From Jane Alonso. Her passion for food and spirits leads her on frequent excursions into Borderstan’s land of bars and restaurants. Email her at jane[AT]borderstan.com
Memorial Day weekend officially marks the beginning of the season of backyard BBQs and rooftop dining, for those of us who live in city high rises. I have to admit I look forward to these events as an excuse to chow on foods that don’t make my usual daily menu. Juicy grilled hot dogs, sweet corn on the cob and tangy coleslaw are at the top of my summer feasting list.
But for those times I want to go a bit healthier (or just want to avoid getting in line at the grill), I make dishes in my kitchen and carry them to my roof. Below are several recipes I turn to for easy al fresco dining. Measurements and serving temperatures are forgiving, so you don’t have to worry about keeping the dish hot or cold on its way to your chosen location.
Sweet Ginger Salmon
Combine in a bowl:
- About ½ cup jam/preserves
- 1½ tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons grated (or chopped) ginger
- About 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ½ tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce
Amounts are approximate. You don’t have to follow these measurements exactly — it will come out well in just about any combination.
Mix well and pour over the salmon — bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
Carrot Ginger Soup
- 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 pound of carrots, chopped
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 medium sized potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 box (about 4 cups) of chicken broth or stock
- 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, diced
- ½ teaspoon of white sugar (or 1 tablespoon of maple syrup)
- ½ teaspoon of ground cloves (can also use ground cinnamon or ground allspice)
- ground pepper
- sea salt
- 1 cup of orange juice
- In your soup pot, heat the oil, and add the onion. Saute until translucent, then add the celery and carrots. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, mix well.
- This is the flavoring base of the soup — let the mix “sweat” on low-medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the ground cloves and ginger and cook for another minute or so.
- Add the chicken broth/stock, bring to a boil. Add potatoes. Add a bit more salt (to taste — be careful not to over salt). Turn down the heat and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor (be careful about blending hot foods — it can cause an explosion in your blender! You can also use a hand blender and blend right in the pot).
- After soup is pureed, slowly swirl in orange juice with a spoon until flavors are mixed.
- Serve hot or cold.
- One tip — the soup tastes better if you let the flavors meld overnight. So make a batch ahead of time and keep on hand for your next dinner party.