LEMON-POPPY SEED SKEWERED SHRIMP WITH PINEAPPLE AND WATERMELON

I knew I’d find a good use for that wedge of watermelon. The next step was to come up with a sauce that wouldn’t clash with my other ingredients. Enter: Lemon poppy Seed Drizzle, a tasty complement to seafood AND pineapple and watermelon. As for the poppy seeds… Yesterday, the flecks were parsley, so I thought I’d mix it up some. Unfortunately, since my guys weren’t talkative during dinner (something to do with eating in front of a movie), the verbal feedback was on the thin side. Appetite-wise, however, they spoke volumes, leaving a poppy seed here and there and skeletal skewers on their otherwise clean plates. This is wonderful summer fare. Yes, I know it’s still spring, but sometimes I’m a bit ahead of my time 🙂

Lemon-Poppy-Seed Skewered Shrimp with Pineapple & Watermelon

LEMON POPPY SEED DRIZZLE:

1 cup water

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

1 tsp poppy seeds

1/4 tsp sea salt

SKEWERED SHRIMP AND FRUIT:

1-1/2 lb large cooked shrimp (tail on, peeled, and deveined–easy!)

1 whole pineapple (skin removed, cut in half vertically, cored, and sliced into 1/2″ thick pieces)

1/4 medium watermelon (rind removed and cut into 1/2″ thick pieces)

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

sea salt to taste

parsley (optional)

8 skewers for grilling shrimp (I used bamboo)

1) In small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together all lemon poppy seed drizzle ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook 2-3 minutes until dressing thickens; remove from heat, pour into small bowl, and refrigerate

2) Heat outdoor grill to medium-high (or grill pan on stovetop)

3) Divide shrimp between skewers, piercing each shrimp near head and again near tail; refrigerate

4) Grill pineapple 2-3 minutes each side (don’t overdo–just soften a bit and put some manly grill marks on them); remove from heat, set aside, and let cool a few minutes

5) Arrange plates: alternate and overlap slices of pineapple and watermelon; place a couple lemon slices in corners of plate

6) Grill skewered shrimp 1-2 minutes each side (since these are already cooked, you’re just heating them a bit and going for more manly grill marks)

7) Place grilled shrimp atop fruit and sprinkle with sea salt to taste; drizzle with lemon poppy seed dressing; pop a jaunty piece of parsley on plate and serve; Enjoy!

Serves: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/28/12

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CHICKEN AND PINEAPPLE KABOBS

These Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs are easy and perfect for those who want to get a jump on barbecue season. Senior and Junior too were over-the-moon happy with cleaning every last chunk from their plates. Oh, I was too.

Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

3 large, boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ thick chunks

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1″ thick wedges

12 skewers (I used bamboo)

spray olive oil

1) Preheat grill

2) To small saucepan, add ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, and mustard; stirring often, bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes; remove from heat and set aside (reserve 3/4 cup of sauce for serving at the table)

3) Alternating chicken and pineapple chunks, thread on skewers; lightly spray chicken-pineapple skewers with olive oil spray; place skewers on grill and grill about 5 minutes, turn, brush grilled back sides with sauce, and grill additional 5 minutes; turn and brush newly grilled side with sauce and grill another minute or so until chicken is cooked through; serve with reserved sauce and, possibly, a nice wild rice; yum!

Servings: 4

PINEAPPLES FOSTER (NO FLAMBE, NO RUM, BUT PLENTY OF YUM)

A while back, I whipped up an unusual version of my Bananas Foster by substituting pineapple for bananas. And…yum! Clean plates again. Er, possibly licked clean 🙂

Pineapples Foster

olive oil

1 fresh whole pineapple, skin removed and cored

4 tbsp unsalted butter

4 tbsp brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup Craisins

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (pecans would be nice too, maybe better, hmm?)

frozen vanilla yogurt or vanilla ice cream, enough for 4 generous scoops

1) Brush a swirl of olive oil across surface of a large skillet; heat to medium high

2) Cut pineapple into 8-10 rings; place 4 pineapple rings in skillet and cook 1-2 minutes each side until surface brown lightly; remove from skillet and place one ring in center of each of 4 plates

3) Lower skillet heat to medium-low; cut remaining pineapple rings (4-6) into small wedges

4) Add butter to skillet; as it melts, add brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and ginger; stir to combine; add Craisins, walnuts, and pineapple wedges; stirring constantly, cook 4-5 minutes until pineapple is heated through; remove sauce from heat (leave in skillet to keep warm)

5) Place a generous scoop of frozen vanilla yogurt in center of each pineapple ring; pour sauce over frozen yogurt; serve immediately and let the plate scrapers have at it!

