The heavyweight champion of cookout season, sweet summer corn knows how to dance with every main dish at the table and often comes out swinging against even the pickiest eaters. From simply grilled corn on the cob to a fun spin on salsa and a shortcut way to revamp a classic dessert, get ready to find out why corn deserves the title of “Best Add-On” at your summer table.
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We can bet that a star-spangled Flag Cake, a berries-and-cream trifle and other red, white and blue treats will make a proud appearance at your 4th of July festivities. But painting your spread with the colors of our flag isn’t the only way to celebrate our nation’s independence. Get in the spirit by stocking your cookout menu with all-American cookout classics that scream “America” without bothering to be red, white and blue.
Not only are ribs on their own American treasures, but the Neelys’ Sweet Cola Ribs (pictured above) come with a glug of a national favorite — soda — in the sauce, which gives it a punch of unexpected sweetness. Smoking the ribs on indirect heat makes them the most-tender, delicious barbecue to serve on the 4th. Just make sure you provide napkins.
When it comes to manning the grill, Tim Love, a longtime chef and restaurateur, is all business. This born-and-bred Texan is known for his expert preparation of meat, fusing together classic Western flavors with modern ingredients and flavors. On the all-new summertime tournament Chopped Grill Masters (premiering July 14 at 10|9c), Love will takes his place among the roster of esteemed Chopped judges as a master of meat as he oversee the 16 grilling professionals who are trying to wow the panel with worthy barbecue fare.
Just in time for this weekend’s 4th of July party, FN Dish caught up with Tim, who’s also teamed up with Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, which is celebrating a brand-new squeeze bottle, for his take on how to win the holiday cookout scene. From make-ahead favorites to his all-time favorite meat to grill, read on below to hear from Tim in an exclusive interview.
Come grilling season, which dish are you most looking forward to making every year? What do you crave most?
Tim Love: Nothing says summer like kebabs on the grill. There is just something about cubes of beef and veggies stuck on a stick over a flaming grill that makes me giddy. My go-to is Rosemary Steak Kebabs, because you can use the rosemary branches for skewers so it adds to the flavor.
Festivities for the 4th of July are coming up fast. No matter where you’re celebrating, whether at home, at a friend’s or in the great outdoors, making dishes that are easy to take on the go can be a game changer for your celebrations. Classic American dishes like burgers and hot dogs don’t generally transport well on the fly, but luckily we have a few make-and-take dishes up our sleeve that will make potlucking and picnicking on Independence Day go off without a hitch.
Bring an extra-easy, patriotic appetizer that doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to make from start to finish. Make quick red pepper salsa and creamy garlic-lime dip at home for Red and White Double Dippers with Blue Corn Chips. The dips are easy to pack up and bring, while the chips require just a trip to the store.
The New York Times tweeted yesterday, “Add green peas to your guacamole. Trust us.” And everyone went berserk. Feelings ranged from rage and confusion to steadfast defense of the Times’ suggestion. President Obama didn’t buy it. Jeb Bush wouldn’t add peas to his guac either. Deb Perelman, Dan Pashman, Sam Sifton, Jean-Georges and Alex Stupak weighed in on the debate, mostly in support of the controversial guacamole mix-in. Where do you stand? Is it OK to put peas in guacamole? If not peas, what is OK to add to guac?
If you’re a gardener, or you’ve been to the grocery store and seen it on sale, you know the zucchini has officially arrived. We have a ton of the stuff popping up in our small garden beds every day, which means we’re eating a ton of the stuff every day. These are my favorite kid-tested zucchini recipes, offering enough variety to keep everyone eating the good stuff all summer long.
Zucchini Ribbon Pasta: Long tendrils of zucchini combined with tender fettuccine noodles are the base of Ellie Krieger’s lightened-up Italian meal (pictured above). But it’s the garlic, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top that make it truly mouthwatering.
