Food for Thought, Summer Savories That Will Make You the Talk of the Block Party

According to the Barbeque Industry Association, there are 2.6 billion barbeque events year round, and the summer season is at the height of this char-broiled madness.

Hamburgers are the most popular food to grill, followed by steaks, chicken and hot dogs and nine out of ten people will use barbeque sauce to flavor their grilled goodies. Why do I tease your appetite with these trivial statistics? Well, I believe KC Masterpiece has been hogging the grill for far too long. This summer, I challenge all of my fellow Weschesterite Foodies to savor some different summer time cuisine that is easy to prepare and will give your block party a whole new flavor.

Who said salsa was only for Tostitos? If you want to add some Latin lovin’ to your burger, mix salsa into your meat and make a Mexican burger. For a real fiesta in your mouth, top it off with some fresh guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. This is also a fantastic idea for those of us who are health conscious and want to add some zest to our turkey burgers.

Latin Lovin’ Burger

Ingredients:

1 lb Fresh Meat (Beef or Turkey)

1 Jar of Salsa

Sour Cream

Guacamole

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Fresh Guacamole Recipe: (This recipe should be made to your own liking. So choose the amount of each ingredient and taste test to see what you like).

Ingredients:

2 Avocados

Lemon juice

Red Onion

Cilantro

Directions:

1. Vertically slice the avocado skin and peel it off.

2. Open up the avocado and take out the pit.

3. Place pitted avocado into a bowl. Press down with a large fork to make a smooth paste.

4. Chop red onion and cilantro and combine with avocado.

5. Squeeze lemon juice into the mixture.

Despite their notorious stint as being partners in crime with burgers, forget about the French fries and onion rings. Instead, when it comes to side dishes jazz up your barbeque with some fresh salads. Homemade tomato salad and pasta salad are palate pleasing sides your meat won’t mind sharing a dish with.

Tomato Salad:

Ingredients:

3 Large Tomatoes

Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pepper

Garlic (cloves or powder)

Parsley

5 Basil Leaves (chopped up or whole

Fresh Mozzarella (One ball or baby size)

Directions:

1. On a cutting board chop up tomatoes into medium sized cubes. Put aside.

2. In a bowl combine balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, pepper, garlic, parsley and basil leaves. Mix well.

3. Slowly pour tomatoes into marinade and mix.

4. Place in refrigerator for 3 hours. For the most robust flavor, marinate over night.

Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 lb of Bow Ties

1 16 oz bag of frozen Broccoli

1 regular sized jar of Red Roasted Peppers

1 package of Cherry Tomatoes

Provolone (Cut into as many cubes as you desire)

Italian Dressing (Marinate as much as you desire)

Directions:

1. Boil a pot of water on the stove. Once the water comes to a boil, gently pour the bow ties in the pot in order to not have the hot water or steam "jump up" because it can burn your face.

2. After the bow ties are cooked, drain them and set them aside in a large bowl. After they have cooled for a little while, begin to marinate the pasta with the Italian dressing, so that the pasta does not stick together.

3. Shred the roasted peppers and combine with pasta. Follow the same step for the cherry tomatoes, and broccoli.

4. Finally, cut as much provolone as you like into cubes and mix. Cover and place in the refrigerator over night to marinate. Feel free to put as many ingredients as you like into the pasta, it will only make it more colorful and tasty.

There’s nothing like getting your just desserts. And an Oreo Explosion Pudding Pie will get you just that (and bragging rights to match). Due to their cool taste and health benefits, frozen treats like ices, ice cream, yogurt and sorbet are common desserts for summer time parties. However, this pie can be made just as healthy with simple substitutions. And the best part is that you can substitute the ingredients, without substituting the flavor.

Oreo Explosion Pudding Pie

Ingredients:

1 package of Oreos (crushed)

2 containers of Cool Whip (Either regular or fat free)

Instant Chocolate Pudding (Any brand you prefer, but I use Jell-o or My-T Fine)

Pie Crust (I highly suggest Oronoque)

Directions:

1. Place pie crust in preheated oven and follow directions for temperature setting. Let it cook until it is light golden brown. Take out the crust and place on a cooling rack.

2. Then, follow the directions on the side of the pudding box to make the pudding.

3. Combine Cool Whip with the pudding. Taste test to see how much you Cool Whip you want in the mixture.

4. Pour crushed Oreos into the pudding and continue to mix.

5. When the pie crust is fully cooled, pour the mixture into the crust. (You may have some mixture left over so you can either make another pie or Oreo pudding cups).

6. Gently spread Cool Whip on top of the pie and sprinkle some crushed Oreos on top as well. Refrigerate for 3 hours and serve chilled.

Summer is about taking a break from the mundane routine of work and school. No matter what you decide to concoct this summer, don’t be afraid to think outside the grill. And that’s some food for thought.

River Journal is pleased to welcome Angelique Chielli as a contributing writer. She is a 2007 graduate of Marymount College at Fordham University, where she majored in Journalism. She and her mother love to cook.

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About the Author: Angelique Chielli