Monday, July 23, 2012

Grilled Halloumi and Lemon, with a Shandy

I've made a mental list of all the things I hope to accomplish this summer.  Although accomplish isn't exactly the right word as it implies tenacity and diligence.  Perhaps I'll now refer to it as my list of things I hope to experience this summer.  I certainly don't want to call it my 'to do' list or it will get lost in my desk until November.  In no particular order, you should know I'd like to read a classic, gaze at the stars, and sit on the beach with my toes in the water.  I'd like to keep this on replay until someone makes me stop or bashes me on the head.  I'd like to eat a raspberry yogurt popsicle sweetened with honey, and tackle homemade mayonnaise for the first time.  I intend to cover heirloom tomatoes with this mayonnaise, along with some salt, and there will be lots of good bread involved.  And I'll try not to be squeamish about the raw egg aspect.  I'd like to continue sleeping on top of the covers, walking around barefoot, and watching Yager swim in the pond by our house.  I hope to pack a picnic lunch for two, with wine, and drive to a spontaneous undisclosed location.  Also on my list? Grilling halloumi cheese and drinking a shandy.  I accomplished both this past weekend.  Check and check.  Two down and its still July.
Have you tried halloumi cheese?  Halloumi cheese is the grilling cheese, a summer cheese.  It's made from sheep's milk and because it can withstand super high temperatures, it doesn't melt.  It's a very, very salty cheese and with its rubbery texture it almost squeaks when you bite down on it.  All it requires is a quick brushing of olive oil before hitting the grill.  After a few minutes on each side, it will get dark crusty grill marks.  We made an appetizer similar to one I had in a Mediterranean restaurant, warm halloumi on a bed of spinach drizzled with olive oil and scattered with mint and basil.  I like to squeeze some grilled lemon right over top, giving the salty cheese a tangy bite.  You should know, I pan fried the remaining halloumi later in the week in my cast iron skillet and it worked beautifully.  So if you don't have a grill, not to worry.  It's also worth noting, I wilted the spinach down the second time around and I think I liked it even better this way.  Perhaps disregard that raw spinach in the above photo and try some wilted spinach.  

Now onto the drink portion of the program.  If you've been paying attention, you might notice I'm getting some use out of my little-mason-jar-with-a handle-turned-drinking-vessel.  It's no longer reserved for pickling tomatoes and floral arrangements.  So let's make a shandy, shall we?  The formula goes a little something like this.  


Plus lemon soda.  

Equals shandy.  

In case you need more specifics, it's worth mentioning any citrus soda, ginger ale, or ginger beer can be substituted for the lemonade.  As far as the beer goes, pilsner is traditional but I'll leave that up to you.  You'll want half beer, half lemon soda, and some ice.  Personally I like a little more beer and a little less lemon soda or it gets too sweet for me.  Play around and adjust it to your liking.  A lemon wedge on the glass is nice.  So is a frosted glass if you've thought ahead.  Drink it outside, preferably with your shoes off, on the grass, or in the sand.

~Grilled Halloumi and Lemon Recipe~

1/2 pound Halloumi
olive oil for brushing and drizzling
1 lemon, halved
handful of spinach
mint and basil for garnishing

Brush halloumi and olive oil and place on the grill.  Brush lemon with olive oil also, placing hte lemon cut side down on the grill first.  Cook both the halloumi and lemon for a few minutes on each side.  The halloumi should be darkened with grill marks.

Cut halloumi into fours and serve with wilted or raw spinach and herbs if you like.  Drizzle with additional olive oil and a squeeze of grilled lemon.  Serves 2 as an appetizer.  

~Summertime Shandy Recipe~

Fill half your glass with some ice and beer of your choice.  Top off with lemon soda and stir.  Garnish with a lemon slice or wedge. 

To make a pitcher, follow the same formula: half beer, half lemon soda.  I like to add in lots of lemon slices when making a pitcher for a crowd.   


Lena Mumenthaler said...

I love halloumi, especially the squeaky part, it makes eating it so fun. (I guess I am easily entertained). Your summer list sounds good, and I am the same, call it "to do" and I'll never do it.

Stephanie said...

Hi there Lena! I like the squeaky part too. Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Eileen said...

A shandy definitely sounds great at this point in the summer! Halloumi, too--I think I'd probably cut up the finished product and strew it over a massive salad. :)

Amy said...

I've always wanted to eat and cook halloumi! You can say that's on my "things to experience" this summer too. ;) I see it all over the place in my lebanese cookbook, and have been meaning to look more into it. Thanks for the reminder, I'm GOING to check that one off sometime this next week. And Stephanie! Sweet Disposition is one of my favorite songs---it always, always reminds me of summer. And if you want to read a classic, you should read For Whom the Bell Tolls! Haha, it's my favorite book of all time... I had to throw that out there. :)

Stephanie said...

Eileen-that's a great idea. I recently came across a recipe for a lentil salad topped with halloumi and it looked so appealing.

Amy, let me know what you think of it. I was surprised at how salty it was after the first bite, but then I fell for it. It's a great summer song, isn't it? ;) Funny, I've read so many others...A Farewell to Arms, Old Man and the Sea..but never For Whom the Bell Tolls. It's officially going on the list. Have you read The Paris Wife? If you're a Hemingway fan, I think you'd like it. I really enjoyed it.

Margarita said...

So, I had halloumi for the first time at a restaurant last Sunday and the very next day you posted this. I had to, just totally had to, go to the store to find some halloumi, but I couldn't find it. I was so disheartened. do you have any suggestions for cheeses that could be a close cousin to halloumi? A kind that's easier to find? I'm desperate.

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

So delicious - I love a salty taste so this is perfect.
Mary x

Stephanie said...

Thanks Mary. Margarita-sorry you had trouble finding it. You might try paneer, which you should be able to find at an Indian market. It's certainly a different flavor, but it holds its shape and can be cubed and pan fried. If you wanted to take on a project, you could even make it homemade yourself. Heidi Swanson posted this link a while back and I was very intrigued.

mackenzie said...

oh mylanta. i never thought to make a summer shandy with aranciata! you are a genius. this looks divine! so glad i stumbled on to your little space today :)

Stephanie said...

Hi Mackenzie. Welcome. I'm glad you stumbled on my space too :)