Monday, July 13, 2009

The Land That Summer Forgot

As I sit here typing, the Weather Channel feature on my desktop tells me that it is 53 degrees (and dropping) on July 13th! Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Unseasonably mild weather suits me just fine! (Though the effect on my vegetable garden that I put in a month late...well...that may be another story!) It's also nice to be teaching the second summer session and not sweltering through the long class periods with only a wimpy window unit to provide a small modicum of relief.

Though the weather suggests spring rather than summer, still, the people must GRILL! Unfortunately, sometimes I'm having to dash out back between downpours to barbecue. So some quick grilling recipes seem in order, especially for easy weeknight dinners. How about this for an ethnically eclectic menu--an Asian-infused entree, a Tex-Mex side dish, and for dessert, classic Americana! OH YEAH! And though these are really flavorful dishes, they are all quick and easy, employing some helpful shortcuts.

Teriyaki Salmon Burgers with Lime-Ginger Aioli on Crispy Grilled Buns

I know I should have made my own (fresh) salmon burgers, but I bought frozen ones at Sam's Club (gasp!).

This recipe makes four burgers.

Teriyaki Marinade:
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons sriracha (red chile paste)

Whisk together the soy sauce, honey and sriracha. Marinate the (frozen) burgers in the soy mixture for 10 or 15 minutes.* In the meantime, thinly slice some red onion, thickly slice an avocado (or two) and toss it with a little lime juice to keep it from browning, and slice four bakery buns in half.

Lime-Ginger Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 cloves minced garlic (normal people might prefer just two cloves!)
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely-grated

Grill the salmon burgers for about four minutes on each side, basting with the teriyaki glaze every so often. Toast the buns on the rack above until they are brown and crisp. To assemble, spread the bottom bun with aioli and add some red onion slivers, then the grilled salmon patty on top of that, then several slices of avocado, then the top bun, also spread liberally with aioli. SO YUMMY!

*This recipe is also delicious using boneless/skinless chicken breasts instead of salmon patties, but you'll need to marinate longer--at least two hours or, preferably, overnight.

Pecos Bean Salad
(Source: adapted from "
Whole Food Chef" via

4 cups cooked beans (pinto, kidney, garbanzo, or mixed beans--I used one 15 oz. can each dark red kidneys, cannellini, and garbanzos)
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, sliced (I used a couple of roasted red peppers from a jar instead)
2/3 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup cider vinegar or lemon juice (I used cider vinegar this time)
2 teaspoons sea salt (I used kosher salt)
*I also added about a cup of (drained) canned corn because I had some leftover in the fridge, and about 1/4 cup of chopped, fresh parsley.

Place the (drained) beans in a bowl. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, oil, vinegar, and salt (and corn and parsley, if using). Toss the ingredients together and allow the beans to marinate at room temperature for one hour. Toss again and serve.

Ok, so we have our entree and side dish. Now we need a sweet finish. While strawberry season may be over or drawing to a close in other parts of the country, ours has only been in full swing for about two weeks. I have a few plants stuck in here and there throughout my herb garden that have yielded a few handfuls of lovely berries in this, their first year of bearing fruit. (The berries pictured above are from my own garden.) But I have also had to resort to picking more at Rulf's, one of my favorite local orchards and farmstands. And it's a great year for picking-your-own, as the weather is so pleasant (when it's not raining, that is)! My absolute favorite way to enjoy the summery berries is to make strawberry-buttermilk ice cream, which has such a wonderful interplay of sweetness and tanginess. It's so easy, and it's the perfect dessert to accompany meals from the grill in the warmer months...even if your months aren't all that warm!

Strawberry-Buttermilk Ice Cream

1 pint ripe strawberries
1 (generous!) cup of sugar
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk (preferably REAL buttermilk!)

Rinse, hull, and mash the strawberries. (I like to puree them in the food processor and then strain them to get rid of most of the seeds, but if you don't mind them, skip this step.) Whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. When the sugar is fully dissolved, gently stir in the cream and buttermilk.

Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream has reached a soft serve consistency, you can eat it right away, but I prefer to transfer it to another container and harden in the freezer for a few hours. Either way, it's SO GOOD!

*Here's a tip to preserve these perfectly ripe berries for future batches of ice cream. While you're hulling and mashing and straining, you might as well do a quart instead of a pint, and freeze the extra half of the strawberry puree that has been mixed with a cup of sugar and the juice from the other half of the lemon. Then when you're ready to make more ice cream, you can thaw the fruit mixture and add it to the other ingredients which are available year-round. Clever, eh?


MrsKimF said...

gina, what kind of effect will it have on this recipe if I go lighter with my dairy products? It looks like it could possibly be yummy in the "lighter" version.

p.s. sat & visited with the doudster at a wedding reception on saturday...we're both hoping to see you in november. so is my mother.

JoyBugaloo said...

Hi, Kim! Well, I have also used half (lowfat) buttermilk and half heavy cream, which was yummy (and tangy). So I think you could certainly swap out half-n-half or whole milk for the heavy cream, but you're going to get something less creamy, like sherbet, rather than ice cream. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Might be terrific! Try it and report back...

JoyBugaloo said...

P.S. God willing and the creek don't rise, I will be in Nampa in November!