Jun 13, 2011

Dining Alfresco with Balsamic Grilled Veggies & Strawberry Zing

Yes, I am fancy. I dine alfresco...quite often, in fact. Regardless of whether it is on our super old and rickety Ikea table or on a blanket thrown on the grass the feeling you get when chomping your vittles outdoors is somehow different from the norm. When eating outside there is the freedom to eat with your hands or use your jeans for a napkin...it can only be described as magical. OK - that may be taking it a bit far but you know what I mean... reckless abandon. You can eat watermelon or cherries and spit the seeds out right onto the grass. That sort of thing is somewhat frowned upon when indoors. You can spill your drink (also frowned upon in the house) and not get yelled at! Like I said...magical.


Last night we did a quick meal of Grilled Peppers and Onions drizzled with Balsamic and Feta. This is a dish I whipped up often over the last summer...you know, when we had NO kitchen (HERE and HERE). It is not only colorful and super tasty but it is quick and is sure to please a crowd. I also made a quick guac (I LOVE me some guac) and a super fresh zingy kind of dessert with fresh strawberries tossed in lemon zest, juice, and a tsp of sugar. Adding lemons to strawberries is a fab twist on the traditional and adds a bit of zip to your miracle whip...that is, if you were serving it with miracle whip but I prefer to just serve it straight so I believe it adds a zip to your strawberries. Hmmm...that doesn't quite have the same ring to it... Anyway, you be the judge!!

**You guys know I don't cook with a recipe book (only when baking) so the following are just some ideas tossed together and easily made your own. Tweak however you want - these dishes will come out dandy no matter what!**

Grilled Peppers & Onions With Balsamic and Feta - Non Recipe

  • Slice an array of different colored peppers and an onion. I used 2.5 peppers (red, yellow, and orange) and both a yellow and red onion.

  • Grill in a basket (Totally worth the $14.99 investment.! Check TJ Maxx or their sister stores) or on the grill provided your pepper slices are not too thin that they will fall through the grates. If they are then take a wire rack out of your oven and place it on the grill in a crossed pattern. This way they won't fall through the grates.

  • Grill top down for 5 minutes, shake basket or flip the peppers.
  • Grill 7-10 more minutes depending on how well done you like your food. Remove from the heat and put peppers back in the same dish. They should be hot and the onions should be almost cooked through.



  • Drizzle Aged Balsamic Dressing ( I make my own and Keep in a labeled jar in the fridge) over the top and crumble a bit of feta cheese over the whole shebang. DONE!



Strawberry Zing


  • Hull and slice your berries. Simple...



  • Zest one lemon in a small bowl and squeeze said lemons juice into the same bowl. Add a teaspoon of sugar and mix it up.
  • Pour lemon concoction over sliced strawberries and gently coat the berries. ENJOY!

Gratuitous Bubba shot...

Ahhh...ain't life grand?

Stay tuned this week for my super easy kitchen tip of the week - Avocado Slicing For Guac Du Jour ala Pineapple Express Style!! Until then - what have you been grilling this week? Dining alfresco? Fell free to leave a comment boasting your latest and greatest!!

Bianca

PS - Anyone notice my table cloth being an IKEA curtain? Yup - I am crafty (and cheap) that way!! I found a pair in the As Is section for $5 a few years back. They are so lightweight and pretty and it does double duty looking sweet floating in the wind while covering up my boring old Ikea patio table! :)


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