Parsley and friends
Good evening WFD! I hope the first weekend of official summer finds you enjoying good friends, good weather, and good food! I thought tonight I would share some pics and ideas on using the early bounty of the season, which for me is mostly herbs. So please step out with me onto my patio and lets gather some fresh herbage to liven up the meal!
What's For Dinner is a community diary published every Saturday night at 4:30PDT/7:30EDT. We talk about food and share recipes. Pour yourselves a drink and relax.

Sweet Basil
Ah, I see you are drawn to the basil. Boy, you smell that sweet basil and your mouth just waters doesn't it? Later in the season I'll make pesto, but not today. Today I'll just pinch off a few bunches to chop up for tossing into a green salad.
Rosemary, Sage, &  Mint
Oooh, I have a fantastic grilling recipe that I can use the rosemary & sage in.
Skewers of Sage Chicken with Sweet Italian Sausage

    For the Rosemary-Garlic Oil:
    1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
    6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
    2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
    For the skewers:
    2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut in half
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Rosemary-Garlic Oil
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
    Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 pounds sweet Italian sausages, cut into 2-inch pieces
    24 large fresh sage leaves


To make the rosemary-garlic oil: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Set aside. Up to a day ahead or 4 hours prior to cooking, rinse the chicken thighs in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the rosemary-garlic oil and the chopped rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (350°F–450°F). Place the 1/2 cup of rosemary-garlic oil in a small dish for brushing the skewers while grilling. Thread 3 pieces of the sausage, chicken, and sage leaves alternately on the metal skewers. Grill the skewers, covered, until one side is browned and has nice grill marks, about 4 minutes. Brush with the rosemary-garlic oil, flip, and cook until the other side is cooked, about 4 minutes more. Continue to cook, turning and brushing with the oil, until the sausage and chicken are both cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for a couple of minutes. To serve, arrange the skewers on a large platter and drizzle with the remaining rosemary-garlic oil.

That large scruffy looking bush is actually thyme. It bloomed fantastically but now needs a bit of trimming. Which is perfect because I have plans for the trimmings. . .
Grilled Mushroom, Zucchini, Pepper & Bean Salad

The veggies marinating before grilling.

1 green bell pepper
1 lb of crimini mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
~1 cup of olive oil
~ 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar
~ 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
~1-2 tblsp of dijon mustard
salt & pepper as needed
a good handful of fresh thyme
a bunch of fresh parsley
1 14.5 oz can of cannelini beans (or Great Northern white)
Wooden or metal skewers (pre-soak the wooden kind)

In a large bowl make the marinade/dressing:
Mix the 2 vinegars and the dijon together. Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and add, then whisk in the olive oil until well blended. Season with salt & pepper (I used lemon pepper) to taste.

Clean the mushrooms and gently twist the stems off, reserve for using in soup or stuffing if you like. Chop the zucchini into 1/4" thick rounds. Chop the green pepper into large pieces. Toss in the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes. If you're using wood skewers now would be the time to let them soak.

Preheat your grill and start building your veggie skewers alternating between the 3 veggies but don't overcrowd them. When the grill is ready place the skewers on the grill and rotate them as they get good grill marks on all sides. Once they are done, remove them from the grill and let them sit.

Add the rinsed and drained beans to the remaining marinade in the bowl. Remove the veggies from their skewers and toss into the bowl. Chop the parsley and toss into the salad. Season to taste with salt & pepper if needed. Add some grated Parm if you feel so inclined.

Well, that's a good start! We're starting to see early sweet corn, zucchini & summer squash in the stores and I have some patio tomatoes with 4 little green tomatoes so far. I have oregano that's just getting going too. So I'm looking forward to using my patio bounty all summer long.

What's happening in your kitchens and gardens tonight? Have a glass of some crisp refreshing white peach sangria with fresh mint and pull up a chair!

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