Since my tomatoes aren't quite ready for prime time, I headed to the farmer's market this morning seeking inspiration for tonight's diary. The result is a menu featuring the seasonal goodies of early summer, kissed by the grill because it's too hot to turn on the oven.
My haul included: baby bok choy, dill, cantaloupe, cilantro, cucumbers, kale, limes, parsley, peaches, tomatoes (Cherokee Purple), watermelon and zucchini. All this bounty came to $26.50, and much more didn't fit in the photo! The basil, mint, sweet peppers and green tomatoes came from my garden.
* Grilled Portobello Quesadillas with Watermelon Salsa
* Grilled Green Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette
* Grilled Corn on the Cob
* Grilled Fresh South Carolina Peaches with Mint Syrup
Recipes below the carrot curls!
Somehow combining watermelon and salsa never occurred to me, although I love both. Turns out it's a thing! After much Googling and a little experimentation, this is my version. Unlike most other recipes, mine contains tomatoes, which add a little heartiness to the light sweet crunch of the watermelon.
2 cups diced seeded watermelon
1 medium tomato
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1/2 medium sweet onion
1 small sweet pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Place diced watermelon in a colander. Drain 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Meanwhile, dice tomato and finely chop next 5 ingredients. Place everything in a sealable container and toss well to combine. Refrigerate at least an hour and up to 24 hours to let flavors blend. I used a Cherokee Purple tomato, which resulted in a deep pink salsa.
Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
2 portobello mushroom caps
2 medium sweet onions
1-2 stalks baby bok choy
Salt and pepper
Large flour tortillas
Preheat grill to medium high. Peel and chop garlic and add to olive oil, stir to combine. Pull the stems out of the mushrooms but do NOT remove the gills. Brush gill side of mushrooms with garlic oil and place face down on grill. Don't worry if the garlic falls off; it will add flavor as it roasts.
Slice ends off onions and remove skin. Slice in half crosswise, brush with oil, and grill 3-4 minutes on each side. Slice bok choy lengthwise, brush cut side with oil, and place on grill cut side down. Grill 2-3 minutes on each side, until stalks brown and leaves wilt.
Cut mushrooms and bok choy into slices and season to taste. Serve with warm tortillas, watermelon salsa, and your favorite fixings.
Grilled Green Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette
2 pounds green tomatoes
Olive oil (I used the garlic infused oil above)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (lemon works too)
2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled
A few fresh basil leaves, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
Make the vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients until emulsified. Cover and set aside.
Trim the ends off the tomatoes and cut into slices approximately 1/3" thick. Preheat grill to medium high, brush one side of each slice with oil and place face down on grill. Cover and grill 3-4 minutes on each side, brushing slices with oil just before turning. When tomatoes are caramelized on both sides, remove with tongs and place in a heat proof bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette again, then pour over and toss to combine. Serve warm topped with crumbled cheese, fresh basil, and freshly ground pepper.
Variation: chill tomatoes overnight and serve as a cold salad topped with cheese, basil, and fresh lime wedges.
Grilled Peaches with Mint Syrup
4 ripe medium peaches
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Mint Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves and stems, plus extra for garnish
To make the mint syrup, stir sugar and water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by about 1/2, remove from heat, stir in mint, and cover. Set aside. When cool, strain out mint.
Preheat grill to medium low. Stir oil and vinegar together in a small bowl. Slice peaches in half and remove stones. Brush cut side of peaches with oil and vinegar and grill face down 3-4 minutes. Stir oil and vinegar again, brush on skin side, and flip peaches over. Grill 3-4 more minutes, until browned on both sides.
Arrange peaches on a plate and drizzle mint syrup over. Garnish with chopped mint leaves. Store leftover syrup covered in the refrigerator.
What's for dinner at your place tonight?