Light and Tasty Shrimp Burgers

Light and Tasty Shrimp Burgers

Have you ever had a shrimp burger? The thought of making a shrimp burger would have never occurred to me, and I LOVE shrimp. But that’s why we keep Claire around, right? She’s always available to treat us to something delicious and unexpected! So let’s get to it. Claire, tell us why these shrimp burgers should be our new summer staple!

Something about summer makes me want to just start mainlining hamburgers. I’m a big supporter of letting my body decide what it wants to eat most of the time, but even I think there needs to be a limit, and 24-hour burgers is surely over that line. That said, I think a small increase in burger consumption is mostly harmless, and I’m willing to make some excuses to justify a few extra burgers. I’m not too worried about getting my body beach-ready – as far as I’m concerned, my beach bod is whatever bod I happen to take to the beach – but I do still like to keep my calorie consumption on a relatively even keel, and beef all day err day doesn’t exactly fit with that plan. For that reason, I have developed a work-around: Shrimp burgers!

Seafood is such an obvious choice for summer fare, and especially shrimp. It barely takes any heat to cook, and it goes equally well in a salad or cold pasta dish. Besides that, shrimp is almost always a great, sustainable choice. Its sticky texture makes it ideal for manipulating it into a patty, and just a tiny bit of panko is plenty of binder to help keep a great shape. If you’re lucky enough to live close to the ocean, you can usually find a fishmonger with a supply of fresh shrimp, but frozen raw shrimp will also work great.

These shrimp burgers are so magical, they actually feel decadent and light at the same time. They just take a few minutes to put together, and when I’m done eating, they don’t leave me feeling heavy and lethargic.

Like traditional beef burgers, there are basically endless ways to top your shrimp burgers, but I like to keep it pretty simple with a piece of crisp butter lettuce, maybe some onion slices, and some avocado. I also like a creamy dressing. My husband says he hates mayonnaise, but he goes nuts for aioli, so I just added a bunch of Old Bay seasoning and whole corn kernels to some mayo and called it aioli. He loved it, obviously, and it went perfectly with the shrimp burgers.

To make four patties, you will need:

  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 green onions, chopped small
  • Small bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons panko
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Shrimp Burger prep
Pat the shrimp dry with some paper towel, and drop it into your food processor with the garlic and jalapeño. Pulse a few times until a lumpy paste starts to form. Add the shrimp together with the rest of the ingredients, and then divide the paste into four roughly even sections. Using your hands, form each section into a patty shape to fit the bun. I like to wear kitchen gloves for this section because the shrimp seems to stick to them a little less. Heat a grill or well-oiled griddle over medium heat. Cook the patties for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, and assemble your burgers.

shrimp burgers plated

 

I like to serve these with just a nice green salad on the side, though if you want to skip the bun, they are fabulous on top of a big salad. These shrimp burgers are also good cold, so wrap them up and get that hot bod to the beach!

Printer-friendly recipe: Shrimp Burgers

Butcher Block Co. Custom-Sized Cutting Boards in 15 Wood Types

Butcher Block Co. Custom-Sized Cutting Boards in 15 Wood Types

Butcher Block Co., a leading online seller of wood countertops for residential and commercial kitchens and offices, as well as retail food outlets and industrial job shops, aggressively promotes kitchen countertops, furniture and accessories made by such leading American manufacturers as John Boos & Co. and Catskill Craftsmen. This week the company expanded its product line to include custom-sized cutting boards in fifteen wood species.

Since 2007 the online store has marketed standard and custom-sized wood countertops and a broad line of butcher block cutting boards and chopping blocks made by John Boos, headquartered in Effingham, Illinois. Boos started making blocks for blacksmiths in the 1880s and to this day is recognized as the industry leader. Since Boos countertops only come in four types of North American hardwood – maple, walnut, cherry and red oak – earlier this year BBC began marketing private-label countertops in custom sizes, in the process increasing to fifteen the total number of wood species available. The eleven additions were ash, beech, birch, Brazilian cherry, hickory, knotty alder, knotty pine, mahogany, poplar, Spanish cedar and white oak.

