It's Grilling Season!

alFresco Dining Gigi Style GigiWIlson.jpg

Finally right?! Time to fire up the Barbie and get the table set out doors for summertime alfresco dining! Longer days and mild spring weather make for perfect al fresco dining and fresh, healthy and delicious meals right off the grill and just in time for Memorial Day Weekend celebrations! Whether you are Green Egg, Infrared Gas or traditional Weber Charcoal Grill Meister, we’ve got you covered with Fun & Simple menu ideas from grilled shrimp cocktail to slow roasted pulled pork shoulder, citrus glazed salmon to grilled corn on the cob.  And who can resist fresh grilled fruits for dessert?  When it comes to table dressing, I prefer a simple but elegant table.  Themed table clothes are fun with simple, clean white flowers and linens and some fun accents.  In our neck of the woods that might include palm fronds or sea grape leaves.  Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs always make nice table accents.  In the summer I love using lemons, limes and oranges for color with white table linens on top of sea grape leaves or in different shaped white bowls.  I do like using plates and flatware (rather than paper or plastic) but I do often use nice paper napkins, especially if the menu options are going to be deliciously messy! I don’t often let Jeff in the kitchen, but when it comes to grilling, he is my chef du jour! I do the prep, and he cooks everything beautifully!  Not only does the grill bring unique flavor to foods, it sure makes for easy clean up and who doesn’t enjoy eating outdoors whenever possible.  With Memorial Day and summer weekends approaching, having some new dishes to share with friends and family are not only a must, it’s just super fun!

Here is one of my favorite menus, straight from Fun & Simple Gourmet!  This steak is so tender, juicy and flavorful.  I’ve prepared the recipe for Steak Victor with flank steak and ribeye, both are equally as delicious.  Whether a special summer holiday, or just another weekend of summer fun with friends and family, this menu offers a different twist to traditional burgers and dogs but no more difficult to prepare.  Grilled shrimp cocktail, marinated flank (or ribeye) steak, tangy Mediterranean potato salad, grilled corn on the cob, finished with a delicious fruit crumble.  I like to serve a slightly chilled Pinot Noir from California with it’s fruity, earthy aroma and delicate flavor that does not overpower food with this menu.  Ribeye and butcher cuts of meat, like flank steak and hanger steak, pair very well with fruity younger reds.  A younger Cabernet Sauvignon would pair beautifully as well.  Grilling corn is so simple and adds texture and flavor as opposed to simply boiling it. Plus, if you are going to be on the grill anyway, so easy to just throw the corn on there too!  Just pull the husk back from each ear, far enough to remove the silk, but do not remove entirely.  Remove silk from the corn and rinse thoroughly.  Roll the husks back to the top of each ear and soak in a large bowl of cold water, 5-10 minutes.  Heat grill to medium high and lay the corn in its husk directly on the grates of the grill.  Cook 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until the corn is steamed through.  Remove husks and serve with herbed butter.  If you’d like the grill marks on the corn, simply place back on the grill after removing the husk and sear on all sides 1-2 minutes.

More options for fresh from the Barbie dining! Enjoy these menu suggestions, signature dishes and wine pairing recommendations to complete any al fresco menu in spectacular fashion.

One of my favorite grilled vegetables is this tangy Grilled Bok Choy.  It’s fresh and flavorful with a little kick in the sauce.  It compliments the Grilled Citrus Salmon beautifully with it’s sweet and tangy glaze.  And who doesn’t love pizza?  This Grilled Margherita is so fresh and delicious.  I love doing pizzas on the grill and when tomatoes are in season, this is my absolute favorite!  The crust cooks so well on the grill which also adds beautiful charred flavor and crispiness.  With fresh bufala mozarrella, parmigiano-reggiano and fresh julienned basil leaves, without a doubt one of the best grilled pizzas you will ever taste.  And of course, everyone loves a pulled pork sandwich with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, crunchy cole slaw and ooey, gooey mac and cheese!  The pulled pork can be oven roasted of course, but a slow roast on the grill adds so much flavor with charcoal or wood chips, the trick is keeping the temperature inside the grill between 225-250 degrees.  When we are invited to a BBQ at someone else’s house, they always ask me to bring the Mac & Cheese and one of my fruit crumbles.  Click here for the Mac recipe, you will want to bring it to your next neighborhood BBQ!

Now, let’s talk about wine pairings.

For the Salmon…

I am partial to a chilled Rose’ it just screams summer! One of my favorite’s from California, the Decoy Rose’ a lovely blend of Syrah and Pinot Noir, crisp, dry and refreshing. It is also a welcome option for the tangy pork barbecue, though a smoky Pinot Noir, slightly chilled, is another great choice.

