Tag Archives: Asparagus

Summer picnic on crack

A little while back I wrote about “summer picnic,” Nadia’s favorite dish of grilled shrimp and asparagus (abd sometimes other random grilled meats and veggies) with toasted bread. We recently started limiting our bread, pasta and sugar intake, so instead of the bread, I just upped the veggies and the meat.

I purchased the asparagus, red bell pepper and corn from casinoin.us the Laguna Niguel Farmers Market. The chimichurri on the shrimp, the beer-marinated chicken and chorizo Argentino came from Puerto madero in Santa Ana.

Everything was finished with a spritz of lemon.

Everything was totally awesome.

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Fire up the grill for a delicious ‘summer picnic’

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It’s been a while since I’ve used my grill, but a recent trip to Northern California inspired me to come back home and clean off my backyard bad boy for another summer of good eats.

The lunch I made for my buddies up north was inspired by Nadia’s favorite grilled dish of mine, “The Summer Picnic.” We call it that because I made it for her one summer night and the name stuck.

Basically it’s grilled shrimp, grilled asparagus and some bread.

I pierce the shrimp twice, through the head and near the base of the tail, to make the skewers easier to flip. As far as shrimp go, most would say sustainable is best, but it’s also pricey. You get the best bang for the buck at Costco, where the shrimp in the meat/seafood section are huge. I think I paid about $18 for 24 large shrimp. But they’re also farmed … so is the majority of the rest of the shrimp you and I are likely eating though, so I dunno.

Finally, I’ve read that it’s better to buy frozen than fresh in most cases. Unless you’re buying at Pearson’s Port (or sometimes Santa Monica Seafood), most of the shrimp you purchase is frozen on the ship at sea. The market then defrosts it to display it, so what’s the point? Lately, I’ve switched to frozen Northern Chef wild caught baja shrimp, 40-60 count in a 1 lb. bag for about $10 at Sprouts.

Omit the bread to save on the carbs, but if you plan on using it, you can serve it fresh or grilled. French is best, but you can also use italian. Slice the baguette or loaf into slices, and if grilling, brush lightly with olive oil (or garlic/herb-infused olive oil) and cook on the grill very briefly. Watch it close, because it burns quick!

What’s great about these ingredients is that you can tweak them different ways to keep it interesting. Here are some variations:

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-Wrap the asparagus pre-grill in bacon or post-grill in prosciutto.

-Throw some sausage on the grill too! My favorite is the pork sausage at Puerto Madero in Santa Ana/El Gaucho in Anaheim. Just like the bacon/prosciutto idea above, it’s not the healthiest idea, so save it for a sporadic treat. Finish with a drizzle of chimichurri, also available at the market (I like to leave off most of the oil and just use the herbs instead).

-Par-boil some halved yukon gold potatoes for about 12 minutes, until nearly fork tender. Finish face down on the grill, turning 45-degrees once in the cooking process. The chimichurri also works great here, or toss with a tablespoon of melted butter (plus sauteed shallots, a lot of garlic and parsley, if you’d like). Salt and pepper to taste.

-Other vegetables would also work here–spring onions, ramps, broccolini, brocolli rabe. We just alway use asparagus because it’s so yummy.

-Finish the veggies and the shrimp with a solid spritz of fresh lemon juice and fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Week 30, Meal 3: Mixed veggies

Chef Brian gave me the option of using bomba rice or jasmine rice for Week 3, Meal 3: Vegetarian paella, but I really wanted the bomba to keep this as authentic as possible.

Lucky for me, Dave was willing to take me on  a whim to La Espanola Meats in Harbor City to pick up the rice and nosh on some righteous paella. Theirs came with a charcuterie plate (with marinated olives I’m still dreaming about) and was packed with rabbit, chorizo, chicken and shrimp. It’s only served on Saturdays and if you’re anywhere close, you need to check it out.

But for the finale to our vegetarian menu, we’re ditching the meat and piling on the veggies. Everything is fresh, yet I’d file it under “stick to your ribs” because it’s so filling.

Follow the jump for the recipe and the how-to.

Continue reading Week 30, Meal 3: Mixed veggies

Menu 30: Veggin’ out

I’m back in the kitchen this week after a long time away from Chef Brian’s menus, and while I have been cooking blog repeats and simple meals at home, I’m definitely glad to be back in the Fat Dude kitchen.

Chef Brian wrote this menu some time ago, meant as a way to get me back into healthy eating after I let my waistline go to hell for the last couple of months of 2011.

