Birthday dinners are fun.  I had some great whole bone-in chicken breasts from the Farmer’s Market that were definitely going to be the center-of-the-plate this evening.  I just wasn’t sure how… Had it not been 90° outside, I might have come up with a nice southern Italian saucy sort of a dish.  But it was (is, still) 90° outside and something like that just wasn’t gonna cut it.  It’s actually light salad weather, but I can’t make a nice salad for a Birthday Dinner!  Unheard of!

So I got to thinkin’…

I was in a Mediterranean mood, but wanted crisp, refreshing flavors, not the heavy pastas and sauces.  The chicken was going onto the grill, but with a bit of a twist.  Lemon twist.

I marinated the chicken in lemon juice and zest, olive oil, a splash of balsamic, garlic, Greek oregano, salt and pepper.

And then I decided to make a Mediterranean salsa.  I like salsa.  It’s easy to make, colorful, and always fresh and flavorful.

  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • handful of figs, diced
  • handful of oil-cured olives, diced
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • Pinch of Greek oregano
  • splash of balsamic
  • salt and pepper


And to round it all out, Israeli couscous blend.

Not exactly a traditional ethnic meal, but it sure worked!

What really worked, though was the grill.  I have been re-converted to briquettes.  No more propane for this kid…  I really did forget just how wonderful food tastes over a real fire.  Yeah, propane is more convenient – until the tank runs out – but it really just means starting the fire a few minutes earlier.  And the flavor is just so much better.

I’m using the converted gas grill right now, but the briquettes are mere millimeters from the grate, so we’ll be off to see what’s available pretty quickly, I’m sure.

And in the meantime, it’s still Victor’s birthday…


Lemon Cake with a Lemon Curd Filling and Lemon Cream Cheese Icing.