Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Solstice and the Living is Easy

I live in the South. Needless to say, our summers are HOT. Last year we had a terrible drought, and the temps were regularly in three digits. I'm so happy this year we've had a goodly amount of rain and only a few days of 100+ temps.

I've read about some wonderful solstice celebrations - all outdoors - and I think how I wish I could do that here. Now, if I had my own backyard pool, all bets would be off.  We'd be outside every day!

No matter. I've been eyeing these recipes for the first day of summer for a few months now. Fortunately, the day wasn't sweltering and I was able to talk the hubby into grilling. On a weeknight. Will wonders ever cease?

Macadamia Chick'n with Mango Salsa

1/2 c. soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. olive oil
1 t. grated ginger
2 packages of Gardein Chick'n Scallopini, frozen
Mustard Sauce
Chopped macadamia nuts
Mango Salsa

Combine the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil and grated ginger in a ziplock gallon baggie. Add the Chick'n Scallopini. Move it all around to coat and put in the freezer. Periodically pull out the baggie and give it a wiggle to continue to coat. When the coals are ready - they should be about medium hot - grill the scallopini, turning, watching, and brushing with leftover marinade until they are done.

Mustard Sauce

1/2 c. Dijon mustard
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. pineapple juice
1/4 t. ground red pepper

Stir everything together, cover and chill.

Mango Salsa

2 mangoes, peeled and diced
One green pepper, diced
One jalapeno pepper, diced
3 T. cilantro, chopped
2 T. mint, chopped
One red onion, chopped
2 T. agave nectar
1 T. lime juice
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1/4 t. salt

Stir everything together, cover and chill.

To serve: Slather the Mustard Sauce on top of the scallopini. Sprinkle on some macadamias. Top with a spoonful of the Mango Salsa.

I tried the first scallopini with just the mustard sauce and the macadamias. I thought the sauce was a little too tangy for my tastes. On the second one I added the salsa atop, and it made quite a big difference. It softens the tang of the mustard while lending a slight sweetness. Much better, so I really recommend doing it that way.

Peanutty Pasta Salad

2 cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced in half moon shapes
1 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. coconut milk
1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. salt
One package angel hair pasta, cooked
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
6 green onions, sliced in diagonals
Dry roasted peanuts

Whisk all the saucy ingredients together, then pour over the pasta, cucumbers, carrots and onions. Mix together well, but gently. Chill. Serve with a spoonful of dry roasted peanuts on top.

Tropical Fruit Toss

2 navel oranges
One can pineapple chunks
One banana
One kiwi
1/2 c. red seedless grapes
Shredded coconut
Chopped macadamias

Peel and slice the oranges, banana and kiwi into bite sized pieces. Mix the fruit together in a bowl. Serve with a sprinkling of the coconut and macadamias.

Now, go enjoy your summer! Just keep cool!

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