Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Lovin': A Simple Summer Menu

I just got back from a fantastic trip to Massachusetts with my eldest sister.  We were visiting family that we see very rarely (unfortunately).  One of them was my great aunt Jane who turned 92 yesterday.  She is a marvelous human being: strong, witty, independent, and incredibly generous.  She, so like my passed grandmothers, is the exact example of who I want to be.

The other family member, my dear Uncle Fred (U.F. as he has been dubbed), is the uncle I was going to visit when I met Chef Reiton (happy sigh).  My sister and I spent two nights with him pre- and post-visit with Aunt Jane.

For our first night with him, my sister provided dinner: a meal so delicious I kept inappropriately making yummy-sounds at the dinner table.  It was really quite simple: a grilled sesame-chile chicken served with a watermelon salsa over coconut rice--a meal that I don't know that I'd ever have eaten if it wasn't presented to me.  But, true to most flavors that are forced upon me, once I dug in, I couldn't stop.  The flavors were delightfully summer--bright, zingy, sweet, and salty.  And, thankfully, they weren't the stereotypical burger and corn-on-the-cob.  They were simply OMG.

So now, today--it was a brew day, so D and I decided early that we would make dinner on the grill and eat outside. The kitchen is just too much of a disaster zone on brew days to even think of finding an inch of counter space or room on the stove to cook indoors.  At the word "grill" my brain immediately recalled my sister's amazing meal.  What a perfect evening to try it! I emailed her for the recipe, and present it here for your use:

It's an incredibly easy meal to prepare, perfect for just the family or to impress company.  To make coconut rice, mix a cup of coconut milk and 7 oz. of water with 1 cup of jasmine rice and cook as you usually do (all brought to a boil and then simmered covered on low for about 15 minutes, resting for 5 more after the heat is turned off).  Oh, and I also pounded out and cut up the chicken breasts like my sister did.  It makes for a nicer presentation and more flavorful chicken:

To drink we made a new favorite concoction taken from Men's Health.  It's the Costa Rhode Island:
- 3/4 oz. elderflower liqueur
- 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 1/2 oz. tequila
- 6 oz. light beer (we used our home-brewed Belgian wit)

Salt your pint glass rim, mix your juice and liquors in the glass, fill it with ice, and top it all with the beer.  Mmmm mmm. Summery and deliciously light.

Dessert consisted of the simplest of summer ingredients: fresh berries and cream.  I had some whipping cream that needed to be used; so, armed with the balloon whisk my other sister gave Chef Reiton and I for our wedding, I whipped up about 1/2 a cup of whipping cream with about 1 tablespoon of sugar, then whisked in about a tablespoon or two of sour cream and a teaspoon of vanilla until relatively stiff peaks formed.  Everybody had their own little dipping bowl, and voila! Dessert was fast, healty(er), and fun!

Speaking of wedding, I really need to tell you all about that marvelous day.  It will be the next post, I promise.  :)

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