Summer’s in full swing here in North Carolina and we couldn’t be happier about it. Despite a, seemingly, unending stream of 90 degree days with high humidity levels, there’s lot of celebrate at this time of year. Besides the fun, patriotic summer holidays, there’s a ever evolving parade of fresh, delicious produce to enjoy that’s just not available at other times of year.
Our garden is just beginning to crank into high gear and we’re enjoying tomatoes, in a variety of hues, often still warm from the Carolina sun. There are also crisp cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, slender French-style beans and shiny aubergine eggplants on the way.
You might not have a garden but you don’t have to look far to find a produce stand or farmer’s market overflowing with prolific summer bounty. I thought I’d share a few of our favorite summer produce and grilling recipes to help you celebrate the season!
Best Ever, Super Easy Salsa – This super easy appetizer is always a hit and great for a summery party. You just throw everything in the food processor and give it a few pulses. It’s definitely restaurant quality and disappears quickly. I get emails frequently from readers who flip over this fresh tasting salsa. This one came yesterday:
“I made this yesterday and it was so awesome and simple to make that today I stocked up on the canned ingredients so I can always have this salsa in the house.”
Mexican Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken – don’t worry about this chicken drying out. It stays moist, tender and full of fabulous South-of-the-border inspired flavor!
Asian Barbecued Chicken and Veggie Skewers – if you’re looking for a super-delicious, super-fun, super sure-to-bring-rave-reviews, Father’s Day option, don’t look any further. This is it. These kabobs are also a super economical way to feed a hungry crowd too!
Grilled Chicken Kebabs – this is a wonderful recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. There’s a crazy secret ingredient that takes these kebabs right over the top!
Asian Grilled Flat Iron Steak – this is man’s meal; tender beef bursting with bold Asian flavor. With a beautiful golden charred exterior, it’s tender and juicy inside!
Grilled Tri-Tip with Chimichurri Sauce -if there’s anything better than a super tender steak, it’s a steak drizzled with a delicious emerald-hued fresh herb sauce. Chimichurri sauce is easy to make and comes together quickly in the food processor.
Grilled Steak Salad with Sweet Cherries and Lemongrass Basil Dressing – my husband calls this healthy, fresh salad a “man’s salad”. Don’t tell him, but it’s also a “lady’s salad” full of fresh ingredients and a delicious vibrant dressing.
Sweet and Spicy Mango Salad Dressing – make this one ahead and wow everyone with it’s beautiful color and delicious flavor. It transforms a bowl of greens into a bowl of sweet and spicy deliciousness. The dressing also makes a great drizzle sauce for shrimp, chicken, scallops, salmon, really anything cooked on the grill.
Mexican Chopped Salad – this is one of the Cafe’s most popular recipes – ever! It’s so pretty and it will disappear right before your eyes. It’s also a really healthy option, as it’s loaded with all the best summer veggies!
Fresh Corn and Tomato Caprese Salad – this is another one of those salads that seems to scream “summer!” – it’s a classic caprese salad with a few fun twists.
French Chocolate Tart with Brown Butter Crust – I learned this one from a lovely friend in Paris. With a crisp, brown butter crust (easy), an amazing ganache filling and fresh raspberries to top this tart off, it might just be one of the most delicious things you’ll ever put in your mouth!
Best Ever Hot Fudge Sauce – if you’re pinched for time but want a wonderful dessert, this hot fudge sauce is calling your name. It’s made in minutes in the blender and you won’t even believe how thick, rich and delicious it is! Just buy a carton of good vanilla ice cream and you’ll have happy campers around your table as you drizzle on this fabulous, decadent chocolate sauce. You can keep how easy it is a secret.