It’s been the hottest weekend of the year in L.A., and although Labor Day traditionally marks the “end” of summer, it still feels like it’s in full swing here.
It’s been a busy summer, and this poor blog has been sadly neglected. Even though I haven’t managed to post along the way, we’ve made some delicious summer meals and I have to share a few pictures/links:
Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen:
Vietnamese Summer Rolls:
Beef Lettuce Wraps, courtesy of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook:
Biscuits and Gravy (not exactly summery but we used chicken sausage to lighten it up):
An Argentine-inspired parrillada, with grilled chicken, sausage, vegetables, and chimichurri:
Here’s to a memorable summer and an even more delightful fall!
Three-bean salad is great because it’s light and healthy, but more filling than a green salad. Some of my other favorite side salads are macaroni salad, bacon-fat roasted potato salad with corn and jalapeño, grilled sweet potato salad, and broccoli and bacon salad.
15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c red onion, finely chopped
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
3 T olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 T sugar
Combine the beans and onions in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss the beans in the dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. If possible, make this at least an hour before you plan to eat it so that the beans can absorb some of the dressing.
I love macaroni salad, but I consider it to be a guilty pleasure, based on the mayonnaise-heavy versions at Hawaiian barbeque restaurants and delis. By making it at home it doesn’t exactly become health food, but it certainly a lot lighter than the deli version!
3 c uncooked macaroni
1/2 c mayo
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T pickle juice
2 T sugar
1 T dijon mustard
3/4 tsp kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
6 scallions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c bread and butter pickles, finely chopped
Prepare the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Combine the mayo, vinegar, pickle juice, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to create a dressing.
In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, scallions, bell pepper, and pickles. Add the dressing and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
The secret to this potato salad is the potatoes roasted in bacon fat (obs). They are crispy and golden on the outside, and the tangy apple cider vinaigrette cuts the fattiness of the potatoes. Make this for your next barbeque, it will be a hit!
Bacon Fat-Roasted Potato Salad with Corn and Jalapeño
1 1/2 lbs small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
6 slices bacon, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
3 green onions, diced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
First, brown the bacon over medium heat in a skillet. When the bacon is crisp, remove it from the skillet with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels, but save the rendered fat.
Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray, then arrange the potatoes in a single layer. From the skillet you used to cook the bacon, take 1-2 T of bacon fat and toss the potatoes in it. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
While the potatoes are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork.
When the potatoes are cooked, combine them in a large bowl with the green onions, corn, bacon, and jalapeño. Add the vinaigrette and stir. Taste the salad and make sure it is seasoned appropriately; I had to add a little bit more apple cider vinegar at this point.
In high school, I used to love the barbeque chicken salad from California Pizza Kitchen. We were craving grilled chicken on Saturday, but wanted to mix it up a bit from our usual slaw. The creamy, salty blue cheese dressing was a lovely complement to the charred, sweet chicken. I even ate the tomatoes, which I usually pick out of salads.
Barbeque Chicken Salad
2/3 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
lettuce or spring mix
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 c cucumber slices
1/2 c black beans, rinsed and drained
blue cheese dressing (see below)
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Grill for several minutes on each side, until almost cooked through. Brush with your favorite barbeque sauce, and cook for another minute on each side.
Combine all salad ingredients in a salad bowl. Toss together, then serve with chicken and blue cheese dressing.
Blue Cheese Dressing
1/3 c mayo
1/3 c sour cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp worcestershire
5 oz. blue cheese (I used stilton)
Combine the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Crumble in the blue cheese, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.