It’s al fresco, all the time. Without realizing it, we’ve slipped right into our familiar summer evening routine. The grill is our best friend, and we dine outdoors in our bare feet in golden late afternoon sunlight with Cholula hunting chipmunks in the rocks around the patio. Sound familiar? Suppertime tends to look like this most nights in summer, with the only change being the food decorating our plates. But I don’t mind. This is my happiest season.
Everything is so colorful right now! The hillsides are still very green (thanks to all of that spring rain), the flower garden is going off, and even the food we eat is vibrant and bright. The other night, we enjoyed fabulous spicy teriyaki shrimp skewers with charred pineapple, jalapeno, and veggies. On the side, I made lime-cilantro pearl couscous with fresh tomato and a gorgeous cabbage-carrot-jicama slaw. It was a true rainbow meal!
I guess the hardest part about meal prep was making the dressing for the slaw. Remember this spicy-sweet lemon-basil vinaigrette I made for my chicken caprese farro? It’s become my go-to summer dressing and it’s so easy to make- the ingredients all get tossed into the food processor and you’re done!
Next, I marinated a pound of shrimp. I like to pick up the kind that are already peeled and deveined for me! I whisked some minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, Sriracha, and a bit of cornstarch into store-bought teriyaki sauce. After reserving some of it for basting, I let the shrimp swim in the sauce in the fridge while I prepped the rest of the meal, stirring them every now and again to be sure they all got some time in the pool.
For my beautiful slaw, I just chopped red cabbage, rainbow carrots, and jicama into thin strips. I added fresh basil and chopped roasted peanuts. The lemon-basil vinaigrette would be perfect for this crunchy salad, and I can’t get over the colors!
I love pineapple on the grill. It brings out the fruit’s sweetness and it’s fabulous with a little bit of char. I figured the same would be true for another favorite- jalapeno- so I skewered whole peppers right along with the shrimp and fruit. On other skewers, I added big chunks of red onion and whole cherry tomatoes. John happily took care of the grilling (basting the skewers occasionally), Cholula played hide-and-seek with a squirrel, and I finished up the couscous.
To make the couscous, I followed the package directions but used chicken stock instead of water. While it was still warm, I squeezed in the juice of a lime and a big handful of cilantro. Right before serving, I stirred in little halved yellow tomatoes for freshness. The cilantro darkens as it heats up, so I always save a little to sprinkle on top at serving time for more color. Let’s eat!
In summer, we generally end up starting our meal when the light is casting that perfect golden hue over the table, making everything look even more appetizing. The skewers had delightful singed bits, and the jalapeños and tomatoes got soft and blistered on the grill. I served avocado and more teriyaki sauce on the side. The slaw’s crunch was a great contrast to the texture of the warm couscous, and I didn’t mind at all when a little bit of lemon-basil vinaigrette snuck over into other stuff. The shrimp were tender, the pineapple sweet, the jalapeño smoky and spicy, the tomatoes bursting with flavor…yum. What a beautiful spread!
Dear Summer, Thank you for evenings like this. See you tomorrow- same time, same place, same bare feet… different food.
Teriyaki Shrimp Skewers with Charred Pineapple and Jalapeño
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup teriyaki sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch
- Fresh pineapple in 1-2 inch chunks
- At least 4 whole jalapeños
- Red onion chopped in 1-2 inch chunks
- Large cherry tomatoes
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the teriyaki sauce, honey, Sriracha, garlic, crushed red pepper, and cornstarch. Pour a small amount into a separate cup to use for basting. After rinsing and patting the shrimp dry, add the to the marinade and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or more, stirring occasionally.
Skewer the shrimp, pineapple chunks, whole jalapeños, onion chunks, and tomatoes in any order you like. (If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for an hour or so before using them to avoid them burning on the grill.) Grill over high heat, basting with the reserved marinade, turning often, until the shrimp are fully cooked and everything has a tasty char. Serve outdoors with sliced avocado, good wine, Cabbage Crunch Salad, and Cilantro-Lime Couscous (recipes below). Cheers to repetitively perfect summer evenings. YUM.
Cabbage Crunch Salad
- ¼ head of purple cabbage
- 3-4 rainbow carrots, peeled
- ¼ large jicama, peeled
- Chopped roasted peanuts
- Chopped fresh basil
- Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
Slice the cabbage, carrots, and jicama into thin strips and combine in a big bowl. Top with peanuts and basil and serve with Spicy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette.
- ½ cup (or more) fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch each of salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and whir to combine well. Serve on summer salads, drizzled over shrimp skewers, or in this Chicken Caprese Farro Salad. Go ahead and double the recipe from the get-go (you’re welcome).
- 1 cup pearl couscous
- Dollop of butter
- 1 ¼ cup chicken stock
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ cup cilantro, plus more for serving
- Optional: halved cherry tomatoes
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add the dry couscous and toast it in the butter for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. When the couscous has cooled a bit but is still warm, squeeze in the lime juice. Stir in the cilantro and tomatoes before serving, and sprinkle fresh cilantro on top at the last minute.
Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page.
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