Always The Bridesmaid

14 Aug

Side-dishes are always shunted off to, well, the side.

But unlike their human counterparts, culinary bridesmaids are often better dressed than the brides they’re there to support, especially when that bride comes in the guise of grilled meat.

Grilled meat may be the most delicious, tasty and wonderful food in the world, but they’ll never win any beauty pageants.

Summer salads, sidedishes and relishes, conversely, are beautiful, chock full of the brilliiant saturated colors of the season.

To that end, meet a few of my favorites from this summer.

Easy Pickled Onions are the little black dress of grilled meats. Simple, easy and always the right choice. Just finely slice some red onions, place in a container, cover with white vinegar, about 1/4 cup of cold water, a healthy pinch of kosher salt, about a teaspoon of sugar, and if you like spice, a finely sliced serrano pepper. Place in the fridge for a few hours to “pickle”. Serve with any grilled meat.

Honeydew & Mint Salad, flavored with lime and Ancho chile powder was delicious, especially when paired with citrus and chilie marinated pork. The salad never would have been able to stand on her own as a meal, but had it not been there, it would have been missed. Man and woman cannot live on pork alone.

Cucumbers In Dill & Yogurt were the perfect foil to harissa marinated lamb steaks. I have no idea if this is a traditionally Greek recipe, but it sure tasted authentic! Allow some finely sliced shallots, minced garlic, salt, pepper, about a 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and some chopped dill to meld with a cup of the very best yogurt (especially sheep’s yogurt) in the fridge for a few hours. Right before serving mix in a few peeled, seeded and chopped kirbys and some more chopped dill. Prepare to be adored.

Easy Turmeric-Scented Pickled Summer Squash are yellower than the August sun. I didn’t pickle these traditionally; sterilizing, boiling, etc. because I knew they wouldn’t last long enough to justify all that effort. I simply packed some finely sliced summer squash, purple onion and smashed garlic into two mason jars and then covered them in a solution of turmeric, salt & pepper, brown sugar and white vinegar. (Pickles made this way must be consumed within a few weeks of canning).

They’re not just delicious on sandwiches or straight out of the jar, they also provide the base for a mean summer slaw. Grated Kholrabi & Carrot Slaw was as easy as pie. Simply mix the grated vegetables with about half a jar of squash pickle and its juice, season with some salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil, mix and serve while sitting on the sidewalk, grilling ginger ale, ginger & jerk marinated pork skewers (more on those and all the other meats tomorrow).

7 Responses to “Always The Bridesmaid”

  1. sher August 14, 2006 at 11:27 am #

    I love those pictures. The colors jump out at me and the food looks so refreshing–perfect for this time of the year!

  2. Julie August 14, 2006 at 5:37 pm #

    It all looks good — the grated kholrabi & carrot slaw looks especially pretty and vivid. The honeydew and mint salad sounds sophisticated and also looks pretty.

    I’m looking forward to the sitting-on-the-sidewalk-and-grilling story. Sounds like wacky cooking hijinks.

  3. Chris August 15, 2006 at 12:37 am #

    Do you have a recipe with more specifics for the pickled summer squash? I have to make it!!

  4. Pam August 15, 2006 at 1:57 am #

    What a great collection!

  5. ann August 15, 2006 at 8:40 am #

    sure, lemme see what i can do for ya Chris (my brain’s a little fuzzy this morning… stupid construction across the street)…

    – finely slice one summer squash per mason jar (if you have a mandoline I’d use that)
    – smash 3 (or more or less) cloves of garlic per jar
    – finely slice a small purple onion and use 1/2 of the onion per jar

    mix the squash, onion and garlic together in a bowl (to get a good mixture) and then pack tightly into a very clean jar

    in a bowl mix about 2 cups white vinegar, a large quantity of turmeric (i think about 2 tbsps), a lot of ground pepper, 2 really healthy pinches of salt and 2 packets of raw sugar (the boyfriend brings them home from work ;-)

    mix the brine to ensure that everything is dissolved and then pour into the jars, tamp the jars down to get rid of any air bubbles and tightly screw on the tops

    place in the fridge and consume within one month (if the pickles are fuzzy, don’t eat them ;-)

  6. lobstersquad August 18, 2006 at 6:21 am #

    hi Ann!
    there´s so much to catch up on your blog, everything looks great

  7. Chris August 26, 2006 at 5:23 pm #

    Ann, I’m making your summer squash pickles RIGHT NOW. I’ll let you know how it goes! Thanks for the recipe details.

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