Back to the Beach – It’s all over except the dance.

Back to the Beach – It’s all over except the dance.

… well,
And the desserts,  and the midnight breakfast.
But we’ll get to those at some point next week. The fridge is currently floating in wedding food and I’ll need to work through some of that before I do anything else.

Okay, the last two of the dinner menu items… and a little something extra at the end.

I had decided early on in the talks with the client that I’d do a grilled tofu for the vegan selection, ensuring that they could enjoy the same grilled type food that everyone else was getting, without making them feel too left out.

The problem was the fish. The original thought for the pescatarian selection was  obviously to do fish. I played around with snapper… cod… tuna and by-and-large, they either weren’t going to hold up in a buffet situation (fish sitting around in a chafing dish watching it’s life’s juices just evaporate into thin gusty air), or they just didn’t end up tasting very good..

In order for it to hold onto that charcoal-y, smoky goodness –  it has to be served right off the grill, and that just wasn’t going to be very easy.

 In order to use some sort of dry rub or marinade – it needs to have a dense, meaty structure ~ which leaves out everything except tuna or swordfish

 In order to keep it from being a block of sawdust – it needs to have a fair amount of internal fat – which neither of the remaining choices have.

So.. 5 weeks and 5 reworks (after one particularly worrying tasting dinner in which I think both the bride and groom became concerned) I went in a completely different direction…

Shrimp. It marinates beautifully, it skewers like a champ, it cooks in a snap… and it’s just damned tasty.

The marinade for both the shrimp and the tofu is the same. The really nice thing about the two proteins is that they absorb the flavors of the marinade differently. the shrimp picked up more of the generic citrus notes along with the chili flavors, where the tofu pulled in more of the distinct orange flavors. So “if” someone were to have “both” selections, they would get two completely different flavor profiles.

Plate Fodder 
Triple Citrus and Chili Marinade
Makes about 1 Cup

1 Mild Chili (Anaheim or Poblano)
1/2 Jalapeno Chili (Seeded and Ribbed)
1/4 Cup Orange Marmalade
1/4 Cup Yuzu or Sudachi Juice
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
1 Clove Garlic
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Tablespoon Crystallized Ginger
Food Processor
Seed and chop all chilies
Add all the ingredients to the processor and pulse until smooth
Divide the marinade in half and set aside

Grilled Chili / Citrus Tofu
Serves 3 to 4
1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
1/2 The Marinade Mixture
6 Skewers
1 Large Zucchini
Extra Olive Oil
Moulin or a slicer that will cut thin ribbons
2 Dinner Plates
Tea Towel

  • With the slicer, create 12 thin ribbons of zucchini about 1/16 ” thick… so really, really thin
  • Lightly salt the zucchini and set aside
  • Drain the tofu, lightly salt the block, and wrap in the tea towel
  • Place between the 2 plates and weigh down
  • Allow the weight to press out the liquid and for the block to compress to about 1/3 the original thickness (it’ll take about 3 hours… unless you have a tofu press – which I don’t)
  • Cut the block into 12 equal cubes
  • Wrap 1 zucchini ribbon around each block and skewer 2 blocks together through the ribbons
  • When all are done, place in a Pyrex dish and pour the marinade over
  • Allow the skewers to soak in all in for about an hour
  • Heat the grill to 500 and cook on each side (that’s 4) for 5 minutes each

Spicy Citrus Shrimp
Serves 4
24 Large Shrimp (16/24 Ct, and preferably a firmer variety of shrimp)
1/2 The Marinade Mixture
4 Skewers
Large Zipper Bag
Salt and Pepper

  • Peel and de-vein the shrimp – leaving the tail end on
  • Place the Shrimp and Marinade in the bag, seal and chill for 2 hours minimum
  • Skewer 6 shrimp onto each skewer
  • Heat the grill to 500 and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side – or until the flesh is bright pink and opaque
  • Remove and serve immediately with the below Black Pepper Beans and brown rice

The next dish wasn’t at the wedding – but I really wish I had served it. I’ve already cooked through all the other dinner tings and just didn’t have anything else to go with the shrimp.

The hay bale garden has been plugging along all summer and the bean bale has only been  relinquishing about a handful of beans a day. it’s not a lot if what you’re wanting is a pot of beans… but it does work out nicely for some fresh sauteed beans ever other day or so. The beans are simple – I’ve just blanched and sauteed them off with about 2 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Black Pepper Sauce. The black pepper and soy really round out the chilis in the marinades.

Black Pepper Beans
Serves 2
1 Cup Fresh Beans – Whole and Tipped
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Trader Joe’s Black Pepper Sauce
Zipper Bag
Medium Saute Pan

  • Place the beans in the zipper bag and micro on high for 2 minutes – allow to cool a bit so you can handle them
  • With a sharp knife, split the beans about 2/3 down the length of the bean
  • Heat the butter to melt in the saute pan and cook the beans for 3 to 5 minutes
  • Add the Black Pepper Sauce, toss to coat, and cook another minute or so
  • Serve with either of the above entrees

5 thoughts on “Back to the Beach – It’s all over except the dance.

  1. I know who to call when I need a wedding reception caterer….these foods are phenom, Toby! And to do it on the beach! Not your typical boring affair here! Wise to choose shrimp over other fish when serving this many guests! Shrimp holds up so much better than fish. Great, great work, friend!

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