Explosively Delicious Recipes to Enhance Summer Celebrations! (A promise.)

The Fourth of July Grill

The Fourth of July Grill

It’s that time of the year and I don’t mean fireworks; I’m talking the explosive media grilling blitz. An hour doesn’t pass without some TV personality, electronic feed, or magazine headline firing off their ultimate recipe for “whatever” on the grill.

Recipe overload, no doubt. Why not? Grilling on the Fourth of July is as traditional to the American landscape as enjoying a hot dog at a Tiger’s game. So allow me to stoke the flames by tossing my favorite recipes into the pit. I’ve made everyone of them with great success in season’s past.

Beginning with Grilled Firecracker Shrimp. I like this peel-as-you-eat recipe because the eaters do the shelling; I just make the Asian dipping sauce. Not that I’m totally lazy; large shrimp taste better, and are more moist with a better texture, when grilled in the shell.

Smoked Texas Brisket with Grilled Poblanos and Onions

Smoked Texas Brisket with Grilled Poblanos and Onions

No time – no grill? Try this recipe for No-Fuss Barbecue Ribs with fall-off-the-bone flavor. Here’s a recipe for a more traditional smoked rib, so so good. All the time in the world? Smoked Barbecued Brisket with Grilled Poblanos and Onions brings folks to their knees. And for time in between, cross the border with Firecracker Flank Steak with Margarita Flavors and Mango Salsa, or Grilled Tuscan Flank Steak, including a sauce that reminds of an herbaceous Chimichuri. A full menu of Burgers awaits your grill; every type of burger under the sun.

Barbecued Ribs

Barbecued Ribs

Here’s an idea for tote cuisine, if you’re bringing the main course to a picnic, or other outdoor celebration. If fact, I did this last week. I purchased boneless, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs from Whole Foods (pre-oredered) using the marinade in this Balsamic Chicken recipe, marinated the chicken 8 hours, then carted the chicken, ready for the grill, in resealable Zip-lock bags. The chicken cooks quickly without the bone. Stay vigilant moving the chicken from possible dripping fat flare-ups; I believe it’s worth the effort as the skin keeps the chicken moist and flavorful on the grill.

Fourth of July Sheet Cake

Fourth of July Sheet Cake

I like these two salads as they perform well outdoors under the heat of the sun: Tomato-Basil Pasta Salad and Uptown Picnic Potato Salad. For dessert finish with this “healthified” Fourth of July Sheet Cake. Whew! That’s my recipe explosion.

This year I’m experimenting making Lamb Burgers with Tzadziki and Beet Relish. More than likely, my next post.

Wishing you safe travels and clear skies!

 

 

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Asparagus! Glorious!

Johnny Cash and I have something in common, besides Tennesee whiskey. We both love June. Always have. For him, June Carter Cash. Fiercely. There was no death do us part for those two, I’m sure of it. As for me, June is simply June, the dearly beloved month of June.

Both Junes are easy to get excited over. This month in particular. Michigan grins are stretched with hyperbole wandering backyards and downtown streets, the sun warming our shoulders, feeling the love. My son (who never calls unless there’s a problem) phoned yesterday to tell me he was happy. That’s it. Happy. Wow.

Roll asparagus around in the vinaigrette.

Roll asparagus around in the vinaigrette.

“To be this happy in Michigan borders on insanity,” wrote Phoebe Nobles in her hilarious essay, Asparagus Superhero, published in Salon (April, 2007), and included in the anthology, Alone In The Kitchen With An Eggplant.

“…The old winter depression bordered on insanity too. Living in a place of lesser contrast, how would you know what it feels like to come back from the dead?” I quote that last line to my friends down South who ask how I could suffer through our winters.

I wonder how Ms. Nobles felt about this past winter, if the winter of ’07 didn’t scare her off for good. I remember that winter. It wasn’t that frightening, but then again, last winter raised the bar. But this blog’s not about that yawning polar vortex, those death-dyfying  temperatures. And it’s not about June. It’s  about asparagus – glorious harbinger of better months ahead. Raw, steamed, roasted and grilled, Ms. Nobles ate asparagus as if she were “…savoring each minute of spring.”

Grate or chop a hard-cooked egg, then sprinkle over asparagus.

Grate or chop a hard-cooked egg, then sprinkle over asparagus.

Asparagus is late to town this year but at last – carpe diem! – they’re back. Over the years I’ve celebrated asparagus season in a number of recipes, some elaborate, some simply garnished with morning dew, fresh after picking. The following recipe, though not quite as simple, can be made in a few minutes. Crumbled gorgonzola could be subbed for or added to the grated egg. Here are some other favorite recipes I’ve enjoyed in asparagus seasons past.