According to Kathleen Grodsky, the company’s Marketing and Operations VP, “The greater variety of wood species and grain styles broadened appeal and drove overall countertop sales higher.” So Grodsky and her team decided to execute a similar strategy for custom-sized cutting boards. She went on to explain the process saying,

“It involves five easy steps. The shopper simply specifies one of the fifteen wood types, a grain style, edging, finish and dimensions, and the associated price is instantly revealed. She can either order the custom-sized cutting boards right then and there, or save her quote and cart for retrieval later.

Grain-style options include edge or end-grain butcher block or plank-style. Eight different edging options are available: square, eased, beveled, coved, radius with or without a step and small and large Roman ogee. Finish options are natural oil or conversion varnish.”

About Butcher Block Co. – BBC operates exclusively online at https://butcherblockco.com, offering butcher block kitchen counters islands, carts, tables and work stations; kitchen knives and knife blocks; and cutting boards made of wood exclusively, since scientific studies have confirmed the superiority of wood over plastic cutting boards.
Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
kgrodsky@kitchenenthusiats.com
website: https://butcherblockco.com

Chef’s Recipe – Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail

Chef’s Recipe – Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail is one of my most favorite appetizers, and I am fortunate enough to have easy access to the best one I’ve ever eaten. My younger brother, Garrison Whiting, is the supremely talented chef at Counter Intuitive in Scottsdale, AZ. The menu at CI changes up every few months with the start of a new “episode.” The current episode is “Agua Caliente Racetrack,” which pulls inspiration from the famed horse racing track that opened in Tijuana in 1929 when drinking and gambling were still illegal in the states. The track catered to celebrities, and the spectacular menu at Counter Intuitive reflects that opulence in both food and drink.

Back to the shrimp cocktail. Chef Garrison has concocted a delicious variation on a classic, and I would eat it every day if I could (I have almost two quarts of it in my fridge at the moment, so I will be living that dream for the next several days). This isn’t your standard “dip shrimp in sauce” shrimp cocktail; this is more of the Mexican style that you eat with a spoon. Crunchy bites of cucumber and onion combine with the richness of avocado and bits of shrimp, all brought together by a spiced tomato cocktail reminiscent of a Bloody Mary.

This Shrimp Cocktail is the best I’ve ever had, and you should definitely add it to your no-cook meal recipe arsenal.

We’ve been talking about no-cook Shrimp Cocktail meals this week on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and this shrimp cocktail fits the bill if you use pre-cooked shrimp; even if you use fresh, though, it only takes a minute (literally) to cook them. The recipe below is in restaurant quantity (about 16 servings), but it is easily halved or even quartered if you’re not serving a crowd. I cut it in half and ended up with about two quarts. I always have shrimp in the freezer, so I’ve just been boiling up a handful every day and adding them into my individual serving in order to keep things fresh (I’m weird about seafood, okay?).

Chef Garrison’s Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail

  • 1 64 oz. bottle original Clamato
  • 1 6 oz. can El Pato tomato sauce
  • 2 oz. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 oz. honey (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1-2 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1 Tbs extra hot horseradish
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups medium-diced Roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups medium-diced red onion
  • 2 cups medium-diced English cucumber
  • 2 cups medium-diced avocado
  • 2 lbs. large raw, peeled, and deveined shrimp (or pre-cooked)

Makes approximately one gallon/16 servings

Shrimp Cocktail

Stir together all liquids and spices, then add veggies and let sit refrigerated overnight.

In a large sauce pot bring 5-6 qts. of water to a boil with a handful of salt and a splash of white vinegar. Remove from heat and add the shrimp until they are just cooked (about 1 minute). Pour the shrimp into a colander and immediately transfer to a sheet pan to cool. Do not use an ice bath to cool the shrimp.

To serve, cut up about 3/4ths of the shrimp into halves or thirds and place portions into large margarita/martini glasses. Ladle the cocktail sauce over the pieces and garnish with diced avocado, a lime wedge, and 1 whole shrimp. Serve with Saltine crackers.

