Ah, summer! Time to break out the barbeques and bistro tables.
In the next few weeks, we’ll be holding our annual “Fourth” party. It’s amazing how we can fit nearly 40 of our dear friends and family in our postage stamp-sized “yard,” but, thankfully, the Victorians understood the value of wrap-around porches, so we’re good.
I’m still contemplating the main course–last year’s was pulled beef sandwiches w/homemade barbeque sauce. I had planned on grilling chicken but had waited too long to shop, so, instead, had to switch plans, and hence, the beef won out. This year, I’m planning for an earlier chicken hunt. If successful, I’ll accompany them with a large batch of grilled peppers and onions, which I’ve already pre-tested. After grilling the lemon/garlic marinated chicken and removing, I then covered the hot grill with heavy foil and waited a few minutes to regain heat. I then spread out olive-oiled peppers and onions (w/cracked black pepper and sea salt) and hovered over the grill, moving them about as they began to cook. I did this until all were slightly charred and tender. An easy, efficient way to grill veggies on a “massive” scale. Though I wish I had a photog for you (don’t worry, I will, come “The Fourth”), I don’t.
But, I do have some equally-as-nice photogs of some grilled tilapia and homemade salsa that I had prepared some several weeks ago, if that would be acceptable? I’m going to post those below, with skeleton recipes, in honor of violin girl. This has become one of her favorites, and since she’ll be leaving for college in late summer (6 HOURS AWAY), it is the mission of Kaukab’s daughter to fill her head with memories of home. And what better way than through food?
GRILLED TALAPIA W/HOMEMADE SALSA
The fish was grilled in a lightly buttered/Canola oil combo in a cast iron skillet turned on medium-high. I added a few pinches of ground cumin to the pan, as well. Make sure you pat dry the fillets well, before sauteeing/grilling. Once out of the pan, I squeezed a little lime on them.
The salsa was made with finely chopped tomatoes, shallots, and English cucumbers. You can use pickling cucumbers, as well. I added some finely chopped cilantro to the mix and then squeezed some lime and added a pinch of cumin and some sea salt. Finish off with a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and you’ve got a simple, quick salsa to top off your fish. Oh, and the slightly charred undercover on which the fish is laying is simply a flour tortilla which I lay atop one of my gas stove burners and move about quickly using a tong. You’ll see the tortilla begin to form bubbles about itself and you just move it about to evenly “grill.” You can do the same on the barbeque.
I had also made a quinoa/brown rice salad to accompany the above. Here’s what it looked like:
QUINUA SALAD W/CIDER VINEGAR DRESSING
Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw sugar or brown sugar, or even better, good maple syrup
Sesame Oil (spicy) and/or hot pepper sauce
yellow and red bell peppers (total 2)
jalepeno pepper (1/2 of one)
small box of quinoa/brown rice blend (cooked and cooled)
shallot or green onion (scallion) (1/2 shallot or one scallion)
English or pickling cucumber (1/4 – 1/2 English cucumber or 1 – 2 pickling cucumbers)
Dressing: While rice/quinoa mixture is cooking, prepare the dressing. I used about a 1/2 C. of vinegar and about 3/4 C. or more of oil, but remember, I don’t measure. Start with about 1/4 C. vinegar and move up as you make it, if you’re unsure. Generally, you’ll use almost double of oil:vinegar ratio. Use a few pinches of cumin, sea salt ( 3 – 4 grinds, perhaps). Squeeze enough lemon to taste, starting with a couple wedges, and a couple small squeezes of mustard, or about 1 Tbl. I used 2 – 3 packets of raw sugar, but I’ve used good maple syrup instead, and that was a few drizzles, which made it taste really good. Also, a few drops of hot pepper sauce, not too much, because you’ll have a bit of jalepeno in it. Whisk all ingredients together, and then whisk in the Canola oil. Adjust flavors. You should taste a sweet/sour product.
Finely chop the peppers, cucumbers, shallot/green onion, and jalepeno pepper and add to the cooled quinoa/brown rice mixture, which you’ve placed in a large bowl. Add in the dressing and mix gently. Store in fridge for a few hours, the longer the better. Use as an accompaniment, or as a main veggie lunch.
That’s it! or “Dat it!…What da big deal?!” as Kaukab likes saying.