It is grilling season and outdoor dining time. Here are some recipes for those hot days when cooking outside is wonderful. Most of the dishes here may be made the day before, or prepared to cook on the grill the next day.
Green Tomato Salsa
2 green tomatoes, diced
juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
½ medium Vidalia or sweet onion, diced
1 yellow banana pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and diced (Optional)
In a microwave-safe bowl mix together lime juice, sugar, and salt. Microwave for 1 minute then remove and stir in tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and peppers. Refrigerate. Serve as a side or on burgers and hot dogs.
Edamame-Black Beans and Kale Salad
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
5 ounces baby kale
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups edamame or green beans, sliced in 2-inch pieces on a diagonal
In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar. Toss in baby kale, black beans, and green beans. Toss until coated.
Easy Ranch Dressing Potato Salad
2 pounds small red potatoes, cut in half
2/3 cup ranch dressing, more if needed
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced then smashed
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of dried oregano
3 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
1 cup feta or blue cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 small Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
4 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
In a bowl mix together oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, to taste. Add potatoes, mix to coat. Transfer to baking sheet pan.
Bake potatoes at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.
Toss potatoes celery, parsley, and onion, then toss with ranch dressing and feta cheese or blue cheese. Top with bacon crumbles, if desired.
Grilled pork and sausage kabobs
Vegetable oil for grill
8 Kabob skewers, or long wooden skewers that have been soaked in water
1 ½ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced into ½ inch pieces
4 slices smoked thick bacon, cut into 1- inch pieces
2 large banana peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large Vidalia or sweet onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Preheat grill to medium heat and brush grates with vegetable oil. Thread the bacon, pork tenderloin, sausage, banana pepper, and onions onto eight 10-inch skewers, season with salt and pepper. Repeat this two times on each skewer or more if you have room.
In a small bowl mix together mustard and olive oil; brush all over the kabobs. Grill the kabobs, turning occasionally, until marked and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.
If preparing the day before, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 1-hour before grilling.
Blueberry Topped Lemon Buttermilk Pie
Make this the day before serving.
1 prepared graham cracker 9-inch pie crust
1 14-once can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup fresh lemon juice
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup milk mixed with 1- teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat egg yolks at high speed until yolks become pale and ribbons form on surface of mixture when beater is lifted.
Gradually whisk in sweetened condensed milk with mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined, then whisk in milk/lemon juice mixture, until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared piecrust.
Bake in 325 oven for 20-25 minutes or until set around the edges; the pie will be slightly jiggly. Cool on a wire rack for 2- hours. Cover pie with lightly vegetable sprayed plastic wrap and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve pour blueberry mixture over top of pie.
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
In a saucepan bring 1-cup blueberries, sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon zest to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes or until mixture has thickened and berries begin to break down. Remove from heat and fold in 1-cup fresh blueberries. Cool completely about 2-hours, cover and chill until ready to use.
Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival — winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012; placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing and winning second place for her Sweet Blueberry Pepper Jelly in 2015; and winning first in 2016 for her spoon blueberry muffins with apricot sauce and second for her blueberry crisp squares — and has won various other contest awards — including three blue ribbons at the 2016 Cape Fear County Fair — for her blueberry cheesecake, muffins, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.