Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Summery Supper

Dont'cha just HATE posts without pictures of the food? I know, I, too. Mea culpa! I whipped up a lovely, light summertime supper last night that I want to share with you, but I was gardening until darkness fell, and I was so tired and we ate so late that I didn't have the strength or patience for the photography before we fell on our plates and devoured said meal. So you'll have to go on faith that it was both lovely and tasty.

We started with, you guessed it, the strawberry salad that we are still so enamoured with (an there IS a picture of that in a recent post!). Then I made a yummy grilled salmon for which there is no real recipe. I simply coated a skinned, filleted half of salmon on both sides with the spicy house rub, let it "marinate" for a half hour or so, before drizzling with olive oil and grilling. Then I served the fish over a bed of green rice, another terrific recipe that I read about on Alexis Stewart's blog (6/25/08). You know, I feel an aside coming on here, but I really enjoy reading her blog. In many ways, she is her mother's daughter--her obsessive baking tendencies and her compulsions toward cleanliness and order. But whereas everything is always flawless perfection with Martha, Alexis shows you her mistakes and tells you when things go horribly wrong in the kitchen (and gives ideas for solutions to fix those problems). She seems much more approachable, and as a bonus, she is wonderfully sarcastic and irreverent. And I don't think Martha would ever dream of posting before and after pictures of HER boob job on her blog (6/26/08)! Tee hee. Don't get me wrong, I love Martha because she is Martha, but I think I could hang with Alexis.

Anyway....the green rice. Basically, you just make a huge pot of steamed, long-grained white rice (two cups raw rice, plus three cups of water, plus a good pinch of salt, brought to a boil, covered, and simmered for 15-20 minutes and fluffed with a fork). Then you make a spicy, flavorful, herby puree (not unlike the persillades and chimichurris that I've been all about lately!) to pour over the rice to make it green. Fresh, light--healthy even--and dee-licious!

Green Rice
(Source: Alexis Stewart's Blog, 6/25/08)

1 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 jalapenos with seeds, roughly chopped*
2-3 jalapenos without seeds, roughly chopped*
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil**

Puree until smooth in blender then mix into prepared rice.

Gina's Notes:

*When I make this again, I will start with two jalapenos and taste before I add more! I used four total this time (two with seeds), and it was too hot for my comfort, even though I like things with a good bit of heat. Also, I will use all seeded peppers.

**I would increase the olive oil to at least two tablespoons. I think it needs a little more richness, and the oil helps mellow the spice of the peppers. (Even with two tablespoons of oil, it's still quite low in fat, if you worry about such things.)

Finally, we ended our lovely meal with a slice of tart and tangy and perfectly summery grapefruit cake. Cyd had a grapefruit that was going around the bend, so I rescued it and made a recipe that I found on the delightful blog, Smitten Kitchen. It's basically a twist on an Ina Garten recipe for lemon yogurt loaf cake, but I think any citrus flavor would work. Oh, and if you want to see lovely pictures of the cake, Deb takes MUCH better photos than I do, so click the previous link. Of course, my cake had a lovely, drizzly powdered sugar glaze that she opted against, but you will still get the general idea. Here's the recipe:

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa via Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used nonfat, as it's what I had on hand)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs (I used 4 small to medium)
3 teaspoons grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit--I didn't get this much off of mine, but it was overly-ripe and very soft, hard to grate)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. (I used a Pyrex loaf pan and just sprayed it with floured-added nonstick spray, and the cake came right out with barely a crumb behind.)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice and pour over the cake.
(Deb says that this is superfluous, and perhaps it isn't vital, but it's the only uncooked part of the fruit used in this recipe, and I think it gives the cake a fresher taste and that much more grapefruit flavor. But you do what you need to do.)

Ok, ok, I will leave you with one picture to soothe your hostilities and perhaps make you chuckle as well. I spayed my sweet little PBGV, Prunelle, last week. She just turned seven (which I can't even believe!), so I finally had to give up the dreams of her ever finishing a championship and/or having a litter. Though the surgery went off without a hitch, she has since been licking her wound and has managed to give herself the beginnings of a nasty infection. So I took her to the vet for a follow-up yesterday, and along with a course of antibiotics, she also must now suffer this indignity...


mrskimf said...

i was planning to do salmon (baked because our south-facing back patio is way too hot for grilling) and brown rice tonight for big davd & i , so i am going to make a trip to the karcher ranch market so we can try the green sauce on our brown rice! i'll let you know how it goes...

Anna said...

I like Alexis too. I keep forgetting to add her to my blog roll. Or maybe I did and forgot. It's getting so big....

mrskimf said...

big dave loved it! i mean he loooovvvvved it. i halved the recipe for the two of us and there isn't any left. it's a little hotter than my tastebuds can take, but i was thinking it would make a nice guac base. maybe? i also did a slight variation on your sweet & sassy rub for our salmon...very yummy!

Randi said...

I didnt know Alexis had a blog. Now I need to move away from the computer or I'll spend all night reading it. What does she do with all those baked goods? She doesnt eat them thats for sure.

Randi said...

Btw, I'm going to sell some baked goods at a flea market on Sunday.

Just the Right Size said...

Gina, you've been tagged! Please go to my blog to read the rules and participate!

Come on over and play!