaining, it can be nice to rely on fail safe dishes.

For lunch on Saturday, we served one of our favorite go-to apps as a main course.  We learned the technique of grilling flatbreads from Bobby Flay's "Boy Meets Grill", and now we are mildly obsessed with creating new ones.  I love the texture of grilled dough (which I just buy at Whole Foods, by the way...easy!); it's crunchy on the outside and nicely tender on the inside. We made two varieties this time:  The first was one of BF's originals topped with fresh mozzarella, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized (of course) onions and blue cheese.  This is beyond heavenly.  The flavor combination is amazing with the creamy mozz offset by sweet onions, and blue cheese that adds just a subtle sharpness.  I could eat my weight in this. 

The second version we made was simple with just fresh mozz, sliced vine ripened tomatoes, fresh grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of dried oregano.  Not inventive, but tasty!  Our side was a green salad with traditional Hess family accoutrements:  black olives and Pearl's Dressing.  This sweet dressing is a mixture of white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.  The suggested oil-to-vinegar ratio is even greater than 2 to 1, I think.  I'm certain my ratio is more like 1:1.  No surprise there.

The star of our dinner was Carolina-style pulled pork that my husband started on the smoker at 8 a.m.

It had a gorgeous pink smoke ring (I'm trying to incorporate the terms he has taught me into my food speak; I'm learning that grill speak is almost a whole new language).  He's in charge of the rub and sauces, but I can get the recipes and post if anyone is interested.  The sandwiches were classically topped with cole slaw.  I use this recipe, sans blue cheese.

As promised in my last post, I made spoon bread on the side.  This is light and rises beautifully, almost like a souffle.  The texture and appearance results were what I hoped for.  But I'll give the out-of-the-oven flavor a C.  I am providing the recipe (which came from Wegmans, otherwise known as God's gift to grocery stores) with some untested modifications that I'd make to enhance the flavor next time around. Since it was already cooked that night, I just added salt and pepper to jazz it up.

Spoon Bread

3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cornmeal
5 eggs, separated
1.5 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar
8 oz creamed corn
2 tsp finely chopped chives, divided
1 tsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring milk to boil in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and whisk in cornmeal.  Remove from heat; stir in egg yolks.  Stir in cheese, then creamed corn.  Stir in 1 tsp chives and parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Allow to cool for 10 min. 
2)  Whisk egg whites in a clean, stainless steel bowl until medium peaks are formed.  Whisk 1/3 of the whites into the cornmeal mixture.  Fold in the rest using a rubber spatula.
3)  Spray 2-qt shallow casserole dish with nonstick spray, and spread cornmeal mixture into the dish.  Bake about 50 min.  Garnish with remaining 1 tsp of chives.

Something green was required to tell ourselves that we were, in fact, healthy.  I sliced zucchini into long strips, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and passed them on to my husband to give them some charcoal love.  Basically any vegetable is delicious prepared this way!

At the conclusion of this meal, I needed dessert like I needed a hole in the head.  But how can you abandon such a vital course?!  The solution: unbutton the jeans and accommodate it.  I've had a hankering for key lime pie lately, and with the summer drawing to a close, it seemed like a great dessert choice.  I've tried multiple recipes, and this is the winner.  The filling is bright and tangy, which is a nice balance to the sweet, crunchy graham cracker crust.

I made two more dishes on Sunday, but I'll reign in my excitement and post on those later.  Happy week, all!


Joanna said...

I do love me some banana crunch muffins;) Happy to take leftovers anytime. I'm sorry the spoon bread wasn't all you had hoped it would be...maybe next time. Everything looks so, unbelievably delicious. How do you find the time!?!?!

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