Saturday, June 23, 2012

grilled corn on the cob

     Here's a quick tutorial for grilled corn on the cob... but I've gotta a hurry, so read fast! Dinner is being prepared on the grill....the whole dinner. Except for the dessert.
      I really LOVE summer! No hot oven or dirty pans tonight! I'm fixing grilled salmon drizzled with a thick, teriyaki-sweet chili glaze, sprinkled with fresh cilantro, corn on the cob and grilled zucchini with onions. I bought the locally grown veggies at a farm stand and the wild-caught salmon came from the town fish market.
     I just adore corn on the cob. I could eat my weight in corn on the cob, but refrain because my mother's voice rings in my head. "Corn is used to fatten the hogs." Yup, that's the voice... You've heard a similar one in your head? Mmhmm.
So, here's the how-to:
An easy way to speed up cooking your corn on the cob and make it easier to shuck, is to place an un-shucked ear in the microwave and cook it for one to one and a half minutes, depending on the size. Allow to cool for a minute, so you can handle it, then slide the husk and silks right off.
Next, cut small pieces of aluminum foil, just large enough to securely wrap each ear. Smear a thin stripe of softened butter down the center of each length of foil, then generously sprinkle the butter stripe with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss a few cilantro leaves on top of the buttery mixture and lay an ear of corn on each. Roll up tightly.
Place corn on grill over low heat. If using charcoal, you can push the coals to one side and place the corn over the opposite side, creating an indirect heat source. When corn has been on grill for around 20 minutes, pull one off and check to see if it is beginning to char. If so, remove. Otherwise leave it a few minutes longer.
     I sometimes mix up a little more of the soft butter, spice and herb combination to serve along side. You can easily serve corn with anything! And the best part of grilling? No pots to wash... just toss the foil in the recycle bin! Oops, gotta run. The grill is ready... Bon Apetit!

Friday, June 22, 2012

confessions of a farmers' market junkie

My name is Susan and I am a produce-aholic.
     I went to two different produce markets in one day. I spent around $82. I know that some of you may not comprehend the tale I about to tell, so just imagine that I am talking about shoes. In a mall.
     When I walk into a muggy-aired, rustic structure with sawdust on the floor, ceiling fans spinning overhead and bright, freshly harvested stuff in wooden crates, my mind begins to whirl. Recipes dance through my mind like sugarplum fairies.
     The thing that put me over the top this week was a massive bag of White Acre peas. I'm really tired of buying the puny, not-quite-a-pound bags you often see in the farmers' market. The one I got two weeks ago sold for $6... they weren't enough. I need more.
     To make them even more appealing, if that's even possible, the ones I purchased had been locally grown and were shelled THAT morning! I plan to portion the peas into freezer bags and voila... I can have them whenever I want!
     Have you ever bought any fresh peas? The frozen ones are good, but OMG... I'm like a recovering addict when they aren't in season. I make them with a bit of chopped onion, a ham bone and water, salt and pepper. How simple is that?
     If you aren't currently in possession of a lovely ham bone, I'm so sorry for you. Just pop in at your local Honeybaked Ham store and ask for one. They'll sell you a meaty, decent-sized one for around seven dollars.
     When served over brown rice and accompanied by a lovely green salad, they ARE the main course. Amazing flavor, tons of protein... never has there been a more comforting meal.
My next senior moment of the day goes like this:
     I was planning to make gazpacho on Saturday. While calculating, I mentally transposed the quantity in a recipe I had read for an heirloom tomato salad.
     I bought four pounds of tomatoes. Do you know how many tomatoes that is, roughly? A lot! I thought I needed four pounds. In reality I needed five. Tomatoes. FIVE tomatoes.
     Right at this moment, staring back at me with their big brown, accusing eyes is SIXTEEN large beefsteaks. I really hope my family can embrace the Tomato Festival taking place at our house in the next few days. Woohoo!
I'm mentally reviewing the recipes in my arsenal repertoire:
Tomato Pie
Bruschetta topping
Seared Tuna with Tomato Lemon Salsa

Panzanella
Margherita pizza
     ... I can say that I'll try to do better next time around, but we all know that would be a little fib.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

let's review: lime grill

Post update, Feb. 15, 2013: Lime Grill, (My Lime Cuisine) has closed their doors on Broughton Street. The sign is off the building front and I am trying to ascertain the status of this business. Visit them on Urbanspoon (link below) for more updates... I hope you were fortunate enough to visit.

