Cookout Kickoff


Ultimate Veggie BBQ

Hard to believe its already nearly July ! Although I'm very far from the beach this year, I can still make the most of the season with some dining al fresco . This weekend will be consumed with fixing up the patio and putting in all the final touches for 4th of July (some pics to follow) , since that's usually our cookout kickoff, but in the meantime I had to start the season right with a post about my favorite barbecue recipes and outdoor accessories I have my eye on this season .
Turn on some summer sounds, sip back some sangria and get the grill fired up ! It's finally summer !!!

My Favorite Summer Recipes : 

Black Bean Burgers with Wasabi Mayo 

1 Can of Black Beans
1/4 C Chopped Shallots  
3/4 C Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
pinch of Salt, Pepper and Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Oregano

Wasabi Mayo:
1/2 tablespoon Wasabi Powder
1 teaspoon Water
3 tablespoons of Mayo

In a food processor ,  place the beans, shallots, egg , breadcrumbs and spices. Blend until all the ingredients have mixed. 

Form the mixture into 6 patties and place in a lightly oiled frying pan so that the burgers develop a nice crispy outside. This takes about 5 mins . Be sure to flip the burgers while on the stove top so that they are cooked equally throughout. ( I find that slightly precooking them helps them to stay together firmly when placed on the grill )

Take the   burgers and place on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side to finish cooking .
Top with Wasabi Mayo, tomato slices and whatever else your heart desires and place on bun. Eat.Smile.Repeat.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Garlic Parmesan Butter

6 Ears of Ripe Corn

1/4 lb farm fresh butter
3 tablespoons of grated fresh Parmesan
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
A pinch of chili pepper flakes

Combine all of the butter ingredients in a food processor. Place in a container and keep at room temperature so it remains spreadable.

Peel the first few layers of husk off the corn , but be sure to leave a few for grilling. Soak the cobs in cold water for about ten minutes to absorb  moisture for our grilling.

Remove from the pot and shake off excess moisture. Peel back a side of the remaining husks ( make sure that the corn silk is removed ) and brush with garlic/Parmesan butter mixture. Place husk back over to trap the flavor while it grills.

Rotate the corn as you see the husks beginning to grill. After a few turns place to the side in indirect heat . Let it continue to slowly grill for about 15 minutes.

Remove ears from the grill ( use mitts, they will be hottttt ! ) , peel and discard husks when they have cooled down . Feel free to brush again with the garlic butter , and enjoy !!

Grilled Watermelon with Feta and Balsamic Drizzle

8 slices of Watermelon
1/2 cup of your favorite Balsamic Vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon Sugar
*or this amazing lil   Fig Balsamic   variation from O&CO
1 package of Crumbled Feta
A few fresh sprigs of Mint

Balsalmic Drizzle:
Prep the drizzle by placing the vinegar in sugar in a small saucepan and cooking on medium heat for about 4 minutes or until it begins to thicken . Remove from heat and set aside until watermelon grills.

Pat the watermelon dry and place on grill . Rotate each side after about 4 minutes ( or until grill marks appear) 

Once the watermelon is finished grilling , fan the pieces out on a platter . Drizzle your balsamic syrup and feta.  Garnish with fresh mint. 

Quick Summer Quinoa 

1 cup Organic Quinoa
2 tablespoons of Pesto
1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes
2 cups Chopped Fresh Spinach

Prepare Quinoa as directed on package. Cut cherry tomatoes in fourths and set aside. Chop fresh spinach , so that it can be incorporated into the salad. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix in the pesto. Enjoy!

.....and last but not least DESSERT !!!

Strawberry Shortcakes on the Grill 

1 loaf of  plain pound cake 
2 cups of fresh whipped cream*
1 quart of fresh strawberries

Homemade Whipped Cream:
1 cup of Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons of Sugar
Place a metal bowl and whisk in the freezer for ten minutes. 
Remove and place cream and sugar in the bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form . 

Prep strawberries by washing and removing stems. Cut strawberries in half ( lengthwise ). Set aside in a bowl.

Cut the pound cake into ten slices then cube the slices ( about  1" x 1" works well for the grill).

Load up a barbeque skewer with strawberries and pound cake, alternating each selection.

Grill until the cake begins to turn a golden brown .

Remove skewers from the grill and dip the pieces in whip cream and chocolate drizzle for a little extra deliciousness! 

Happy griling and stay tuned  this weekend for backyard DIY design ideas !