A Memorial Day Menu from Glover Gardens

The Memorial Day forecast calls for rain in Southeast Texas, but that’s fine by me.  A rainy Monday Memorial holiday calls for sleeping late, a date with a good book, some barbecue in the afternoon and a war movie or two.  Whether or not you’ve got rain in your forecast, here are a few tried and true recipes that are just right for the Memorial Day table.

My Spicy-Sweet Honey Chipotle Pork Spareribs are cooked “low and slow” in the oven and then given a quick finish on the grill for that time-honored char. Give ’em a try!

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If you’re vegetarian, try the rub from the ribs recipe on grilled eggplant; my blogger friend at Pleasant Peasant Cuisine suggested that in a comment on my post about the ribs.  He used the rub on his Stuffed Squash Blossoms, which would be a great vegetarian main dish for Memorial Day or a lovely side.

stuffed squash blossoms
Photo credit to Pleasant Peasant Cuisine; these beautiful squash blossoms have been treated with the rub from my ribs recipe

What’s a barbecue without a slaw on the side? Here’s my slightly spicy Pepper Jelly Slaw recipe.

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Or you could opt for a Throw-Down Side: Quick and Easy Black Bean Salad.

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Serrano Ham and Corn Pudding is a great side for ribs (actually, I think it is a great side for anything, and it’s not even one of my original recipes).

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Why not finish off the meal with some great big cookies that are chock-full of cookie goodness?  You’ll like my Glover Gardens Comfort Cookies, and since they have nuts, oatmeal and dried fruit, too, they qualify as “healthy”.  That means you can eat more of ’em!

Cookies and Milk
No one can stop at just one Comfort Cookie

Happy Memorial Day! And no,  even though I’m blogging about the menu, I haven’t forgotten the reason we celebrate: those who gave their lives for our freedom.  In their memory, here’s a photo of our flag, taken at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. I love how prominently it is displayed there.

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Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

Tom’s Spicy Tomato Juice

In addition to his many BBQ accomplishments, the Grill-Meister makes a marvelous homemade tomato juice.  When we started growing tomatoes at Glover Gardens, he found a recipe online and then honed it over several summers, tweaking the spices, amounts and fresh peppers.  Here it is, hopefully in time for your summer tomato crop, or, if you don’t have a garden, those deep red beauties you’ll find at your local farmers’ market.

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This amped-up tomato juice doesn’t need anything but vodka and a squeeze of lime to make a perfect Bloody Mary. On the other hand, it’s so good, you don’t really need the vodka!

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs fresh tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 serrano, cayenne or fresno pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (you guessed it, we use 4)
  • 1 TBSP kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 c water
  • freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • celery stalks (optional)

Cooking Instructions

Blanch tomatoes and remove skin and core (see pictures below for how-to instructions); cut into large chunks. Dice peppers and onion; mince garlic. Combine all ingredients in large pot; simmer for 30 minutes. Allow mixture to cool for 15-20 minutes; puree in blender. Use medium sieve strainer to remove pulp from tomato juice (reserve the pulp to use as base for soup, salsa, guacamole, etc.) Cool in refrigerator for minimum of 3 hours. Serve chilled, garnishing with black pepper and a stalk of celery.

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Fresh ingredients make for a fresh, robust-tasting juice
Tomatoes on Scale
Start with 4 lbs of the juiciest tomatoes you can find
Tomato Blanched for Easy Peeling
Remove each tomato as soon as the peel splits
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You can see how the peels have separated from the flesh
Peeling is Easy
The peels slip right off
Core While in a Bowl
Core the tomatoes while in the bowl so you don’t lose a drop of that wonderful juice
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The vegetables are roughly chopped for cooking
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This is what the cooked mixture looks like
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The Ninja blender purees in about 10 seconds
Tom's Tomato Juice is Thick and Spicy
Tom’s Spicy Tomato Juice is thick and slightly chunky, almost like gazpacho (yum!) 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Simple Pleasures: Fruit by the Pool

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Summer stayed with us well into September this year, releasing its stranglehold just this last week and enabling an enjoyable evening of wine and fruit by the pool here at Glover Gardens.  The hibiscus and roses are still blooming, but the leaves have begun to fall.  The hummingbirds are still darting about, buzzing the feeder for that last bit of fuel before their long journey across the Gulf.  There’s a sense of the changing season in the air as we welcome our first cool night tonight.

