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