14 March 2010

21-Day Purification: The Final Countdown

We're through Day 16 of The Process and feeling great!  We have reintroduced lean meat and fish into the diet, and this evening we had some neighbors over for dinner.  The menu included grilled salmon, portabellas, tomatoes, and beans.  (Obviously, the beans were not grilled.)  It was also the 2010 debut for The Big Green Egg.  She had been hibernating in her Big Green blanket since November, and she seems to have weathered the record-breaking snowy winter without a shiver.  Friday marks the conclusion of The Process, and we'll be crowning our achievement by resuming our neighborhood happy hour tradition here at the house.

Back to tonight's dinner event, it was a fairly straightforward affair.  I marinated/glazed the salmon with a modified vinaigrette dressing.  It was very heavy on the garlic, and I let it marinate for about 30 minutes in the glaze before grilling.  By grilling the salmon skin-side-down on foil, the skin sticks to the foil after grilling and the fish lifts right off of the skin.  The portabellas were brushed with olive oil on both sides just before grilling, and then I drizzled some balsamic vinegar into the underside of the caps.  The tomatoes were straight out of an English breakfast, but "broiled" up-side-down on the grill to render a beautiful carmelization and grill marks.  (As the proverb goes, you eat with your eyes first.)  As they were approaching doneness, I turned the tomatoes over such that they were cut-side-up, drizzled them with some balsamic, and dusted them with our new favorite organic seasoning, Spike Vegit.

Here's the menu:

Grilled Portobella Caps

4 portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 200F.
Brush both sides of the mushrooms with olive oil.  Drizzle the vinegar into the caps, about 1 teaspoon each.  Sprinkle with seasoning.  Let rest face-up for 2-3 minutes so the mushrooms can absorb the vinegar.
Place on the hot grill underside-down.  When the mushroom starts to shrivel (4-5 minutes), flip them and grill an additional 3-4 minutes.
Remove from grill, cover with foil, and keep warm in the oven.

Grill-"Broiled" Tomatoes

4 small hot-house tomatoes, top quarter removed
olive oil
seasoning to taste
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 200F.
Drizzle the exposed flesh of the tomato with a little olive oil.
Place flesh-side-down on the hot grill.  When the tomatoes start to soften (3-4 minutes), turn them over and drizzle the exposed flesh with some of the vinegar.  Continue grilling flesh-side-up until the tomatoes are tender, about 3 minutes more.  (Hey!  The tomatoes take about as long as the mushrooms!)
Remove from grill, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm in the oven.

Grilled Salmon

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup minced garlic (This sounds like a lot, and it is, but remember that 1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons.)
2 tablespoons dill weed
fresh-ground pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 salmon fillet, skin-on, about 1-1/2 pounds
6-8 thin lemon slices

Make the marinade by combing the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk briskly to blend.
Place the salmon skin-side-down on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil slightly larger than the fillet.  Turn up the edges of the foil to prevent the marinade from dripping over the edge.  Brush 2/3 of the marinade over the flesh of the salmon.  Let marinate out of the refrigerator 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the foil and fish to the hot grill.  Close the grill lid and maintain a temperature of 350F.  After 10 minutes, pour the remaining marinade over the fish and continue grilling with the lid closed until done.  My fish was about an inch at the thickest, and I grilled it for 18 minutes.
Remove the fish and foil from the grill and use a spatula to divide the fish into 4 equal pieces.  Serve each with one of the cooked lemon slices.  For a more dramatic presentation (remember, eyes first), grill 4 new lemon slices on one side for about a minute and place atop the fish (grill marks up) before serving.

As you can tell, balsamic vinegar is one of our favorite ingredients.  In addition to being a marvelous marinade for meat and fish, it also makes a great semi-sweet reduction.  Drizzle the reduction over fresh berries and vanilla ice cream for a deliciously decadent dessert.  And if that's not enough, Tom mixes a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with 8 ounces (a high-ball's worth) of soda water for a refreshingly dry tonic.

To quote Einstein, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."  This dinner was simply sensational.

1 comment:

Julie Richey said...

Love it! So glad you are enjoying the detox ritual. I appreciate my coffee and cereals much more now. Though I have to say, this process does change forever the way you view your food choices. If we can do this twice a year, perhaps we all can keep off that "middle age poundage" that seems to creep up on people, one pound at a time. I lost about 4 lbs. and felt very energetic too.