Archive for the ‘Fun Food Fridays’ Category
If you follow me on Facebook at all, you’ll have seen my mentions all summer long about how I think barbequed plums should be a food group. I read about putting stone fruit (like plums or peaches) on a barbeque in a magazine. But when I went to find the recipe (or the how-to) I couldn’t remember where I’d found the information.
So, I just figured it out with trial and error!
- 2-3 Stone-fruit like plums (or peaches) per person
Pre-heat your propane or gas grill and use a wire brush to knock off any dirt, grit or other crusty items.
Once the grill is hot, place the plum fruit side down. Now, this is really important: the fruit should sizzle when you put it on the grill. If not, the grill isn’t hot enough and you should remove the plum half and wait for the grill to get hotter.
Here’s the other important thing I found through trial and error: Don’t fuss with the plums! Just leave it there. Close the lid. Walk away. Leave it alone! I go for at LEAST two minutes, but maybe a bit longer depending on the size of the fruit.
Again, leave that plum alone. The skin will start to slide off — that’s fine. Once the plum is hot all the way through and the skin begins to get crispy or burnt, you’re all done. Again, from experience, I turn of the grill so I can get my plate REALLY close to the plums; at this point they tend to nearly fall apart when you grab them with the tongs.
I serve this with a beef kielbasa sausage (fully-cooked so I’m just heating it on the grill). I start the sausage and plums at the same time but the plums take longer to cook so I put THEM on my grill hotspot and the sausage somewhere cooler.
Have you ever seen a recipe in a magazine and said, “Yes! I’m going to try that!” And then, you try it and say, “Did those people ever actually MAKE this because it doesn’t work/taste the way they said?!”
Well, this recipe started out that way, but let me assure you, I’ve made it twice and it DOES work and it is yummy. This is perfect recipe for a summer barbeque or any hot day. And since it’s made with seasonal fruit it makes the flavors extra special.
- 1 seedless watermelon
- Vodka (chilled)
The original recipe said to chunk the watermelon and then run it through a food processor. Don’t even bother! You get watermelon all over the kitchen. (Three weeks later and I’m STILL finding sticky pink spots on my counters and wall.) Don’t believe me? Try pouring watermelon pulp out of a food processor cylinder. There’s no lip for a spout (unlike a blender) so the pulp doesn’t pour; it plops. And splashes. And did I mention it gets EVERYWHERE?!
DO cut up the watermelon into tiny pieces and run through your blender. I used the “liquefy” setting. The watermelon bits need to be pretty tiny to get it to blend. If they’re too big, the blades just whirl with no liquefying action. If you cut the pieces too big (like I did) smash them deeper into the blender with a wooden spoon while the blender is off.
Strain the pulp through a colander to get just the juice. Now, here’s the trick: use a colander with HOLES as opposed to holes on the bottom and slits along the sides! You’ll need a pretty large bowl to catch all the juice. I ended up using two bowls the last time I made this.
You could also strain through a cheesecloth but you’ll be there all day! The trick is to pour a bit of the pulp into the colander and then stir with a wooden spoon. The juice trickles through and the pulp remains. Discard the pulp (or put it in your compost!).
When you’re done liquefying most of the watermelon, freeze the watermelon juice. You’ll want to reserve a few slices for a garnish. Now, I’ve done this three ways:
- Freeze until chilled and just a BIT frozen.
- Freeze until slushy — there’s mostly frozen and a bit of juice
- Freeze until firm.
I prefer the firm. Then you “shred” the frozen juice with a fork to make it fluffy. I think the technical term is “granita.” It’s a bit of work, but the texture is out of this world!
No matter which freezing technique I’m using at the moment, I serve this in BIG glasses. So for my big glass, I squeeze in a quarter of a lime. Then add chilled vodka to taste. Garnish with a watermelon wedge.
If you’re not interested in a martini, this is good with just the lime. I also recommend a bit of sparkling water or even ice tea.
PS: The original recipe called for LEMON juice (a lot of it) and tequila. Frankly, I didn’t like it at all. And after all the work I went through to juice the watermelon using the stupid food processor technique it was heartbreaking not to like the drink. Once I hit upon the LIME and VODKA mix, the taste was perfect.
Between the impossible to pour pulp from the food processor and the way watermelon and lemon DON’T go together, I’m thinking the original publishers of this recipe thought it up but never actually TRIED it. Or maybe they just like tequila more than I do. Either way, I’ll save my tequila for margaritas and serve my watermelon with vodka!
