Sunday, May 30, 2010

apples to apples

Memorial day weekend= cookouts. Obvi. Two so far. Made two appley dishes.

Cookout #1: Fruit salad!


I was inspired by the flavors in the other day’s chicken salad. I combined chunked Granny Smiths (2.5), a can of mandarin oranges, a banana, the last of the golden raisins, and some walnuts (crunch!). Then dressed with chutney (the last of some mango-ginger and some peach: I swear, the jars in our fridge are breeding, and it’s a constant battle to control the population. Do normal people have multiple chutneys?) and citrus juice (I sprinkled lemon juice directly on the banana to keep it from browning, then mixed lime juice with the chutneys) slightly thinned with water and microwaved for ideal coating!

Served in ridiculous fanciness because it’s the only midsized bowl we have.


This was at my mom’s sister’s. My uncle Louie grilled up some gorgey STEAK!


But in my opinion even more beautiful and delicious were the grilled veg!


I am kind of wincing at all of these pictures because my aunt and uncle both have photography backgrounds. SORRY! But this veggies deserve credit. Grilled shrooms are always great, brussels sprouts taste their best almost black and I now know grilling is just as delicious as roasting but oh my goodness I have to give a special shoutout to those carrots.

Apparently a technique from the local radio personality (?!) who gives cooking advice on Saturday mornings when my uncle goes to pick up his shirts at the cleaners. You just grill a whole raw carrot, dressed as you see fit (he used the steak marinade on everything- obviously not so much for the vegetarians but you could just do something in the vinaigrette family). Louie doesn’t even like cooked carrots but with this technique you really get the best of both worlds- the crunch of the raw carrot with the caramelization from the grill. Mmmmmm.

My platesie, which was heavily dominated by the grillsies!


There was also, going from your 11:00, my aunt’s couscous salad with sun dried tomatoes and asparagus; corn salad; my fruit salad (which turned out really yummy- there was a decent amount left in the bowl but I started chatting with my cousin in the kitchen and picking at it a bit and then… finished it. With my bare hands. Klassy); and my aunt Nan’s salad.


Nan’s salad gets a special shoutout: baby spinach, strawberries, parmesan, some kind of lovely sweet dressing and CAJUN PECANS! Made with pecans, butter, brown sugar, cumin (!) and finished with a splash of vinegar (!). I ate roughly 50,000 of them throughout the course of the evening.

And so we get to today. Today’s event was actually with my dad's family at my dad’s sister's house, but she invited my mom, not my dad. (Hahahahaha he is unpopular). I asked if I could bring anything and she was like “you’ve fed me enough! If you WANT, you can bring a dessert”. So of course I did.

Cookout #2: Apple cake!


I’d had this recipe for Lots O’ Apple Cake marked for quite some time!

Dry (bonus points for being half whole wheat!):




Apples (I halved the recipe and 2.5 cups was EXACTLY two small Granny Smiths):


They said “peeled” but you can see I’m casual about the tops and bottoms. It’s too much of a pain. A little fiber never hurt anyone.

The directions said to add the dry ingredients to the liquid which seemed a little unorthodox but I obeyed. Then I went to fold in the apples and man oh man sticky sticky MESS!


But they made it into the pan (since I halved it I used a 9” pie pan) and after some baking (due to my overeager countertop oven I had to cover it for the last half of the cooking time because it browned so quickly) it came out all gorgey porgey.


Delish! People went kind of crazy on it, actually, I was flattered. Super moist, nice and caramely from the honey, and you really tasted the fruit- don’t other people hate so called “fruit” desserts that are 99% batter?


Unknown said...

hope you enjoy the cookouts, you deserve some 'fun in the sun' hehe


Heather (Where's the Beach) said...

Ok, minus the chicken, and that salad is right up my alley! ;-)

Anonymous said...

oooh summer grillin' is where its at! I love grilled mushrooms and eat them like theres no tomorrow! love your eats and love your blog!!

Anonymous said...

Those grilled veggies really do look delicious! So does the cake.. and the fruit salad. I haven't had a fruit salad in what seems like forever mainly because I'm too lazy to chop up the fruit. The cookouts look like a success. :)

runnerforever said...

I would love to go to either of the cookouts because your dishes looks spot on, yum!

Astra Libris said...

Oooooh, apple heaven!! Your cake looks soooo scrumptious!! I don't peel my apples either... :-) Yay fiber! :-)

OMG, where in Northern VA do you live??!! I'm SO excited!! I'd love to meet for coffee if our paths cross! :-) Feel free to email me at