As you begin to count down the days until summer vacation to the minute…something must be done! I have used this beautiful weekend to take myself back in time to some 2011 summer favorites while looking ahead to some 2012 discoveries! Lets begin!!!
The inevitable question of, “What is for dinner tonight?” was looming large Friday afternoon. The work day was done, the weather was perfect and I had visions of dining al fresco that night. I didn’t want dinner to be fussy or fancy – I wanted simple, fast, and delicious. Fresh corn on the cob beckoned to me, chicken, and fresh salad greens. Note: my local grocery has pre-marinaded meats that are delicious if you are in a bind. But, if you have the time and still want to keep things simple go with Stubb’s marinade. I found the chicken marinade to be a fabulous find! Perfect!
If you have never grilled corn before I suggest you give it a try. It is super simple. Ready?
Shuck your corn and lightly rub it in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put it on a medium high grill, rotating frequently until each ear is gently cooked. There is no need to do anything else to this beauty! Go forth and grill up some corn!
The chicken turned out really well and I served it along with that cilantro arugula pesto I had leftover. So good. The salad was dressed with a maple balsamic dressing. So easy, fresh and tasty!
I would not have been a very good hostess if I left my two best dinner guests and official taste testers at Not Quite Gourmet (my Mom and Sweet Z) without a sweet at the end of the meal. So dessert was quickly assembled. Ready for this simple recipe?
Grilled Fruit Crisp
In the summer, of course, I use fresh fruit. This evening I grabbed a bag of frozen organic berry mix – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I thawed the berries out. I added in some cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, a touch of agave syrup and divided the mixture among 3 ramekins. The ‘crisp’ was a handful of blueberry flax granola, rolled oats, 1/2 T of brown sugar and some Earth Balance butter mixed up. The topping was divided up among the fruit crisp. I set these ramekins in a 8X8 pan covered with aluminum foil. As we were enjoying our dinner I set the pan of fruity crisp on the grill, which was turned down to low. When we were ready for dessert I let the crisps cool down and then added some whipped cream. Yes, oh yes. Fancy Fruit Crisp!
The other essential to summertime (where the living is easy) are cocktails. I have been taste testing a summer cocktail all weekend to get just the right combination of flavors. I am still working out the fine details…i.e. measurements. But here are my findings:
Note: I am *not* a mixologist. However, I based this off of a few ideas while roaming around the internet wondering what to do with the bottle of gin that Sweet Z left. Note: Sweet Z your bottle of gin is rapidly depleting!
The basics of this sparkler are this: take a handful of berries (again I used the frozen berries – thawed out) and muddle them with some fresh mint. I added in a splash of ginger simple syrup, ginger water (fresh ginger chopped and boiled in water, then steeped for 30 minutes or so), a squeeze of lime juice and pour in gin while counting to 4. Add in a few ice cubes and shake away! Pour this out into a glass and top with seltzer. Easy enough right? The result isn’t sweet by the way. The berries are tart and I don’t like super sweet drinks. In my world a dash of ginger simple syrup was perfect. In your world you may need more. I found the various flavors of this cocktail something I could sip all summer however. The juniper hit from the gin, fresh berries and mint, and ginger shone through. So.darn.good!!!!
This recipe will surely be tweaked along the way. I will fill you in as the final recipe emerges. If you try this out and substitute ingredients or flavors let me know! I am interested in hearing how this cocktail plays out!
Thanks, as always, for reading! Have a wonderful week!