Cool Cookin'

Turn off the oven and light the grill. These simple, seasonal recipes allow more time for fun in the sun.

In the scorching Texas heat, dinnertime calls for bright, crisp, refreshing food, best prepared poolside on the grill. Bring a cool snap to your table with these delicious, seasonal recipes. For a simple, yet elegant dessert, visit for my fabulous Espresso Floats. Stay cool, y’all!

Shrimp and Mango Tacos

Yield: 8 – 10 tacos
½ pound uncooked large shrimp (30 – 40 count), peeled and

1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped (remove seeds for milder flavor)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh lime juice

8 – 10 flour or corn tortillas
3 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
Mango Salsa (recipe follows)

Place shrimp in a large glass bowl and set aside. Place all marinade ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour over shrimp and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate 20 - 30 minutes.
Preheat grill or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp 2 – 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp curl. Remove shrimp from heat and cut each into thirds.
Heat tortillas: Either place in hot skillet for 10 seconds on each side or microwave several at a time until hot. Layer each tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and shrimp.

Mango Salsa

Yield: about 4 ½ cups
1 mango, diced, or 1 jar mango slices, drained
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded, ribs removed and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon each, salt and pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate until time to serve or up to 6 hours.

Grilled Arctic
Char Summer Salad

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound arctic char fillets, cut into four pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces mixed salad greens
1 cup cooked tender corn (I grilled one ear of corn and removed the kernels.)
½ red bell pepper, cut into half rings
½ cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
Fresh Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil and when hot, add char fillets, skin-side up (you might need to do this in batches so you don’t crowd the skillet). Cook 2 – 3 minutes, until lightly seared. Carefully turn fillets and cook another 2 minutes or until fish is flaky. Remove to a platter.
Divide salad greens between four large plates. Top with corn, red bell pepper, and cucumber. Drizzle with Fresh Vinaigrette. Top with a piece of char and drizzle char with a little vinaigrette.

Fresh Vinaigrette

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup olive oil

Place vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to incorporate.

Open-Faced Chicken, Fig,
and Blue Cheese Melts

Yield: 2 servings
4 slices country sourdough bread, lightly toasted
4 tablespoons interesting mustard (I used McCutcheon’s Vidalia Onion Mustard from Central Market.)
8 ounces sliced, cooked chicken
4 tablespoons fig preserves
4 - 6 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
½ cup dandelion greens or arugula

Place toasted bread on baking sheet and spread each piece with mustard. Layer with chicken, dollops of fig preserves and blue cheese.
Broil 2 – 3 minutes or until blue cheese begins to melt. Top with greens and serve immediately.