Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Struggle Gets Dishy: Lets Go Tropicana

If you are anything like me (and I'm just solipsistic enough to assume most people are), then you love the summer with all the abandonment of a small child, dashing through the sprinkler, gorging yourself on ice cream bars (I love that they are called novelties, I mean, how cute is that) and collapsing into a happy heat stroke at the end of the day (what's summer without a trip to the emergency room?).

But there is something about the heat that seems to make other people a little nutty. The other day while browsing a favorite vintage store down on Fabric Row (nothing like spending a day among cheap bridal fabrics and bric-a-brac to make your social life seem more exciting then it otherwise might appear), I heard a radio announcer declare that in this heat you should be sure to check on your older friends and relatives, just to make sure they are still breathing. How very encouraging of them. Motown hits and "make sure grandma's not dead" reminders. If that's not a Struggledelphia radio station, I don't know what is.

So, in an effort to assuage those people out their who are more into cold showers then humid afternoons, I thought I would provide a nice little tropical side dish recipe the ought to help with the heat. You can bring it to all of your elderly friends and relatives, it's a good excuse for dropping by.

Grilled Yucca with Pineapple Salsa:

Pineapple Salsa:
1 large ripe pineapple, diced
1/4 cup chopped Thai basil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, diced
Cilantro (this is optional. While some people worship at the alter of the god Cilantronus, others find it tastes like soap. This is actually a genetic predisposition, rather then a preference, so stop making fun of your friends when they crave or disdain fresh coriander!)

 Combine all of the above ingredients and let sit for at least an hour. Because I first made this in Puerto Rico, I added a splash of rum, which works wonders. Of course, how could it not...

Grilled Yucca-
1 large yucca (most of them come large. I've actually never seen a small one) peeled and sliced into rounds. Soak rounds for at least an hour in a bowl of water. Coat yucca with cooking spray and pre-bake yucca in the oven for 30 minutes on a lowish heat, between 250 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat with another round of cooking spray or oil and grill until the outside is crispy and the inside is flaky and tender. Smother with pineapple salsa and enjoy, assuming you haven't fainted from the heat. If so, do let me know, I'll eat the leftovers.