WHAT'S COOKING WITH KURT
A sizzling hot and zesty summer! That’s what we want this year. Enough of the wet, gray stuff. Take the tarp off of the ski boat, stoke the grill, grab the golf clubs and raise the sails. The Mariners and Sounders are winning, so it’s time for the weather to get in line, too. Bring on a glorious Pacific Northwest summer! We’re ready! We’re serving up delicious deli dishes all summer long to guarantee easy weeknight suppers, fun Fourth of July and weekend barbecues, picnics for outdoor concerts, or to round out casual or formal entertaining menus. There are dynamite mains to create a complete summer meal when cooking in the kitchen is the last thing you want to do. And knowing how much we all love cooking on the grill, we’re serving terrific side dishes, salads and vegetables to complement all the meats, poultry and seafood on the menu. We’ve also stocked our pantry shelves with great finds--including the new Maximus and Minimus sauces, courtesy of our new sibling company, Maximus / Minimus. Everything Pasta & Co prepares and sells features pure, all-natural ingredients with great-tasting favors. That’s our standard and that’s what we stick to, year-round, rain or shine. One taste and you’ll know the difference. Check us out!
Yours for good taste,
BARBECUE, BARBEQUE, BBQ OR GRILLING?
Fire up the grill! That’s what summer means to many of us. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, backyard or back porch grilling is a seasonal ritual. It’s a thoroughly American cooking style, well loved throughout the country, particularly where a balmy climate favors easy outdoor cooking.
Rivalries are fierce between different regions over the “correct” ingredients and spelling of the word, whether to use gas, wood or charcoal, and about who has “The Best” or “Most Authentic” barbecue with the winning barbecue sauce. Southerners claim pork as traditional barbeque, while in Chicago, Texas and Missouri, it’s all about beef, be it brisket, steak or ribs. In Tennessee and North Carolina, dry or wet, sauced-covered pork ribs are favored. On the West Coast, anything goes, from chicken to sausages to beef and pork ribs. In the Pacific Northwest, as you know, we’re pros at grilling wild salmon and halibut.
The word “barbecue” derives from the Spanish word barbacoa, referring to the lattice-like wooden structure on which meat could be cooked or dried over a fire. By the 1700s in America, the word had evolved to mean meat cooked on a grill over an open fire. Although most of us use grilling and barbecue interchangeably, there is a technical difference. Authentic barbecue refers to food cooked indirectly at low heat over flames. Grilling, however, refers to food cooked at medium or high heat directly over flames or a heat source. Whatever your cooking method, enjoy!
SUMMER DISHES FROM THE DELI
From June through August, easy summer meals are what it’s all about. Along with parties for grads and dads (Father’s Day and the summer solstice are on June 21), the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, this is the season of relaxed outdoor meals and grilled foods.
It wouldn’t be summer without potato salad, and we’re serving two versions: FRENCH POTATO SALAD and ROASTED RED POTATO SALAD. You’ll want to try both! FRENCH POTATO SALAD combines white rose and red potatoes tossed with green onions, dill, parsley and basil, then tossed in simple Dijon dressing. ROASTED RED POTATO SALAD is a contemporary twist on the classic with red potatoes, sweet corn kernels and chopped fresh basil all tossed in a light vinaigrette.
Orzo also stars in two brand new salads. MEDITERRANEAN ORZO SALAD combines orzo, cucumber, tomato, red onion, feta cheese, kalamata olives and fresh herbs in a red wine vinaigrette and lemon juice dressing, while SUMMER ORZO SALAD adds fresh corn kernels, red bell pepper, capers, parsley, green onions and basil to orzo dressed in a lemon Dijon vinaigrette. Pasta lovers will also want to try TORTELLINI SALAD WITH ARUGULA, where cheese tortellini is tossed with Roma tomatoes, Kalamata olives and tangy arugula.
