Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Summer Dinner

In my world summer equals grilling.  It hasn't always been that way; growing up we had an old gas grill which did its duty once or twice a summer.  Through the years though, summer cooking has become synonymous with firing up the grill and using it to its fullest.  Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while are familiar with the my grilled apple cake , my niece's second birthday cake, and of course we've been known to whip out the grill at odd times of year to create a plethora of grilled Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas roasts (most of which have caught the grill on fire at one point or another).  I think the grill fascination came mostly when my mother retired from a job she'd been at for many, many years and as a gift they gave her a beautiful six-burner Weber gas grill which was installed on the deck at the house on the Cape with a direct line to the gas in the house.  All of a sudden having access to a grill whenever you needed it, and with very little difficulty involving making it go, made the idea of grilling far more appealing and accessible.  Thus was born the summer=grill phenomenon in my world.  It kills me because I don't have a grill at home.  Of course, I don't have the beach three miles away at home either, so there are lots of things bringing me down here.

Anyway, the dinner we've created today is an example of the perfect summer meal in my eyes.  Fresh ingredients, some of them even local (I try!), turned into dishes made from scratch.  We did use the oven a bit for this one, but mostly, the grill was used to its fullest to make a meal of new and delicious delicacies!

Dinner tonight was brought to us by the color green (you know, like on Sesame Street, the numbers and the Count, you know what I'm talking about...).  July brought the grilling issue of Bon Appetit and everything in it looked amazing.

For this meal, we made three recipes from the magazine:
Green Shawarma Salmon,
Celery, Apple and Fennel Slaw,
and Cilantro-Scallion Bread

For dessert, a blueberry cake on the grill.

The cilantro scallion bread is a funny recipe.  It's a yeast dough that you make like a pastry dough.  You start by proofing the yeast with sugar and water, but while you're doing that, you cut butter into flour.  It was a bit counterintuitive.  After it had risen for an hour, you rolled the dough out and filled it with a mixture of cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds (it called for white and black, but I could only find white, so I did white and some toasted), and olive oil.  Then you rolled it up, cut it into 3/4" slices and laid them flat on a baking sheet where they were brushed with even more oil and then baked.  They were really good. Needed a bit more salt, but were really good.

(sorry about the sideways photo)

The next recipe was the Apple, Celery and Fennel Slaw.  BA advertised this as their updated version of Waldorf Salad, and while the thought (and crunch) was there, my father disagreed that it really took anything from the original Waldorf Salad.  That, for the most part though, is because my father loves all things mayonnaise and I think became fearful that we were going to start replacing all his mayo favorites with light olive oil vinaigrettes (we're not).  I would happily say this salad was inspired by the original, but maybe not a replacement of.  

This salad was also incredibly good and gave us a chance to use the brand spanking new mandoline to cut everything very, very thin.  The mandoline we still need to work on, but it did speed up the process significantly.  My only recommendation for the slaw off what they say in the recipe would definitely be to let it sit for at least a few hours before serving.  It didn't say anything about time in the recipe, so we made it just a half hour before and the leftovers definitely tasted better the next day.

It was pretty too (and green): 

The final BA recipe was the Green Shawarma salmon.  This also came out really well and much better than it happens to look in the picture below.  It basically involved blending a while bunch of cilantro with a whole bunch of olive oil and a whole bunch of spices (coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger).  Then you spred the marinade on the fish and let it rest for a few hours.  BA said that you were supposed to flip the fish while cooking which, I think, is why their picture looks so different from mine.  Either that or I did something wrong.  Either way, it was tasty.  And also super tasty the next day when cold.

Finally for the anomaly of the meal, the Blueberry Cake dessert.  The blueberry cake was the same recipe as the aforementioned grilled apple cake, but with blueberries rather than apples.  I don't know if it's the grill or it's just that some baking master is hanging out at the Weber kitchen writing recipes, but this cake is beyond good.  It's fluffy and dense and light and moist.  It has all thing going for it that a cake should have going for it.  If you have a grill, MAKE THIS CAKE, you will not be disappointed.  And if you are disappointed, please bring it to my house and I will eat it.  Thank you.

So that was our green-inspired, Bon Appetit and Weber discovered summer meal.  It was light, tasty and didn't heat up or stink up the house.  If I could eat like that every night, I would...

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