Monday, July 27, 2009

Grilled Peaches with Honey and Mascarpone

Summer seems to demand grilling for some reason, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why. If it's so blasted hot outside, why do we go and hover over a 500+ degree smoke machine? Who knows, but the tradition holds, and personally, I love it. Now, as much as I love myself a big ole' piece of meat grilled to perfection, I think there may just be other foods that say "summer" a little stronger than a slab of cow. Peaches are one of those things for me. Peaches scream hot summer days, so what better way to summer them up even more than to cook them on a grill, and serve them alongside your steak or burger. The flavors here work very well together, and are the perfect accompaniment to your outdoor meal by the pool or on the patio.

Grilled Peaches with Honey and Mascarpone

  • Somewhat firm peaches, sliced in half with the pit removed
  • About 1 tablespoon of honey for every peach half you'll be cooking
  • About 1 tablespoon mascarpone (Italian cream cheese) for every peach half
In heating the grill, create a hotter side and a somewhat cooler section.

Place the peach halves, cut-side-down, on the hot part of the grill for about 3 minutes until char marks are visible and the peach is somewhat softer. Remove the peaches from the grill and turn them cut-side up.

Drizzle the honey over the cut sides of the peaches, and return them to the cooler section of the grill, cut-side-up for 4-5 minutes, until they're soft. Place some mascarpone in the hollow of each peach half, and serve while still warm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ginger Ale Scallops

This recipe was made in a hotel room with limited resources. We went to a grocery store, but it you're only going to be somewhere for one night, you don't really want to buy all these kitchen staples. So, we bought a few main ingredients, then tried to make do with what we had. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we came up with something pretty dang good. Don't laugh when you see it. There probably is a way to do it with honey, fresh ginger, etc, but the crisp sweetness of the ginger ale really worked well with the scallops. And best of all, it was ready in just a few minutes.

Ginger Ale Scallops

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound small-to-medium sea scallops (you could do it with larger ones if you wanted, but the small ones worked really well)
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • About 1/2 cup ginger ale
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Remove the "feet" from the scallops, if necessary. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the olive oil in a large, flat-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Make sure the bottom is covered well with the butter and oil. Add the scallops in a single layer, and let sear, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes. Gently dislodge them, if needed, and flip them to sear the other side, 2-3 minutes (or until gently colored). Remove from pan, retaining as much liquid in the pan as possible.

Add additional 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. Toss in the shallot, and saute until browned. Add the lemon juice and ginger ale, working the bottom of the pan to dissolve any browned bits of scallop into the sauce. Bring to a boil, and let the sauce reduce for a few minutes. Toss the scallops back into the pan to reheat and cover with the sauce. Serve over sauteed or roasted asparagus.

Goat Cheese and Summer Berry Salad

Summer is officially surrounding us, overheating us, and making us eat berries and fruit. This is a really quick, but really interesting salad that pairs well with other traditional, summer fare (grilled meat, corn on the cobb, etc.). The tangy goat cheese compliments the berries well, and the nuts add a great crunch. I don't really have any measurements here (use your judgment--I trust you), and you can really add whatever summer fruit or nuts suit your fancy. This is just the combination I used, but I'm sure others would work just as well.

Goat Cheese and Berry Salad

  • Young lettuces or spring mix
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Whole blackberries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Toasted almonds
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • Poppyseed dressing
Layer the lettuces, fruit, nuts, and cheese. Serve with the poppyseed dressing.