Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yet Another Hot Summer Weekend

First let me say, that I am not a fan of sandwiches, at least not those served on a bun the size of a football.  Generally I do like what is inside. So during this very hot weather, I decided to prepare a sandwich, salad  and grilled fruit for Marilyn's Table.  In place of a large bun I have used a spinach tomato tortilla wrap.  Here is what is on the table:

Portobello Wrap with White Bean Chile Spread
Shaved Asparagus and Edamame  Salad
Grilled Peaches with Bourbon Sabayon

The filling for the wrap  included some of my favorites.  I purchased a large Portobello cap at the farmers market.  It is wiped clean and the stem and gills removed.  Italian salad dressing is brushed over all and then it is grilled.  While it is grilling on both sides, a can of cannellini beans is drained and placed in a blender with garlic, EVOO, salt, chile powder and blended until smooth. Fresh baby spinach is tossed with a bit of the dressing and set aside with the bean spread for assembly. A wrap is spread  down the center with a thin layer of the bean spread about 3 inches wide. The mushroom is sliced, laid down the center of the wrap and topped with the dressed spinach and crumbled goat cheese, wrapped and cut in half diagonally.  I was a little heavy  handed with the garlic in the paste and would adjust that in the future. Pretty to look at and very tasty.

I served a salad with the wrap.  It was an unusual combination of vegetables, but it too was very pretty and lots of nice flavors.  A bunch of cleaned raw asparagus is shaved into strings and placed in a large bowl with a bit of EVOO.  Thin sliced red onion is added along with thawed edamane  beans.  Orange and lemon juice are added with champagne vinegar and tossed with the vegetables.  Season to taste with salt & pepper. Toasted walnuts and grated parmesan cheese are added and the salad is garnished with torn basil leaves. Serve chilled. Excellent.

Grilling a stone fruit is one of my favorite ways of serving them.  This time I used fresh peaches, but plums would work well also. A sabayon is a custard made with eggs and sugar cooked over a hot water bath.  This recipe called for 2 teaspoons of bourbon for the flavoring.  Well I grabbed the wrong measuring spoon and added 2 tablespoons. Oops!  Quite a zing but yummy over the warm peaches.  A sprig of mint for garnish.

All in all this was a great meal for yet another very hot weekend.  I have no idea what will be on the table next week, but it will depend on the weather.  Perhaps another cold meal.  Have a great week and stop by again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot...

This week has been over the top HOT.  My table needed to be food that could be done early and eaten later in the day.  I chose a quiche for just those reasons. I found a great recipe in Tupelo Honey Cafe's cookbook which I purchased in Asheville a couple of months ago.  At a later date I will recreate the Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce I had when I visited.  It needs to be a lot cooler.  This is what was on this weeks table:

Broccoli and New Potato Quiche
Watermelon Wedge Salad

Making pie crust has never been successful for me, so I purchased frozen pie shells.  The bottom of the shell is pricked with a fork, prebaked for 10 minutes and set aside to cool. Red potatoes are boiled just until soft and also cooled.  Broccoli florets are blanched in the hot water for a couple of minutes and put in an ice bath to stop cooking. I sauteed thin slices of shallot until crispy and set aside.  Grated sharp cheddar cheese is sprinkled on the bottom of the crust.  The potatoes and cubed and added to the pie along with the blanched broccoli. Eggs, heavy cream and seasonings are beaten and poured over the potato, broccoli, cheese mixture. The crispy shallots are sprinkled over the top and the pie is placed on a cookie sheet (in case it cooks over) and baked until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown.  Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

Wedge salads were a big deal while I was growing up.  Lately they have come back in to fashion and appear on many menus. This salad is a variation. Instead of wedge lettuce, watermelon is cut into wedges and feta yogurt dressing is pour over and garnished with a sprig of basil.  The dressing is made up of yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice and chopped chives. Crumbled feta is folded in at the end.  The dressing is drizzled over the wedges of melon.  I enjoyed this combination very much.  It set off the richness of the quiche.  I had pomegranate iced tea with the meal.

It's a bit cooler right now, but I understand it will be back into the 90's by the weekend.  The farmers market had bison sirloin which I will marinate for kabobs over the weekend.  Stay tuned to see what else will be on Marilyn's Table.  Stay cool....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July

The weather is very hot, so my 4th of July picnic has been moved indoors.  Though I am not a fan of burgers (mostly the bun is too much for me) I picked up a pound of ground bison meat at the farmers market.  The burger turned out to be fabulous. Here is what was on Marilyn's Table for the holiday:

Bison Burgers with Caramelized Onions and White Cheddar on a toasted Pretzel Roll
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
Mango-Peach Sangria

Thinly sliced onions are sauteed over a low flame in a small bit of EVOO until they are browned and sweet.  Then removed from the heat and kept warm.Grass fed bison meat is very red and only slightly resembles ground sirloin of beef.  The texture is tighter since it is much leaner than beef.  The burger is mixed gently with minced shallots and dry thyme.  I cooked the patties on a griddle over low heat, lightly seasoning it with salt and pepper until medium rare.  Sharp white cheddar cheese slices are melted over the burger before it is  placed on a split toasted pretzel roll which has been spread with Dijon Mustard.  The onions top the burger and consumed with much pleasure.  A great burger and pretzel rolls are a favorite of mine. Perhaps more burgers are in my future?

The salad is made earlier in the day.  A large bowl is filled with broccoli florets, cauliflowerets, julienned red pepper, thinly sliced carrots, thinly sliced red onion, chopped Kalamata olives and cubes of sharp cheddar cheese.  The dressing is mixed in a separate bowl:  low fat mayo, Greek yogurt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and dill weed. The dressing is poured over the vegetables, mixed to coat and covered with plastic and refrigerated at least 1 hour.  I really like this salad; lot of flavor and texture. It made an excellent side for the burger.

The Sangria was a nice surprise.  Most Sangria I have had is made with red wine; this was made with white. Sugar and water are heated in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves into a simple syrup. When cool it is poured into a pitcher and refrigerated until cold.  A bottle of chilled white wine is added to the pitcher along with Grand Marnier (or other orange flavored liquor).  Chopped mint, mango and peaches are added.  This makes a very pretty drink when poured over ice.  Garnish with a sprig of mint.

This was an excellent meal, I just wish the weather would not have been so warm.  Eating it outdoors on the balcony among my plants and flags would have made it a bit more festive. I was very pleased with the bison so I may purchase another cut for this weekend.  Stay tuned to see what will grace Marilyn's Table.

Stay cool!