Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dinner on the Deck

We spent a lot of time in the kitchen last Sunday. It was kind of a 'clear out the vegetable bin' day. Thanks to the CSA boxes and a trip to Simmons, we had lots of vegetables. We also wanted to grill for dinner. July is almost over - that means grilling season is nearly half over! OK, maybe not half over since we grill into October, but we don't eat out on the deck much in October because it's usually cool and the sun sets earlier. Here's our Sunday menu (and menu for the week as we have at least 3 more meals from all this food!):

Burgers and Sausages
Grilled Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Tomatoes & Cucumbers in Vinegar
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled Zucchini

THE MEATS:As usual, beef burgers for me and turkey burgers for SP. There's also some sausage because we had a '$3 off your next meat meat purchase of $10+ at Giant Eagle Market District' coupon, so after buying the beef, we bought some GEMD sausages. I like some finely chopped onion, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in my burgers, and I think that's what SP mixed into his turkey burgers, too. I also like mine slathered in BBQ sauce! SP melted Swiss over his burgers, I added my Swiss after the burgers came off the grill. We ate them bunless.

GRILLED POTATOESMy parents often make these grilled potatoes, and they're easy to make, just a bit time consuming. We've made them before, but not since last summer. You need foil, butter, salt & pepper, some onion (if you want), potatoes (we used red), and whatever herb seasoning you want (we used our fresh thyme & parsley). Sometimes my mom adds cheese, but we didn't this time.SP peeled the potatoes and sliced them in the food processor while I ripped off a long sheet of foil and buttered it. Then I started layering: potatoes, some onion, season with salt/pepper/herbs, dot with butter, repeat until all potatoes are used. This is one of those recipes that I never pay attention to quantities. How many potatoes? We used what was left from a few weeks ago when we made potato salad. Maybe 2 lbs? How much butter? How much seasoning? I just guess. I don't want them swimming in butter, but you need some to keep them from sticking to the foil and to help cook/soften/flavor/brown the potatoes. I like a little bit of onion, others might like a lot. Whatever you want! How big a potato mound? Well if it gets too high it'll slide, and if it's too high/thick, it'll take longer to cook.Be sure to wrap the potatoes in several layers of foil - you'll be flipping the packet on the grill so it needs to be tightly sealed and 'thick enough' to hold them stable and not rip open on the grill. My initial foil layer never completely covers the potato mound, so I probably add another 3-4 foil layers.Then grill them. How long? I think we grilled ours for about an hour. Maybe more. They were really hot when we took them off the grill and opened the packet. I was anxious to take my photo and dig in and my first photo isn't very good. It isn't blurry, it's just all the steam being released.Whew! After the steam cleared away, I took another photo:
The head of CSA cabbage was still in our veggie bin, so SP decided to make cole slaw. He used the food processor to grate the cabbage, carrots, and some celery then mixed in a yogurt-mayo dressing and some pepper & dill. I liked this cole slaw, but I prefer a wetter cole slaw and also a more vinegary cole slaw.

TOMATOES & CUCUMBERS IN VINEGARThis is one of those dishes that makes me think of my grandma because she made it for family summer picnics and sometimes for Easter with our Easter ham if we were having ham sandwiches (instead of ham with potatoes and green bean salad). I sliced 2 tomatoes from Simmons and the rest of our CSA cucumber plus half a huge Simmons cucumber, thinly sliced about half the CSA candy onion, and added poured the dressing over.

The vinegar dressing is:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
around 5 tsp sugar (as much/as little as you like depending on on sweet you like the dressing)
salt & pepper

SP soaked the corn in water for several hours before cooking it on the grill. I don't like corn so I didn't eat any. He peeled off the husk and ate it plain (no butter or salt).
More veggie. More emptying out the veggie bin. I love grilled zucchini.

There's a lot of food for the week! But that's good because it'll make dinners quick & easy and they won't be hot dinners on these hot days.

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