Cooking is always more fun with a cocktail in hand!
Central Iowa tapped out at a toasty 78 degrees again today, which inspired me to whip up a refreshing, ice-cold Grapefruit Mojito to sip on while making dinner this evening.
Now, you might think you don’t like grapefruit. Trust me, I get it. I used to feel the exact same way.
My 93 year old Grandma has had half a grapefruit sprinkled with sugar for breakfast every single morning for as long as I’ve known her, and whenever my family visited my grandparents in Ohio growing up, I’d ask for the other half so I could be just like her, even though I secretly loathed the bitter, acidic taste of grapefruit.
This is it! I’d coach myself before diving in. Your taste buds have completely altered themselves since the last time you were here 6 months ago, and you are a now a mature woman of 8. Let’s do this!
Despite the cute little spoon with serrated edges she’d give me to loosen the segments nestled inside the fruit, and the heaps of sugar I’d pour on top, I could never get past the pucker-inducing flavor, and usually aborted the mission after a few scoops.
Fast forward several decades later, I made an impulse purchase of a few Ruby-Red Grapefruits after spying the loveliest display of them I ever did see at the grocery store last week (I am such a sucker!)
After unloading my groceries I cut one in half, just like my Grandma did for me all those years ago, scooped out a segment, and hoped for the best. The verdict?
Sour, yes, but also much sweeter than I remembered – and SO juicy!
I think the secret lies within my matured ( ) taste buds and the type of grapefruit I bought, which was a Ruby-Red. Grapefruits come in white, pink and red, each sweeter than the next, and are at their sweetest in the late winter and early spring, aka right now. Look for grapefruit that are heavy for their size (which indicates an extra juicy fruit) and have a slight “blush spot” on the outside of the peel.
I’ve been craving mojitos like crazy recently, and thought a Grapefruit Mojito sounded like the epitome of refreshing, and a fun way to use the grapefruit I’ve now been been buying on the regular. I started the cocktail by segmenting one Ruby-Red Grapefruit.
I used the same technique as segmenting oranges!
Next, I muddled a few of the segments with fresh mint and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker.
After adding rum, some of the reserved grapefruit juice, and fresh lime juice to the shaker, I filled it 3/4 of the way full with ice and shook what my Mama gave me.
I poured the mixture into two glasses filled with ice, then topped ‘em off with sparkling water. If you think you don’t like grapefruit, I bet this sweet-tart cocktail will change your mind!
I’m sorry, but mojitos just scream SUMMER! to me. It’s that fresh mint. I just love it!
After a few satisfying sips, I got to work on dinner – Grapefruit Chicken Satay. Oh yeah, we’re going all out on the grapefruit theme here, people!
Indian spiced chicken is sauteed then tossed with fresh grapefruit slices and drizzled with a quick peanut-based satay sauce. Sounds wacky, tastes nice!
Start by segmenting 2 grapefruit, then sprucing up sliced chicken breasts with an exotic array of spices including garlic powder, cinnamon, garam masala, ginger, ground mustard, salt & pepper.
Mix to coat the chicken evenly, then saute in a hot skillet until the chicken is no longer pink.
Meanwhile, make an easy satay sauce with peanut butter, soy sauce, a tiny bit of sugar, chili garlic sauce, and reserved grapefruit juice.
Mix until silky smooth.
Place the cooked, spiced chicken over a bed of brown basmati rice, then top with the segmented grapefruit, and a drizzle of that satay sauce. Holy. Yum.
Grapefruit Chicken Satay with Grapefruit Mojitos
Satay slightly adapted from Eating Well
1 cup basmati rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 large or 3 medium-sized chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
couple cracks/dashes of black pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 large ruby-red grapefruits, segmented & juice reserved
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
5-7 Tablespoons reserved grapefruit juice
For the Grapefruit Mojito (makes 2 drinks):
1 grapefruit, segmented & juice reserved
20 mint leaves
4 teaspoons agave nectar
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons reserved grapefruit juice
3oz rum (2 shots)
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan, then stir in rice. Place a lid on top, reduce the heat to medium low, then cook until rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes.
- Season chicken strips with dry mustard, garlic powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, garam masala, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix to coat the chicken evenly. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add in the chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center.
- Segment the grapefruits over a bowl by cutting the tops and bottoms off the grapefruits, slicing the peel and pith off by following the curve of the fruit, then slicing in between the membranes to pop the segments out. Squeeze the remaining membranes to get all the juice out, then strain the juice into a separate bowl and set aside.
- Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar and chili garlic sauce in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 15 seconds. Stir until smooth. Add 5 Tablespoons reserved grapefruit juice and stir to combine. Continue adding grapefruit juice 1 Tablespoon at a time until desired taste and consistency is reached.
- Divide cooked rice evenly among plates, then top with cooked chicken, grapefruit segments, and peanut satay sauce.
- For the Grapefruit Mojitos: Muddle 4 grapefruit segments, mint, agave nectar and lime juice in the bottom of a martini shaker with the end of a wooden spoon. Add grapefruit juice and rum, then fill the shaker 3/4 full with ice. Shake until very cold then evenly divide between two glasses filled with ice. Top with sparkling water (to taste) and garnish with remaining grapefruit segments.
The grapefruit slices get nice and warm as they mingle with the spiced chicken and basmati rice, and totally mellow out from the heat. The salty peanut satay sauce is the perfect flavor compliment too. This is a great, easy dish to spice up a week night!
Whelp, my mind is officially changed about grapefruit – my Grandma will be so proud! How about yours? (Your mind, not your Grandma.)
Off to mix another batch of mojitos to enjoy under the last rays of the setting sun. See ya!