It's outdoor grilling season and the ideal time to shift the "heat of the kitchen" to the backyard. In fact, it's the perfect time to simplify the entire cooking process and keep your cool throughout the summer. Here are a few cooking-smart strategies:
Substitute disposable/recyclable products for regular dishes and flatware (but use washable napkins to balance the environmental factor).
Make beverages and prep meals early in the day when the weather is cooler.
Grill the day after your landscaper service so the yard is at its best; hose down the eating area after dinner.
Always leave the grill clean so it's immediately ready for the next meal.
Smartest of all, consider side dishes that can be prepared on the grill as well as your meats.
And, consider making extra so you'll always be able to enjoy the tasty dishes a second time around. Here are 3 dishes that work well with chicken, red meat or fish…and can round out any meal.
Grilled Radicchio Salad with Sherry-Mustard Dressing (serves 6)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
6 green onions, trimmed
1 head of romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise (with some core still attached to each piece)
1 large head of red leaf lettuce, quartered lengthwise (with some core still attached to each piece)
1 medium head of radicchio, quartered through core (with some core still attached to each piece)
1. Whisk 3 Tbsp olive oil and next 4 ingredients; season with salt and pepper.
2. Arrange green onions, lettuces, and radicchio on baking sheets. Drizzle lightly with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. 3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill vegetables until beginning to wilt, 1 minute per side for red leaf lettuce, 1½ minutes per side for romaine, 2 minutes per side for green onions, and 3 minutes per side for radicchio. Transfer vegetables to baking sheets.
4. Cut cores from all grilled greens. Cut grilled radicchio crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Cut grilled lettuces crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips; chop green onions. Place vegetables in large bowl; drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.
Roasted Corn with Blue Cheese Butter (serves 6)
6 ears of corn, unpeeled
½ stick of butter
¼ cup of blue cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ bunch parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat grill to medium high heat. Place the corn onto the warming rack and close the grill lid.
2. Let the corn cook for 15 minutes, rotating the corn every five minutes.
3. Remove from heat and peel back the husk on the corn and place onto a serving platter. Top with the butter and blue cheese. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the corn with the parsley.
Grilled Peaches with Fresh Raspberry Sauce (serves 6)
2¼ cups (lightly packed) fresh raspberries (about 13 oz)
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1½ Tbsp (packed) dark brown sugar
6 medium-size ripe but firm peaches, halved, pitted
1. Puree the raspberries along with 3 Tbsp water in food processor until puree is smooth. Strain raspberry puree through fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to release as much liquid as possible; discard solids in strainer.
2. Stir in sugar and fresh lemon juice until blended. Note: Sauce can be made 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.
3. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Melt butter with brown sugar in heavy small skillet over
medium heat. Remove skillet from heat. Brush peach halves all over with melted butter mixture and grill until tender, about 8 min., turning occasionally. Serve warm with sauce.