For the Steak Victor & Pork BBQ…

I highly recommend the Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir, with soft tannins and a hint of oak, which gives that smoky note, the perfect compliment to barbecue sauce.

JTGGKamalameRaw.jpg

So, now you have everything you need to prepare a Fun & Simple Memorial Day Celebration! Wishing you a fabulous holiday weekend and even better summer! Stay tuned for more super summer meal planning & entertaining ideas, along with fun summer trip recommendations and travel tips. Now, go fire up the Barbie and get this weekend party started!

Happy Memorial Day…

Live Well™.png

Just Peachy Recipes for National Eat A Peach Week!

Peach Amaretto Crisp

Peach Amaretto Crisp

In honor of National Eat A Peach Day this week, I thought I would share some of my favorite sweet and savory peach dishes this week. I have had a wonderful summer in the kitchen creating new fun and simple recipes with all of the wonderful fresh summer fruits and vegetables, especially peaches.  They have been so incredibly delicious this year, and I have had so much fun with my favorite stone fruit. From peach waffles to a rich and hearty Bolognese, fresh salads, appetizers and desserts, so many delicious options for enjoying fresh summer peaches while they last.  I am thrilled to share a few of my favorites with you to enjoy with your family. Don’t forget to share and send me your photos!

I hope you are having a super fun National Eat a Peach Week! Time to pack in lots of summer fun during these last few weeks left before fall is upon us. What are your late summer plans? We have been enjoying the cool Colorado Rockies this month, especially the fabulous local farmers markets and fresh and delicious Palisades peaches while escaping the August heat and humidity on the southeast coast. Summer sure is going by quickly! Hope you enjoy these fun and simple peach recipes while savoring these last days of summer...In the meantime,

livewelllovewelleatwell copy.png
Gigi Watermark Script 50k BIG®.png
Super fun birthday lunch at Sweet Basil, Vail

Super fun birthday lunch at Sweet Basil, Vail

You will find lots of my favorite recipes in my new lifestyle cookbook. Pre-order yours today!

Summer Travel Series - Vail

This week’s feature – The Vail Valley - Where the air is crisp and cool and the red sky sunsets take your breath away! #SummerintheRockies Read on for my favorite places and Colorado inspired recipes!

“I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.  You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply, Rocky Mountain High, Colorado…” John Denver Circa 1972

“I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.  You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply, Rocky Mountain High, Colorado…” John Denver Circa 1972

The summer mountain climate makes for incredible fresh local produce!  The Farmers Markets are amazing show casing local farmers’ and artisans’ works, fresh pastries and confections.  My idea of a perfect day is shopping the farmers market and coming home to create a fresh meal with the day’s bounty. 

The local Palisades Peaches are so sweet and juicy and though just perfect all on their own, I love to cook with them and have so much fun creating fun recipes that include these delicious wonders.  A traditional peach crumble, arugula salad with grilled peaches and goat cheese, even in a vegetarian Bolognese with wide pasta noodles, a fantastic, fresh and simple summer meal.

My traditional Peach Crumble.   Click here for the recipe

My traditional Peach Crumble.  Click here for the recipe

When it comes to dining out in the Vail Valley, there is an array of terrific options, in fact, a few of my favorite restaurants on earth are right here in the Vail Valley.  It’s all about the lunch for me and on a special occasion I love to splurge on a long late lunch as my only meal of the day.  Being a July girl, we are usually in Vail for my birthday. My favorite lunch is @SweetBasilVail where we spent my birthday this year, starting with Rose’ Champagne and Truffle Fries…what could be more decadent than that for a special celebration!

Sweet Basil Vail ...One of my Favorites!

Sweet Basil Vail...One of my Favorites!

In addition to super great dining, the summer activities are limitless here and there is something for the entire family.  Healthy living is key with so many great hikes, biking trails, paddle boarding lakes, tennis, golf, super great kids camps, water rafting and fly fishing…the list goes on.  It really is the perfect family summer camp!  Did I mention that I caught 6 rocks and a tree while trying to fly fish?  Jeff is a very talented fly fisherman however, otherwise, we would starve if we were counting on me to catch dinner!  

JTFIsherman2 copy.jpg

My fisherman!  Jeff catching our dinner in the beautiful rapids of the Eagle River. As you can see, the end result is delicious. Trout is probably our favorite white fish, flaky and light, with a delicious mild flavor. There is nothing better than fresh caught fish. A beautiful Rocky Mountain Trout Amandine. Click here for my recipe!  

Preparing for our Trout Fishing Adventure!

Preparing for our Trout Fishing Adventure!

Enjoying our last days of summer in Colorado. We are so blessed to be able to spend a good part of our summers here.  It truly is God’s country!