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/17/12.

PINEAPPLE-BLACK BEAN-AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD WITH ORANGE-LIME VINAIGRETTE

Since I had pineapple left over from our Shrimp and Fish Taco dinner, it seemed a shame not to use it while it was still fresh. So what to make? I tossed some ideas around with Junior Too (AKA The Salad Eater) who lit up when I suggested using the pineapple in a salad–and brightened further when avocado and black beans were suggested. Then came grilled chicken, corn, red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro, all of which turned out to be one yummer of a salad. Though you can drizzle this beauty with your favorite vinaigrette, the orange-lime was really the frosting on the cake…or something like that 🙂

Pineapple-Black Bean-Avocado Salad with Orange-Lime Vinaigrette

VINAIGRETTE:

1/3 cup orange juice

juice of one lime

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

CHICKEN:

2 tbsp olive oil

6 chicken tenderloins, about 3/4 lb

sea salt

ground black pepper

SALAD:

5 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2-1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1/4 cup minced red onion

3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1) Place all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, secure with lid, vigorously shake 1-2 minutes, and refrigerate

2) To skillet (I used a grill pan to achieve lovely char marks) over medium-high heat, add olive oil; add chicken tenderloins to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and grill both sides until done, about 5 minutes total; remove from heat, dice, and refrigerate 15 minutes

3) To large salad bowl, add: romaine lettuce, pineapple, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, avocado, and red onion; lightly toss; scatter chicken and cilantro over top and serve with shaken vinaigrette

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions

SHRIMP AND FISH TACO FREE-FOR-ALL

Since we were having friends over for dinner and a respite from cold-weather casseroles seemed in order, I decided to make a free-for-all (buffet style) meal of tacos. Don’t be intimidated by the number of garnishes listed. Choose the ones you like and have at it. I will say, though, the pineapple was a very pleasant addition to the array and definitely ratchets tacos up a notch. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Fish Taco Free For All1

Shrimp and Fish Taco Free For All2

2 tbsp ground cumin, divided

2 tbsp ground coriander, divided

2 tbsp ground paprika, divided

2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp sea salt, divided

1 tsp ground black pepper, divided

1 lb jumbo shrimp (peeled, deveined, and tails removed), cut into 3 pieces each

12 oz fish (I chose cod), cut into 3/4″ square pieces

1 cup grated monterey jack cheese

1 cup shredded lettuce (I used iceberg for the crunch)

1 firm but ripe avocado, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup light sour cream

1 cup store-bought salsa

2-3 scallions, sliced thin

1-4 oz can sliced jalapenos, drained

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 lime, sliced into 8 wedges

olive oil cooking spray

18 corn tortillas

2 tbsp olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2) Divide first 6 ingredients between 2 large zip top plastic bags; shake to mix; add shrimp to one bag and fish to other; shake again to coat shrimp and fish; refrigerate

3) Put cheese, lettuce, avocado, tomato, pineapple, corn, sour cream, salsa, scallions, jalapenos, cilantro, and limes in small individual serving dishes; arrange dishes on side table or counter for serving

4) Lightly spray skillet over medium heat with olive oil spray; warm both sides of each tortilla in skillet, 20-30 seconds, until soft and lightly golden (spray more olive oil every few tortillas); transfer tortillas to paper-towel-lined plate; when all tortillas are warmed, stack on serving dish, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven to keep warm

5) To large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil; add fish and, stirring gently and often, cook 4-5 minutes until done; transfer fish to medium-sized bowl, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven to keep warm

6) To large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil; add shrimp and, stirring often, cook 3-4 minutes until done; transfer shrimp to medium-sized bowl

7) Set out dishes of fish, shrimp, and tortillas alongside garnishes and serve free-for-all style

Servings: 6-8