Printer-friendly recipe: Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail

Acclaimed Chef Couple Opens Unique SuperBite Restaurant in Portland

Acclaimed Chef Couple Opens Unique SuperBite Restaurant in Portland

Greg Denton and his wife Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton – 2016 finalists for the “James Beard Award, Best Chef Northwest” competition and named among the Best New Chefs by Food & Wine magazine – opened their critically acclaimed Ox Restaurant in Portland, Oregon in 2012. Just one year later, Ox – a modern Argentine steakhouse known for its sizzling grill – was named Restaurant of the Year by The Oregonian.

Grill masters Greg and Gabi attribute the distinctive taste of their meat and fish to their unique wood-fired grill, which features a catch basin that captures delicious drippings from delicacies on the grill for recycling into an even tastier marinade. Greg explains, “We add a special blend of herbs and seasonings to the juice we capture, then use it to baste the steaks as they cook.” Ox is located at 2225 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. 

Encouraged by the notoriety, in March the Dentons released their first cookbook: “Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from Ox Restaurant.” It includes 100 black-belt recipes for inspired backyard grillers – vegetarians and carnivores alike. The book is flagged “Number One Best-Seller” on Amazon.

Fresh on the heels of widespread acclaim for both Ox and their inaugural cookbook, the Dentons opened their second unique concept restaurant in Portland in April. According to Gabi, “SuperBite is all about small dishes packed with big flavor. It’s a thrill for chefs to have a chance to be creative and bold in devising flavorful, unusual combinations.” And the cooks’ uncustomary experience doesn’t end there. “Unlike other restaurants,” adds Gabi, “here patrons will actually be served by the team who created the food. That feedback loop will help our chefs and our concept evolve.” SuperBite is located at 527 SW 12th Ave. SuperBite

One thing not unusual about SuperBite is its kitchen countertops. They’re butcher block tops made by John Boos in Central Illinois and supplied by Boos’ online dealer, Butcher Block Co.

SuperBite John Boos According to Chef Greg, “I have used Boos equipment my entire career. They have a great reputation in the industry and such a strong following among chefs that I respect that this was one of the easiest decisions we faced in launching our new restaurant.”
About Butcher Block Co. – A leading online seller of kitchen furniture, equipment and such accessories as cutting boards, knives and knife blocks. Butcher Block Co. offers kitchen islands, carts and tables, and specializes in wood countertops. They carry products made by John Boos, Catskill Craftsmen and other leading manufacturers.
For more information, contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
Kgrodsky@kitchenenthusiasts.com

Poptails – Boozy Frozen Pops for Grownups

Poptails – Boozy Frozen Pops for Grownups

Poptails! If you don’t know what that means, Claire is here to explain, and save your face from melting this summer. I can’t believe this never occurred to me. After all, I enjoy booze quite a bit, and I really hate being hot. This is only natural. Let’s join Claire for some grownups-only frozen treats!

Summer has officially begun. The temperatures are reaching record highs, and my air conditioning has been running at full tilt. I could go on about it, but frankly, even I am getting pretty sick of hearing myself talk about the weather. It’s time to accept the seasonal realities of my life here and just thank my lucky stars that I don’t live in Phoenix, where I hear it has reached nearly 120°F. In any case, even though it’s becoming increasingly hard to avoid talking about it, this post is not going to be entirely about the heat, as I have actual things going on in my life this week.

On Friday, my husband Pier underwent a little surgical procedure that has had him laid up for the past week. He can’t lift anything over 8 pounds, so I’ve been helping him settle into a couch nest during the day with a little bed tray table and his lap-top, and distracting the cats from trying to climb into his lap every 20 minutes. He isn’t in a ton of pain, but the Tylenol and bags of frozen peas he’s been using don’t quite cover the discomfort, so I’ve decided to add booze to his regimen. Over the weekend, it was easy; we just drank margaritas and watched movies and played card games. Now that the work week is back on, though, I’m not home during the day, and he’s not quite as comfortable with drinking all day by himself. Luckily, I have concocted a brilliant triple-threat plan to tackle the heat, the pain, and the day-drinking stigma with one solid blow:

Frozen pop cocktails. Or POPTAILS, because who doesn’t like a good portmanteau?

