Summer is completely here - bugs, humidity, and fireworks. And GRILLING!
Steve and I decided that July would be a good month to concentrate on eating food that's better for us. (This decision following our fantastic trip to St. Louis in which we each ate something called a Concrete. Its not called a Concrete for nothin'...) The last day of our trip was July 1. Do you know how hard it is to eat healthily in a roadside diner?!?
Sometimes this "eating healthy" thing means avoiding sweets, pop, fried foods, and junk food, but I still will use butter, oil, and other "whole ingredients." Personally, I'd rather eat food that is as natural as possible, rather than something that has a few less calories but a whole lot of fake ingredients. Personal choice, yours may be different!
So back home, we kicked it into full gear. Fresh fruits and veggies are overflowing on our countertop. The best part about having so many of these on hand is that you never have to think about what to have with supper. Corn, asparagus, green beans, watermelon, tangerines, blueberries, tomatoes, potatoes... they all work. These are short recipes, but really, during the summertime, isn't that what we're looking for anyway?
Note: Whenever you're marinating meat, it works so well to do so in a Ziploc bag and put that bag in a bowl, giving it a squeeze now and then. It keeps the marinade all over the meat, rather than the meat just sitting in the marinade in a dish.
Note II: We didn't serve the bruschetta on toast... we had it on grilled portobello mushrooms. Wow, that was good!
Roasted Country Ribs
Adapted from Epicurious.com
1.5-2 pounds country pork ribs (4-6, figure about 2 or 3 ribs per person)
2 Tablespoons coarse grain mustard (you can use dijon, but I like the tang of coarse grain)
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning (substitute your favorite seasoning mix here. Jane's Crazy Mixed-Up Salt would work too)
1 Tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, oil, seasoning, and water. Put ribs into a large Ziploc bag and pour the dressing on top and seal. Squeeze to cover ribs, and let sit for at least 15 minutes, but not more than 1 hour.
Put the ribs in a shallow glass baking dish and pour out all of the marinade on the top. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until meat is between 160 and 170 degrees. Remove from oven, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes longer (they're still cooking, but rather than getting over-cooked, this allows them to raise their temp and become more tender too).
Green Bean Bundles
From Paula Deen & Friends: Living it Up, Southern Style
Green beans, washed and trimmed (about 1 cup per person)
Butter (1 Tablespoon per person)
Salt & Pepper
Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
For each person, tear off a square of tin foil (12"x12" should do it). Put the green beans in the middle, and top with the butter (cut into small cubes), and salt and pepper to taste. Make each square of foil into a tightly-sealed bundle.
Place each bundle on the grill (direct heat) for 15 minutes.
Adapted from "The Maroon Spoon" (Holland Christian Cookbook)
6 chopped Roma (plum) tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1-14 ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. vinegar (balsamic or white wine)
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1 large french baguette, thinly sliced on diagonal
3 Tbsp. olive oil
For bruschetta, mix all ingredients together and let sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. (Doesn't keep well for more than 48 hours if you use fresh basil. If you choose to use dried basil, you'll need less and it might keep a bit longer.)
For toasts, brush slices with olive oil and toast under broiler until golden brown, flipping once.
To serve, top toast with a spoonful of tomato mixture. Top with shredded parmesan if desired.