Summertime means grilling and that’s not negotiable. You can pull together a gourmet meal in short order. Fish is an excellent and traditional choice for a Friday night dinner. Your local grocery store may even stock fresh fish for Friday dinners. Pick out what simply looks good and is reasonably priced. Salmon is often the best choice. For this blog’s recent meal, we enjoyed salmon and Gulf shrimp with grilled corn and steamed cauliflower (cooked in the microwave). We live near the Texas Gulf Coast so fresh Gulf shrimp is always an option.
For the sides, my man had suggested cooking the corn in the microwave but I insisted we grill the ears for a nice char. While he worked the corn on the grill, I made the dressing for it: a heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise and the freshly squeezed juice of two limes. Sprinkle into that mixture some chili power and a little cayenne pepper. When it came time to put dinner on the table, I used a silicone brush to spread the dressing over the corn. Finally, it was sprinkled with shredded Manchego cheese and freshly chopped cilantro.
This was served with two other sides: cauliflower and leftover cucumber salad (which tastes better on the second day). For the cauliflower, I cut off the florets and places them in a small casserole dish. I sprinkled it with garden dill spice rub and drizzled on a little olive oil. That cooked in the microwave on our machine’s setting for cooking vegetables.
That’s all the cauliflower needed. In no time, I had corn, cauliflower and cucumber salad on the table. While I worked the vegetables, my boyfriend grilled wild salmon as well as fresh local Gulf of Mexico shrimp. Before setting on the grill, he sprinkled on his spices (secret ingredients) and brushed on melted butter to keep the seafood moist while it cooks. This meal was fresh while satisfying but not overfilling. The corn and cilantro with the lime-mayo dressing was refreshingly zesty. Best of all, the fresh salmon and Gulf shrimp were delicious. Although casual, this dinner also felt elegant in is simplicity. Pair with a white wine and enjoy your weekend!
We tend to stress ourselves out, even with things that should enhance our lives, such as cooking dinner. Why are you viewing your home life as a series of chores rather than a set of little luxuries? What if you cooked dinner on a granite-topped grill and took in the moment? Luxurious, right?
One of our luxuries is time. I’ve discovered I can best utilize it by marking the time. For instance, I’d been procrastinating on finishing a sewing project because when I returned to the machine it was jamming up the thread. I brought an egg timer into the sewing room and gave myself 15 minutes to figure it out. Re-reading the manual helped too. Soon enough, I had the machine rolling again and with relative ease, finished the project: a duvet for a doggie bed. The fabric had been measured and cut, twice, a month earlier. It was easy to assemble and the result makes me and the dogs happy.
I picked up this 15 minutes idea from my physician to whom I complained about how hard it can be to motivate to go the gym. He suggested I convince myself by thinking it will only be 15 minutes and then find myself putting in a 30-minute workout. Last night, I needed to de-clutter my mind and opted to take 15 minutes to meditate. It may have been 20 minutes I laid on a yoga mat breathing mindfully and it really helped.
Dinner should never be viewed as a chore and it too can be prepared relatively quickly. Here are two examples. Sunday night in this household is all about The Walking Dead. I used to make elaborate meals for this event. This time, I sliced up a chicken breast and marinated it in a plastic storage bag in rosemary, Meyer lemon juice and sliced garlic cloves.
I sliced off the skin from a filet of salmon. All I did to cook the meat and fish was to place it on the hot granite atop the raclette grill. I assembled a salad with lettuce and some deli salad sides (Greek olives and sliced roasted red pepper). Voila, a delicious dinner. In that instance, I had just returned from the grocery store with fresh ingredients.
But, I also recently discovered that the granite grill is great for cooking up canned vegetables. I rubbed on some olive oil and then let the grill work its magic on butter beans, green beans and diced (drained) tomatoes.
Salt, pepper and parmesan cheese brought it all together and to the table with ease. That’s what I mean when I talk about crafting your own happiness.
The Sage Leopard ate pumpkin puree and plain yogurt tonight because I forgot to go to the vet today to buy his kibble. He prefers the pumpkin and yogurt anyway so I don’t feel guilty.
Meanwhile, my raclette grill cooking experiment is getting fishy… with Atlantic salmon and Gulf shrimp. Living in Houston means you must have real Gulf shrimp or hold your head in shame for serving anything else. I bought a handful today at Kroger to go with a nice hunk of salmon we are grilling.
Rather than hand off the protein to my man to cook while I handle the veggies and sides, we cooperated in this. He instructed me on how to clean the shrimp and I handed off my camera for him to capture how simply elegant this kind of easy grilling is.
It’s not just the novelty of this Velata raclette grill. It’s the antithesis of hassle. It’s downright liberating. I’ve typically been a failed perfectionist. Now that I’m middle aged, I just don’t have time for that. I want to enjoy every moment I can make. Make good food without making an ordeal of it.