A simple google search will yield dozens of recipes for alcoholic pops, and it can be fun to get a little fancy with it, but in my experience, a recipe isn’t always necessary. The rules to poptails are simple and few. 1) If it tastes great as a cocktail, chances are good that it will taste great as a poptail. 2) If you want a solid pop, your mix cannot exceed 20% alcohol. Not that a boozy slush treat isn’t also good, but it’s not quite the same experience. 3) Frozen pop molds are also fun, but not always necessary. A disposable plastic cup actually makes a great mold, and all it takes is a little push on the bottom to free the poptails from the cups. With these rules in mind, I set out to the grocery store to find things that I thought would taste good with booze in them.

Poptails

I started with fancy-pants juices. Naked and Odwalla and Bolthouse Farms make nice, thick juices that are packed with fruit, so they have a lot of flavor. A little vodka or rum would be easily disguised under the richness of one of those, so I picked out a couple of options. Next, I picked up some sweet tea, because I know my man is a sucker for an Arnold Palmer, and I happen to have a bottle of homemade limoncello in my liquor cabinet. As I headed away from the juice aisle, I caught a whiff of the bulk coffee section, and my next poptail idea hit me. My favorite wake-up drink is coffee heavily spiked with Bailey’s Irish cream, so that was a no-brainer right there. Lastly, a couple of summers ago, I ran across this recipe for creamy margarita pops, and I’ve been dying to try them out ever since, so I grabbed a bag of limes and some plastic cups.

Poptails

With the exception of the margarita poptails, I didn’t use any recipes, so I just measured out at least one cup of base beverage to one quarter cup of alcohol for each mixture. I ended up mixing strawberry banana juice with tequila, mango juice with vodka, coffee with Bailey’s, and sweet tea with limoncello. The two juice mixtures turned out ok, but next time I try those, I’ll dial the alcohol back a little further, because they did not freeze very well. Even after 24 hours in the freezer, they were still a little soft. The other two flavors froze perfectly, and Pier even texted me at work today to tell me how much he enjoyed the Arnold Palmer-pop. The margarita pops also turned out fabulous, and fully worth the time I spent juicing my 10 limes.

Poptails Done

These treats are super fun to come home to after work, and super fun to eat all day while you sit on the couch playing video games. Ten out of ten, would recommend. I’m already scanning the door of my fridge for more poptions.

 

Pick Your Favorite Dessert Recipes From Our Dessert Cart!

Pick Your Favorite Dessert Recipes From Our Dessert Cart!

We have featured many amazing dessert recipes over the years, so in honor of Dessert Week at Butcher Block Co., we’re compiling some of our favorites in this Dessert Cart! From super simple to fancy, campfire-friendly to refreshingly cool, we’ve got you covered.

So gather ’round our dessert cart, sample whatever looks tasty, and leave with a few new favorite dessert recipes to try at home!

First up is from one of our most popular posts, which is understandable because it is AMAZING (I even made it myself last Father’s Day, and it turned out perfectly!). Claire’s Key Lime Pie is the stuff dreams are made of..just look at this!

Key Lime Pie

If you’re looking for something a little less labor intensive, this Icebox Cake is one of the easiest dessert recipes you can put together, and it turns out stunningly beautiful. No one will suspect the simplicity of this recipe!

Dessert Recipes

Speaking of easy, how about an ice cream recipe with only two base ingredients that doesn’t require an ice cream maker?! Alicia’s Easy Homemade Ice Cream fits the bill and will quickly become a summer staple in your family.

Homemade Ice Cream

Did that ice cream pique your interest? Looking for something a little more challenging? There is nothing that will cool you down in the summer better than mint ice cream. Claire’s Homemade Mint Ice Cream might take a little more skill in the kitchen, but it is well worth the extra effort. Refreshing mint and a buttery texture will make this one of your new favorite dessert recipes!

Mint Ice Cream Now, if you want to get out of the kitchen this summer, Sarah comes to the rescue with delicious and fun Campfire Pies! Your filling options are endless, so everyone in the family can customize their dessert to their own tastes.

Dessert recipes

What are your favorite dessert recipes? Are you inspired to try something new this summer?

