Tag Archives: Tips

Grilled Lemons and Happy July 4th…At Home

Here’s wishing you a Happy July 4th weekend and hoping you spend it in a backyard with friends and family.

Grilled Lemons
Grilling lemons is simple to do. Grilling provides the tart lemon with a sweet counterpoint — the result of caramelization from the grilling. They are the perfect compliment to grilled shrimp, salmon, chicken or lamb.

I did this in my kitchen for this post. It works just fine in a stovetop grill pan as well as on a backyard grill. You will need just lemons and olive oil. Start by trimming the ends from the whole lemon to create a small flat surface so the lemon will sit securely rater than rocking that would result from a rounded end. Next, cut the lemons in half across the “equator.” With the point of a knife, poke out any obvious seeds. Brush exposed surface of lemon lightly with olive oil. (You can use the tip of your finger to save washing a brush. It’s easier to wash a finger tip.) Place lemon on grill over moderate heat and cook for two to four minutes — depending on how hot your “moderate” grill is — and remove.

Here are the grilled lemons, good lookin’ and ready to squeeze.  At Home has a very strong grill chapter that provides easy alternatives to burgers and hot dogs. See Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Caramelized Limes — an alternative to the lemons featured here — on Page 191 or the Charred Chicken Paillards with Citrus-Cilantro Salad on Page 192 — one of my favorite recipes.

Second Annual Chestnut Hill Book Festival

Another wonderful Pascal Lemaitre illustration from At Home. Pascal is visiting from Brussels and plans to join me on Saturday, July 10th at the Laurel Gardens as part of the Second Annual Book Festival.

An Invitation for one of my backyard burgers on the 4th
If you find yourself on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the 4th, for the afternoon festival or evening concert and fireworks, I’ll be at Frog Burger — our own backyard burger stand on the front lawn of The Franklin Institute.

By the way, At Home is for sale at Frog Burger. In addition to being available online, At Home is also is also available at Coopermarket in Merion where I am sure Beth is cooking up wonderful July 4th food for you to serve at home — as well as the Joseph Fox Bookstore on Sansom Street. At Home makes for the perfect gift for your host or hostess.

Next Week
As the second installment of my summer farm stand series, I will take you along on my drive through the back roads of Salem County, NJ. I look forward to introducing you to Mr. Tkach — pictured below — who began his work as a five-year-old at the family farm stand seventy-five years ago. The farm stand has been serving customers since 1928! Mr. Tkach shares his recollection of going with his father each day to retrieve the garbage to feed their pigs from the German prisoner of war camp across the road. At farm stands it’s often the farmer that leaves you with the lingering “taste.”

I couldn’t resist a giant $3 basket of kirby cukes and huge $1.50 bunch of dill seed from Tkach’s. Lots of pickles are in my future. But I’ve already did a cucumber recipe so, as of now, I plan to share a recipe using the ripe Jersey cling peaches I bought — a Peach Butter scented with Ginger and Lemongrass.

Thank you for visiting.

Your Home Entertaining Coach

Postcript: Mark Bitman’s 101 Reasons to Light the Grill
Wednesday’s New York Times Food Section featured Mark Bitman’s great list of 101 things to do on your grill. Here’s the link.


Filed under At Home News, Entertaining at Home, Events, Memories, Recipes, Tips

Lesson: Peeling & Seeding Tomatoes

This week’s posts are all about getting ready for Labor Day by planning and doing ahead. Today’s lesson on peeling tomatoes will come in handy for tomorrow’s Gazpacho recipe.

A tomato’s tough skin is purely utilitarian — handy for protecting it while growing and for travel, but its skin does nothing for a tomato’s flavor. And the texture of the skin is not altogether pleasant. Likewise seeds. Seeds do nothing for the tomato…except, of course, if you plan on using them to grow more tomatoes. From a culinary perspective, peeling and seeding tomatoes is not required, but strongly suggested.

To Peel and Seed Tomatoes

1. Bring a pot of water to an active boil. You do not need a large pot — just large enough to hold 2-3 tomatoes with enough water to cover.

2. Lightly score tomatoes at the blossom end — that is, opposite the core end — with a shallow and small “x.”

3. Using tongs or slotted spoon, lightly drop tomatoes into water for about 10 seconds taking care not to splash boiling water. Remove tomatoes and immediately run under cold water or immerse into a large bowl filled with ice and water. Your goal is to loosen the skin without cooking the flesh of the tomato. It happens quickly. If the skin is not loose, you can repeat for a few seconds. Repeat until all tomatoes are done.
4. With a sharp paring knife, remove core. Peel skin from tomatoes.

5. Slice tomatoes in half.

6. Do this over a bowl: Hold tomato half in one hand and with the index finger of your other hand, poke watery sack containing seeds. Poke until all (most?) seeds and tomato water is removed leaving just the flesh.

7. Using a fine strainer over another bowl, strain out the seeds and discard. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to press out water. You now have wonderful tomato flesh with seeds removed plus tomato water.

If what you are are making needs a flavorful tomato liquid — like gazpacho or other tomato-based soup, save and use the tomato water. If you were just using the tomatoes to dice for a salad or guacamole, then you can discard the tomato water or save for another use — yet to be determined.

Here’s the rest of your do ahead Labor Day recipes:

Wednesday — My Handmade Gazpacho for a Crowd
Thursday –Couscous & Corn Salad
Friday – Green & Yellow Bean Salad
Saturday – Grilled Eggplant & Assorted Sweet & Hot Peppers
Sunday – A Lemonade Alternative: Lime Rickey

This week’s blog will be filled with great recipes to share with friends and family. It’s a good time to suggest they subscribe to the blog to save you the trouble of constantly emailing recipes. In the spirit of Labor Day — less labor for you!

We are about four weeks from having books in hand and starting to ship. If you buy your book(s) now, you will receive a signed, limited first edition.


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Filed under Holidays, Menus, Tips