August 11, 2012

Mediterranean Grill Party: Cheat A Little...

If last year was the year of Southern BBQ, then this summer has been the time for  Mediterranean grill--with some twists.  Whether it's to eat a little lighter & fresher, or simply for the sake of mixing things up, people really enjoy these bright, and often refreshing, flavors.  Snacks like hummus, eggplant spread, stuffed grape leaves, pistachios, pita chips & crudités can be store-bought, prettily arranged, set out and left alone.  (Full disclosure: I'm a maniac and make it all from scratch, but I know not everyone has the time).  Though I'm a big fan of mixing store-bought ingredients with homemade, it is really important where one gets the goods.  I'm a believer in the extra stops: they're worth it.  For instance, finding a great Middle Eastern market or falafel stand with fresh hummus, makes for a far more delicious spread than anything pre-packaged from the store.  And while there are some great ice creams in each frozen aisle, nothing beats local Carmela ice cream, sold at farmers markets and in their new retail location.  We put out a dozen pints of their seasonal flavors--strawberry buttermilk, mint chip with cacoa nibs and, my favorite, lavender honey--and it was a real treat for guests to scoop up their own summery sundaes.  It could've been a party in and of itself.  In between the snacks and the sweets, we grilled kebabs and made salads with plenty of crunch, tang, salt & sweet.  It's also the summer of the grilled peach; I can't stop.   Arugula, balsamic and Marcona almonds are the peach's best friends.  (When the peach is feeling amorous it also likes to flirt with burrata and gorgonzola).  And, even if you buy everything else, make your own tzatziki...I get so many compliments on the Barefoot Contessa's recipe: it's worth every step (straining the yogurt with cheesecloth is key).  

The Menu


mint iced tea

cucumber mint gimlets


stuffed grape leaves

crudites with hummus & eggplant caviar

olives & pistachios

fig crackers with fig jam, french feta & mint


rosemary lamb kebabs

oregano lemon chicken kebab

zucchini, summer squash & pepper kebabs


farro, ricotta, artichoke, kalamata olives & dill

sprouted chickpeas, lentils, sunflower sprouts, sunflower seeds, fennel & lemon

cherry tomatoes, cucumber, french feta, pita chips & red wine vinaigrette

grilled peaches, marcona almonds & arugula

melon & mint


lavender honey, strawberry buttermilk, mint cacao chip, lemon basil sorbet, peach, dark chocolate cacao nib

figs, berries & candy toppings

chocolate chip cookies

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Deirdre Zahl said...

Yum! So fresh and summery!!

Rachel said...

do you have a recipe for those cookies?

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