Are you one of those people that gets all depressed that it's Labor Day and summer is over? If you're a teacher I'm sure you are. Personally, I'm pretty sure it's going to remain hot out for another few weeks so It doesn't bother me much. Of course, gone will be the days of "summer hours". Basically that's the excuse we use for eating dinner at 7:30ish every night (we're guilty of pushing 9pm as well). With School (homework) and sports (soccer) starting up, I need to get back on the ball and back to planning dinners that can be made simply and quickly (and at a normal time). But for those of you wrapping up the summer season with festivities in the form of cookouts, I've got one fantastic summer side for you to share with your guests. Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon Scallion Vinaigrette from Melissa D'Arabian of the Food Network.
Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon-Scallion Vinaigrette
(For the potatoes)
7 Med red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup light mayo
1 TBS Dijon mustard
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
(For the vinaigrette)
1 slice bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBS red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 scallions, chopped
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Preheat a grill to medium. Put red potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, after 10 min, add the sweet potatoes. Return to a boil and cook 10 min more. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the mayo, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. When potatoes are cool to the touch, gently toss them in the mayo mixture to coat.
Make the vinaigrette: Cook the bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until crisp, then set aside to cool in the skillet. Once cool, pour bacon and drippings into a small bowl along with the olive oil. In a large bowl whisk mustard and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the bacon-olive oil mixture, whisking to emulsify. Add the scallions, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and whisk to blend.
Using tongs, place the potato pieces on the hot grill and cook on all sides long enough to cook through and make grill marks, 1-2 min per side. Handle potatoes gently so they don't fall apart. Remove the potatoes from the grill and place in the bowl with the vinaigrette. Gently toss to coat completely and serve warm or cold.
Yum. That's all I've got to say about that.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
If we're going to get this childhood obesity thing under control we have to do more than just sign our kids up for a bunch of sports and activities. Teaching them about food is pretty critical. I'm sure this comes as no surprise but we talk alot about food in our house, and we sit down together for dinner at least five nights a week, sometimes seven. Hayden is especially into it and even asks if his chips have trans fats in them and things like that. I love it. Yesterday Phoebe had a major hankering to get in the kitchen and cook something. It was kind of late and we were going to whip up a pizza for dinner so she settled for picking out a recipe to make in the morning for breakfast.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Ever just get on some random kick and find that you are suddenly into a food you were never really into before? Typically I don't use much dill when I cook but this summer that has changed. We planted four dill plants in our garden and they smell so good when I'm out there that I find myself craving dilly foods. I really liked this Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Feta that was in Food Network Magazine this summer. I ate it as a meal with a side of grilled zucchini but I think it would be a lovely addition to a brunch menu.
Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Feta (Food Network Magazine)
8 oz orzo pasta (about 2 cups)
1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails removed), coarsely chopped
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Grated zest of two lemons (I did one), plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (I left this out)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup diced English cucumber (I'm not sure what nationality mine was)
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbs halved kalamata olives (I left these out too)
Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse under cool water; shake off excess. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside while you make the shrimp, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.
Toss shrimp on a baking sheet with 1 Tbs oil, the garlic and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a single layer. Broil the shrimp, turning once, until opaque and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the shrimp, lemon zest and juice, scallions, mint, dill, cucumber, feta, olives and remaining 1/3 cup olive oil to the bowl with the pasta; toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 6 hrs. (Bring to room temp before serving.)
Monday, August 13, 2012
A few months back I wrote a post about how I sign up for races as incentive to keep moving. I need to be prepared when the time comes so I stay motivated to get out and run a few times each week. Back in November, my friend Melanie and I decided to do the Warrior Dash (which was on Saturday). This race is described as a "5k from hell" on their website. There are 13 obstacles that range from crawling through mud under barbed wire to pulling yourself over a 15 ft wall with a rope to jumping over fire. Temporary mental impairment? Midlife crisis? Who knows what it was that made me think this was a great idea. I mean, it wasn't a bad idea, but I should have done a little more event specific training (besides running up that mile long hill while on vacation a couple of weeks ago). Now would probably be a good time to thank the nice woman and fellow Warrior for saving me on that one stupid wall by pulling me over, one leg at a time. Thank you. Other than that, I think I did pretty good.