Posts Tagged ‘summer’
Miss L and I abandoned the valley heat last weekend for a coastal “vacation” to Grandma & Grandpa L’s house. And while it was only a brief 36-hour getaway, it was such a pretty weekend that it felt like we hopped on a plane and truly escaped to a new locale.
On Sunday morning, we headed to Carmel River State beach, where Miss L had little initial interest in the river and just wanted to escape over to the big ocean.
Well.. until those big waves started crashing and making lots of noise.
Suddenly the calm mouth of the river seemed so much more inviting!
There was also ample sand time with a basket of beach toys…
..and some bird watching with Mommy as well. (ironic that she loved seagulls and pelicans here… but rarely cares about the hawks at home)
In all, she was quite enamored with her splashing and sand time on an amazingly beautiful (and rare) sunny summer day!
Of course, one can’t call it a beach vacation without swimming… so we headed back to the house for the solar-heated warmth of a swimming pool.
And that ocean doesn’t have Uncle Mark to swim with all afternoon long!
I’m pretty certain Miss L would love being on vacation every single day of the summer!
Miss L’s favorite word is currently, “OUTSIDE!” We used to think she just liked to go where Memphis went (you know, when she had to go outside), but suddenly it became her favorite place to be. Sitting on the front porch, walking to the mailbox, hanging out with Dad as he grills… outside! Outside! OUTSIDE!
So on Saturday morning, we headed outside… and this is what happened.
Summer is truly here this week, with another 100+ degree day this afternoon. Unlike other locales where the temperature peaks around 12-1pm, the hottest part of our valley summers come at 4pm. That often dampens the excitement of cooking dinner after sweating up a storm on the journey home… and usually gets me craving something light and easy to cook. That, my friends, is how this sandwich came to be! I honestly feel silly even writing up a recipe for it, because there’s nothing too crazy neat about it, but it’s simple, yummy and a pretty cheap dinner too!
Grilled E&O with Roasted P panini (serves 2)
1 red bell pepper
1 onion (red/yellow/sweet… your pick!)
extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1) Roast your red pepper and carmelize your onions – preferably the night before after the house has cooled down.
For the pepper: stick it on a baking sheet at 450 degrees and rotate it every 10 minutes for 30 minutes. Let it cool, peel the skin and remove the seeds and stem, then cut it into smaller pieces. Store it in a container and cover it with olive oil and seal it.
For the onion: cut it in half, and then into smaller rainbow slices. Heat 2 T of oil in a pan at medium high, then sauté them. Add salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar, and keep moving them until they’re clear and browned. Store them overnight in the fridge.
2) Cut your eggplant lengthwise into thin slices (7-8), then brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3) Grill your eggplant on medium-high heat, about 3-4 minutes per side until you see your grill marks.
4) Assemble your sandwich by layering your eggplant, roasted red peppers and onions on your slices of sourdough. Add some chopped basil and slide it all on the grill/panini press for 2 minutes to heat through!
p.s. If you add a little goat cheese, you’ll just end up with an even yummier treat!
The sun came out this weekend, which meant two things. One: we could finally mow the lawn without chance of electrocution. Two: it was warm enough to bust out the awesome new kiddie pool for Miss L!
You’d be amazed at how many amazing inflatable outdoor pools they have now for kids… and I’m pretty certain that the whole family will be hanging out in this one on 100+ degree summer days.
I mean, Mr. M looks pretty comfy in there… I wonder if they make a model with jacuzzi jets? Just kidding…
Miss L loved it and really liked splashing around and playing with all of the floating toys! We have a community splash park down the street, but until she gets bigger, I think this will fit her “staying cool” needs quite well!
The weather decided to cooperate this weekend and NOT be 100+ degrees, so we ventured out to the backyard and fired up the grill for two wonderful meals.
The first: Beer can chicken!
Now, I’d been excited to try it out ever since I first heard of it through the blogosphere on Doubly Happy. Then Nodakademic decided to give it a try as well last week. So when I saw our market’s grocery ad with free-range super-happy California chickens on the front page, I decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out. (I’ll send you to check out their blogs rather than putting up lots of photos that mimic their lovely posts) I have had the pleasure of drinking beer out of a can for quite some time now, so we modified the recipe by popping open a bottle of Pacifico and filled up half of an empty Coke can. I slathered up the oh-so-happy chicken with a spice rub and olive oil, then put him under the grill for an hour in indirect heat.
Now, even though I thought I only saw white liquid come out of the breast meat after an hour, I should have kept him there for another 15 minutes. Because while beer can chicken is super awesome and moist and yummy, microwaved beer can chicken is just “pretty decent” chicken. Yeah, I took it off too early and it was still a little too rare for Mr. M (or any sane individual’s) taste. But the leg meat that I noshed on pre-nuking was amazingly yummy… so I encourage anyone to go run and try some beer can chicken for themselves ASAP!
I did succeed in cooking something properly though, and man was it 1) EASY and 2) oh so yummy in the tummy! Ina Garten’s amazing garlic bread is just amazing, trust me! You need fresh ciabatta, garlic, fresh parsley & oregano and olive oil. So simple, but really just insanely good. And it’s so green that you think you’re eating something healthy! It caused this spontaneous movie quote exchange as well:
Kim: This is good garlic bread.
Mr. M:Yeah, I think garlic bread would have to be my favorite all-time food. I could eat it for every meal. Or just constantly, without stopping.
Kim: Then you’d get fat.
Mr. M: No, why would I get fat?
Kim: Because bread makes you fat.
Mr. M: Bread makes you fat?
OK… back to that whole grilling themed weekend dinner thing! Second up: fajitas!
For Sunday night, we opted to nosh on a happy cow instead. What’s even better… is that this cow was grass-fed, California happy, and used for educational purposes throughout both its life and death. I’m pretty certain this might give us some vegan-like powers in a meat-eating household? (sorry… I shall stop the Scott Pilgrim references now… because for some strange strange reason, pretty much NO ONE has seen this amazing movie… what is your problem people?!?) That’s right, we purchased our lovely marinated skirt steak from the Meat Lab at UC Davis, and Mr. M threw it on the grill for a massive consumption of homemade fajitas!
Fajitas at home are so darn simple to make and eat! Just grill up some onions and peppers (I went w/red and yellow bell peppers), put out some cheese, sour cream, guacamole, corn (Mr. M’s secret ingredient), and the best fresh tortillas you can buy! Trust me… you won’t be disappointed! And you won’t have to ration your meat or toppings like you do in the restaurant-portioned servings! Next time we make these, we’ll definitely be having company over, as 3 lbs of skirt steak is a bit too much for 2 people to finish off. Guess that means I’m indulging in left-over fajitas as well… yummy!
So there you have it! A full grilling weekend menu. Nothing too crazy, but all so so good. Anyone else fire up the grill on Saturday or Sunday?