Tuesday, July 17, 2012

minty lemony fresh

this summer, i am having a love affair with anything and everything citrus and mint. the fresh, cool combination is like air conditioning for your body, and when the temperatures are pushing 100, it's the only way to go!
to eat: ceviche
to drink: citrus mint cocktail
to pamper: everyone lotion in citrus + mint (available at whole foods - i am obsessed.)
to wear: j.crew dress and clutch

ceviche is a great, light summer dish. traditionally served cold, the acid in the citrus juices "cooks" the seafood. i found the recipe below from tyler florence and it sounds divine, especially when accompanied by food and wine's citrus mint cocktail!

scallop ceviche with melon, chili, and mint (original here)
2 pounds fresh bay or sea scallops, preferably with shells
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice of 3 oranges
juice of 3 lemons
juice of 3 limes
zest of 1 orange, finely grated
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
zest of 1 lime, finely grated
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small ripe cantaloupe, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into small cubes
1/2 bunch fresh mint, hand-torn, plus more for garnish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh red chili, cut in paper-thin circles

start by assessing the scallops at the fish store. inspect every one just to make sure that they're all in perfect shape, i.e. not torn, and fresh with a sweet ocean smell. the next step is to remove the side muscle that connects the scallop to its shell; it's not hard to miss; just pull it off with your fingers. keep the shells to serve the ceviche in. using a sharp knife, slice the scallops in half lengthwise into discs; the thinner they are, the faster they'll "cook". put the scallops in a glass bowl and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper.

put the citrus juices, zest, and sugar in a blender and give it a whirl to combine. add the olive oil and blend again to emulsify. pour the marinade over the scallops; there should be enough juice to allow the scallops to float freely. cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, until the scallops are opaque, i.e. cooked from the acid in the fruit.in a separate bowl, combine the cantaloupe, mint, and chili; season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. to serve: spoon the scallop ceviche into the shells with a little bit of the citrus juice, and top with a spoonful of the cantaloupe salad. garnish each serving with some fresh mint.

citrus mint cocktail (original here)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups loosely packed mint leaves, plus 8 large mint sprigs, lightly crushed
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves, lightly crushed
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups vodka
2 cups dry white wine
ice cubes and chilled club soda, for serving

in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and the large crushed mint sprigs with the water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. remove the mint syrup from the heat and let it stand until completely cool. strain the mint syrup into a medium bowl; discard the mint sprigs.

in a large pitcher, muddle the 2 cups of mint leaves with the crushed cilantro, lemon juice and lime juice. add the cooled mint syrup, the vodka and the white wine and stir the cocktail to combine. strain the citrus-mint cocktail into tall glasses filled with ice cubes, top each drink with a splash of club soda and serve.
*the mint syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

YUM. cool and refreshing. 
does anyone else have a good summer flavor inspiration?

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