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Posts Tagged ‘Cookout’

I love everything about summer dinners. Eating outdoors, using herbs from the garden, farmer’s market veggies and grilling. I enjoy entertaining during the summer. Everything is simple but fresh and very relaxed. We had friends over for dinner last weekend and I was able to spend the evening chatting rather than rushing around in the kitchen. The appetizer and side dish were made a head of time and the main and vegetable were done on the grill. It doesn’t get better than that!

While looking for side dishes that could be prepared ahead of time, I came across this Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad. First, I have a serious fondness for anything that involves Mediterranean flavors and liked that that base of the salad was lentils and couscous. The inclusion of tomatoes, feta, arugula and fresh herbs really made this stand out. Second, I have an appreciation for recipes from Gourmet and usually find them to be winners.

I let the salad sit overnight to really let the flavors develop. It was a hit with our guests and the perfect side for a summer cookout. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next few days!

Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet magazine)

Ingredients:

1 cup French green or brown lentils
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous (I used whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry and chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

Directions:

Place lentils in a small saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Stir in one tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous and salt. Remove from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic paste, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir lentils and dressing into couscous. Chill salad, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 24.

Just before serving, stir in remaining ingredients, top with basil and season with salt and pepper. At this time I also added another drizzle of olive oil and a splash of vinegar but that’s totally optional.

Yield: 8 servings

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My parents make great traditional potato salad. You know, the mayonnaise-based kind that includes celery, onion and hard boiled eggs. I’ve tried to recreate it a few times but it never tastes as good as it does when they make it and I really don’t love old school potato salad unless it’s that recipe. So instead of trying to master their version, I like to try different variations of potato salad.

We attended a family cookout for Memorial Day last night and I volunteered to bring Feta Potato Salad. I was in the process of making my grocery list when this recipe for Bacon Ranch Potato Salad popped up in my Google Reader. I immediately abandoned plans to make a tried and true recipe in favor of trying something new (not that the feta potato salad isn’t amazing…you must try!).

I knew my audience and Bacon Ranch Potato Salad sounded right up their alley…especially with a large number of kids in attendance. This recipe is relatively simple with boiled potatoes being tossed in homemade ranch dressing and crumbled bacon. Actually, my favorite thing about this recipe was that the ranch dressing was homemade with a short ingredient list of things that are usually in my kitchen. I would make just the ranch dressing part of this recipe for salads. It was delicious!

This new twist on potato salad was a hit with my family and is sure to be a winner at any summer cookout!

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
(Recipe source Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Ingredients:

2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain reduced-fat yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup buttermilk
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked to a crisp and crumbled

Directions:

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 1-2 inches of cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, herbs, green onion, garlic, lemon and buttermilk in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain potatoes and transfer to a serving bowl. Let stand for about 10 minutes and then pour half of the ranch dressing over the potatoes and half of the crumbled bacon and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate one hour and then toss with remaining ranch dressing. Top with the rest of the crumbled bacon and garnish with chopped parsley. Return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yield: 8-10 servings

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fetapotatosalad

We went to visit our friends Cristen and Graham in Baxley, Georgia this weekend. We watched the Georgia/Florida football game on Saturday which sadly didn’t have a very happy ending for the Bulldogs. During the game the boys slow cooked a Boston Butt on the grill and Cristen and I whipped up this potato salad. This is one of her favorite potato recipes but I’d never tried it after years of hearing her talk about it.

It was simple to put together and packed with flavor. We served it chilled but I think it would be good served warm as well. The leftovers were tasty with lunch today – the flavors had really developed overnight in the fridge. I’m always looking for inspiration on new ways to use potatoes and will definitely be making this again.

And because I can’t resist…I must share a picture of their adorable daughter in her Halloween pumpking costume!

camillepumpkin

Feta Potato Salad
(Recipe adapted from Southern Living)

Ingredients:

3  pounds  small new potatoes, diced
2/3  cup  olive oil
1/2  cup  fresh lemon juice
1  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
1  teaspoon  kosher or sea salt
3/4  teaspoon  pepper
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/4  cup  chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl.

Whisk together oil and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over potatoes and add green onions, parsley and feta. Toss gently to coat. Cover and chill.

Yield: 8-10 side dish servings

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chickendrumsticks

Happy Memorial Day everyone! Unfortunately, I will be traveling most of the day…in the rain so I won’t be able to enjoy a cookout. But if you’re lucky enough to be planning one, why not throw some drumsticks on the grill? Drumsticks are one of Brandon’s favorite things to grill and they’re great because you can use whatever seasoning you’re in the mood for – marinade, bbq sauce, spice rub, etc.

We decided to use seasoning rubs on our chicken (which is very common for us if you haven’t noticed). We had some Caribbean Curry Seasoning that we bought on our cruise a couple months ago from a great little spice store in Tortola,  Sunny Caribbee. We used Jamaican Firewalk from The Dizzy Pig on the other half of the chicken.

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

Chicken drumsticks (with skin still on, however many you want to grill)
Olive oil
Seasoning rub of your choice
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat grill to 350.

Coat chicken in olive oil and generously apply spice rub. Spray grill grate with cooking spray and place chicken on grill. Cook for about 45-50 minutes, turning the chicken every 10-15 minutes. Check internal temperature of chicken, close to the bone. Drumsticks are done when they have reached 170 degrees.

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