Homemade Mint Ice Cream – A Refreshing Dessert

Homemade Mint Ice Cream – A Refreshing Dessert

Mint ice cream is probably the single most refreshing thing I can think of on a hot day. Since today happens to be one of those days, this post couldn’t have come at a better time! Honestly, though, is there ever a bad time for mint ice cream?? Claire is here to cool us off from the inside out with her fabulous homemade mint ice cream. Let’s get churning, Claire!

My husband Pier has a serious sweet tooth. When we first met, I was trying to quit smoking. Seeing how hard I was struggling, he tried to give up candy out of solidarity, but he failed almost daily. A plate of cookies here, a bag of candy there, doughnuts for breakfast, ice cream for dinner. It’s lucky for him his job has him doing hard manual labor, or he would be as fat as I am. Cut to seven years later, and I’ve long since given up cigarettes, but he still can’t go a day without a good sugar buzz. Not that I’m exactly guilt free; I’m what you might call an enabler. I have replaced my nicotine cravings with a desperate need to watch people enjoy foods that I have created, so there is always something sweet around the house for Pier. That way, we can both get our fix.

In the fall, it’s cookies and pies, and in the winter, sweet quick breads and cakes. It’s technically spring time now, and, I want desperately to be making shortcake and berry tarts, but I just can’t bring myself turn on the oven. Two weeks ago, I said that it was the perfect weather for grilling because it wasn’t too hot yet. One week ago, Mother Gaia read my post and decided to take it as a challenge. Suddenly, it’s summer three weeks early, and I am not into it. I suppose spring came early here, so it follows that summer would be hot on its tail, but I’m just not ready. With the California sun raining on my spring parade, I have eschewed all baked goods for a chillier option. I only want to eat cold foods that will make me cold and remind me of the good old days three weeks ago, back when I was cold. I officially declare this summer Ice Cream Season.

Pier’s favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chip. I love mint too, but I think chocolate in mint ice cream detracts from the refreshing nature of the mint.

Since it’s basically impossible to find mint ice cream without chocolate in it, and since homemade ice cream is about a million times better than grocery store ice cream, I have learned how to make my own mint ice cream.

So, when I was in the grocery store last week seeking a brief respite from the heat, and I caught a whiff of fresh mint from clear on the other side of the produce department, I knew how I would be kicking off Ice Cream Season.

Mint Ice Cream

Mint Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 bunches of fresh mint leaves
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Put the cream and milk in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring it just to a simmer. Watch it carefully so that it doesn’t scald. When bubbles start to come up, remove the pan from heat and add the mint leaves. Cover the pot and allow the mint to steep for two hours. In another saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar over medium heat until they are fluffy and pale, and then strain the cream into the eggs mixture, using the back of a spoon to press on the mint leaves so all the cream and minty flavor gets into the pot. Whisk until fully combined, and then cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the custard reaches 170°F, or until a finger swiped across the back of a spoon leaves a clean line. Add the salt to taste.

Mint Ice Cream

Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl or Tupperware, and cover it. Set the custard in an ice bath until it reaches a temperature of about 40°F, about 3 to 4 hours. If you’re not in a big hurry, you can also just set the container in the fridge to cool overnight. When the custard is fully cooled, pour it into an ice cream maker to churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When it’s done, pour the churned mint ice cream into an air tight container and set it in the freezer. Ideally, it should chill there for a full 4 hours before you try to serve it, but I can almost never wait that long. The texture is so creamy and buttery, and the mint flavor is so cooling and pleasant, I’m sure you’ll want to dive right in, too. I also put some fresh blackberries in the freezer while my ice cream set, and they really worked well with the mint.

Well, I know what I’m doing for the foreseeable future. What are your plans for the summer?

Printer-friendly recipe: Homemade Mint Ice Cream

200 Million Americans Enjoyed Grilled Food over Memorial Day Weekend

200 Million Americans Enjoyed Grilled Food over Memorial Day Weekend

We’ll consume 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day through Labor Day – 70 million each day; over 800 per second!

