LittleJudeonFood

One kid's adventures in gastronomy


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Dessert on the grill?

Yes!

Mama went and made that bluecherry pie, and the house has been hot ever since. She brought home some lovely, luscious apricots from a farm stand, and she decided it would be worthwhile to adapt a simple oven recipe to the grill (since she was using it to cook dinner anyway).

Apricots are at their peak right now. In fact, they’re probably on their way out in most places. Mama will be lucky if she can get any more this weekend (but she sure put up a heckofa lot of them). The little ones you get in grocery stores in early June don’t have anything on the sweetness and suppleness of those freshly picked from the tree. And they’re the perfect size for me to hold as I munch around the center stone, which actually comes out fairly easily. (But whether I throw said stone or give it to Mama to throw away is anyone’s guess.)

Mama says you can grill fruit directly on the hot grates. She lightly oils or sprays either the fruit or the grates. Sometimes she mixes a bit of honey with something sour like lemon or lime juice and brushes that on the cut side of the fruit. And that’s it. Grill it until it has grill marks on it and gets somewhat soft. If you want to push it until it’s very soft with deep grill marks, that’s up to you!

For this recipe, however, Mama used foil and closed the lid of the grill to simulate the inside of an oven. The foil caught the fruit juices, as well as the melted butter and brown sugar, so there was no mess to clean up afterward.

A pat of butter, a spoon of brown sugar, and a hot grill are all these little apricots need to become just a little more special.

A pat of butter, a spoon of brown sugar, and a hot grill are all these little apricots need to become just a little more special.

The good news: I got to enjoy these with ice cream!! (The secret news: I would’ve eaten them without it, they were so scrumptious.)

The warm apricots started melting the pecan ice cream. Mmm....

The warm apricots started melting the pecan ice cream. Mmm….

Go ahead an try this with any type of stone fruit–plums, peaches, nectarines. But don’t forget to try it with apricots.

Love, Jude

Grilled Sweet Apricots

3 apricots, halved & pitted
1 tablespoon butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Get your grill going. Ours is gas, and Mama had it on medium-low, but it still got up to about 400°F. Place apricot halves, cut side up, on a sheet of aluminum foil. (You can do this directly on the grill, as Mama did, or prepare them ahead of time and transfer the entire sheet of foil to the grates.) Add 1 piece of butter and ½ teaspoon brown sugar to the center of each apricot. Close the lid of the grill and cook until butter & sugar are melted and apricots are soft and gooey, 10–15 minutes. Perfect as a treat on their own, or even better with ice cream. Be sure you eat all those sugary, buttery juices, too.

Serves 3 people.

Note: You don’t have to be exact about the measurements, and clearly, you can increase and decrease the amounts for as many apricots as you like. If you want to make these in the oven, lightly spray your baking pan and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until they’re soft and starting to turn golden.


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I helped make dinner!

Since it was just Mama and me for dinner, Mama didn’t feel like dirtying the whole kitchen. She’s starting to catch on that easier is better when it comes to weeknight meals. And because I helped from start to finish, this one took us less than half an hour to make. (Mama says the quick-cooking items helped, too.) Here’s what we did:

Mama rinsed a pint of baby tomatoes under the faucet then showed me the bag of frozen, peeled & deveined shrimp she had (quick-cooking item #1), explaining that they come from the ocean. “I want to eat that,” I said, but she said that the shrimp needed to be thawed and cooked first. Into a colander they went, and she ran cool water over them.

I turned my attention to eating the tomatoes as I handed them to Mama, one by one, naming their colors, so she could slice them in half. (This happened after I dumped nearly the whole bowl of them onto the floor…and they had to be rinsed again.) Mama put the halved tomatoes (quick-cooking item #2) on a baking sheet and added the thawed shrimp. (They thawed that quickly!) She drizzled olive oil over it and mixed everything with her hands. Then we sprinkled kosher salt and pepper over everything. (One shrimp may have received the lion’s share of my salt sprinkles…) As Mama put the shrimp under the broiler, she said we had to be very careful because the oil we put on the wet shrimp and tomatoes is going to “jump away” from the water once it gets hot. Then we danced like jumping-beans.

While the shrimp cooked, and after we danced, Mama measured and I poured couscous and water into a saucepan (quick-cooking item #3). (She didn’t have thawed stock, otherwise she would’ve used that.) Using a scissors, she cut a handful of dried apricots and added those while trying to keep me from eating them up. Ditto with the handful of golden raisins. She stirred it together, covered it, got it hot on the stove, then just let it sit. (Alternatively, she could have added hot water to the couscous without ever turning on a burner.)

By the time the shrimp was done—just when they turned pink and their tails curled—the couscous was ready. Mama and I tossed in a few pine nuts, and she cut in some mint leaves with her scissors before fluffing it with a fork.

I love eating couscous. It’s funny trying to keep it on my fork or spoon. I especially liked the sweet apricots and raisins. The shrimp were really yummy, too. We even had leftovers for Papa when he came home. That’s the kind of cook I am.

Love, Jude

Roasted Shrimp & Tomatoes with Fruity Couscous

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (smaller cook quicker)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Olive oil to drizzle
Salt and pepper

½ cup couscous
6–8 dried apricots, quartered (or chopped)
2 Tbsp golden raisins
Pinch sea salt
¾ cup water (or chicken or vegetable stock)
1–2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted if desired
3 mint leaves, chopped (optional)

Preheat the broiler. Combine the shrimp and the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 6–8″ from heat source until the shrimp turn opaque and their tails start to curl, 3–4 minutes. (Some tomatoes will start to char, as well.)

Meanwhile, combine the couscous, apricots, raisins, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring the water (or stock) to a boil, then pour over the couscous. Stir to combine, cover, then set aside until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the mint, if using, then fluff with a fork. (Alternatively, combine the ingredients up through the mint, bring to a boil, then immediately take off the heat and cover.)

Serves 2 adults and 1 or 2 kids