Monday, May 28, 2007

Could it get any better? BBQ sandwiches, watermelon salad and cookies!

Since Jeff had the day off, we were able to get a lot of stuff done around the house and I thought it would be nice to have a little mini picnic for dinner. We started out tonight with a side dish of Watermelon-Feta Salad with Fresh Herbs.

There were lots of flavors and textures involved in this dish... crunchy, juicy, sweet and salty. Exploding with color, this salad consists of chunky ruby red pieces of watermelon, peppery watercress, salty feta cheese, sliced red onions, fresh basil and mint. For a tart counterpart, we squeezed a fresh lemon over the salad before gently tossing everything together. Finished with just a sprinkle of salt to lure out the hidden flavors, this crisp salad was so refreshing and really hit the spot on this warm day.

Unlike the past couple of days when we should have used it, we were actually able to use the grill for tonight's dinner to cook the meat for these easy Barbecue Pork-and-Coleslaw Hoagies. Nothing fancy here, just pork coated with a spicy barbecue sauce (I didn't even make it!) and grilled until it is still pink in the center. While you wait for the pork to cook, a crunchy topping for the sandwich is combined by tossing broccoli slaw, sour cream, mayonnaise, a couple dollops of horseradish for heat and a dash of sugar to balance the flavors. Now, the original recipe did call for packaged "cabbage and carrot coleslaw" mix, but we already had the broccoli slaw on hand so we just used that. Once the pork is done and has a chance to rest, the tenderloin is thinly sliced and tossed with a bit more barbecue sauce.

To impart a little flavor into the rolls, they are first brushed with more of the spicy sauce before assembling the sandwich. We both thought these sandwiches were excellent... especially with the ease of preparation! The coleslaw topping was light, just creamy enough and had a pleasurable kick from the horseradish. If you don't have a grill or if the weather is not cooperating, you could also prepare the pork under the broiler if desired - just be sure to use a thermometer so it doesn't over cook.

What better way to round out a picnic like this than with some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! This is actually a light recipe for chocolate chip cookies as it only calls for 8 tablespoons of butter, rather than the usual 16. As such, the dough when fully combined is not as creamy as a regular batch - though, it was still moist enough to hold together. The golden cookies with their cracks and crevices have an interesting texture - not super crispy, yet not soft or cake-like at all. They are firm to the touch and have a rich chewiness to them. With only 3/4 cup of chocolate for the whole recipe, the cookies are kind of skimpy on the chip to dough ratio though, but it was still satisfying enough. It was nice that I did not need to refrigerate the dough at all to keep the cookies from spreading too much - they were not flat at all and had a decent thickness.

Overall, a great light cookie as the texture didn't suffer as much as I thought - not dry or crumby and still buttery enough to pacify a cookie craving... though I would toss in a few more chips next time!


  1. Someone's been reading the new issue of Cooking Light, I see.
    I read mine cover to cover. I love the combination of watermelon and feta--
    I will have the try some of the grain recipes. I hope I remember to rinse the quinoa enough.

  2. What brand of bbq sauce do you use. I would like to have some on hand for just last minute rushed dinners, but can never seem to find a bottled version I like.

  3. Emilie - It will be a touch bitter if you forget to rinse - but it is definitely worth it!

    Courtney - we switch between a few brands, but quite enjoy Trader Joe's or Annie's.

    Pandagirl - Wish I could send you some!

  4. Joe - your cookies looked so good,I couldn't resist trying the recipe. My dough was quite dry for a cookie dough to the point where I had to stuff the dough into the cookie scoop with my hands. They tasted great though. And, they looked pretty when they came out of the oven. I was a little bit disappointed when, after cooling, they started to look a little greasy. I wonder what I did wrong.

  5. Tammy - I'm not sure what happened as ours were not greasy at all! Maybe your butter was too soft when you started?