Simple pleasures.

Grilled Tuna Burgers for Two

images-25We’re empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens now that the last millennial has gone off to college, so I’m trying to pare down the amounts when I cook.  It’s easier with some recipes than others.  These delicious tuna burgers are simple to make for two, or four, or more.  Just increase the recipe.

The tuna burgers benefit from what we call “Salad on a Sandwich”.  It’s a quick toss of baby spinach or other greens, red onion and tomato with a tiny bit of olive oil and a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar.  Salad on a Sandwich brightens up a variety of sandwiches and makes the everyday sandwich feel like a gourmet treat.  And it looks really beautiful.

Ingredients

  • Two 6+ ounce tuna steaks, about an inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or ground ancho or chipotle chiles
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large bell pepper or several small sweet peppers, sliced into 1-inch wide strips, seeds, ribs and stems discarded
  • Olive oil
  • Grill spray
  • Two buns (we like onion rolls)
  • Purchased or prepared remoulade (click here for a killer and super-easy recipe)
  • Salad on a Sandwich
    • 2 cups baby spinach or your other favorite greens
    • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 very ripe medium tomato, thinly sliced, or 6-8 grape tomatoes, halved longways
    • 1 tsp olive oil or a few sprays from an olive oil mister
    • 2 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Sprinkle tuna all over with salt, pepper and cayenne or ground chile. Toss peppers with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Assemble Salad on a Sandwich by combining and tossing all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Prepare remoulade, if making your own.

Preheat gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high heat.

Wrap buns in foil.  Grill tuna and peppers on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over once, until tuna is pink only in center and peppers are just tender, 4 to 6 minutes total (peppers may take longer than tuna). In the last few minutes of cooking, put the buns in foil on the grill to heat them up.  Transfer tuna and peppers once they are cooked to a serving plate.

To serve, spread remoulade on buns (top and bottom), put a layer of grilled peppers on the bottom of each bun, and then top with a tuna steak.  Add a generous helping of Salad on a Sandwich, then cap the tuna burger with the top bun.  Enjoy!

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The Salad on a Sandwich and remoulade are ready, and the tuna has been seasoned in readiness for grilling.  Yum!
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Grill the peppers at the same time as the tuna; the buns can be warmed on the top shelf.
Grilled Tuna and Peppers
The tuna and peppers have been grilled and are ready for the sandwich.
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The remoulade and Salad on a Sandwich combine with the tuna and peppers to make a great burger with a variety of tastes, colors and textures.

This recipe works really well without the bun, too.  Just flip it – position the tuna steak atop the Salad (Not) on a Sandwich, then arrange the grilled peppers on the tuna and dress with the remoulade or serve it on the side.  It’s beautiful, healthy and low-cal.

Our other favorite seafood in a burger is salmon – click here for the recipe.

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Haiku: Christie’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

My neighbor is a smart and funny Southern woman, a successful writer of romantic and teen fiction, a devoted wife, mother and friend, and a wonderful hostess.  She also makes the best pound cake I’ve ever eaten.

Christie recently served her homemade sour cream pound cake at the end of a lively dinner party, and I fell in love.  I was transported back in time to long, lazy summer days when the sun lingers until the first fireflies light up and kids sneak second and third portions of rich, lovingly made desserts while the grownups sit around and solve all the world’s problems.  That pound cake was the past on a plate, a happy history of pure, rich flavors that make you feel like all is right with the world.