Of course, the real focus of Memorial Day is the 1.3 million veterans the U.S. has lost to armed conflict over the decades, but one can’t help but fixate on statistics that summarize America’s celebration of the weekend that marks the start of summer. Roughly 6 in ten Americans grilled out over the weekend; that works out to nearly 200 million of us. Almost 40% of them did so away from home, and 9 out of ten of them travelled to their destinations by car. Orlando, Florida was their most popular destination. Washington, D.C. was visited by nearly 1 million atop two-wheelers, headed to the annual Memorial Day Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally.

This time every year Americans move many cooking chores outdoors to take advantage of improving weather. And what types of food did we gorge on? No surprise there: burgers were most popular, enjoyed by 6 of every seven celebrants; followed by steak and hot dogs (4 out of five); with chicken not far behind (5 out of seven).

The summer surge in outdoor cooking is a boon to manufacturers of related merchandise, such as grills, grilling implements and food carts, for example. According to Ted Gravenhorst, Sales and Marketing VP for John Boos & Co., the U.S.-based manufacturer of kitchen carts made of butcher block and stainless steel, “Sales of Boos kitchen carts build every spring and peak just before the July 4th holiday. Demand  typically remains robust right up until Labor Day.”

Looking to capitalize on seasonal demand, the online store Butcher Block Co. is fielding a John Boos Butcher Block Cart Giveaway.

The company’s VP of Marketing, Kathleen Grodsky, advised, “The sweepstakes will be aggressively promoted throughout the month of June. The Grand Prize winner will be awarded a Boos Cucina Elegante kitchen cart, which features a varnished, maple butcher block top; a steel-faced, dovetailed drawer; two food-service-grade stainless-steel shelves; and a 10-inch drop-leaf extension.”

Butcher Block Co. compiled the above information from various sources, including Wallethub, KHAK.com, the Christian Science Monitor and John Boos & Co.

BBC is a leading online retailer of kitchen furniture and accessories, including tables, islands and carts manufactured by Boos, Catskill Craftsmen, Chris & Chris and Oasis Concepts.

For more information, please visit: http://johnboos.com and https://butcherblockco.com.

Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
kgrodsky@kitchenenthusiasts.com
website: https://butcherblockco.com
phone: (877) 845-5597

Lighten Up with Grilled Salad

Lighten Up with Grilled Salad

This grilled salad is killing me. I want to eat it right now, exactly as Claire has made it. I can’t even come up with words for how perfect this looks, so I’m just going to pass the tongs to Claire now so that you all can join me in drooling. Fire it up, Claire!

Like most people, I love cooking out on the grill. I don’t have a great grill, but I do have a little fire table with a grilling surface, and it does the job just fine for my postage-stamp of a back yard. Right now, my town is experiencing prime grilling weather. It’s summery enough that I’ve been thinking a lot about hamburgers lately, but it’s not so hot yet that I’m sweating through my shirt as soon as I step outside. I’ve been smelling BBQ smells in the neighborhood, and it’s got me primed. I’m pretty excited for this summer’s inaugural meal off the grill, but I think I’d like to keep it on the lighter side. My husband has been a little sick, so I’ve been ladling chicken soup down his throat for the last five days, and it seems a little extreme to go right from broth to burgers. Besides, I really need some roughage in my diet after soup week, if you know what I mean. Anyhoo…

A couple of years ago, my best friend took me out to dinner at this super swanky restaurant for my birthday. There were so many things on the menu we wanted to try, we decided to just order them all and split them, tapas style. We must have tried a dozen different things, but try as I might, I can’t recall a single one of them except the grilled salad. It was a full romaine heart, halved lengthwise and grilled. They topped it with some kind of balsamic and little crunchy things. We were so surprised by the grilled lettuce; it seemed so novel to us! In retrospect, it seems so obvious. I mean, grilled veggies are sort of notorious for being awesome. So are grilled fruits, and grilled everything else, for that matter, which brings me to this week’s recipe.

A grilled salad is the perfect transition into summer fare.

Grilled Salad

The best thing about grilling out is that the food gets so much flavor from the grill, there is barely any prep involved. The flip side of that is, because you’re not doing much to dress it up, the quality of the food you start with will be reflected in the meal you end with, so start with the good stuff. When I got to the store, I already knew I wanted to do a grilled salad, but I believe in letting the groceries direct the meal, so I also got some shrimp and apricots. It’s still a little early for stone fruit, but I caught a whiff of these as I was walking past the display, and they just really called to me.

