I can't believe it's almost Memorial Day weekend! Seems like just yesterday I was watching people shoveling snow and scraping ice. Of course, I live in California, and that was on the Weather Channel, but still, seems like yesterday. I blame my beloved Golden State Warriors for making the playoffs, and throwing off my seasonal clock.
Anyway, the upcoming long weekend is considered the official start of cookout season, and to celebrate I thought I'd repost this collection of grill-friendly recipes. By the way, in addition to looking and tasting great on their own, these dishes all have a proven track record of pairing well with cold beer. Enjoy!!
Thursday, May 16, 2013
No salad will break your heart like the “Caprese.” It always sounds great; creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil, and sweet, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes…what’s not to love? Well, false advertising for one. With very few exceptions, the tomatoes used on these Caprese salads are not sweet, juicy, ripe tomatoes; they’re the opposite.
They’re almost always your standard, conventionally produced, picked green and left to redden (not ripen) in the case, tomatoes. They’re mealy, flavorless, and completely undeserving of being paired with ingredients as perfect as mozzarella and basil.
While I’m invariably disappointed by the execution of this classic salad, I do love the combination of flavors, and by using cherry tomatoes, I thought it would translate perfectly for a baked goat cheese appetizer. Did it ever. When you take into consideration the taste, appearance, and ease of preparation, there’s a real chance this could become your new favorite summer appetizer.
By the way, as long as you are using high quality, oven safe ramekins, you can also do these on the backyard grill. Place a piece of foil on the grates, set down your ramekins, close the cover, and cook until the juices are bubbling, and the cheese is heated through.
I hope you give this delicious, and so not disappointing “Caprese” a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
8 oz log fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 equal pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp basil chiffonade
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne, to taste
*bake at 400 degrees F. for about 15 minutes
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
No one’s really sure why this magnificent dish is called barbecue shrimp, but since it was invented in New Orleans, let’s just assume they had a great reason, and move on to more important issues, like making and eating a huge plate of these.
There are countless ways to make this dish, almost all containing copious amounts of butter, along with garlic, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. This is not something you’d serve to your friend with the bland palate. By the way, can’t believe you’re still friends with that bland palate dude.
Anyway, feel free to adjust and adapt to your heart’s content. My version is fairly light, which is kind of funny to say, since I call for half a stick of butter, but I’ve seen versions that were basically deep-fried in the stuff. So, you know, compared to that, this is like spa food.
As far as seasoning goes, be careful with the salt. The Worcestershire is pretty salty, so you may not want to add it all to the shrimp stock like I did. I used about 3 generous tablespoons, since I like mine pretty salty, but it’s probably safer to just add 1 or 2 tablespoons, and then taste/adjust later on.
Other than that, and finding some colossal shrimp (the bigger the better), this recipe is a breeze. It may not have anything to do with barbecue, but like its namesake, it’s incredibly delicious and another great culinary gift from the south. I hope you try some soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds colossal shrimp
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp Old Bay seasoning, optional
4 tbsp cold butter, cut in cubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock (using reserved shells, sauteed in 1 tsp butter, and simmered with 2 cups stock or water for 20-30 min)
juice of 1 lemon
hot sauce to taste
juice of 1 lemon
hot sauce to taste
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
lots of white rice