Memorial Day 2008

Wow, did this long weekend fly by in a flash or what? As I mentioned in my last post, we made a foodie field trip to Cincinnati to go to Jungle Jim’s, and Sunday was the start of what ended up being a 2 day feast of food and far too many libations. So what kind of spread did I end up putting out? Since it’s a very picture-intensive post, click on through to see.

Weather on Sunday was absolutely beautiful – a bit hot earlier in the day, but when we started grilling out, in late afternoon, things were starting to cool down and it was pretty nice. I made a bunch of old familiar recipes, and a few new ones too. Notice the lack of refined carbs. One of my goals for the summer is to try to eat mostly meat and fruits and veggies from the farmers markets, with very little extra added. I want to explore whole grains and find out what I can do with them. I’m going to try to make my surgeon proud by eating the way I’m supposed to after weight loss surgery instead of willy-nilly eating whatever I want to just because I can. Whether or not I’m successful remains to be seen, but at least this blog will keep me honest. :) But I digress.

And oldie but goodie is my Goat Cheese Tomato Balsamic Crostini. The tomatoes are from Wish Well Farms (greenhouse grown). Fantastic and refreshing as always. I can’t wait until the end of summer and I can get my paws on some heirloom tomatoes.

tomatocrostini

Inspired by a dish that Dawn of Mockingbird Meadows Farm made for a recent Slow Food Columbus meeting, I thinly sliced some pears and drizzled them with honey. I really wish that I had some of her lavender-infused honey (if you see it at either the Greener Grocer or at her stand at the Worthington farmers market, pick it up – it’s THAT good), but alas, there is no honey to be had for at least another month or so until a fresh batch is made.

pearshoney

One of the new dishes I tried was this fruit salsa, served with cinnamon and sugar flour tortillas. I used some of the raspberry-peach preserves I made last summer for the preserves it called for, and added a bit of chopped poblano pepper, chopped peaches (in place of one of the kiwis that I didn’t have), and a few blueberries in addition to what else the recipe called for. Great combination of flavors, and I can’t wait to remake this recipe later this summer when all of these fruits are available locally.

fruitsalsa

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips
adapted from recipe by Ann Renzino Page

1 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 peach, peeled, pitted and diced
2 Fuji apples – peeled, cored and diced
4 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries, hulled and diced
1/2 c. blueberries
1/2 to 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped finely
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, chopped peppers, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit and spice mixture.

I also made Colleen’s famous savory rhubarb tart again (I’ll never get tired of this recipe, it’s awesome!), this time topping it with proscuitto (it adds a bit of saltiness and crunch) and using lots and lots of roasted garlic.

rhubarbtartredux

While at Jungle Jim’s, they had some perfectly ripe honeydew (woot! for free samples) that I couldn’t pass up, so I sliced it into wedges and served it with some thinly sliced breasola (my favorite of the cured meats).

breasola

Another new recipe was a creamy cucumber salad, something that my Oma called “gurkensalat” when I was growing up. I think she would have liked this, it’s much like hers was – kind of vinegary, creamy, just a little sweet, very cooling in the summer heat. I followed the recipe pretty closely, except instead of sour cream, I used plain Greek yogurt (Fage) and dried dill (to taste) instead of fresh.



Creamy Cucumber Salad

recipe adapted from Cooks.com

2 large cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. sugar
7 oz. container plain Greek yogurt (Fage)
Heaping tablespoon sour cream
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
Dried dill, to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper

In a bowl make alternating layers of cucumbers and sliced onions, sprinkling each layer with dill. Combine yogurt, sour cream, sugar, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over cucumbers. Let chill at least 4 hours. Stir before serving.