Tempura Asparagus, though obscenely good, takes some time and is best for fat spears. Procuitto-Wrapped Asparagus with Crumbled Blue Cheese is simple to execute and perfect for entertaining. Fresh Asparagus Soup with Herb Croutons, Picasso in a bowl, is hands down my favorite asparagus recipe – I make it every year. You may use whatever mushrooms you have on hand for this Omelet with Asparagus, Morels and Goat Cheese dish. If you’re looking for a make-ahead, crowd pleasing side dish, Asparagus Bread Pudding has your number. Spring Green Risotto (with asparagus) and Asparagus, Morel and Fiddlehead Fern Gratin are emeralds in the asparagus crown.

Raise your shot glass to asparagus. June, too.

Recipe: Balsamic Asparagus with Grated Egg

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford
  • 1 hefty fistful of asparagus; blanched, steamed, roasted or grilled*
  • 1 large egg, hard-cooked and chilled

Instructions

  1. In a pie pan or other wide-bottomed dish with a lip, whisk vinegar into oil, seasoning to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Marinate cooked asparagus in dish at room temperature, rolling occasionally in vinaigrette, 15-30 minutes.
  2. Finely chop or grate eggs using the largest-sized holes on a box grater.
  3. Arrange asparagus on 2-4 plates or a serving dish and sprinkle with egg.

*Asparagus cooks quickly, times varying according to size, and is cooked to perfection when just bending slightly.

Yield: 2-4 servings

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

 

 

 

 

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Southwest Breakfast Burritos + Memorial Day recipes for the Grill

IMG_0265My step-son’s wedding was last weekend, so my daughter, Greta, came in from Chicago and stayed at our place for the two-day festivities. Having been out-of-town all week, I never had a minute prior to her arrival to make her favorite meals and treats. I wasn’t about to go grocery shopping after she arrived, so relied on cheeses, crackers, and frozen foods to fill in the crevices between dinner parties. 

 

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I wanted to share just one (less boisterous) freshly made meal with Greta before she left. So while everyone slept in on Sunday morning, I bolted  to a neighborhood  grocery, then whipped up these yummy enchiladas. Total time from leaving for the store to pulling these out of the oven, less than 90 minutes.  

IMG_0267This recipe was shared with me by a friend, Brenda Paulsen, who made green chili huevos for a brunch last fall. Brenda’s from Arizona, and this is a favorite Southwest brunch recipe from her mom’s kitchen.

Trust me. If you make a similar version of this recipe, you will make it again. It’s quick to assemble – can even be made in advance and refrigerated prior to baking – it’s cost-effective, and a hand’s down crowd-pleaser, particularly after a night of revelry. 

Brenda’s recipe was easy to switch up, and you can ramp up the heat, or not, according to palates.  I used mild chilies and passed the hot sauce. I also used one of the Frontera brands of red (roasted tomato) enchilada sauce. Brenda used a green (tomatilla-based) sauce, which was not available to me at the store I shopped.  I do adore tomatillas, but it’s all good, and I sent Greta back to Chicago with the leftovers. 

Planning to inaugurate your grill over the Memorial Day weekend? Consider Flank Steak Fajitas, terrific party fare. Here are dozens of other well-tested recipes for the grill. 

Recipe: Southwest Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or canola oil, plus additional oil or cooking oil spray as needed for greasing baking pan.
  • 8-10 small (8-9 inch) tortillas (flour, corn or wheat)
  • 2-3 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies, mild or spicy
  • 8 ounces enchilada sauce, green or red
  • 2-3 cups shredded Monterey Jack
  • Chopped cilantro, optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce, for passing

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until combined. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Heat butter or oil, add eggs, and cook, tossing gently, until fluffy and firm, but not completely cooked; about 3 minutes. (Eggs will continues cooking in the burritos.) Stir one can of chilies, with their liquid, and 1 cup cheese into the eggs. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.
  3. Coat or spray a casserole or baking dish, large enough to accommodate the burritos, with oil or cooking oil spray. Evenly divide eggs into tortillas and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on top of the eggs. Roll up the tortilla with the eggs and cheese inside. lining them up in the pan, seam side down.
  4. Stir another can of chills into enchilada sauce. Taste sauce, and add another can of chilis, if desired. Cover burritos with enchilada sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese Bake, uncovered in middle rack of oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Number of servings (yield): 6

Active Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 20 minutes

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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