But, as it turns out, I don’t need a kick start because I’ve been hitting the gym since the beginning of the year. And now that I have an exercise routine down, it’s time to get the knives out once again. Here’s what’s cooking for Menu 30: Veggin’ out:

Week 30, Meal 1: Black bean and spinach enchiladas verde

Week 30, Meal 2: Veggie-tofu stir fry with umeboshi plum vinegar soy sauce

Week 30, Meal 3: Vegetarian paella

As always, each recipe makes 2 servings, though you might have some leftovers with these recipes. But when has that ever been a bad thing? Follow the link the shopping list. Continue reading Menu 30: Veggin’ out

Week 26, Meal 2: So good this has to be bad for you

Halfway through eating, Wifey Nadia turned to me and said this dish tasted so good that it had to be bad for us. Fresh, comforting and delicious. Nothing bad about that, I say.

I may have overcooked my eggs just a little, depriving myself of the maximum-possible yolk for this dish, but the cheesy polenta and loads of produce in this dish, the fanciest of our three Breakfast for Dinner 2 meals, did not disappoint.

Here’s Week 26, Meal 2: Parmesan polenta topped with asparagus, leek and poached eggs with prosciutto, tomato and basil salsa. Continue reading Week 26, Meal 2: So good this has to be bad for you

Week 26: BFD2

I live in a world where my wife thinks it’s crazy to eat breakfast — my favorite meal of the day — for dinner.

So, take it from me, it’s a big-f’n-deal when I get some BfD. It’s an even bigger deal when Chef Brian is in charge of the menu because he’s just as good at making yummy morning fare as he is at crafting dressed-up dinners.

Here’s what’s cookin’:

Week 26, Meal 1: Orange-ricotta pancakes with honey-pistachio yogurt

Week 26, Meal 2: Parmesan polenta topped with asparagus, leek and poached eggs with prosciutto, tomato and basil salsa

Week 26, Meal 3: Turkey pastrami hash and eggs

As always, each recipe makes two portions. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 26: BFD2

Week 24, Meal 3: Veggie pizza sangwich

Right behind sandwiches on my list of favorite foods is another carb-o-fave-o: the pizza pie.

The final meal of Week 24 reminds me more of pizza than a sandwich because of it’s sweet red sauce, gobs of creamy cheese and a thick layer of delicious toppings.

Here’s Week 24, Meal 3: Grilled vegetable panini with ricotta and roasted bell pepper puree. It’s doesn’t exactly fill the same void a nice slab of pizza would, but it’s a worthy substitute for the most part. Continue reading Week 24, Meal 3: Veggie pizza sangwich

Week 24: Sandwitches

Chef Brian’s a good thinker-aheader.

He knew that I was ready to get back in the kitchen and thoughtfully put together an easy-to-make spread of one of my favorite foods: the noble sandwich.

Two of the meals are really quick to make and the finale to the menu isn’t bad either. Three cheers for an easy week in the kitchen. Here’s the menu:

Week 24, Meal 1: Prosciutto and goat cheese sandwich with fennel-apple slaw

Week 24, Meal 2: Roasted turkey with gruyere and cornichons

Week 24, Meal 3: Grilled vegetable panini with ricotta and roasted bell pepper puree

Each recipe makes two servings. Continue reading for the shopping list.

Continue reading Week 24: Sandwitches

Week 23, Meal 3: Big-ass-crouton salad

Back a couple of years ago Chef Brian gave his family and friends a cookbook for Christmas.

I never could nail the waffle recipe, and the list of panini suggestions have proved useful time and time again, but it was always one recipe, “panzanella bread salad” that stood out the most.

With all of my curiosity, I never actually made the meal. Luckily, Chef was smart enough to include a panzanella salad in one of our Fat Dude dishes, which has really opened up my eyes to the awesomeness of big-ass croutons.

Here’s Week 23, Meal 3: Grilled branzino over spring panzanella with lemon-tarragon vinaigrette. Continue reading Week 23, Meal 3: Big-ass-crouton salad

Week 23, Meal 2: Restaurant chops

Because I used to each Chicken McNuggets, like, on the regular, I never had a true taste for great food.

Sure, I knew the difference between fast food and the stuff that comes from nice restaurants, but cooking restaurant quality dishes at home was never something I dreamed of doing until I started this blog.

I love when a dish tastes like it came from the kitchen of a fancy restaurant and Week 23, Meal 2: Grilled lamb chops over asparagus and morel mushrooms with sherry vinaigrette is a meal that smacks of finer-than-home dining.

Continue reading Week 23, Meal 2: Restaurant chops

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