Ah summer! I love LOVE cooking on my barbeque! I especially love it because even when I’m not camping, I’m still cooking outside.
This is one of EatStayPlay.com “Royal” Family’s favorite summer dinners.
- Cooked, whole shrimp. Thawed. (With or without tail, up to you; I prefer without)
- Dill weed
- Extra virgin olive oil
Mix olive oil and dill weed in a glass bowl. Toss the shrimp in the dill/oil mixture until well coated. The longer you can let it sit, the better!
(I don’t measure anything for this recipe, just dump it in. Dill weed is expensive in the stores but it is so good on shrimp don’t be shy about using it.)
Thread shrimp onto skewers. Metal works best since it will heat the shrimp from the inside.
Heat the barbeque. Make sure that it is completely hot before placing the shrimp onto the barbeque. Heat until hot all the way through, turning once. I always like to brush them with any leftover dill/oil mixture.
The trick to barbequing shrimp is to just heat them up — not to COOK them! If you over cook them they get dry, tough and tasteless. Warmed shrimp get the lovely grill marks and are hot, juicy and tender.
Don’t worry if they don’t come out perfectly the first time! It takes practice!
Sometimes it’s nice to have a hot drink to hold onto when you’re sitting around a campfire. But the same-ol’, same-ol’ hot chocolate can get kind of boring! This is an easy, hot drink that is still sweet.
- 10 cups apple cider or apple juice
- 1 (12-ounce) package frozen red raspberries (lightly sweetened)
- 5-inch stick of cinnamon
In a large saucepan combine apple cider or juice, raspberries, and cinnamon. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove mixture from heat.
Remove cinnamon stick. (You can fish out the berries or leave them!) Serve warm.
Makes 10 (8-ounce) servings.
For some reason Boston Cream Pie just says SUMMER to me. And that’s fine, when I can buy it at my local Safeway because there’s no way I’ll be turning on the oven during an Arizona summer!
And who has time to make the cream filling and the chocolate ganache topping?! Not me!
But what to do when Safeway doesn’t have Boston Cream Pies in their bakery? This is a super-easy Boston Cream Pie recipe that doesn’t even require pre-heating!
- Pound cake (defrosted and sliced)
- Jell-o chocolate pudding cup
- Strawberries (optional)
Take a thick slice of pound cake and top with some of the Jell-o pudding cup. I got three cake slices from one pudding cup. Top with Cool-Whip and garnish with a strawberry.
(And you didn’t even have to turn on the oven! Perfect for outdoor cooking!)
I found what looked like a really neat recipe in one of ESP Boss’ magazines a few weeks ago and just HAD to try it out on last weekend’s camping trip. Of course, I modified the recipe to use “real” ingredients. I just figure that if you’re only using a little bit, why do you REALLY need to subject yourself to the grossness of low-fat mayo and nonfat yogurt?!
- 2 TBS mayonnaise
- 2 TBS plain yogurt (We went all-out and had yummy Greek yogurt!)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 lime, quartered
- 4 ears of corn
Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and chili powder in a bowl. We made this before we left for camping so the flavors had about 36 hours to blend. I think it made a big difference so I recommend doing that!
Grill the corn over the campfire. Here’s how: Fun Food Fridays: Barbeque Corn on the Cob (But forgo stuffing butter into the corn husks during cooking!)
Once cooked, smear liberally with the sauce and sprinkle with lime juice. Yummy!
The original recipe called for shredding Cotija or Parmesan cheese as a topping but I’m not a fan of either so I left it off. Trust me, there was plenty of flavor!
When I collected the ears of corn from the fire, 2 were done and two were only done on one side. I took off all the charred husks, wrapped them loosely in foil, and plunked them back on the grill. By the time we’d eaten our steaks and first ear, the next ears were ready!
Readers Weigh In:
- Low-fat, nonfat — gross or what?!
Do you soak your corn before cooking it over open flame?
Tin foil: yes or no?
This week’s Fun Food Friday post isn’t a recipe but a cooking tip. Enjoy!
Once a month, all the single ladies on my street get together for a party. If it’s one thing all us gals have in common (besides loving to eat, socialize, and drink cocktails) is that we all love the outdoors.
Since our April get-together, Janice and Patty took their brand-new tent trailer out for its inaugural journey. They did everything right: left in plenty of time so they weren’t setting up in the dark, brought a variety of meals so they had options, and kept their good sense of humor.
