WATERMELON + CUCUMBER CAIPIRINHAS

It’s the middle of February and I know it my be a bit early to be thinking about summer. However, living in the south, I have no choice!

The temperature is rising and I am craving something refreshing (with a splash of alcohol). A summertime favorite comes to mind: caipirinhas!

I’ve never made one at home before, so I think extra taste testing is necessary. Especially since I’ll be adding juicy watermelon and cool cucumber to this traditional Brazilian cocktail.

Sounds delish, right?. Hell, it’s Friday, let’s make a few.

In a few weeks time, when it’s pushing 80 degrees, I’ll look forward to enjoying one some of these on the front porch. 

watermelon + cucumber caipirinhas 

serves 2, 15 mins total time


INGREDIENTS 

2 ½ cups watermelon, seeds removed,

cut into chunks

½ large English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks

2 limes, juiced

½ lime, cut into two wedges

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

1½ ounces white rum or Brazilian cachaça

club soda, splash or more

additional cucumber slices, garnish

lime rounds, garnish

METHOD 

Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl or pitcher.

In a blender, puree the watermelon and cucumber chunks.

Pour mixture through the sieve into the bowl. Use the back of a big spoon or rubber spatula to squeeze all the juice into the bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together lime juice and honey.

Pour the lime juice and honey mixture into the watermelon and cucumber juice, along with vodka. Adjust sweetness with more honey if desired.

To serve, fill two glasses with ice and top each with cocktail. Garnish with cucumber and lime slices.

PINEAPPLE CHILI CHICKEN SKEWERS

This recipe only justifies meat on a stick tastes much better than in a dish. Always looking to the Far East for inspiration, I imitated a dish that is popular on the streets of southeast Asia — satay.

Satay is essentially a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat. It is a dish from Indonesia and popular in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. This chicken satay is on par with takeaway or restaurant style chicken satay. They take less than 30 minutes to make and use ingredients you probably already have in the pantry!

 

pineapple soy salmon skewers

20 min prep + 10 min cook time


INGREDIENTS

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple plus extra for skewering
vegetable oil (for the baking sheet)
1/4 bunch cilantro, for garnish
2 - 3 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
1 - 2 cups cookedrice or rice noodles, for serving
cilantro for garnish
marinade
1 tablespoon samba oelek, or chili garlic paste
2 tablespoons olive oily
2 garlic cloves minced
½ cup palm sugar (or substitute brown sugar)
½ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ to ½ cup chili sauce, like Sriracha, to taste
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1 lime juiced

 

METHOD

 

Heat the broiler: Set an oven rack 4 inches from the broiler element and turn on the broiler to high.

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes.

Marinate the chicken in a large bowl. Stir together the sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, chili sauce, garlic, and ginger. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 10 minutes, but no more than 20 at room temperature.

Transfer the skewers to the baking sheet. Brush any excess marinade over the skewers.

Broil the chicken skewers: Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned on top. With tongs, turn skewers over and brush with more marinade.

Broil for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned on the other side and cooked all the way through. Exact time will depend on the heat of your particular broiler; when done, the chicken should no longer be pink in the middle.

Serve the skewers by transferring them to a platter. You can also remove the chicken pieces from the skewers and serve the pieces without the skewers, whichever you prefer. Sprinkle with cilantro and scallions and serve with rice or rice noodles.

Grilling Method: Light a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken 4 to 6 minutes on a side, or until cooked through (an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should register 165 degrees F).

3 Heat the broiler: Set an oven rack 4 inches from the broiler element and turn on the broiler to high.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Rub the olive oil thoroughly the foil. You don’t want the marinade to burn on the foil or have the chicken sticking.
Thread the chicken on the skewers. Place 3 or 5 pieces of chicken on each skewer, with an occasional pineapple piece. Don't crowd the chicken pieces too close together; they will brown better if there's a little bit of space in between each piece.
Transfer the skewers to the baking sheet. Pour the excess marinade into a small skillet.
5 Cook the excess marinade: In a small skillet over medium heat, bring the excess marinade to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Brush the chicken all over with the reduced marinade.

CITRUS SALMON AVOCADO SALAD

We  are nearing an exiting time in the citrus season, in the month of February, just about all citrus fruit is available. Although, it’s pretty much a year round fruit, there are months where some varieties prevail. I know I was super heavy handed with the oranges already this year… and the grapefruit. Oh, the lemons… and plenty of  lime. Last year I was inspired to make a simple summer citrus salad. I knew there were a few things lacking, but I loved the simplicity. But for now, since I’m doing one more savory citrusy recipe to get us through, I’ll go out with a bang! I’m adding juicy blood red oranges, savory salmon and tart red onions. A quick dressing will be whipped up to that add more flavor and add a touch of mildness.

There is something so wonderful about salmon in a greens salad. I think it’s the flakiness. I’m sure of it. You get a little piece of the fish with each bite. It spreads like butter. It pairs with citrus so well and provides a light richness that can stand up against all the acidity.

What a delicious way to highlight citrus!

 

citrus salmon avocado salad

30 minutes total time


INGREDIENTS

 

8 ounces raw wild caught salmon
1 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
12 ounces spring greens baby spinach, romaine, or mixed greens
1  blood orange segmented
1 pink grapefruit segmented
1 to 2 avocados thinly sliced
½ large shallot very thinly sliced
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
lemon vinaigrette
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 lemon juiced and zested
2  garlic cloves minced or pressed
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

METHOD

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F in your oven to high and set the oven rack about 6 inches below it.

Make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. Store in fridge while

Place the salmon on a baking sheet and brush it with the grapeseed oil. Season it with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Bake the salmon for 6 to 8 minutes, or until just opaque and flakes easily with a fork. If you’re doing a large filet, bake it for 8 to 10 minutes, then check. The time will depend on the thickness of the filet! Place in the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until it is slightly charred.

To assemble the salad, toss together the lettuce with a pinch of salt and pepper, the orange segments, grapefruit, avocado and shallot. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the feta before serving.