Tag Archives: barbeque

Grilled Baby Potato & Broccolini Picnic Salad

Though June 21st is the official first day of summer ,  don’t you feel like Memorial Day weekend is the quintessential kick-off for summertime festivities?
Kids are either out of school, or counting down the days to “No more pencils, no more books…..” The weather is getting warm (or if you live here, HOT!), and we are ready to hit the road, whether its to the beach, the mountains, or your best friend’s backyard.
What better way to celebrate these extended days?
Let’s eat our food outside!

This month’s 5 star Makeover theme is picnic food; just in time for Memorial Day weekend, and all of the lazy days of summer that lay ahead.

When it comes to picnic food, I can’t help but think of the American staple,  potato salad.  So many directions you can go–I had to put a spin on this classic perennial favorite.
Having just finished a week of cooking classes,  I had a  jar of roasted garlic oil  reserved from the carnitas I made. I  told everyone in class, that saving the olive oil in which the garlic roasted was a very good idea. It would make  wonderful as a base for a salad dressing, drizzled on bread or as I have used it here, brushed on vegetables before grilling.

I don’t know about you, but when the weather is nice, I like to do as much cooking out on the grill as possible, and that goes for veggies too. So my potato salad will get its start with the warm garlic infused flavors you see here. The vegetables really don’t need a whole lot of anything else, and would be wonderful sitting alongside some grilled chicken or steak all on their own.

But to make this a “salad” I needed to add a few additional ingredients. Tomatoes and cilantro were added along with a roasted jalapeno vinaigrette to add a little bit of zip.



You’ll want to serve this salad at room temperature to enjoy all of the flavors at their finest, which makes it ideal for the portable picnic. You can make it ahead of time, and  if you want to have some fun with this, pick up some Chinese take out boxes at our local craft store, or pack in individual mason jars.

Go ahead and vary the ingredients too, depending on what you find at the market: corn, zucchini, asparagus, all would make excellent candidates for this spin on traditional potato salad.

So what about you? Are you heading anywhere this weekend?   I have been traveling a lot these last few weeks, and think that spending a quiet weekend here at home on the back porch sounds just about right. I plan to catch up on my favorite blogs, and can’t wait to see what all of the other participants have come up with this month!

Thanks to our hosts, Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! who  will be posting a round up of all of the recipes on their sites tomorrow. Be sure to check them out!

Grilled Baby Potato & Broccolini Picnic Salad

Garlic Oil (see recipe below)

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes

1 pound broccolini

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings

2 medium tomatoes, diced (red & yellow if available)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic oil over potatoes, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly to coat potatoes evenly with garlic oil mixture. Bake potatoes 30 minutes. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large sauce pan filled with water to boil. Add broccolini, and cook 2 minutes. Transfer broccolini to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking process. Set aside.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Brush potaotes, broccolini, and red onions with garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place potatoes, onions, and broccolini directly on grill grate.

Cook time:

Broccolini: 2 minutes per side

Potatoes: 5 minutes per side

Onions: 5 minutes per side

Remove vegetables from grill as they finish cooking, and transfer to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature.

Add tomatoes and cilantro to bowl. Add desired amount of dressing (recipe follows) and toss well to combine.

6-8 servings



2 or 3 roasted jalapeno chilies, peeled and seeded

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt


For dressing:

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.


Garlic Oil

3/4 cup olive oil

3 heads  garlic, excess paper removed, top trimmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic in small baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic. Cover with alluminum foil; bake 1 hour. Remove garlic from oil and cool completely. Reserve garlic oil.



Slow Roasted Fennel Porchetta Recipe

The other day the UPS man brought us a treat.

Our good friend Gary, from Northern California has been into wine making with his brother, and he was nice enough to send us a few bottles of their latest creation to sample. So when the  weatherman predicted yet another winter snow storm, I thought it was time to make some slow roasted pork to go with the Cabernet Sauvignon aptly named “Pig Farm”

Porchetta, pronounced  por’ket:a, is a Italian dish, traditionally made by cooking a whole pig, stuffed with herbs and onions over a wood fire.

I decided to  take a more modern day approach to this recipe, opting to stuff a boneless pork shoulder in a very low  oven (275 degrees) for 10 hours, until the Porchetta surrendered into  a state of moist, fall apart tender deliciousness. ( Think Italian barbecue, infused with fresh herbs and a crisp salty crust.)

On a day when we were at home, not going anywhere with a blizzard underway outside, the fragrance of all that slow roasting goodness was aromatherapy; a reminder of what was coming.

This porchetta makes a fantastic entree for a casual winter dinner party. Pork shoulder is an economical cut of meat, and when prepared in this way, it becomes something wonderful without a lot of fuss.  A dinner like this is something that should be shared with friends; which is exactly what we did.

I served the Porchetta with Risotto and Broccholi Rabe,  flavors that worked really well with the pork. We sipped the Ferme de Cochon and enjoyed our cozy rustic supper at home, forgetting about all of the snow we would be shoveling in the morning!

I highly recommend you give this one a try.

Here’s a look at the steps to making Porchetta:

Cook the onions and basil in olive oil, just long enough to let them sweat, about 10 minutes

Rub both sides of the buterflied pork shoulder with the ground fennel spice mixture.

Spread the onion/basil mixture evenly over the pork.

Top with parsley and mint.

Roll it up, tie it with butcher’s twine, pop it in the oven and say “night, night”.

Slow Roasted Fennel Porchetta

Ask your butcher to debone and butterfly the pork shoulder for you to save a step.

1 5-6 pound boneless pork shoulder, butterflied so that you have a rectangle of even thickness

Spice rub:

1.5 ounces fennel seeds, ground

1.25 ounces ground coriander

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

Mix all spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl.


1/2 cup olive oil

6 cups thinly sliced sweet onions, such as Vidalia (from about 2 large onions)

4 cups fresh basil leaves

1 large bunch parsley, stems trimmed

1 cup fresh mint leaves

Butcher’s twine

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and add onions and basil, cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until just softened. Cool slightly before continuing.

Meanwhile, spread the spice rub on both sides of buterflied pork shoulder. Spread filling over pork. Top with parsley and mint.

Starting at one short end of the pork shoulder, carefully roll the pork and stuffing into a log, tucking in any filling that escapes. Finish seam side down. Using Butcher’s twine, tie the roast in 2-inch increments to secure roast.

Place some carrots and celery in a roasting pan (acting as a roasting tray) and the porchetta on top of that.

Roast the porchetta in a 275 degree oven for 10 hours. Let rest 10 minutes. Break apart with a couple of forks; the meat will fall apart  before your eyes. Serve with risotto and bitter greens, such as broccholi rabe.

8-10 entree servings

Wondering what to do with any leftover Porchetta?

Stay tuned for my next post: Porchetta Bean Stew