     Hey, guess what? There's a new kid on the block... the 100 block of E. Broughton Street, that is. Lime Grill opened in February to rave reviews.
     The host reported that business has been surprisingly brisk, in spite of not having a website. (They do however have a Facebook page and are tops on Urbanspoon.)  
     We decided to visit for our anniversary dinner in May.  Lime has a grand entrance... a theatrical lighted marquee on the facade of an old building. How very Savannah.
     Inside, the warm wood decor is punctuated with pops of hot, hot color, exotic plants and big art. There's even a giant Buddha head on the back wall. But, the best works of art are the plates making their way from the kitchen.
     My date had the black grouper, steamed in a fragrant bath of ginger and chili. The aroma made me wish for a similar bath of my own. And the flavor... subtle and delicious.
      At our server's urging, I bravely chose the blackened swordfish topped with a light, lemon-butter sauce. I say bravely because previous attempts to like swordfish have been in vain.
     I usually find it strong tasting and tough... but not this one! I barely had to use the side of my fork to break off a piece. Both the blackening seasoning and lemon butter sauce is used sparingly. I love it when the supporting cast doesn't overpower the actual star of the show!
     Both entrees were served on top of crisp-tender sauteed veggies and accompanied by a side of rice. Each plate was lovely to look at.
     Mine, a nod to spring, had a carrot butterfly perched atop the rice. His, an edible orchid and parsley leaf echoed the blooms in historic squares nearby.
     Lime Grill is open for lunch during the week and dinner every night. I'm already checking my calendar and phoning friends... there are many more things to sample! Who wants to go with me?
Lime Grill on Urbanspoon

let's review: toucan cafe

     Have you discovered this little gem yet? Driving down Stephenson, you'd likely pass on by the Toucan Cafe due to lack of curb appeal.
     A small, off-white house that looks abandoned sits next to the restaurant sign... confusing to the first time visitor. The bland view from the road is a far cry from the colorful interior.
     You will be pleasantly surprised IF you turn down the long narrow driveway and venture inside. The walls are bright and bold. Tables sport random animal prints. A bench just inside the door features a leafy tropical motif.
     Our eclectic dinner group met at Toucan Cafe on Friday night. While the remainder each chose a selection from the nightly specials list, my hubby, ever the rebel, chose the Black and Blue Shrimp Salad listed on the regular dinner menu.
     It was huge, fresh and loaded with stuff! Blackened shrimp and blue cheese dressing, dried cranberries, tomato, cucumber, walnuts, artichoke hearts.
     I requested a couple of bites... for research and reporting purposes, naturally. This reviewing thing does have it's perks!
     My Chile-Orange Salmon was perched on top of corn and black bean salsa over a fried piece of a tortilla. I requested the sauces be served on the side. Four arrived, the chimichurri being my fave.
     I found the portion to be just okay... I would have liked the salmon to be a bit larger. Mine was an end piece and sort of skimpy. It was however perfectly cooked to medium and very moist. The flavors melded nicely and I would order this dish again.
     Each person at the table enjoyed the item they ordered... from Skirt Steak with grilled shrimp to Moroccan Salmon to Filet Medallions. And let me tell you, the warm bread and herbed-garlic butter... mercy me! I could have eaten the entire basket full!
     It was a successful night all around. Unique atmosphere and original menu selections as well as excellent service.
     So, don't let the inconspicuous entrance fool you... Toucan Cafe is a hidden Southside Savannah treasure.
Toucan Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 2, 2012

let's review: tybee island social club

     During our recent Ladyfriends Getaway, we dined at Tybee Island Social Club, known to the locals as simply, Social.
     I know this bit of insider info thanks to a couple of friends who corrected me on my mainlander faux-pas of using the entire name... heaven forbid!
     A few weeks later, I returned with my husband and a couple of friends... this place is too good not to share! When you catch a glimpse of the porch area, the choice of sitting inside vs. outside becomes a big decision.
     The Ladyfriends chose in. Next time, we chose out, enjoying the gentle breeze and twinkling lights overhead. On my first visit, Bingo and Margaritas were the theme of the night. The second time, live music punctuated the late afternoon air.
     The decor is right up my alley... clean, chic and eclectic. White beadboard walls, bamboo clad ceiling and well-worn hardwood floors are kicked up a notch with a lush upholstered couch and a couple of easy chairs positioned just inside the front door. Stuffed animal heads lend an exotic feel to the otherwise un-patterned interior.
    The first time I ate at Social, I chose two orders of ceviche as my dinner and never looked back! Fresh fish, red, yellow and green bell peppers and red onion in fruit juices, served with homemade chips.
     The second time we went, the portion seemed to be smaller and have more liquid than chunks of fish. The taste was still great, but since I had to share with the hubs... I wanted more;)
     One dish that stands out from the crowd is the Orange-Pork Taco. Boston butt rubbed with orange rind and spices is roasted until falling-apart-tender, then shredded...
oh. my. goodness.
     The taco is served topped with carmelized onion, raisins, banana pepper, garlic aioli, toasted chopped almonds and cilantro. A friend suggested substituting the garlic aioli with the chipotle aioli... even better!
     The $6 price just screams, "Order two!" Most of the tacos are around six dollars with the top price of $8.25 for the shrimp tacos. With prices like these and thoughtfully prepared food it's no wonder they were recently voted the Best New Restaurant on Tybee.
     Every taco on the menu is available as a taco salad... genius! The Lime-Tequila marinated skirt steak salad was tender, juicy and divine. The duck taco was delish. One friend ordered the fish chowder and was surprised at how filling it was.
     The blood orange sangria may be my new favorite thing... I'm not a fan of super-sweet drinks. It was cool and fruity... Just perfect for a warm, late-spring night at the beach. Hey, if you haven't made it out to Social, what are you waiting for?
Tybee Island Social Club on Urbanspoon