Chef Shawn Cirkiel's outdoor Texas Hill Country get-together is the party equivalent of a pair of old blue jeans—relaxed, comfortable, and tailor-made for a low-key night.
It's hot in Texas, but not too hot to embrace the heat and sneak out to the Hill Country for gorgeous vistas and wide-open
spaces. Once the sun starts to set, firing up the grill and heading outside for a relaxed dinner with friends is a great way
to wind down.
Low-Key Dinner Menu
After cooking in some of America's toniest restaurants, Chef Shawn Cirkiel moved back to Austin in 2002, where he became the
city's youngest ever five-star chef. Wanting to shift gears to a more laid-back setting and approachable menu, he opened Parkside in 2009 on bustling Sixth Street.
"I love cooking out here," Shaws says of the sprawling, longhorn-studded ranch in Willow City. "The timing's not the same. No one gets mad if the food's a few minutes late. It's very low-key."
Grilled Texas Toast soaks up all the buttery goodness in super-simple Garlic Shrimp.
Rethink steak night! Serve grilled lean tri-tip with a zesty citrus butter made with lime and lemon zest, fresh thyme, and
Colorful watermelon, cilantro, basil, jalapeños, and Cotija cheese are just a few of the ingredients that give this Southwest
Watermelon Salad its flavor. You can tone down the heat by omitting the jalapeños.
Assorted herbs, lemon juice, and garlic is all you'll need to make this zippy side dish. It's great served warm, chilled,
or at room temperature.
Veggies don't have to be boring! Boost the flavor of sautéed squash and tomatoes with hickory-smoked bacon, red wine vinegar,
and fresh herbs.
Crisp cookies and fresh berries pair nicely with cool-and-creamy Easy Mocha Mousse.
Grilling baby onions brings out even more sweetness. Serve alongside the Grilled Tri-Trip with Citrus-Chile Butter.
Keeping with the relaxed theme, a galvanized washtub ices down some Texas favorites.
Turn your favorite drinks into frozen pops for an easy, heat-busting treat. Sipper-style molds keep chins and shirts clean, while looped handles are perfect for tiny hands. Acme Sipper Ice Pop Maker and Prepara Volcano Fillable Ice Pops are available at amazon.com.