I am not a hot dogs and hamburger on the grill kinda gal when I invite people over for a pool party (or frankly when I go to others’ parties). I am not averse to meat, if it is good. I patronize my local organic farms when I want a semi-annual steak, and certainly whenever I want a cut of pork. I have begun to greatly appreciate the Boston Butt cut of pork. It is forgiving — you stick in the oven and it is done, whenever. It also is a fatty cut which has the glorious advantage of essentially self-basting in its fatty porkiness which accentuates the good flavor.
Little neck clams on the grill, served with melted butter (melted in small dish on grill). Clam broth is optional.
Grilled kielbasa. Buy the best quality you can find. Fatty pork is a happy complement to clams.
Reheated pork butt. I prepared the day ahead by slow-roasting in oven; I marinated the pork in Puerto Rican style a la Mark Bittman.
Deviled eggs. Because it’s not a summer party without ’em! These go early and fast!
This is an easy and healthy-ish salad perfect for summer gatherings. With no dairy it can go outdoors without danger. And it’s super-easy to assemble, and flexible too. It’s just a simple vinaigrette including both lemon juice and white wine vinegar, heightened with hot pepper — fresh or dried flakes — and mustard and honey to balance. It’s beans with red onion and some carrots and red peppers or whatever is fresh in early summer.
2 large cans of garbanzos (chick peas), drained and rinsed
red onion, 1/2, sliced then quartered, and macerated in white wine vinegar for 15 minutes to mellow
Vinaigrette: lemon juice (~ 2 T), garlic scapes or garlic, mustard, honey, red pepper flakes or fresh hot hot pepper, minced, S&P, olive oil.
Red or other color peppers — not green, diced
carrots — #2-3, cut into dice about size of beans or smaller
cooked quinoa, cucumber, garlic scapes, cumin, and/or garlic, optional
Variation: substitute lime juice for lemon juice; substitute black beans for garbanzos, and add cilantro and scallions. Use cumin.
I had a college roommate Elizabeth who taught me a high-fat way of eating toasted bagels: spread the hot bagel with butter and *then* smear with cream cheese. That way the bagel part is not dry, since it has the melted butter in it. That’s the idea behind my potato salad method. I combine the German potato salad method of dousing the just-boiled, hot potatoes with white wine vinegar and olive oil. The hot taters soak up the vinegar/oil. THEN I add a mayo mixture to the taters once they are cooled in refrigerator, which coats and gloms onto the outside. A winner!
3 # potatoes — new, Yukon Gold, or other delicious, preferably organic potatoes, scrubbed, cut into large pieces and boiled with onion if you like until just tender when pierced with knife, usually under 20 minutes cooking time. Drain in colander. While sitting in sink in colander, drizzle over potatoes white wine vinegar and then olive oil. Let sit, and then later put on plate and put into refrigerator to chill.
3 T mayo (I like Hellman’s regular, not healthy, but I’m used to the taste)
2 T sour cream
1 t mustard — Dijon only
shallot, 1 T, chopped, perhaps macerated for up to 15 minutes in white wine vinegar
Herbs: garlic scapes, chives and/or tarragon — fresh from the garden, chopped.
Directions: Chop up shallot and herbs. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper and mustard. Whisk in herbs. Test by dipping piece of potato into dressing. Does it need more salt? A splash of vinegar to brighten? Let mayo mixture sit in refrigerator a bit to blend nicely ahead of time, such as while potatoes cool in refrigerator, or simply mix into cooled potatoes.
It’s summertime, grill time.
One of my long time faves for the few times I grill steak is this spice rub from Gourmet Magazine. Even my dear departed Dad didn’t complain that I messed up his steak since he’s a bare steak kinda guy.
Here’s the rub:
1 T kosher salt
1/2 t cumin, ground
1/8 t allspice
Mix up rub and rub it into steaks 1/2 hour before grilling, or when you light the charcoal.
And they give good advice of telling you to let steaks come to room temp for 1/2 hour. And other grilling instructions, here.
If you have steak leftover, particularly if like me you cooked it too rare, a great re-use is stir fry. Summer or sweet onions, garlic scapes, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, snow peas with rice and steak go together great! Try with Asian vinaigrette.
I have been cooking a lot of rice and grains with my beloved rice cooker. Putting up a batch when I leave the house makes for happy eating upon returning home with an appetite.
Brown rice, cooked and cooled, tossed with champagne vinegar and olive oil
Arugula, rinsed and dried somewhat
Carrots, 2, sliced thin with knife or with mandolin
Nuts — pepitas are good
Romano, freshly grated
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
Olive oil – 3x lemon juice
Mix up dressing and put in bottom of large, preferably narrow, bowl
Put in: arugula, carrots and scallions, and toss.
Lay greens on top of rice, and sprinkle on pepitas and grated romano
Other options: pine nuts, olives
Cooked farro, 1 c+
Asparagus 1/2 bunch, rinsed and cut into 2” pieces
onion, 1/2, diced
garlic, couple cloves, smushed
Red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat sauté pan, add coating of olive oil and then add garlic cloves and pepper flakes, reduced heat to low and cook gently for 5 minutes, turning garlic so as not to brown. Remove garlic, and increase heat to medium.
Add onion and cook about 3-4 minutes until softened, adding Salt.
Add asparagus and cook about 5-7 minutes until crisp-tender, adding stock and covering pan with lid to cook, and mixing in cooked farro about 3 minutes before asparagus is cooked.
Remove cover and raise heat to reduce liquid. (Can if desired mix 1 t cornstarch or arrowroot with 1 T water to create sludge, and add 2 minutes before dish is complete to create thickened stock/sauce.)
Plate and grate on parmesan cheese. Yum!
Once you get a rice cooker, you may want to not stop exploring the universe of rice varieties (not to mention yummy steel-cut oats for breakfast). For such an exploration, here’s a recipe that combines farro and black forbidden rice, cooked separately and cooled on a sheet pan. Mix in roasted cauliflower, steamed dandelion greens with a champagne vinegar dijon vinaigrette, and it’s stick-to-the-ribs delicious! Gilding the lily with some sweet on-hand cherry tomatoes and pepitas. Roasted butternut squash and/or other winter squash in lieu of cauliflower is Chef Thomas Keller’s recipe.
Farro, 1 c
Black forbidden rice, 1 c
1/2 onion, chopped
Dandelion greens, 1/2 bunch, rinsed well and cut off tough bottom stems — steam in rice cooker for 10 minutes at end of one grain’s cycle
Cauliflower florets, roasted w/ olive oil, S&P
Vinaigrette made with champagne vinegar & mustard
Optional: cherry tomatoes
roasted butternut squash, sautéed first in butter in sauté pan
Cook two separate batches of farro and rice. When each is done, remove to sheet pan, spread out and cool. (Tip: tastier farro if you sauté onion in olive oil, then add in farro to toast for 2 minutes, and then add into rice cooker with water.)
At end of second cycle, lay in cleaned dandelion greens on steamer dish to steam during last 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put sturdy sheet pan in oven to heat up.
Roast cauliflower florets with olive oil, S&P for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice so they don’t burn.
Prepare vinaigrette: Put 3 T vinegar into Pyrex measuring copy and whisk in 1/2 t Dijon mustard. Add S&P, and whisk in olive oil. Taste with dandelion green and adjust to your taste.
Rice and faro in large bowl.
Mix greens in separate bowl with vinaigrette.
Put cauliflower on rice/farro, top with greens and vinaigrette. Add tomatoes and pepitas.
Serving the greens and cauliflower while still warm is nice. And the room temp rice/farro is a lovely contrast.