Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Well not yet, but - weather aside! - we're seriously feeling it at our house. (And sorry for a second Will Smith intro.  Can't help myself sometimes.)  To me, warm weather cooking means celebrating fresh, brightly colored ingredients.  Many also get pumped up this time of year to fire up the grill after a winter hibernation.  If you've read this blog before, you know that our grills are not deterred by weather, and thus never really stop firing; but that makes us no less emphatic about enjoying charred deliciousness at a patio soiree.  I do realize that not everyone shares our grilling psychosis passion, so I'll be sure to include non-grilled plates in my summertime blathering.  The dishes in this post are fast, light, and yummy - and grilling is optional.

Carne Asada Tacos with Pickled Onions  (Click here for the recipe)

What caught my attention to make this recipe?  PICKLED ONIONS.  I love, love, love them, and I'm thrilled to be seeing them everywhere these days.  This recipe offers an easy and tasty pickling method.  You better believe I stashed the leftovers in the fridge for a future cereal? sandwich accoutrement.
In an attempt to cut down on the prep time, I used ground turkey in lieu of chicken and just sauteed it in a pan.  We inadvertently purchased ground turkey with virtually zero percent fat, and it was painfully dry.  I slopped on the onions' pickling juice to compensate.  We added corn as a last minute something to brighten it up!

Tilapia and Summer Vegetables Pack (Click here for the recipe)

Despite considerable effort and self-talk, I struggle to find super healthy recipes that achieve wow flavor.  I just can't seem to convince myself that a dish tastes as satisfying/amazing/rich as the "healthy version" recipe promises.  But friends, I found one this time!!!  It is perhaps the lowest calorie dish referenced on this blog, and I absolutely love it.  Maybe it's because it's not trying to be something else (I'm referring to recipes and cooking shows attempting to make low fat versions of stuff like buffalo wings and chicken pot pie.  What's the point?  To me, this ensures inevitable disappointment, as one takes bite after bite wishing it was the real thing.  Rather than try to fool yourself with an impostor, just make this authentically light and yummy dish!).  Good news-- it is also extremely quick.  A couple notes: 1) The fish cooks quickly, so cut the veggies into small pieces so they will too.  2) For those not fond of olives: Ryan leaves them out of his packet and finds nothing lacking.  I'll take his word for it, as omitting them is not in my DNA; I would put olives on ice cream.

The second picture gives a better shot of the light, lemony sauce.  This picture also reminds me that I forgot the green beans.  Oops. 

Rum Glazed Shrimp and Grilled Pineapple Salad

This shrimp recipe below came from my friend Amanda.  The title, starting with "Rum Glazed", had me at hello.  They are sweet, savory and have a perfectly subtle spice.

Rum Glazed Spicy Grilled Shrimp

2 1/2 lbs fresh 16/20 count shrimp
6 Tbsp light rum - split 4 Tbsp and 2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp fresh Key Lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
10 bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour

Peel the shrimp, keeping the tails intact.  Devein if desired.  In a small bowl, combine 4 Tbsp of the rum, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt.  Add the shrimp, and toss to coat thoroughly.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat the grill (or grill pan or broiler) to high.  In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, and remaining 2 Tbsp of rum.  Thread the shrimp on the skewers; lightly brush with the brown sugar glaze.

Place the shrimp on the cooking surface, and cook for about 3 minutes per side, brushing with the additional glaze, until the shrimp are opaque.

Pineapple, Basil & Cucumber Salad

For the salad, I used mint in lieu of basil, because my mint plants are lush and vast, while my basil plant is neither.  I initially wondered why it just required olive oil for the "dressing", and then it clicked that the pineapple juice provides the perfect acid.

Heat grill/grill pan/broiler to high.  Cut 1/2 cored pineapple into 1/3-inch-thick rounds.  Grill until char marks appear, about 2 minutes per side.  Allow to cool, and then cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with 1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, 1/2 cups basil (or mint) leaves, 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp coarse salt.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Mojito, anyone?


Courtney said...

yum on all fronts...trying all of these this summer :-)

Christy said...

yum, yum, and yum! I cannot wait to try these! OK, I have a Mexican chicken soup recipe for you that is both healthy and tasty. I'll post it soon. Also, what's your favorite Salmon recipe?

Emily said...

Hi girls! "Best Fish Dish Ever" (Oct 2010) is my favorite salmon recipe. I also love Grilled Salmon with Sherry Vinegar-Honey Glaze and Spicy Tomato Relish in "One Fish Two Fish" (March 2011). We do salmon pretty frequently, so I have lots more easy recipes if you're interested. I'd love to hear about the soup and any other healthy-but-actually-good dishes you want to share!

Shawty said...

Em...these pics make me want to eat real food for the first time in 7 weeks!!! You rock!! I'm so looking forward to being in your fabulous kitchen with your fabulous Family.

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