It’s hard to go through life without an unabashed obsession for tacos, am I right? It’s tacos, for crying out loud. Tiny carb canoes with seasoned meat, maybe a fruit here, a veggie there, a sprinkling of delicious cheese, and a burst of fresh lime juice or maybe even a delightful salsa or sauce. I mean, tacos.
I kept these particular tacos on the street side, with simple seasoned grass-fed beef (regular beef is fine!), fresh onion and cilantro, and a bit of crumbled queso fresco, but I added a creamy side with cubed avocado and mango. Mmmm mmm. What makes these most street-y, though, is the use of corn tortillas, especially when you lightly char each one over an open flame on your stovetop — oooooooWEEEE. They’re so amazing. So street-y. I like street-y. That came out wrong.
If your little ones aren’t yet into seasoned, street tacos, I pause toward the beginning of the recipe and slide a little of the beef into tortillas with melty cheddar cheese for some quick quesadillas. Boom. Errrrrone’s happy.
Get street-y! Err, you know what I mean.
If there’s one activity that epitomizes summer, it’s packing a picnic and enjoying the outdoors. And what better time to plan a beautiful meal outside than on the Fourth of July? For a quick and portable meal this Independence Day, try Giada De Laurentiis’ Caponata Picnic Sandwiches (pictured above). You can dig into these sandwiches — made in under an hour — utensil-free.
Staying true to its classic Sicilian flavor profile, this caponata features eggplant, celery, red pepper and onion. Giada sautes the veggies in olive oil until they’re slightly tender, then combines them with diced tomatoes, oregano and raisins. After the mixture simmers for 20 minutes, add red wine vinegar, sugar and capers for a sweet-and-salty element, known in a caponata. The end result: a flavorful relish that becomes the ultimate condiment for this sandwich. Grill ciabatta bread cut-side down until golden, then rub with fresh garlic. Add a slice of mozzarella cheese for richness, and finally, top with the caponata and another piece of bread. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap for a picnic-ready meal.
If you think of your grill as basically a big oven with a lid, you can cook just about anything on it — providing you have the right vessel. In the spirit of the hungry camper craving a fresh-baked brownie in the middle of the forest, here are nine “ungrillable” items that are great prepared over hot coals. (For the secret to the brownies, see below.)
Spaghetti with Sauce: Skip the unwieldy pot of boiling water and seal up fresh tomatoes, eggplant, dry pasta and some water in a packet of heavy-duty foil, place on the grill and voila! A hearty sauced spaghetti with a deep simmered taste. Get the recipe here.
French Toast: Buttered nonstick foil is the secret here. Use it to wrap 2 slices of eggy soaked bread, arranging the pieces side by side (not stacked). Grill over medium-high heat with the top down, flipping once after 5 minutes. Make sure to have plenty of maple syrup on hand for drizzling. Get the full recipe here.
Brownies: Fill a metal (not glass, please) pan with batter, place over an unlit burner on a grill prepared for medium-high heat, cover and bake; check for doneness often.
Cool and creamy, light yet rich, ice cream has the ability to satisfy your cravings without filling you up. It’s these qualities that make frozen treats the perfect ending to just about any meal.
Making dairy-free versions of traditional desserts often involves a few extra steps, from making a nut-based milk or cream to replacing an egg by mixing ground flax seeds with water. These additional steps can put home cooks off, as they take extra time and ingredients, and create more dirty dishes, too. This recipe for vegan ice cream is the exception — it’s actually easier and faster than ones with traditional dairy and egg ice cream bases. It can easily be done by beginners and experienced ice cream churners alike. There’s no extended time spent over the stove awaiting the moment the custard thickens and no reason to worry that you’ll scramble the eggs if your mixture cooks too long. All you need to do for this ice cream is warm coconut milk and thicken it with a little dissolved arrowroot powder before cooling and churning — it’s that easy! Infusing the milk with vanilla bean adds great flavor but can be skipped in a pinch. This ice cream is the perfect base for a variety of mix-ins, and some of my favorites are included below.