But, of course, there was always the unexpected outdoor cooking event!
In this case, it was too windy to have a campfire to bake their potatoes. And there’s no oven in their tent trailer!
So, Patty, being the brilliant woman that she is decided that she make “Faked Baked Potatoes.” She scrubbed the potatoes like normal, and then popped them in a pot of boiling water.
I know what you’re thinking: that’s just BOILED potatoes. Bare with me on this one:
Patty left the skins on the potatoes and boiled them until they were tender all the way through. Then, she removed them from the water and wrapped them tightly in a dishtowel.
The dishtowel absorbed the excess water from cooking and left the potatoes the exact consistency of a baked potato!
Slather with butter, sour cream, salt and pepper and enjoy!
- 1 lb boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
- 12 oz egg noodles
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 TBS chicken bouillon granules (or, if you want a lower-salt dish, substitute whatever dried herbs you like I use dill weed and sweet basil)
- 3 TBS butter or margarine
- Grated Parmesan
At home, cut up chicken breasts, chop green onion, and mince garlic. Put chicken pieces in a large zippered bag and put green onions and minced garlic into a small zippered bag to bring with you. Be sure to keep chicken very cold either in an ice chest or RV refrigerator. (Do the same with your sour cream and butter.)
When ready to cook dinner, boil water in a large pot and cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine sour cream and bouillon granules or dried herbs in a small bowl.
Take a large skillet and put on stove over medium-high heat. Melt butter in the skillet then, add chicken pieces, onion pieces, and minced garlic. Cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium then, add drained noodles to skillet. Add sour cream mixture and heat through. Do not boil.
Serve everyone, and sprinkle servings with parmesan cheese.
From Kathy Levey.
- 1 bag hash brown mix
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 6 eggs
- 8 slices Canadian bacon or breakfast sausage
Add oil and then potato mix to skillet. Allow to cook without stirring. When the mix is brown on bottom flip the whole potato mixture. Add bacon or sausage and then eggs on top of potatoes. Cover and cook on low heat until the potatoes are brown and the eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with a few dashes of hot sauce (if desired) and serve. You could add onion and green pepper.
Sprinkled cheese over the top is good too.
Chino Valley, Arizona
Get this recipe and 30 others in the eBook: “The Outdoor Princess Camping Cookbook” from Amazon.com
This was one of my favorite sounding recipes. Last winter, when oranges were in season, I got to try it! I thought it was a good time to share it since oranges are in season right now.
- 1 Large orange per person
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- Bag of charcoal
- Aluminum foil
Slice the top 1/4 off an orange and set aside. Remove the fruit from the orange. (This can be eaten while you’re waiting!)
That was a bit tricky. You want to take MOST of the fruit out but leave some in. And you need to cut the fruit out without damaging the orange peel. The easiest tool was a grapefruit knife.
But if you don’t have one handy then I found cutting the orange into sections and then scooping it out with a large spoon was a good second best.
Prepare the cake mix according to the package and spoon into orange shell. Each orange should be about 2/3 of the way full. Place the top of the orange back on the shell.
Make sure you get all the cake mix INTO the orange. If it’s on the outside for cooking, it makes a mess.
The oranges take some time to prep so I recommend doing it all before you light the bag of charcoal. Follow the package instructions.
Wrap each orange LOOSELY in foil (trust me on this one!) and bury in the pre-heated charcoal for 10-15 minutes.
Okay, a word about the foil! If it’s too tight, then the cake doesn’t have enough room to expand. Too loose and the ash gets in (gross!) So you need it to be not so tight the cake mix can’t expand and not so loosely it gets dirt inside.
You’ll hear the cake mix sizzling. When that stops, the cakes are nearly baked.
If you smell burnt orange, or burning cake, then you’ve overcooked it! Although, the orange will burn a little bit.
Remember that the sugar in these will mean that they are VERY hot, juicy and sticky. Carefully brush any ash or dirt off the foil before opening.
Let it cool a bit and enjoy!
Yellow or gingerbread cake mixes are recommended substitutions. (I haven’t tried either though.)
Mix will fill about 6 oranges.
BTW: These are YUCKY cold or re-heated. Best to eat them warm and sticky!
Don’t forget to check out the cookbook that features this recipe: “The Outdoor Princess Camping Cookbook: 30+ Fast & Easy Recipes for Cooking Outside” available from Amazon.