Certainly most of those who enjoy a cookout have already fired up the grill at least once.
My first cookout this year was in May during vacation and the meal was steak, baked potato, corn and an unusual salad consisting of quinoa, brown rice and various mixed vegetables and fresh herbs.
It was all great, but the best part of the meal was corn on the grill.
Sides are important to any meal. Here are a few suggestions for summertime sides from chef and cookbook author David Venable.
SALAD WITH ARUGULA, BACON AND FETA CHEESE
16-ounce box farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1⁄2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1⁄4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 pound baby arugula
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup cooked or grilled chicken pieces (optional)
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the farfalle pasta according to the package directions. Drain well. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Add the bacon, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and arugula to the warm pasta. Add feta cheese and chicken (if using) and toss.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon rind, and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until blended. Whisk in the salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the vinaigrette into the pasta salad and toss until well coated. Serve warm.
4 pounds new potatoes, quartered
1⁄2 pound smoked bacon (optional garnish)
11⁄3 cups mayonnaise
21⁄2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoonbs barbecue sauce
1 hardboiled egg, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1⁄2 red onion, minced
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh chives, chopped (optional garnish)
Cover the potatoes with water and bring them to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes; drain.
While the potatoes are cooking, render the bacon until crisp in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Drain the bacon on several paper towels and break into small, bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue sauce, and hardboiled egg in a large bowl. Slowly add the potatoes to the dressing and let them absorb the liquid, about 15 minutes. Add the celery, red onion, thyme, salt, and pepper and refrigerate until well chilled. Just before serving, garnish with the bacon and chives, if desired.
GRILLED CORN SALAD
6 ears of corn (husked per directions below)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 avocado, diced
1⁄3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1⁄2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat a barbecue or indoor grill to medium.
Carefully peel back the corn husks leaving them attached at the bottom. Remove the silk. Rewrap the corn in the husks and secure with string. Completely submerge the corn in cold water for 15-20 minutes; drain.
Grill the corn for 20-25 minutes, or until tender, turning often. Allow it to cool and then remove the husks completely.
To prepare the salad, cut the corn from each cob and place it in a medium-size mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and fold to combine.
This recipe, from justapinch.com, looks great any time.
1 cup flour
1⁄4 cup powdered sugar
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄2 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate squares
1 tablespoon shortening
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl combine flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter; mix well. Press mixture into a 9 inch square baking dish.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly brown. Allow to cool completely.
Spread jam evenly over cooled crust.
In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and milk together until smooth; set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate chips and add to the cream cheese mixture; beat until smooth.
Spread evenly over raspberry mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Cut chocolate squares into small pieces and melt with shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.
Spread over white chocolate layer.
Cool completely before cutting into small squares. Store in the fridge.
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