Another repeat was my requisite deviled eggs, this time adding just a touch of truffle salt. Not enough to tell there are truffles in there, mind you – just enough to add a depth of flavor to the yolks. BTW, for those not in the know, truffle and eggs (scrambled, boiled, whatever) just really work well together for some reason. Go figure.

deviledtruffleeggs

And I also made a simple Caprese salad – fresh mozzarella layered with some really beautiful tomatoes that I got from the stand in front of Schuman’s Meats (not local, I know, but damn they are great tasting tomatoes!), sprinkled with some coarse sea salt and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic glaze, topped with a few torn basil leaves. Simple but probably one of my favorite dishes of the day.

caprese

For the main course, we had a grilled margarita grouper, served with some pineapple salsa that we got at Jungle Jim’s and an avocado mash. I love grouper, and rarely find it fresh at decent prices – we had them cut up a whole fish for us, and got like 7 or 8 nice pieces from the two filets.

grilledgrouper

Grilled Margarita Grouper
recipe adapted from the original

2 whole grouper filets, cut into 6-8 oz pieces
1/3 c. tequila
1/2 c. triple sec
3/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except the fish, and set aside. Place fish in a single layer in a large baking pan. Pour marinade over fish, and marinate for 1/2 hour at room temperature, or 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove fish from marinade and pat dry. Brush fish on both sides with oil and grill (preferably in a fish basket) for 4-5 minutes each side, or until flesh is opaque and flakes easily. Season with salt and pepper if you wish.

For dessert, we had Florida Pie. I don’t know what it is about that recipe, but it’s inspired a lot of light cooking recently. Maybe it’s a seasonal thing, but I haven’t really been in the mood for hot foods lately. Spicy, yes – hot? not so much.

We were all stuffed by the time we ate all that, so we decided that the rest could wait for Monday, so that the couple of family members that begged out of Sunday’s festivities could join us.

On Monday, the weather was a little more iffy (there were a couple of sprinkles, but it generally stayed clear all day, if a bit windy), so most of the stuff was made indoors. For an appetizer, we saw a recipe on Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy’s blog for Spicy Crab Cakes with Key Lime Mustard Sauce, which turned out fantastic (and may end up being a regular crab cake recipe when I’m not in the mood for Old Bay seasoned crabcakes).

keylimecrabcakes

But the pinnacle of the whole experience, the part all of us were waiting for, was the Frogmore Stew. We poured it out into the clean sink, and went to town – it was quite delicious with a bit of butter drizzled over it. I really need to eat crab more often. And the Andouille sausage from Thurn’s added just the right amount of spice to the mix. The potatoes were from HW Organics.

frogmorestew

Frogmore Stew

4 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 lbs. new potatoes
8 ears corn, husked, cleaned and cut into thirds
5 lbs. snow crab clusters
3 lbs. andouille sausage, cut into 2″ pieces
Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
Melted butter, for serving

Fill a very large stock pot almost halfway with water, and then add Old Bay seasoning to taste (start with 3/4 cup, and go up from there). Bring water to a boil, and then add sausage, corn, and potatoes. Allow to boil 20 minutes, and then add shrimp and crab and cook an additional 2 minutes until shrimp have turned pink and are done. Drain, and then dump the whole mess on to a newspaper covered picnic table (if you’re outside) or into the sink (if you’re inside), and dig in. Serve with melted butter.

So, that was my weekend. What did you all do over the holiday?

3 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2008

  1. The bizarre coincidences continue — we went to Jungle Jim’s ourselves on Saturday!! I was missing a key ingredient for my smoked goat shoulder recipe, and that was the closest place I could find it. Fired up the smoker, did two pork butts and two goat shoulders for 14 1/2 hours (overnight, with a remote thermometer that beeped if the smoker went outside the 225º-250º range — awesome bit of technology, allows me to cook while sleeping!) Finished ‘em up around noon, a bunch of students came over with beer, wine and dessert around 3, Colleen whipped up a phenomenal veggie and pasta salad and sweet potato puree and grilled truffled parmesan popcorn, and once the meat had rested for nearly 4 hours in a cooler (to keep it from cooling down), I pulled it, seasoned it, and served it. WOW. Moist, tender, flavorful, smoky. Even made a vegetarian come off the wagon (joked that goats were not actually made of meat, and at his girlfriend’s insistence he decided to believe me). Sadly, no pix, as my hands were coated with… well, there are downsides to pulled goat and pork. But the flavor isn’t one of them.

    I so love summertime.

  2. I enjoy your blog. Where in Columbus do you get breasola? I’m guessing North Market or Carfagna’s?

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