Saturday, May 31, 2014
Our friends are retiring in droves. The first one who really got to me was Chris. Every once in a while we take a long weekend trip with Chris and Mark. All of the sudden, we didn't have to abide by a teacher's schedule. That's when it finally dawned on me that I have less than ten years to my own retirement. Oh, my. I absolutely love what I do so I'm not sure I'll ever totally retire. But, there will be a time I'll slow down because there are so many other things I'd like to do.
We'd had a busy week. Monday was Memorial Day so there was a family party at brother John's house. He did ribs on the grill I brought the other stuff. All too often he does the ENTIRE dinner and I feel like a freeloader so I was totally thrilled that he actually let me bring almost everything. I took David's cheese dip, Brown sugar shrimp from Gastro Grilling, brie with brown sugar and pecans, Casa d'Angelo Salad, Aunt Bebe's Bean Bowl, vinaigrette potato salad, deviled eggs and Strawberry Torte.
Tuesday night we were actually home for burgers on the grill smothered with onions and mushrooms.
Wednesday was a retirement reception for our friend Phyllis Geeslin who has done such an incredible job as executive director of the Benjamin Harrison House. Thursday was dinner out with our dear friends George and Steve and Ellen. We were celebrating Ellen's retirement. Are you seeing the pattern here??? So, Friday evening we were going to celebrate our friend Brenda's retirement. Brenda and Janet used to sit behind us at Colts games. They were some of the first friends we made as a couple lo those many years ago when Connie and I first met.
My wonderful housecleaner, Debbie, hasn't been here for a couple of months. Between her mom's surgery and getting engaged and all kinds of things, life has interfered with her visits to my house. Needless to say with our schedules at work and the fact that it's spring and our yard is VERY needy, the interior has been sadly neglected. The dust is thick and it's obvious we have a dog and a cat cohabitating with us.
Now, what would you do? I've been out all week with the exception of one evening. I really wanted to eat dinner at home. But, we were supposed to go out with Brenda and Janet. And, my house wasn't quite ready for prime time. Good friends ignore the dust and the dog fur. Indeed they do! Instead of going out, we ate at home. What a lovely, relaxing evening.
I marinated pork tenderloin in a fabulous marinade from Cuisine At Home magazine. That's going on my list of go-to marinades. Then, I did fingerling potatoes in a foil packet on the grill.
And, corn on the cob with a mustard/maple/thyme glaze. I've made that before. It was the star of the show. We had a salad of lettuce and strawberries from the garden. It also had asparagus, orange segments and toasted pecans. Last but not least, I took an idea from Food Network magazine and ran with it. Bananas grilled with toffee bits, chocolate and mini marshmallows.
All in all, between Memorial Day and Friday, there wasn't a bad recipe in the bunch. I do love the story behind David's cheese dip. Son number one, David, pulled a deli container out of the fridge and told me he'd found this FABULOUS dip at the store. It was kind of expensive - like $8 for a pint - but he loved it. I tasted it and it tasted for all the world like swiss cheese, red onions and mayonnaise. I read the ingredient list and yup, that's what it appeared to be. So, next time we went to Columbus to visit the kids, I started at Sam's Club. There, I bought a mongo wedge of Jarlsberg and a bag of red onions. Shredded part of the cheese, minced the onions and moistened the whole thing with mayonnaise. Exactly alike. And, maybe 25% of the cost...
Here's where to find the recipes that I've already included in this blog:
Casa d'Angelo Salad
Aunt Bebe's Bean Bowl
Corn with Mustard/Maple/Thyme Butter
Now, on to the new recipes:
Brown Sugar Shrimp. This recipe actually had two dipping sauces with it. A cocktail sauce and a white horseradish. Both were good but I felt that both detracted from the shrimp. This recipe came out of a cookbook called Gastro Grilling. I've made it about halfway through the cookbook and want to try just about everything in it. Actually, we've made another recipe and it was equally fabulous. And, as you'll note, no photos...
Brown Sugar Shrimp
shrimp, tail on, shells removed, deveined
Put the shrimp in a bowl and pour bourbon over them. You don't necessarily need to fully cover them as long as you toss them every couple of minutes. We used frozen shrimp so didn't worry about refrigerating them. Marinate them for about fifteen minutes. Toss the bourbon or use it to cook with as long as your'e going to heat it but do not drink it! Pat the shrimp dry. Now, the recipe calls for dipping the shrimp in butter then refrigerating it again. I didn't have time to do that so here's what I did - Dip the shrimp in melted butter then roll it in dark brown sugar. Put it on a grill pan. Refrigerate it until you're ready to grill. Grill on both sides. You'll have lovely golden brown shrimp that just melt in your mouth.
Soy Marinated Chinese Pork Tenderloin. See the gorgeous char on that pork tenderloin? It tasted equally good. I can see this on ribs, burgers (pork, beef or turkey,) pork loin, pulled pork, chicken... Just about anything. Even a really meaty fish would be fine with this marinade.
Chinese Soy Marinade
1/2 c low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c purchased barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays and doubled this)
2 T sesame oil
2 T minced fresh ginger
2 T dry sherry or mirin
1 T chili garlic sauce
Mix and marinate your meat for about an hour. Brush on as you're grilling also. If you've set some aside, you can serve this on the side as a dipping sauce.
Gooey Bananas. I saw this idea on Food Network Magazine's calendar of ideas at the front of the magazine. They called for splitting the banana and stuffing it with toffee bits, chocolate and mini marshmallows. Ummm, great idea but there's not enough STUFF. So, I peeled the bananas and laid them on heavy duty foil (you do NOT want to use a pan you've got to clean later or you will be scrubbing from now until next May...) Then, sprinkle them liberally with toffee bits, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Seal the packets and toss them on the grill. You'll need to peek and see how they're doing. Once the chips have melted and the marshmallows are nice and gooey, you're good to go.