So of course I had to write a haiku about it.

Christie’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

Old-fashioned goodness
tastes of porches and stories.
Southern comfort food.

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For more Glover Gardens haiku, click here.

 

Copyright Glover Gardens Cookbook, 2016.

Easiest Salmon Burgers Ever

Ever since I got out of the hospital and put that horrible food behind me (click here to read about it), I’ve been craving all of the healthiest foods in my comfort food category.  The Grill-Meister has been a great partner in this Healthy Comfort Food Quest.  He made his oh-so-wonderful Tom’s Smoked Salmon for me on Monday, the Labor Day holiday, and bought extra salmon for us to have salmon burgers.  Yum.

These salmon burgers are so easy they should be on the table at least once a month.  And they’re good, really good.

Made with fresh salmon, they’re so good that you might be able to convince an innocent child that they’re actually chicken burgers…that little white lie is between you and your conscience.  But hey – how is it different than Santa Claus?

Ingredients (Makes 6 Burgers)

  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) fresh (never frozen) salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1/8 cup minced red onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup capers, drained
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Six buns
  • Red onions slices
  • Sliced very ripe tomatoes
  • Baby spinach or arugula
  • Condiments:  mayonnaise, fancy mustards, or (my favorite) remoulade (click here)

Cooking Instructions

Cut the salmon in big chunks and add to the food processor.  Pulse until it is ground, but still a little chunky.  Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

Mix first with a spoon, and then with your hands.  Divide the salmon mixture into six parts and form burgers with your hands, first by making a ball, then by pressing it flat onto a plate or cookie sheet.  Be careful not to overwork the patty, which will make it tough.  Put a dimple in the middle of each patty with your thumb, which will help it keep its shape.  Add another quick grinding of fresh pepper and salt.

Spray the gas or charcoal grill with grill spray, and heat it to high.  Grill the salmon for about 5 minutes on each side, or to your desired degree of doneness.  While the salmon is cooking, place the buns on a less hot part of the grill in foil to heat them up.

Serve the patties with the buns, tomato, onion, baby spinach or arugula and your desired condiments.

Variations

You can serve these patties without buns atop the greens with the fresh veggies and condiments.

If you’d like to sauté rather than grill them, measure one more cup of Panko after making the patties, add a 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper to the Panko and mix well, then dredge each patty in the Panko mixture.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and sauté the patties over med-high heat, a few minutes per side, until they are done.

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Pulse the salmon in the food processor until it is ground but still a little chunky – this amount of salmon is for a half recipe, since we are empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens
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The ingredients for a half recipe (3 patties)
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Put all ingredients in the bowl, then mix with a spoon, and finally, your hands
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The patties (half recipe) ready to grill
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We also had our grilled asparagus that night; click here for the recipe
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The salmon burgers are lovely as an outside meal in late summer / early fall

Copyright Glover Gardens Cookbook, 2016.

Labor Day Barbecue Look-Back

I’m not able to post a new recipe over this Labor Day long weekend, so I thought I’d share links to a few of my favorites from the grill that seem oh-so-appropos for the holiday.  Click the titles below for the recipes.

Best Smoked Brisket for a Long Weekend

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Let the cooked brisket set so the juices can settle

Summer Pork Tenderloin

Summer Pork Tenderloin
Garnish with Pico de Gallo and a little Sriracha for more of a kick

Fiesta Grilled Shrimp Dip

Fiesta Grilled Shrimp Dip
This creamy, spicy shrimp dip is perfect on a hot summer afternoon

 

Found Recipe: (Marvelous) Planked Salmon with (Marvelous) Spice Rub

Salmon in the Grill
I add a few sliced red onions and poblano peppers if there is room left on the cedar plank.

 

Tom’s Smoked Salmon

Tom's Smoked Salmon
This salmon makes a welcome appearance for parties and holiday meals at Glover Gardens.