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Summertime, and the living is easy. Pool, beaches, vacations. Hot days abound.
Vacation. Where have you always wanted to go? Sometimes what the heart wants, and what the wallet can provide are two different things. So it’s “stay-cation” time. How about a little party with friends? And how about a themed party? With this Backyard Vacation Tuscan Grill, you will feel “mama mia” just like you are in Tuscany.
This menu for our backyard vacation Tuscan grill is designed to use all the fresh fruits and vegetables you can find, in their prime, right now. Of course I recommend going to your local Farmer’s Market, to get your ingredients; keeping that carbon footprint to a minimum, but if you must, a supermarket will do just fine. And another beautiful thing about this menu is it can be made almost entirely in advance allowing you time to relax and enjoy your own party.
Prep your vegetables (except for the eggplant, it doesn’t do well sitting around) for the Grilled Summer Vegetable a day ahead and store in zip top bags; the dressing can be made at the same time…store it in a jar in the fridge…just remember to take it out a couple of hours before you want to use it so the oils will liquefy again.
The Skewers with Italian Style Chimichurri can also be cut in advance, and really should have an overnight to marinate anyway, so that’s done…when ready to grill them, have the kids put them on the skewers or do it in the morning and keep them on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan, covered and in the refrigerator. Make the chimichurri and let it sit for at least a couple of hours at room temperature, or make it, store it in the refrigerator and take it out a couple of hours before you need it to allow it to come to room temperature.
Even most of the dessert, Grilled Polenta Cake with Stone Fruit and Olive Oil Vanilla Ice Cream can be made a day or two ahead, you could make the Polenta Cake and store it, covered for a day or two, or three and the ice cream can be kept in the fridge for last minute ice cream making magic, or entirely made in advance and kept frozen (although if you have a hand crank ice cream maker and a few kids they love to make homemade ice cream); or you could buy some Hagen Daz… but what’s the fun of that?
The only thing that really needs some last minute love is the Grilled Tuscan Bread Salad, but that’s so simple to prepare, it will only take a nano second of your time.
LindySez: Open a couple bottles of some good Italian wine, perhaps a chilled Pinot Gris, or a Rosso from Toscana and enjoy these dog days of summer.”
I developed these recipes as a part of a Backyard Tuscan Garden Party for my client. It was published in an advertorial that appeared as a part of Gourmet Magazine’s Gourmet GuestList.com series.
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