Readers' Corner

As we watch the summer slide by, take advantage of the warm evenings August affords by having dinner outdoors. Whether it be packing a picnic and heading to the beach or a park, or slipping out onto your deck to grill up some grub, there's something magical about sharing a good meal surrounded by nature.

This month's selection of recipe ideas ranges from the simple salad to grilled masterpieces. Pick and choose among them or find a group of friends and make them all!

I've always been a little reluctant to grill pork beacuse I've been afraid of the health issues involved in serving pork that is not properly cooked. However, I love grilling in summer. To solve my dilemma, I can up with this delicious recipe:

Grilled Pork Kebabs

  • 1 lb. lean pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bottle of mesquite marinade (such as Lawry's)
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 lb. small red potatoes, boiled and halved
  • 1 carton of fresh mushrooms
  • 1 carton of cherry tomatoes

In a medium frying pan, brown pork loin with 1/2 c. of the marinade. In the meantime, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss with remaining marinade.

Once the pork is browned on the outside but is still pink inside, arrange it and the vegetables on several skewers. The arrangement should look like: meat - mushroom - potato - meat - zucchini - tomato. Continue this arrangement until you have used all of your ingredients.

Place the skewers on a hot grill and cook for an additional 7 minutes per side or until the pork is thoroughly cooked and the vegetables are slightly soft. You can continue to brush the skewers with remaining marinade throughout the grilling process.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Our second recipe comes from Seasoned Cooking's very own Jenny Wojcik. She shares a grilled vegetable dish that is out of this world:

    "My husband said I should submit this for the world to see - he's prejudiced of course, but this really is tasty. I grill indoors on a JennAir, but this could be done easily on an outdoor grill as well."

Grilled Asparagus

  • Fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, chopped
  • Dash of lemon pepper
  • Hot grill

Marinate the asparagus in the olive oil, garlic and pepper mixture for about 15 minutes. Make sure olive oil coats all of the stems. Grill, turning often and basting as necessary. You'll know when they're perfectly done because they will start to brown slightly. Don't overcook! These are fabulous. As an added bonus, you can "dust" them lightly with fresh parmesan cheese after they're done. Yummy, and good for you too.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes

Lu Heiney, a regular reader, shares with us a favorite recipe for turkey salad:

    "Was just checking out the new issue about to go make this wonderful turkey salad that is an old Julia Child, I believe. Try it and let me know what you think."

Turkey Salad

  • 6 cups cubed turkey
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise

Salt and pepper turkey, add onion, celery, capers, lemon juice and oil. Allow to stand 30 minutes. Fold in parsley, eggs and mayo.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes

Jenny Wojcik does it again with another grilled vegetable favorite:

    "It's getting to be "fresh corn on the cob" season, and here's a fabulous and extremely easy picnic/backyard barbeque idea for those delicious ears. Soak corn, husks, silks and all in ICE WATER for at least 4 hours. Over HOT coals, roast corn - turning every few minutes (and putting out husk fires as you go - don't worry - it's ok). When the outside husk is charred, blackened and ultimately looking like a disaster (usually about 40 minutes or so) the corn is done! It takes some courage to try this, but the ice water soak keeps the corn moist, allows it to "steam" in the husk, and prevents the corn from burning. Husks and silks will come off easily - just be very cautious - it'll be HOT!! Great with hotdogs, chicken, steak, you name it - it's pretty great all by itself! ENJOY!"

Regular reader and featured writer, Chris Schaefer helps us end our outdoor meal with his own Home-Made Peach Smoothie.

Home-Made Peach Smoothie

  • 2 medium or large peaches, ripe
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (your choice)
  • 1 1/2 trays ice cubes

Initially chop up peaches into bite-size chunks.

In a blender add milk, sugar and fruit; mix at low speed.

Add ice cubes in half tray batches. Use increased speed increments for every batch of ice cubes added.

Blend until well mixed and can be consistently poured. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
Well, there you have it. If you've got a great idea that you want to share with us, share away! Who might be gracing the pages of Seasoned Cooking too!