Monday, September 15, 2008

Summer-fall

Fall has most definitely been starting to sneak up on summer, this morning for instance the thick fog and crisp morning air inspired me to not only crank the heater in my car but to turn my bun warmers all the way up to 4! But by the time lunch rolled around the sun had come out in full force and the temperature shot up to a toasty 91 degrees. By sunset tonight I am sure the air temperature will quickly drop back down to sweater and scarf weather and warrant more car heater use and possibly even an extra blanket on the bed. This mishmash of weather leaves me feeling both summery and fallish throughout the course of a day. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate this weather than with two different delicious dinners that embrace the best of the overlapping seasons.

So Long Summer BBQ Menu

Grilled cedar plank salmon with dry rub
Grilled colorful veggies
Brown basmati rice
Tropical fruit salad (mango and pineapple)

Recipes

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon with Dry Rub


I love cedar grilling planks! Not only do they give your meats and veggies a most wonderful flavor but the smell of the cedar slowly burning is such a soothing scent. It reminds me of beachy bonfires or the comforting smell of warm walls in a dry sauna. We used a recipe for dry rub that was found on the interior pamphlet of the planks. Before using your cedar plank you want to soak it in water or a water juice mix for at least an hour or up to four. This prevents the wooden plank from catching fire on the grill.

Ingredients

1 2lb Atlantic salmon fillet
3 or 4 Tablespoons dry rub (recipe below)
1 cedar grilling plank, soaked in h20 and then rubbed with pineapple

Ingredients for the rub

This rub was delish on our fishy but I think it would be equally scrumptious on chicken or pork.

2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar (we used dark, but light would be delicious too)
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon paprika (I like hot paprika but sweet would work too)

Heat your BBQ grill to 325 and while it is warming up you can prepare the salmon. After washing your fish place it skin side down on the plank. We rubbed our soaked plank with some pineapple slices since we had some extra bits lying around from our tropical salad. Sprinkle as much of the dry rub as you like on the fish, we like our fish on the spicy side so we used about 4 Tablespoons of the rub.


When the grill is hot enough put the plank with the fishy atop it onto the grill, close the lid and let this cook undisturbed for 20 minutes. I know it’s hard not to peek but doing so disturbs the cooking process and lowers the temp of the grill dramatically so be patient and after 20 minutes have passed you can check the fish with a fork to see if it is cooked enough.


If it’s still too pink or juicy give it another couple minutes of cook time before taking it off the grill.

Grilled Colorful Veggies


Ingredients

Whatever pretty veggies your heart desires! We used mini sweet peppers and asparagus.

Preparation

Drizzle your veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning of choice. We used sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Arrange the veggies directly on the grill or on a grill pan and cook on high with the lid of the grill open, turning veggies every so often for even grillage. We ended up cooking ours for just shy of 10 minutes (I like my peppers pretty charred!)

We served our fish and veggies with brown basmati rice and a tropical fruit salad consisting of pineapple and papaya.


Look how pretty the inside of the pineapple is!

We also opened a delicious bottle of wine from Trader Joes that I had picked up because it boasted having vanilla undertones and was under $6, yay for inexpensive and delicious wine!


(Yes, in case you were wondering that is indeed gumby riding pokey, a Buddha statue and Jesus candle in the background)

Dinner was delish! I had a little bit of everything and two glasses of the robust yet slightly vanillish wine.


As promised to celebrate the seasonal transition I have a second equally delicious dinner to share with you. This one was inspired by a recipe found in the September issue of Rachel Ray and a delicious apple tasted on my most recent visit to the farmers market.

Chicken Apple Chili


I love Rachel Ray, not only because she has a super snazzy name but because she is always coming up with scrumptious recipes that capture the deliciousness of the season. This recipe was found in an article that celebrated everything appley. I tweaked the fat content, eliminated the gluten, altered the spices a bit and added more of my favorite fall ingredient, apples.

Ingredients

¼ cup olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A sprinkling of salt and pepper
4 apples, cut into bite sized cubes
2 Tablespoons earth balance (or butter if you prefer)
2 cups gluten free chicken broth
¼ cup tapioca starch, potato starch or brown rice flour
¾ cup milk (soy or moo cow)
2 15 oz cans of white beans
Shredded monterey jack cheese for topping

Preparation

In a large sauce pot or dutch oven, warm 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add the chicken pieces, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper and cook for 7 or 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in the pot over medium heat, when it is warmed add the apple and cook until apples soften, about 5 minutes. Then remove the apples and set aside as well.

Add to the now empty pot the earth balance or butter and melt on medium low. Add to this your flour of choice and whisk until combined. Next add the chicken broth and then the milk and stir until thickened. Add to this the chicken, apples and the beans and bring to a light boil and let simmer for a few minutes. Portion into bowls and sprinkle with monterey jack cheese.

This is the perfect meal for a cool fall night and is a most savory and delicious way to enjoy fall apples. I think in another month when the daytime hours start to cool down and match the evening weather more this chili will be perfect to make ahead of time and enjoy for lunch.

No comments: