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Lowbrow, but Fancy, Summer Fare

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Joe Louis Walker--"I Got What You Need" (mp3)

The garlic bread cooks in the oven while the shrimp grills.
Dear Bob: Often when I am at the beach or at a vacation condo, I want to make something that is spectacular but easy. Basically, I just want to use my grill and a few other things and as few ingredients as possible. But I want people to go "Wow," when they take their first bite and to rave similarly about the rest of the meal. By the way, this is, of course, during summer that I am talking about. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Befuddled At The Beach



Dear Befuddled: This is a common problem. People at vacation homes go there to live the simple life, but they tire quickly of eating out, especially as they begin to add up the money they're spending and they think, 'Can't I put on a better meal at home?". So, take heart. You are not alone. Here's an easy solution that will wow your guests but keep it simple.

SHOPPING LIST (for 8 people)
3-pack of romaine lettuce hearts
2 tomatoes (you should be able to get great ones in season)
1 bottle Paul Newman's Family Italian Dressing
4 sub rolls
Garlic
Butter
2 lbs fresh shrimp
1 store-bought pound cake loaf
4 peaches
1 can whipped cream
Sugar
Bamboo skewers

Grilling pound cake deepens its flavor.
 That's right, Befuddled. A complete meal  only 11 ingredients and some sticks. Are you ready? Here we go:

1. Peel peaches and slice into bowl. Sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.
2. Peel shrimp and place in bowl. Pour 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing over top, toss, and place in refrig to marinate.
3. Slice or tear lettuce into bite-size pieces in a bowl, rinse under water, drain thoroughly and set aside.
4. Slice tomatoes into bite-size pieces and add to lettuce.
5. Slice each sub roll in half lengthwise.
6. Microwave 8 oz. of butter and 1-2 chopped cloves of garlic for 1 minute or until melted and fragrant.
7. Brush garlic butter evenly over sliced sub rolls. If you prefer mor butter, add to garlic and microwave again until melted.
8. Slice pound cake into 8 equal pieces.
9. Get your grill ready for medium to high heat. Simultaneously, heat oven to 300 degrees.
10. Put the garlic bread in the oven while it heats.
11. Thread the shrimp on the skewers (I use two skewers for each row of shrimp so they are easier to turn) and grill them 4-5 minutes per side, turning once.  The cooking time will depend on the heat of your grill.
12. Meanwhile, toss the lettuce and tomatoes with the remaining dressing.
13. When the shrimp are done, the garlic bread should be done, too, and you can serve both immediately, with the salad.
14. Cover your grill and keep it as hot as you can.  Whenever you are ready for dessert, grill the slices of pound cake on each side until toasted and serve with the peaches and whipped cream.

If you are totally into grilling, you could actually grill every part of this meal.  The tomatoes and lettuce, halved and brush with olive oil on their cut sides could be grilled briefly and lightly charred, before cutting them up for the salad.  And, obviously, the garlic bread could easily be grilled, too.

There you have it.  Quick, classy, great tasting food.  Even if you're staying in a place that has no staples and you have to buy the entire meal, it shouldn't cost you more than $45 (plus wine?).  Not bad, eh?

Sincerely,
Bob

P.S.  If you don't like shrimp or are looking for an even cheaper option, make the exact same meal the same way, but use boneless chicken breasts cut up for kabobs.  You might want to marinate them a little longer.

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