Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cedar Plank Salmon

Just when I think I'm starting to see all the food world has to offer, I learn that I've only scratched the surface of its vast and wonderful possibilities. Until last week, I didn't know it was possible to cook salmon on a cedar plank but I recommend doing so highly! Because the wood is soaked in water before being placed on the grill, it steams the fish and gives it a wonderful smoky flavor that is sure to be a winner every time. The first thing you'll notice is the distinctly familiar scent of warm cedar as the plank sizzles on the grill. Although you can use hickory, maple or cherry wood, there is nothing I'd rather pair salmon with. The flavor is just amazing! Thanks to my sister's husband Scott, this fish came out excellent. As with any great meal, a pairing of the right side dishes brings it all together in a blend of nicely paired flavors and textures. We found roasted potatoes with broccolli and cauliflower went quite well with the meal. My nephew, with his highly refined palate, decided to have a hamburger and skip this deliciousness. Despite his unfortunate mistake, we love him anyway. There are different ways to enjoy a dish like this and also alternatives to get that great cedar flavor as well. For example, found a recipe that uses cedar woodchips and pairs the salmon with Jasmine rice, braised collard greens. Summer is finally here and that means your grill will become an essential weapon in the fight against hunger and boring cuisine. Fill up that propane tank and dream people. Dream of cedar plank salmon!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Juicy Watermelon

This obviously isn't a meal. One look at this on a sweltering day however, and you'd seriously consider attempting to make it one. There are few foods that are more satisfying than a juicy watermelon when the mercury has risen over 90 and you've just about had it. Other than a cold icy beverage or a dunk in the pool nothing can quite compare. There aren't too many ways of eating this delightful treat that I'm aware of but I've never met one I didn't like. Some prefer to eat it in slices where you simply shoot the seeds out machine gun style as you work your way through. This has always been my personal favorite because it's how I used to take it down when I was a kid. Katy prefers using a mellon baller as pictured here. The most common use of this versatile fruit among the college crowd is of course to spike it with vodka. As some girls I knew found out the hard way, this does not fool law enforcement officials because they know what spiked fruit smells like! They tend to get upset if your underage and indulging in this delicacy because they are on duty and can't partake on a hot day. They are in a very warm uniform and even if they have a little taste they'll probably get sticky juice on their fingers and ultimately down the front. So they yell and scream at you then throw your spiked watermelon in the parking lot of the Ozzy concert. Ah memories. But seriously, it's difficult not to look to the summer flavors because here in New England we crave summer. After a six month winter of freezing gusts turning our blood to ice the mere thought of a hot day with a juicy piece of watermelon makes us drool. So put this on your to do list ladies and gents!! This fine food will be remembered by your kids as a summer staple for years to come!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mango Salsa

Once in a while, you find the perfect addition to a light summer meal. Something both cool and refreshing, yet not a dessert. It's healthy, it's delicious and of course it's mango salsa!! Until last week, I'd never even heard of this but let me tell you, it's sweet, a bit spicy, and so bright you'll need to put on a pair of shades when you eat it. The ingredients in this unique summery treat are mango, jalepaneo, green onion,lime juice, salt and pepper. We put this on taco's instead of the conventional tomato based salsa and what a difference! It's like we kicked up the health factor and put a completely different spin on a dish that was already guaranteed to be a winner. Just look at this stuff!! Some of the senior members of your family may not even be able to contemplate what this is. You may need to explain it to them several times and one single taste may be enough to induce a jaw dropping flavor coma rendering them speechless. But of course, if this seems like too much of a long shot you could probably spike it with tequila to achieve the desired affect.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Surf Clam with Chourico

Summer is coming and we all know what that means, excellent outdoor eating on warm wonderful days. I was at the Cape last year and have been saving this picture for something special. This is a surf clam with chourico and breadcrumbs mixed in. There is butter on the side to enhance the qualities of this amazing mix even further. To have this divine concoction is to experience the essence of summer at its fullest potential. This meal can only be eaten on a warm day in the sun with a nice cold beverage. Overlooking the ocean on a restaurant occupied dock doesn't hurt to increase the sensation that this meal is truly the pinnacle of the summer. There is something wonderful about having seafood in the high mercury temperatures, it's not incredibly heavy but light and tasty. For those not fortunate to have heard about Chourico before it is simply excellent sausage used in Portuguese cooking which can be quite spicy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Miso Baked Tofu

When she said, "Tonight we're having tofu," my smile was a bit less than genuine. Being a recent graduate from a tendency toward meaty delights such as buffalo wings or low grade hamburger products, I sometimes have slight relapses into obstinence. One taste of this gingery miso baked tofu and it put my fears of trying new things to rest once again. The salty flavor of the miso paste was a wonderful complement to the fresh bok choy this was served with. A nice creamy drink of thai tea added yet another dimension to the overall flavor. The crisp edges around the baked tofu added an element of texture that wouldn't have existed in the dish otherwise and it was easy to appreciate as I worked my way into the softer center of this tasty treasure. Though I wouldn't tell my beer chugging comrades I like this one, it's a keeper!