We were having one of those suburban kind of moments, we started chatting with our neighbors over the fence one day. We have all been so busy that we have hardly said "hello" in several weeks. A friendly talk that lead to pleasant conversation then cocktails on the patio. As the evening was winding down we were saying that we don't get together enough and we should have dinner that weekend. My mind started going... dinner! what should we do? We have shared a lot of stuff with our neighbors over the time that I have lived here, they let me raid their garden, I have made food for some of their parties, we have watched each others kids and once I managed to spill 45 gallons of rotten leaves and sludge next to their buffet table right before a family gathering in their yard.
As we discussed getting together our neighbor Jennie said that she would bring some side dishes, "No no" I said "I have a salad I want to try."
Then Jennie offered, "Oh, We have brats, we could grill out! or red hots!"
"Really, I'm good, I'll take care of it... Ouch!"
The "ouch" was my reaction to Kris kicking me in the shin. As we walked away I asked what that was all about. Kris took a moment to inform me that I needed to stop talking and since the subtle hints that she was giving me; you know like standing behind our neighbor jumping up and down while waving wasn't getting my attention (really who would see that as a hint?) she had to kick me. "Couldn't you tell that Jennie wanted to bring something?"
I was going to talk to our neighbor and see if we could meet halfway on dinner plans, but never did, really once someone mentions dinner and my mind starts going I stop listening anyway... dinner was:
Flank Steak with a bourbon and brown sugar glaze
Cheesy grilled potatoes
Jicama and grilled red pepper slaw
That is it, the salad that I have been wanting to try! The recipe was from a 14 year old Bon Appetit with some adaptations:
a handful of cherry wood chips soaked for at least half an hour
1 bunch of green onions
2 red bell peppers
Juice from 1 orange
Juice from 2 limes
1 TBS honey
1/2 tsp cumin
2 TBS olive oil
1 jicama root julienne cut
14 oz bag of baby spinach
For the roasted vegetables put the soaked wood chips into a foil bag with a few holes in it or a smoker box and set on the coals (or over flames if you are using a gas grill) for a few minutes until they start to smoke then put the onions and peppers on the grill to char/smoke. When the onions are charred take them off and set aside, leave the peppers on until the skin is black (turn them often) then peel them. Don't worry the smokey flavor stays with them. Cut the onions into 1/2 inch pieces then the peppers into strips.
For the dressing mix the orange juice (about 1/3 cup) and lime juice (about 2 TBS) with the other ingredients and blend. The roasted veggies and dressing can be made a day ahead. When it is time to serve julienne the Jicama then toss with the dressing and the roasted veggies. Serve on top of the baby spinach.
Dinner was fun! However I realized that as that pesky autumnal equinox draws near the sun sets earlier we finished dinner in the dark outside. Jennie and John were nice enough to bring a lamp for ambiance.
|Aren't they cute?|