I made a trip this past weekend, and for surprisingly little money, I was able to pull off the following meal.
Appetizer: Bell peppers with seasoned cream cheese
- 2-3 medium-sized bell peppers in assorted colors, sliced into eighths with all seeds and pith removed.
- Half a block of low-fat cream cheese
- Finely chopped fresh rosemary and dill
- A pinch of good salt
- Hot sauce
- Let the cream cheese soften to room temperature, then fluff it up a little with a fork.
- Rub your chopped rosemary and dill between your palms to release the good stuff, then add to cream cheese.
- Sprinkle the best salt you’ve got (Kosher, sea, what-have-you) on top, them smash together with the fork.
- Add one drop of your favorite hot sauce, for sass, then stir again.
- Spread a decent layer on each bell pepper.
- Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- Sprinkle with a hint of fresh ground pepper before serving.
Main Course: Grilled meat & veggie skewers, green beans, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers
For the skewers:
- 1 lamb chop, cubed
- 1 8oz. steak, cubed
- 2 bell peppers, seeded, de-pithed and cut into skewer-sized pieces
- 1 zucchini, unpeeled and chopped into ¾ inch slices
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- ½ red onion, chopped into one inch cubes
- 1 sweet potato, peeled, chopped into one inch cubes and boiled in water for 10 minutes
- Olive oil
- Chopped fresh rosemary and dill
- After boiling the sweet potato chunks, drain and run under cool water until safe to touch.
- Split chopped herbs into two zipper-top bags and add a drizzle of olive oil to each. Add salt and pepper.
- Put chopped veggies in one bag and meat cubes in the other. Seal bags and shake to cover.
- Place sealed bags in the fridge for anywhere from one to four hours.
- When it’s nearly time to start grilling, wet down your skewers (if wood, no need if you’re using metal.)
- Stack veggies and meat on the skewers.
- Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, or until meat reaches safe eating temperatures at the center.
For the corn:
Note: This takes a long time to prepare, plan ahead.
- Softened butter
- Favorite herbs
- Good salt
- Ears of corn with husk still on
- Soak corn, husk and all, in water for 10-20 minutes.
- Mix herbs and salt into butter and set aside.
- Peel down the layers of corn husk one at a time, being careful not to tear any. You’ll be wrapping this back around the corn after you butter it.
- When you get to the silk layer, carefully remove each piece. Grabbing the top-knot of silk and twisting/pulling really hard will remove a lot of it, but corn silk is wily.
- With a pastry brush, cover the ears of corn in the herbed butter.
- Carefully pull the husks back up over the corn. Tear off one husk and use it to tie around each ear once it’s wrapped.
- Grill for 20 minutes, flipping the ears over once, half-way through.
For the green beans:
- 2 pounds fresh green beans
- 1 ham bone or hunk of raw bacon or a steak bone or (for our veg* friends) two or three cloves of garlic and a handful of mushrooms
- salt and pepper
- Snap all the beans to remove stems and to break into bite sized pieces. Rinse well in a colander.
- Dump into slow-cooker with meat or garlic and mushrooms.
- Cover with water, add a pinch of salt.
- Cook on low for eight hours.
- Serve with salt and pepper. Remove meat, if added, before serving.
Dessert: Orchard fresh fruit salad
Note: This makes a shit-ton of fruit salad. It’ll stay good in the fridge for up to three days, however, so it’s a great way to make sure you get all the recommended fruit servings in each day.
- 3 granny smith apples, cored and sliced into bite sized pieces.
- 3 winesap (or other tart, red apple) apples cored and sliced into bite sized pieces.
- 3 bananas, sliced.
- ½ pint strawberries, cored and diced.
- ½ pint blueberries.
- 6 clementines, tangerines or other sweet citrus fruit, peeled, de-pithed and pulled into sections.
- 1 lemon.
- Wildflower honey.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- ½ cup orange or pineapple juice.
- Get a huge bowl.
- Add apples, clementines, berries and bananas to the bowl.
- Squeeze lemon over fruit (keeps bananas and apples from turning brown, adds flavor.)
- Add vanilla.
- Drizzle honey over the top.
- Put on a lid, shake to mix and coat fruit pieces in good flavors.
- Add orange juice (also to keep fruit from turning brown) and shake again.
- Store in fridge for at least four hours before serving, to let flavors meld.
- Serve with fresh mint leaves and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.