Tidewater Kitchen - May 2009

Summer Picnics

by

Pamela Meredith-Doyle

    I love summer because the foods are fresh and simple. Now that it is warm outside, it’s time for refreshing salads, yummy fresh crusty sandwiches and fun finger foods.
    When planning a picnic for friends and family, sometimes we get into a slump with serving the usual entrees like grilled chicken and cheeseburgers.
    Simple picnic foods are the way to go. Buy what is in season from the farmer’s market or the local store. Pick things that will travel well. I like to have things already prepared when I arrive at my location.
    It is fun, though, to fire up the grill and get those aromas going. And it’s always fun for the kids to roast marshmallows and make s’mores.

MAHOGANY CHICKEN
WINGS with CRUMBLED
BLUE CHEESE SAUCE

¾ cup cider vinegar
1 T. olive oil
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup mild chili powder
1 t. crushed red pepper
1 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground pepper
1 T. Tabasco sauce
4 lbs. organic chicken wings, rinsed
and patted dry

To make the marinade, stir together the vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Place the chicken wings in a large heavy-duty zip-lock bag. Add the marinade, press out the air and seal the bag tightly. Massage the bag to distribute the marinade. Set the bag in a large bowl and refrigerate for several hours, turning and massaging every 30 minutes.
Prepare the grill. Remove the wings from the marinade and pat them dry, reserving the marinade.
Arrange the wings on the grill and turn frequently. Baste them frequently and watch for flare-ups on the grill. Have your spray bottle handy to take care of any blazes.
Cook the chicken for about 25 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce and celery sticks.

CRUMBLED BLUE CHEESE SAUCE
¾ cup organic sour cream
1 cup organic mayonnaise
2 t. crushed garlic
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T. milk for thinning

Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl.
Carefully stir in the blue cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover with wrap and put in the refrigerator until ready to use. This can be made 3 days in advance.

MUFFALETTA
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
1/3 cup olive oil
10 large pitted green olives,
chopped
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and
chopped
¼ cup red bell peppers, roasted
and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1-lb. round bread loaf (about 7
inches in diameter and 3 inches
high)
4 oz. thinly sliced ham
4 oz. thinly sliced salami
4 oz. sliced provolone cheese
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1½ oz. arugula leaves

Whisk the first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Stir in the olives and roasted peppers.
Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut off the top 1 inch of the bread loaf. Set the top aside. Hollow out both sides of the bread. Spread some of the olive and roasted pepper mix over the bread bottom and into the bread top. Layer the meats
and cheese in the bread bottom.  Top with the onions, then the arugula.
Spread the remaining olive and pepper mix on top of the sandwich and carefully cover with the bread top.
You can serve the sandwich immediately or you can wrap the entire sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator a day before serving.
Cut the sandwich into wedges and serve.

CEDAR PLANKED SALMON
Serves 6
This is great served with a mixed
field green salad. Soak the planks
before you leave for your picnic and
seal them in a large zip-lock bag
with a little extra water.
Brush the salmon with a little olive
oil and lemon. Heat up the grill
and preheat the plank. Always put
the salmon on a heated plank.
2 10-inch cedar grilling planks
soaked in water for at least 3 hours
2 wild salmon fillets about 9 inches
in length, about 2 lbs. each
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Meyer lemon wedge for each plate

Meyer lemons have near unlimited uses. They can be enjoyed just about any way a regular lemon can be, but since they are a bit sweeter and the peel is thinner and more delicate, they have even more cooking applications.
Brush the salmon fillets with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Lay the planks on the grill and cover to preheat. After about 10 minutes, when the planks begin to smoke, lay the salmon on the hot planks.
Cover the grill and smoke for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the salmon is opaque in the center and the flesh flakes easily with a fork.
Try not to open the grill as it will diminish the smoke. There should not be any flare-ups or fires if you soaked the planks long enough, and you will not need to turn the fish.
Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!

GRILLED LAMB CHOPS
with GRILLED VEGGIES

½ cup olive oil
2 t. fresh thyme
1 t. crushed garlic
¼ t. white balsamic vinegar
1 t. sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to
taste
14 rib lamb chops - about 1 inch
thick
Veggies:
2 small Japanese eggplants cut into
strips about ¼ inch thick
1 yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch
thickness
Olive oil for drizzling on veggies
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 cups diced cherry tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
1 t. fresh oregano

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Whisk together the olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and thyme in a small bowl.
Place the lamb chops in a dish to marinate for about 25 minutes or as long as 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before putting them on the grill, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile put the veggies in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Then place the veggies on the grill in a grill veggie basket. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring so they are tender but still crunchy. Place on a platter or dish and cover. 

Wipe each lamb chop off to remove the excess oil and place on the grill. Grill for about 3 minutes, then turn and cook for 4 minutes on the other side for a medium lamb chop.

GRILLED CHICKEN
Serves 4
4 chicken breasts, sliced and
grilled
¼ cup olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. capers
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. oregano
1 t. pepper
1 clove garlic
¼ cup Feta cheese (optional), I love
but it is just as yummy without!

Grill chicken, slice into strips, marinate and refrigerate overnight.
Cover and sprinkle with Feta cheese. Put in the oven until heated through and cheese melts.

SUMMERTIME
BEEF KABOBS

2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 lemon juiced with the zest
1 5-lb. sirloin tip beef roast
2 sweet onions
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 lb. baby portabella mushrooms

2 pints cherry tomatoes

Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a large glass baking dish. Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces and place in the marinade, stirring to coat. It is best if you marinate the meat for 24 hours, but 8 hours will do.
Prepare the onions and peppers by cutting into chunks. Gently clean the mushrooms with a damp towel. Assemble the peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and meat, alternating on the skewer. If you are using wooden skewers,
make sure to soak them. Grill over hot coals for about 3 minutes per side, basting with more marinade to keep them from drying out.

STEAK SANDWICH
1/3 cup canola oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. salt
2 beef flank steaks, about 1½ lbs. each
2 T. butter
4 cups onions, sliced
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ t. paprika
1 lg. loaf of French bread
Mayo-Horseradish Sauce:
1½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup prepared horseradish
1 lemon juiced with the zest

Combine the marinade and place the flank steak either in a pan or zip-lock bag. Prepare the mayo/horseradish sauce and put aside.
In a big skillet sauté the onions in the butter and add the Worcestershire sauce. Cook the onions until they are golden brown.
Drain the marinade and fire up the grill. Make sure your meat has been at room temperature for about 20 minutes before putting it on a hot grill. The steak will cook evenly if at room temperature.
Grill the steak for about 4 minutes on each side. Spread the horseradish sauce on the large open-faced sandwich. Top with the meat and sautéed onions. Have the sauce on the side so you can add more if you wish.