Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Boat Picnic

Just in time for a typical Washington summer heat wave, last week graced us with some stunning, 80-something degree days! It was beautiful, and as fun as our neighborhood beach restaurants are, I wanted to get out onto the water by boat for a peaceful Friday night picnic to end the week and cherish the weather. Thursday night I invited two friends to join us and Friday afternoon, lucky enough to have worked from home, I clocked out and pulled together some summery snacks to set out on a cooler in the middle of our 22′ Larsen, in the middle of the Potomac.


To prep I roasted red potatoes, steamed corn, made barbecue sauce for chicken I had on hand, and olive oil roasted garlic for some fresh ciabatta and flatbread that we later threw on the grill.


Usually I roast garlic by just cutting the top off a whole head, drizzling a little olive oil inside and wrapping each in foil. This time I wanted extra oil to dress my bread, so I decided to cut the bulbs in half along the equator and put them cut sides down in a pot with about a cup of oil to each head of garlic. In this case I put 2 bulbs, or 4 halves, and about 2 cups of olive oil in a covered pot at 300 degrees for an hour. In the meantime I used that low oven temp to roast the pencil-thin asparagus for about 20 minutes with olive oil and then tossed with some jarred roasted red pepper julienne.

When my husband got home and offered help I asked him to remove the roasted garlic cloves from the bulbs so we could make a paste; which he did, and then cheerfully went about cleaning up and poured off the oil into the sink! So be sure to advise your sous chef that the olive oil is tasty and good for dipping and marinating ; ) In commercial kitchens I’ve seen unfortunate misunderstandings where the vegetables were strained and saved from a stock as the stock went down the drain! So here at least we had some of the oil and lots of sweet, sticky garlic paste.

Then I citrus marinated the shrimp which need only a few minutes to take on the acidic marinade. They went off along with chicken and bread to the grill. In the meantime, steamed corn cut from the cobb and some of the asparagus were tossed with the potatoes to make the veg combo above.

Citrus Grilled Shrimp

1 lb shrimp, deveined, shell/ tail off
1 lime, zested on a microplane and juiced
1 lemon, zested on a microplane and juiced
sea salt
chipotle chili powder
1 T olive oil

– toss everything together, skewer shrimp, grill and baste with juices and zest
– hit with salt as soon as it comes off of the grill; have it at the grill and pinch some out of a salt well or tupperware container and hold your hand up high to sprinkle so that they get generous but even seasoning

In this case, I then halved the shrimp and sliced the chicken thinly so they would be easy to balance on the grilled bread in case a breeze or other boaty factor made paper plate or plastic fork management difficult. Then it all got plattered up and packed with a pitcher of Ginger Green MarTeanis and off we went for a sunset supper cruise. Ok, we didn’t cruise exactly… we floated. and it was downright delightful.

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