Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Taste of Summer with a Little Winter Thrown In

God, I'm loving this 70 degree weather we're having. This time of year, I start getting tired of "winter" fare and start craving summer foods. I do the opposite at the end of summer. It's been so nice out, that we've been able to grill the past couple of nights.

First, I used some pesto that I made with basil from my garden last summer and grilled it on ahi tuna and asparagus (yeah, I know asparagus really isn't in season yet, but it was on super duper sale and I couldn't resist it). The pesto froze amazingly well and once it was thawed it was totally the smell (and taste) of summer. If only I had some sun-warmed tomatoes from the garden to go with it!

The recipe I used last summer was from Moosewood Cookbook:


3 c packed fresh basil leaves, removed from stems
2 large cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup pinenuts, walnuts, almonds or a combination of those nuts - toasted (I always use pinenuts)
3/4 c packed fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 cup melted butter
salt to taste

Place everything except oil and butter in food processor bowl. With motor running, pour in melted butter and olive oil. Process until smooth paste.

I brushed this over the ahi and asparagus and grilled.

For our taste of winter, I made Garlicky Mashed Sweet Potatoes, a recipe from the NC Sweet Potato Commission.

Garlicky Mashed Sweet Potatoes

6 medium Sweet Potatoes (I used sweet potatoes and not yams)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (I used dry)
1 sprig fresh thyme (I used dry)
5 whole garlic cloves (I used minced)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
6 cups chicken broth
4 tablelspoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Peel and quarter sweet potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with seasonings (adjusted to taste) and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-18 minutes. Drain excess liquid from potatoes and mash lightly with a fork.

Add butter, sour cream and milk. Cream with hand mixer on low speed leaving sweet potatoes slightly chunky. Keep warm until serving.

Makes 12 servings.

These were absolutely delicious! B couldn't stop raving about them. J had two helpings and M only gagged once.

Last night we made Grilled Asian Burgers with Onion and Pineapple, my favorite burger recipe. I got this recipe from Controlled Chaos and it's one of our summer staples.

Grilled Asian Burgers with Onion and Pineapple

1 pound uncooked ground turkey (she uses beef)
1/4 cup scallion(s), sliced
3 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp ginger root, freshly grated
2 tsp minced garlic
4 slice pineapple, four 1/2-inch-thick rings
1/2 medium Vidalia onion(s), or other sweet onion, cut into four 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high.

In a medium bowl, combine turkey, scallions, teriyaki sauce, ginger and garlic until thoroughly mixed; form into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.
Lightly coat burgers, pineapple and onion with cooking spray; place on grill.

Grill pineapple, turning once until lightly charred, about 4 minutes; remove from grill. Grill burgers and onions, turning once, until burgers are desired degree of doneness and onions are lightly charred and tender, about 7 to 9 minutes.

To serve, place 1 burger on each of 4 plates. Top each with 1 slice of onion (separated into rings) and 1 slice of pineapple; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of cilantro.

Tonight we're having burgers again, then it's back to winter fare.

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