Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Menu

All three of us have been sick with some kind of flu-cold-plague for the past 10 days, so we haven't done much more than grocery shop, read, and fuss with our computers and hobbies and such for the past few days. I actually couldn't taste anything at all for two days, which was a pretty surreal experience. Oh, and Stella learned to crawl, but that's a subject for a different blog ;). Anyway, our menu for Memorial Day is nothing extravagant -- David cleaned the grill and is heating it up, and we're having Smooth Lemon cocktails, chips & salsa, Blue & Green Potato Salad, grilled corn a la Cook's Illustrated (basically brined and grilled, no husk), grilled steak brushed with bbq sauce, and Copycat Cobbler for dessert.

Smooth Lemon Cocktail
1 glass lemonade
1/2 shot vanilla vodka (we used Grey Goose that had soaked a vanilla bean a while)

Stir & drink, yum.

Review: Wholly Salsa: 2 of 5 stars
The salsa of choice this time is Wholly Salsa. I tried it because a combination of coupons and sales made it (and my favorite type of chips) practically free. It reminds me a lot of the salsa you get in Tex-Mex places. Mild, a little garlicky, a mix of chunky and smooth bits although this was a little too watery; a little addictive at first.

I think it needs more cilantro/lime and maybe a little better quality tomatoes to give it more zip. It wasn't as bad as the cheapo jarred stuff, but I expected better. The flavor didn't stand up to the hearty style of tortilla chips we favor -- I'll probably use the rest to cook with. The packaging is party-friendly, wide and shallow, but the lid doesn't fit very tightly.

Blue & Green Potato Salad
This is my version of the blue cheese potato salad they sell at the Whole Foods Market deli.

1 lb red potatoes (I like the little ones, but they're harder to find)
1/2 C crumbled blue cheese
2 stalks of celery
2 scallions
4 T vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1 t brown seedy mustard
1 t thyme
1 t basil
1 t rosemary

All measurements are approximate....cuz that's how I roll.

1. Wash potatoes (I don't peel them, but then again, I almost never peel potatoes), then microwave in a bowl of water for 14-18 minutes.
2. Dice up celery and scallion while potatoes are cooking and collect other ingredients.
3. Drain potatoes when done, rinse a few times in cold water to cool them down for handling.
4. Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
5. Mix all ingredients, allow to rest for at least an hour before serving; overnight is always better.

Grilled steak -- I had been curious about 'No Name' brand steaks, and had a coupon, so we gave them a try. The quality was really good, but I am not enough of a gourmet to know if there's much difference between them and the nice cuts I usually buy at Whole Foods. And gosh did I make a mistake by deciding to use bbq sauce! Maybe if had been cheaper/less delicious steak this would have been a reasonable course of action; as it was, the sauce just wasn't necessary and maybe was a little distracting. Some pepper and herbs would have been a better choice.

Copycat Cobbler

This was my attempt #2 at the cobbler described here. It turned out quite a bit better this time, since I used actual self-rising flour instead of substituting baking powder mixed with regular flour. I used brown sugar instead of white, added about 1/4 cup of oats plus a bit more milk, and used a small bag of peaches, a half-pint container of blackberries, and two apples. I think if I did this again, I would try pre-cooking the apples -- even after 40 minutes at 350, the apples look a little firm. Delicious and worthy of second helpings. With just a bit more oats, I think this would be a reasonable copy of the mixed fruit cobblers they sell at Starbucks.

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