Summer in the City

Summer has officially arrived...or at least my grill pan has. The poor little thing has been hiding for a few years...I haven't been in the mood to use it/smell up my apartment/etc. But with the onset of summer and my craving for fresh, simple fare, it has been resurrected!

Last night I prepared a lovely (if I do say so myself) belated birthday dinner for Jimmy and Dan, and it represented early summer blended with inspiration from my recent trip to the Caribbean. It started with pina coladas featuring the guavaberry liquor I picked up in St. Maarten--and yes, apparently guavaberries are a different thing entirely from guava. On its own, the beverage is a bit medicinal (apparently it was originally used for "medicinal purposes"), but blended into pinapple, coconut cream, and ice, it's lovely (and gives the drink a wonderful fleshy-pink hue). So, if you're ever in the St. Maarten vicinity, pick up a bottle...

I moved on to Tony-inspired salmon ceviche (1 lb salmon, 2 mangoes, red onion, green onion all chopped up and marinated in the juice of about 5 limes and some hot sauce), and a portobello mushroom tofu spread (sauté about 1 cup chopped onion and 2 cups chopped portobello, then blend with about 1 cup of tofu...though next time I'd kick it up with garlic (Jimmy's alergic), and a few other things...

For the main course, I grilled some chicken breasts that I'd rubbed with some Trinidadian curry powder, olive oil, and a little pineapple juice. The curry seems to have lots of cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, bay, and a few other things--very West African, which makes total sense.I sautéed some gorgeous snow peas in olive oil, and served everything with basmati.

And for dessert, Jimmy and Dan brought some pints of vanilla and pistachio ice cream...and Dan and I drizzled a little maple syrup on the vanilla...Yummy!!

Happy Birthday, guys, and Happy Summer, everyone!


e tempo del fig!

I love grilled figs, and an adventure to the Arthur Avenue Market in the Bronx yesterday reminded me just how much... I picked up a box of fresh, perfectly-ripe beauties, along with some cured meats--primarily prosciutto....

To grill the figs:
Wash and cut in half lengthwise.
Coat a grill or grill pan with olive oil--just enough so the figs don't stick.
Place figs cut side down on hot grill until there are nice grill marks on the flesh--but don't allow to get too mushy. Flip and grill on the skin side until the flesh is hot and juicy.

I like to wrap them in a little prosciutto... Yummy!!!