Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and next Tuesday will be a little bit sad even for those of us who are not going back to school. So take full advantage of these last few days and send your summer off on a winning note. If you haven’t made these watermelon tequila shot skewers yet, now’s the time. Eat as much fresh corn and zucchini as you possibly can. Host a last-minute barbecue with tips for super-fast grilling. Or savor summer memories with these nostalgic tastes.
By Teri Tsang Barrett
When it comes to barbecue, one size most certainly does not fit all. For some, it’s all about nibbling smoky ribs from the bone. For others, a pulled pork sandwich doused in barbecue sauce is where it’s at. And as far as regional differences go (from the Carolinas to Tennessee to Texas), don’t even get us started. This week, conjure your inner grill master with the forerunners of backyard barbecuing.
Pork Ribs: For a barbecue phenomenon that needs no utensils, ribs are always the answer. But the question remains: Will you have yours wet or dry? Cooked indirectly for hours on end, the Neelys’ Wet BBQ Ribs are dripping with a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. For those in the dry school of thought, there’s the Neelys’ Kansas City-Style Pork Ribs recipe, which encrusts the ribs with a dry rub of spices for a dose of pure barbecue.
Some would say that a plate of smoky beef brisket or a home-grilled burger can’t be taken seriously without a scoop of potato salad — and rightfully so. When it comes to this creamy, satisfying side, tender potatoes are just the starting point, laying the foundation for all kinds of dressings and add-ins. This week, spread out a picnic blanket and dive into potato salads that have never seen the inside of a deli container.
1. Keep It Classic and Cold: A classic American potato salad is barbecue’s best mate for a reason. Alton Brown’s Cold-Fashioned Potato Salad (bottom right) is the classic recipe you’d expect at your cookout, and it’s taken down to a science in true Alton style.
2. Choose a Baked Potato: Rather than bringing your spuds down to a boil the traditional way, Alex Guarnaschelli makes her Baked Potato Salad by sliding Yukon golds into the oven. Packed with herbs (don’t throw away those stems!), her version is best enjoyed at a beach picnic.
It’s the end of a long day and you’re craving a thick, juicy steak. Fortunately, you have a nice fresh cut in the freezer, awaiting its big moment. Unfortunately it’s frozen solid as a rock and dinnertime is in less than an hour. Time to surrender your steak dreams and start making pasta instead? Nope, not so fast.
CTi, a Taiwanese cable channel, suggests an electricity-free steak-defrosting hack that will safely thaw a frozen steak about 1 centimeter thick in less than five minutes. How? Take two metal pots or pans, turn one over bottom up and place your vacuum-sealed steak flat on it. Then fill the other pot or pan with water and place it, topside up, on top of the steak. The weight of the water and its temperature, conducted by the metal, will speed thawing. In five minutes, CTi says, your steak should be defrosted and ready to cook. (You can use the time to pick a recipe.)
Steak is not like other foods; it is sufficient in itself, or very nearly so. Add salt and heat (fire preferably), and you have something no culinary sleight of hand can improve on. Does a steak need a recipe? Heck no. But recipes abound, and with them come all manner of tips, tricks and techniques, most of which diminish your likelihood of cooking a great steak. Read more
Summer is the season of spontaneity — when a passing neighbor can become a last-minute dinner guest, and the plump tomatoes and zucchini you picked up at the market turn into the centerpiece of brunch. And when it comes to go-with-the-flow entertaining, there’s nothing better than a grill: It’s fast, cleanup is a snap, and practically everything tastes better with the smoky, crispy char you can get only from a fire. The following supermarket staples make it easy to improvise at the grill, no matter if you’re cooking T-bones, plums or potatoes. Stock up and you’ll be prepared, whatever the mood brings.
When it comes to grilling standbys, burgers, barbecue and hot dogs often claim the spotlight — and for good reason, of course. But in addition to these meaty mainstays, seafood shines when grilled. Firm, flaky fish like swordfish and salmon stand up to the flames well, while clams, mussels and shrimp benefit from the smoky, charred flavor the grill offers. Grilled shrimp are not only a versatile seafood pick, but they’re also quick to make in a hurry and are easy to prepare in bulk, so they’re a go-to option for effortless summer entertaining. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five grilled shrimp recipes to find must-try ideas from Rachael, Bobby, the Neelys and more chefs.
5. Grilled Shrimp and Feta Salad — Ready to eat in only 25 minutes, Food Network Kitchen’s fuss-free salad boasts Mediterranean-inspired flavors like cool cucumber, salty Kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese, and it’s tossed with simply seasoned shrimp to make it a complete meal.
4. Grilled Shrimp Pizza — Save time in the kitchen by starting with a prepared dough to make this fuss-free pizza, topped with sweet grilled onions and shrimp. Add seasonal cherry tomatoes and tangy feta in the last few minutes of cooking, and let the heat of the grill slowly warm and melt them.
If you cast chicken recipes to the side as boring weeknight standbys, perhaps you haven’t kicked on the grill yet this summer. When this go-to white (or dark) meat hits the grates and lets out a searing sizzle, the meat that always has your back becomes tender, juicy and full of charred flavor. This week, run down the line of Food Network’s finest grilled chicken recipes, each coming with a twist that goes beyond a slathering of barbecue sauce.
The grill master himself is bound to have a few solid grilled chicken recipes up his sleeve. Bobby Flay’s Grilled Honey-Glazed Chicken with Green Pea and Mint Sauce whisks together balsamic vinegar and honey to brighten bone-in chicken breasts. If the darker meat is more your style, Bobby marinates chicken thighs in loads of citrus and chili powder before piercing with skewers for Grilled Yucatan Chicken Skewers.
No matter if you’re hosting a weekend cookout or you simply have a sweets craving that needs curbing, you shouldn’t have to turn on your oven on already sticky, scorching days to turn out a winning dessert. In these dog days of summer, stick with no-bake treats that come together quickly and rely on the freezer instead of the oven. From chilled pies and ice cream on a stick to bite-size peanut butter treats, there’s no shortage of both kid-friendly and party-worthy ideas to help you cool off all season long. Read on below to get Food Network’s top-five beat-the-heat recipes from The Pioneer Woman, Tyler Florence, the Neelys and more chefs.
5. Chocolate-Banana Ice Cream Pie — Both kids and kids at heart will appreciate the tried-and-true flavor combination of chocolate and fresh bananas, here made into an easy-to-prepare pie with a vanilla wafer crust, a duo of ice creams in the center and a toasted coconut topping.
4. Ice Cream Freezer Pops — Perhaps the best part about The Pioneer Woman’s treats is that you don’t need fancy molds to make them; just fill throw-away paper cups with layers of candy and rich vanilla ice cream.