From Our Kitchen-Cool Tomato Comforts

For a refreshing summer supper, whip up a crisp, leafy salad with fresh mozzarella, ripened tomatoes, and our easy-to-make Sugar-and-Vinegar Dressing.
Mary Allen Perry

Whether served as a salad with grilled meats or sidled-up to fried corn and field peas on a vegetable plate, the sharp-sweet taste of ice-cold cucumbers and red onion, dripping with Sugar-and-Vinegar Dressing, is powerful enough to make you shiver. For a light and refreshing supper, drizzle that same dressing over a handful of crisp, leafy salad greens layered with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and vine-ripened tomatoes.

Sugar-and-Vinegar Dressing:
Process 1/3 cup raspberry or red wine vinegar,1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. With blender or processor running, add 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Fresh mozzarella is a soft white cheese with a mild flavor that's perfect for summer salads and sandwiches. It's naturally low in sodium and has a limited shelf life, so use within several days after opening. Once made from the milk of water buffalo rather than cows and quite expensive, fresh mozzarella is now more reasonable (about $3.29 for an 8-ounce package). For more information visit www.belgioioso.com.

 

Summer Suppers
Fire up the grill, and pull some extra patio chairs up to the picnic table because this month we're headed outdoors to cook. Whether you're in the mood for Low-and-Slow Baby Back Ribs or quick and easy Grilled Chicken Quesadillas, we've got a recipe that's sure to please. We've also included some of our favorite side dishes so that you can prepare an entire dinner on the grill.

You might want to consider doubling your portions for easy meals later in the week. Leftover chicken is perfect for main-dish salads or sandwiches, or use it in a casserole that calls for chopped cooked chicken. Turn beef or pork into tacos or pizza. Throw on some baking potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil; we love the roasted flavor they add to ordinary potato salad. Just peel and cube, and use in place of boiled potatoes in your favorite recipe.

Pickled Asparagus? Easy as 1-2-3
To make our Pickled Asparagus, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Scrub fresh asparagus well, and drain. Cut out any bruised or soft spots. Gather all your ingredients, measure, and chop.
  2. Snap off tough ends of asparagus. For this recipe, we used asparagus about the size of your pinkie finger. This size allows the pickling liquid to adequately penetrate and flavor it; large asparagus won't be as flavorful. The smallest size asparagus goes limp in this mixture. A (1-pound) bunch fills a quart jar.
  3. Pack asparagus, 2 sprigs of fresh dill, and 1 garlic clove into each jar. We used jars made for canning and food preservation with the appropriate size jar-lid rings. You can re-use jars and rings, but you'll need new lids. You can find these at supermarkets, hardware stores, and discount centers.
  4. Heat the pickling liquid (a simple combination of vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and pickling spices) over the stove. (You can buy pickling spices in the food preservation or spice center at the supermarket.) Cool liquid completely before pouring over the asparagus in the jars. Seal jars with the lid and ring. Chill at least 8 hours, or store in the refrigerator up to one week.
 

Grilled Entrées


Grilled Salads and Sides


Grilled Sandwiches, etc.