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.