Friday, July 1, 2011

The Grilling Season

Is it just my imagination, or is the July 2011 issue of Bon Appetit ("The Grilling Issue") a little easier to read than the recent run has been?  I'm not sure about that, but I am sure that it contains some of the best recipes I've tried in a while.

With Len out of town last weekend, I had an opportunity to make Food That Len Won't Try because it breaks one or more of his eating rules:

1. No curry and nothing really spicy.
2. No fruit or berries.
3. Nothing that looks like itself.
4. Nothing with a bone except beef or pork.
5. No eggplant, ever.

There might be a good reason for the first rule, but the rest of them must have some deep psychological origin and I accepted that he wasn't going to change before I married him almost 20 years ago.  But I do look forward to making things he might not eat when there are plenty of folks around who will. The Sunday Super Supper Squad gives me that excuse, as long as I can accommodate my  non-meat eaters (some of whom will eat fish and others will eat bird.)

From the above-mentioned magazine, I made:

Grilled Chicken with Za'atar (page 80), which required roasting some garlic and mixing a za'atar spice blend (page 111.)
The chicken was charred, but pronounced excellent. The recipe called for halved chickens, but I also used bone-in breasts and increased the recipe for the marrinade (I had 12 people for dinner, only two of whom only ate salmon.)

Roasted garlic.
For the non-meat eaters, there was Green Shawarma Salmon (page 80) and vegetarian lasagna. In keeping with the Middle-eastern theme, I made tatziki and a potato salad with green beans dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Potato Salad.
For dessert, because the berries at Costco looked great that morning, I made the Blackberry Buttermilk Cake (page109), the standout in the collection from the story "The B-List."

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake.
Served dusted with powdered sugar.
Len did not get home until after 10, so he missed out on all this goodness. Now I'm flipping through the magazine to see what we might try when folks come over on Sunday to use the pool and watch 1776.

Middle-eastern Potato Salad

5 lbs. mixed small potatoes
1/2-1 lb fresh green beans
1 medium onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Fresh mint & dill, a few tablespoons, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic and let sit while vegetables cook.

Boil the potatoes in their skins in well-salted water until just tender, drain and let cool.  If desired, peel the skins (I leave them on) and quarter the potatoes. Steam the green beans until tender-crisp and shock in cold salted water to stop the cooking process. Drain. Add the beans, onion, salt (start with at least 1 1/2 teaspoons), and freshly ground pepper to the potato quarters in a large bowl.

Whisk the oil and lemon dressing well, pour over the potatoes and gently toss to cover everything.  Add the parsley, mint and dill and additional salt and pepper to taste.  This can be served warm or cold (I like warm best.)

Because I had baked extra garlic cloves, I used some of the garlic paste in the dressing.  It added a nice depth of flavor.