Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Make Something: Housewarming Gifts

Two of my friends bought, remodeled, and moved into their first house recently and they did the remodeling in around 2 months!  They're even still married.  Last weekend they had a housewarming party to celebrate.

I find housewarming gifts difficult to buy sometimes.  I don't want to buy decor type stuff, because people always seem to change up decorations when they move.  I thought about going the "bucket of cleaning/tools" route that you can see on Pinterest.  But I knew that with a remodel under their tool-belts, that they probably already had both.

I know they like to grill and it's summertime (so indoor cooking is out of the question).  I decided that a basket of grill accompaniments would be perfect.

I'm sorry about the photo quality.  I kept telling myself to take better pictures, but I was a little busy.

The little basket is a napkin holder from World Market and there are some cute striped napkins beneath everything else.  The basting brush is from Williams Sonoma.  Then I purchased a glass bottle and a glass spice jar from World Market.  I filled each with my BBQ sauce and BBQ rub.  (Both heavily modified from here and here.)  And lastly a cute card from Papyrus.

Definitely a housewarming gift I wouldn't mind receiving.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cook Something: Grilled Chicken Salad

I know,  I've been away again.  But I haven't been doing anything fun, so instead of filling you in on all of the tasks I've been doing lately (Hello Summer vacation, Are you there? ), I'll just let everyone pretend I've been off in some exotic vacation doing super fun things.

One thing I have managed to {mostly} do is make dinner every night.   Up tonight is a grilled chicken salad with grilled peaches served on a bed of arugula.  Great seasonal eating and very healthy.

Grilled Chicken Salad

The only things you really need to cook are the chicken and the peaches.  To dress the chicken, I simply chopped up a handful of fresh tarragon and thyme from my herb garden.  If you don't have an herb garden, get one.  Stat.  Herbs are the easiest (and if you grow them at home) cheapest way to dress up any meal.  I do not have the greenest thumb (ask all of the hydrangeas I've managed to kill over the years), but I can managed to keep alive around 10 different herbs each summer.  And each winter I find myself longing for the day I can replant my little herbs.

So back to the chicken, chop a couple tablespoons of tarragon and thyme.  Mix this with one minced shallot and sprinkle on some salt and pepper.  Add a just enough olive oil to make a paste and smoother this on the chicken.  Grill over medium heat (I just my panini grill this time) until fully cooked with nice grill marks.

Crank the grill to high heat and add one peach cut in half, with the pit removed.  I also grilled one lemon cut in half to sprinkle over the chicken and the peach.  Gril both until softened and grill marks appear.  Chop the peach into chunks.  I find that the fresh lemon juice is such a nice compliment to the sweet peaches.

This truly was one very delicious salad.  I also add some cherry tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and crumbled fresh ricotta.  I usually make my own vinaigrette, but it was kind of late so I just used a champagne caper vinaigrette that I had on hand.  If I could change one thing it would be the ricotta.  Fresh ricotta is very mild and this salad could have benefitted from a saltier, tangier cheese.  Next time I'll probably use a blue cheese or some feta.

All in all a very tasty, quick, and healthy summertime meal.  Not bad for a Tuesday night.