Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Sides

Summertime seems to beg festive feasts at a nearly absurd frequency.  The outdoor fun is just a party that never stops.

This post offers a couple of side dishes that have accented a whole lotta grilled/smoked meat (courtesy of Ryan and his brood grills) over the last few weeks.  Some of those highlights, as an aside:
Spare Ribs

Cheddar Meatloaf

Pulled Pork

Cabernet Burgers

A quick aside within my aside, I have to provide the recipe for the Cabernet Burgers (click here), as they are juicy, exciting, and simply to die for.  We used whole wheat English Muffins in lieu of the focaccia.

Okay, back to the actual subject of the post: the sides!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese

Martha Stewart told "me" in her most recent issue that she resists tomatoes until they are available to be freshly plucked from her summertime garden.  While I sadly have yet to raise a successful tomato plant (due in large part to bunnies, squirrels and other beasts that consume every beautiful, tasty and remotely valuable plant within our fence - never the weeds, of course), I am completely inspired by fresh, seasonal tomatoes nonetheless.  I happened upon a gorgeous pile of the heirloom variety at my last Whole Foods trip and had to have them.

I couldn't select just one picture, because they were too lovely.  The good new is that they are as yummy as they are beautiful.  Even 2-yr old Molly devoured this dish, which is simply sliced heirloom tomatoes topped with blue cheese and an easy balsamic vinaigrette (approximately 1/4 cup strawberry basil ...or regular...balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper;  adjust any of these components to taste!)  The succulence of this salad somehow makes the noisy chaos of life come to a glorious, screeching halt.  It's only momentary, but I'll take what I can get.

Grandma's Creamed Corn  (Click here for recipe)

Okay, so it's not my grandma; it's some grandma that Claire Robinson ("Five Ingredient Fix") knows.  In tribute to a grandma that is actually mine, I used Nonnie's fabulously old cast iron skillet!  I was initially drawn to this recipe when I spied the crumbled bacon garnish (here I go, carrying on about bacon again).  I also loved a new way to prepare the beautiful corn so abundantly available right now.  So we gave it a whirl.  It was sweet and delicious.

Situated in the background is a schloppy hot dog smothered with caramelized onions, relish and ketchup in a white, completely-void-of-nutrition-but-I-didn't-care-in-the-slightest bun.  A.m.a.z.i.n.g. 

Smoked BBQ Beans

These are the quintessential accompaniment to classic grilled/smoked barbecue.  Sure, you don't skip away from this feast feeling energized and light on your toes.  But, to me, there's a time and a place for all things tasty!

Got a smoker? Try 'em!