Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grillin' it Light

Good morning!  I am at my mom’s house in California enjoying the sunshine…..finally!  We have sun at our house in Nevada too….it’s not like I am escaping the snow or something.  But…I had work to do here, so once Addy got out of school, I packed up the kids and here we are. 
Anyhoo, the kids have had fun.  We have gone to the pool here a couple of times.  It is the pool that I used to swim at when I was little.  I was on swim team so summers at this pool where my life.  I checked on my swim team records….and you will be happy to know that I still have some.  I was quick when I was 6;)  Unfortunately, I peaked at 8.  From there on out, it was downhill….
Since I am still trying to eat a bit healthier, I grilled a light (sort of) meal last night for all of us.  And by all of us, I don’t mean Paisley.  She just ran around the backyard in circles tormenting the dog, but I don’t think she ever ate.  She would prefer to not eat at dinner so she can be “starving” at bed time.  It is way more fun that way.  I grilled a vegetable panzanella salad and Whiskey Apple BBQ glazed salmon.  It was crazy good, and I didn’t even miss the fat.  Much.
A panzanella salad is a “Tuscan Bread Salad”.  It has chunks of old bread and tomatoes, and various other veggies.  The bread soaks up all of the juices from the salad, and is softens a bit.  It is basically a salad where the croutons are the star….and that is a salad I can get behind.  I put in some grilled veggies, fresh mozzarella and a light dressing too.
I used asparagus, red onion, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, a sourdough baguette and Bocconcini (balls of fresh mozzarella).  I didn’t grill the cucumbers because that would be weird.  I also didn’t grill the tomatoes, although this salad would be equally good with grilled tomatoes. 
Above is all of my veggies and bread laid out on pans so they can get sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper.  Normally I would use olive oil, but I was keepin’ it light! 
I grilled the veggies and bread on a pre-heated BBQ.  The bread will grill in less than a minute, especially if it is placed over direct heat.  I think we all learned this from my grilled Caesar salad…..You have to be on it with grilled bread.  No walking away, getting a beer, watching YouTube, etc.  Watch your bread.  The veggies also grill quickly, but not as quickly.  Feel free to watch YouTube during the veggie grilling. 
The dressing for this salad is a spin on an old Weight Watchers salad dressing recipe.  I used lime juice, olive oil, a small can of V-8 juice and a pack of dry Italian Salad Dressing mix.  A “Weight Watcher” wouldn’t use oil.  I wouldn’t eat it without oil.  I prefer to not pour a virgin Bloody Mary over my salad, but to each their own.  I did, however, keep it light by not using as much olive oil as I normally would.
After the veggies came off the grill, I chopped them into bite sized pieces.  I had already chopped the tomatoes and cucumbers.  I also chopped the grilled bread in half, and chopped the bocconcini into smaller pieces.  I let the veggies cool a bit before I tossed this salad together, otherwise the cheese would have melted all through the salad.  I wanted to keep the cheese chunks whole.  I dressed the salad and then let it sit for about an hour.  This let the dressing soak into the bread and all of the veggies.  This won’t get super soggy like a normal salad would when dressed too early.  The bread will soak up most of the dressing.
Now this is something that will get me eating veggies.  The charred taste of a grilled veggie is something I actually like…..and I think you all know by now that veggies and I are not friendly.  This would be a great dish to bring to a BBQ this summer.  It is different and light….people might prefer that to a heavy potato or macaroni salad.
Now for the fish…..
My Whiskey Apple BBQ glazed salmon is seriously crazy good…..and easy too!  It only has a few ingredients, and the fruitiness is actually really good with salmon. 
Besides salmon fillets, I used a shallot, olive oil, Gourmet Rooster Whiskey Apple BBQ sauce, Dijon mustard and unsweetened apple sauce.  I also used salt and pepper, which is not pictured.
I chose thin salmon fillets because I wanted them to cook fast.  You can use any cut you like.  This glaze will also work on chicken, pork or beef.  It is pretty all purpose.
BTW-Gourmet Rooster BBQ sauces are available at Gene’s Fine Foods in Pleasanton now!!
The glaze cooks on the stovetop, but you could also put a pot on your BBQ if you have enough room.  I used about ½ of a shallot.  I sautéed it a bit in olive oil….just enough to make it translucent, but not brown.
Then, I added the BBQ sauce, apple sauce and mustard.  I also salt and peppered it to taste.  I cooked this until it thickened and reduced, about 15 to 20 minutes.  It will become super thick, and your house will smell amazing!
I grilled the fish on a pan on the grill.  This pan keeps the fish from falling through the grates.  Clearly, I forgot to spray it with cooking spray first.  Once I flipped the fish, I started glazing with a food paint brush.  I cooked it on the 2nd side, and then flipped it and glazed it on the other side.  I didn’t really cook it any further since the first side was already cooked.  I just wanted to get the glaze on.  The glaze will caramelize on the grill.  Anything with the word "caramel" in it automatically means good.
How long you cook your fish depends on you.  I like mine slightly raw in the middle.  My mom is a buzzkill who likes hers fully cooked;)
This whole meal ended up so yummy!  And even better….I didn’t walk away from the table swearing I would never eat again because I was so full of fatty food!  A nice light meal is perfect in the summer…..I even had room for dessert later!  Yeah!
Thursday’s blog will probably be delayed until Friday as I will be driving back to the ol’ NV on Thursday.  And unless you want a blog about the new chicken tenders at Burger King…..No?  Then Friday it is!
Grilled Veggie Panzanella Salad
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
½ an English Cucumber, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
2 zucchini, sliced in half for grill
½ a large red onion, sliced for grill
½ a sourdough baguette, sliced in ½ inch slices
About 5 Bocconcini balls, chopped into smaller pieces
Cooking spray
Garlic salt and pepper
5.5 ounce can V-8 juice
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup olive oil
1 pack Italian Salad Dressing Mix
Spray asparagus, zucchini, red onion, and bread slices with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.  Repeat on other side.  Grill veggies and bread over direct heat, until slightly charred.  Bread-1 to 3 minutes. Asparagus-5 minutes depending on thickness. Onion-5 minutes. Zucchini-about 7 minutes.
Once cooled, chop asparagus, zucchini,  and onion into bite sized pieces.  Chop slices in half. 
In a large salad bowl, toss together, grilled veggies, grilled bread, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Once cooled, add cheese and dressing and toss.
Whisk together V-8, lime juice, oil and salad dressing mix.

Whiskey Apple BBQ Glaze for Salmon
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ a medium sized shallot, minced
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
6 ounces Gourmet Rooster Whiskey Apple BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
In a small sauce pot, sauté shallot in olive oil until slightly translucent.  Add apple sauce, BBQ sauce and mustard.  Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 to 20 minutes until thickened and reduced.

No comments:

Post a Comment