Grilled Salad

For the salad’s base, simply slice the lettuce lengthwise, drizzle or brush a little olive oil on the sliced side, and place them on the grill. Repeat with the apricots, slicing from top to bottom and removing the pits. With the produce, you’re not trying to cook the food through. You just want to get a light char and imbue it with that good smoky flavor.

Grilled Salad For the shrimp, skewer them, drizzle them with olive oil, and then give them a good hit of salt and pepper. Don’t put too many shrimp on a single skewer, and don’t crowd them, or they won’t cook evenly. With a high heat cooking source like an open grill, they will cook quickly, so probably no more than 30 seconds per side. You want them just barely opaque.

Grilled Salad

To dress your grilled salad, you can go premade, but I like to pull out my food processor and whip something up. In this case, I’m going with basically an eggless Caesar dressing. A spoonful of Dijon mustard, a generous pour of sherry, a couple glugs of extra virgin olive oil, two or three cloves of garlic, the juice of one lemon, a good heap of Parmesan, a few grinds of pepper, and five anchovy fillets. Whir it all together until it’s smooth, lightly dress the lettuce, and top with your favorite salad fixings. Serve it with a good bottle of chilled white wine, and dig in. This grilled salad is a joyful herald of a season of good eating and I can’t wait to get down to it!

Grilled Salad

Sotherly Acquires, Remodels, Relaunches Crown Plaza Houston, Renamed “The Whitehall”

Sotherly Acquires, Remodels, Relaunches Crown Plaza Houston, Renamed “The Whitehall”

Iconic Houston Hotel Renovated; Reverts to Original 1963 Name, The Whitehall

Virginia-based Sotherly Hotels acquired the Crowne Plaza Houston Downtown hotel in 2013 with the vision of restoring the property to its earlier glory as The Whitehall – one of the South’s most stylish destination hotels strategically located in the South’s largest MSA (metropolitan statistical area). Constructed in 1963 and recognized by Preferred Hotels and Resorts and Historic Hotels of America, it’s located in the heart of downtown Houston – a desirable destination for those attending functions at nearby Rice University or the George R. Brown Convention Center, or events at Minute Maid Park or the city’s theatre district.

In April Sotherly completed a $5 million renovation project intended to breathe new life into guest and meeting rooms, public spaces (including an outdoor rooftop swimming pool), two new eateries and a revamped restaurant that some consider the property’s main attraction. Formerly called Brazos, the restaurant received a major facelift and a new name to go along with its new look: “Edgar’s Hermano.” Its unusual menu reflects the region’s distinct cuisine, with such unique offerings as fried chicken with poblano/potato enchiladas. Executive chef Sylvia Covarrubias describes her new menu as, “A fusion of southern food and Mexican cuisine – flavors familiar to Texans.”

Resort Interiors of Myrtle Beach, SC, who handled the restaurant refit, designed an authentic look for the restaurant. In keeping with the restaurant’s brown motif, they selected John Boos walnut butcher block dining table tops constructed in edge-grain style. In the opinion of Kathleen Grodsky, Marketing VP at Butcher Block Co., who supplied the Boos dining tables, “Edge-grain walnut was the perfect choice. It presents the beautiful variety of walnut’s light, medium and dark browns in parallel rails of the wood. Those same shades of brown can be found in the strips of reclaimed wood that line the wall of the restaurant and resemble the side of a barn, capping off the restaurant’s rustic look.”

The Whitehall Restaurant

Butcher Block Co. (website: https://butcherblockco.com) is an online seller of butcher block countertops, furniture (e.g., kitchen islands, carts and dining tables) and accessories (e.g., cutting boards and chopping blocks). BBC sells products made by John Boos & Co., among others. Boos is recognized as a leading U.S. manufacturer serving the food service industry. The company also makes, and BBC also sells, wood and steel baker’s tables, stainless steel work tables and base cabinets and stainless steel compartment and platter sinks.

Contact:
Kathleen Grodsky
kgrodsky@kitchenenthusiasts.com
website: https://butcherblockco.com
phone: (877) 845-5597