Flavors of Summer: Grilled shrimp, watermelon salad and pineapple rice

For a meal involving all brand new recipes, this one worked out excellently. It’s the perfect summer dinner party solution.

All three of these dishes are currently on repeat at my house. It’s been two weeks since my initial experiment with the pineapple rice, and I am typing this as a third batch bubbles away in the ricemaker.

Pineapple Rice:

Adapted from Our Best Bites. When I lived in Beijing, my favorite restaurant made Dai food (a people who live in southern China near the boarder of Vietnam). One of their specialties was a delicious, sticky pineapple rice. I know that recipe didn’t have butter in it (like this one), but this is the closest I’ve found so far.


1 cup jasmine rice
2 T real butter
Juice from 1 large lime or two smaller ones (taste as you go, I add a lot!)
1 can crushed pineapple (You may want 2 small cans)
½ – ¾ C chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Time to break out the ricemaker!  Cook rice in 1 cup water and 1 cup pineapple juice (drained from the canned pineapple) s soon as it’s done, toss in the butter and stir to melt. Add lime juice, remaining pineapple juice, crushed pineapple and cilantro. Stir to combine, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

raw shrimp on skewersSpicy, Smoky Grilled Shrimp
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated (and then hijacked from TheKitchn.com)

serves three to four

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the sugar and salt. Stir, then add the shrimp and let them sit in the brine for about 30 minutes. Drain.

Combine the oregano, smoked paprika, thyme, ancho chile powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and olive oil and stir until all of the shrimp are coated in the oil and spice mixture. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan until melted and just beginning to sizzle. Add the garlic, stir, and turn off the heat.

Cook the shrimp on a very hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes, until seared on the outside and fully pink. If using a grill basket, toss once or twice to get the shrimp evenly seared. If using skewers, flip once while cooking. Serve with the garlic butter (and good bread) for dipping.

All the ingrediants for watermelon salad, Asian styleAsian Watermelon Salad

1 5-pound watermelon
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1Thai chile, fresh or dried, crumbled or minced
1⁄2 cup Basil leaves
1⁄2 cup cilantro leaves, minced, stems removed
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced, white and green sections
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
To Taste Salt and Pepper

Cut the flesh of the watermelon into 1-inch pieces,discarding any seeds. Refrigerate the flesh

Make the dressing: Heat the vinegar in the microwave for 15 secs to warm it. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and refrigerate. In a bowl, combine the sugar with the vinegar, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and salt. Whisk vigorously until well combined. Add basil, cilantro, scallions, chile, and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a mixing bowl, toss the chilled watermelon flesh with enough dressing to coat the watermelon. Drizzle additional dressing around the plate. Serve immediately.


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