We’re keen on wholesome grains and beans this summer, including light and refreshing TABBOULEH, a Middle Eastern salad made with bulgur wheat, chopped tomatoes, onions, parsley and fresh mint leaves in an olive oil-lemon juice dressing. Inspired by farmers markets, we’re serving SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN SALAD, which combines two Southern favorites with fresh corn, green onions and cilantro in a zesty garlic and lime dressing. Check out SUMMER WHEAT BERRY SALAD, an innovative salad with “cooked till plump” wheat berries. They’re tossed in a vinaigrette dressing with chopped fresh tomatoes, red bell peppers, green onion and parsley.
We’ve got a terrific selection of main dish-style salads, too. Our NORTHERN ITALIAN RICE AND SHRIMP SALAD is perfect for a picnic in the park, mixing rice and shrimp with red onion and parsley in a vinaigrette-dill dressing. Or take home SMOKED SALMON PESCINE, which features pescine pasta and smoked salmon tossed with a lemon-vinaigrette, parsley, dill and green onions. FRENCH DELI SALAD, made with julienned celery root and topped with Chilean shrimp, is another light entrée for summer or a side dish option.
Versatile GRILLED VEGETABLES are ready to heat and serve, the perfect match for what’s sizzling on the grill or in the oven. Grilled and seasoned with our new Maximus/Minimus Seasoning Salt, the summer selection includes zucchini, yellow squash, roma tomatoes and eggplant.
If a main dish is what you’re seeking, we’ve got you covered there, too. Our PICNIC CHICKEN is an adaptation of Southern-style fried chicken where we marinate skinless, boneless chicken strips in buttermilk, double-dip them in seasoned flour and deep-fry to crispy perfection. Another main dish favorite that’s easily transported and terrific hot or cold is CHICKEN DIAVOLA where garlic-infused-chicken is roasted and tossed with sautéed garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon juice. There are also TURKEY JOES--an update of the classic Sloppy Joe topping using ground turkey and a lively mix of red bell peppers and yellow corn sparked with jalapeño peppers, chili powder, cumin and cilantro. Spoon the mixture over toasted hamburger buns, or experiment with tortillas or rice for an easy summer dinner.
NEW! MAXIMUS AND MINIMUS SAUCES
The key to great grilling and barbecues is as much about the secret sauce as it is about the meat and the heat. High time then for Maximus / Minimus, our new sibling company, to make its public appearance with these new sauces. Maximus has everything plus the kitchen sink, beginning with a six chili pepper blend with garlic, brown sugar, cider vinegar and soy sauce soothed in a bath of beer. The result? Just this side of dangerous--and very, very good! Minimus, on the other hand, is rich, tangy, sweet and salty – the flavors all well-balanced with tamarind, honey and molasses. You’re going to want to try both--and apply liberally.
SUMMER PANTRY PICKS
Our pantry is bursting with good things! We’ve got distinctive and delicious appetizers, condiments, sauces and seasonings, plus a stylish and durable, two-quart PITCHER SET with matching GLASSES--all ready for outdoor entertaining and reusable all summer long! In the edible category, FIG/OLIVE and ROSEMARY/PECAN RAINCOAST CRISPS are THE crackers from Lesley Stowe Fine Foods (based in Canada) getting all the buzz. Made from scratch and baked in small batches, these crackers are extra crisp, flavorful and sophisticated. They can be munched solo or paired with creamy Beecher’s Honey Blank Slate or Flagship cheese. For grilling maestros, check out SAUCE GODDESS’ RUBS--ORIGINAL, SWEET HEAT and LATIN HEAT--to enhance the flavors of everything on the grill. The ORIGINAL RUB, a blend of salt and pepper with fennel and mustards in a smooth texture, is awesome on steak and chicken. SWEET HEAT RUB has a zesty sweetness that’s superb on flank steak and London Broil, while LATIN HEAT is excellent for fajitas or swirled into a sour cream dip. We’re also stocking SAUCE GODDESS’ 100% natural GRILL GLAZES in two variations: SWEET & SPICY and STICKY SWEET. Ketchup lovers will swoon for DULCET PEPPER MOROCCAN KETCHUP, a lively mix of saffron, cumin and turmeric with ginger and garlic. Use it as a glaze for spare ribs, a grilling sauce on lamb kebobs and more. You can also shake a dash of MAXIMUS/MINIMUS SEASONING SALT on meats, fish or poultry to pump up flavors. A zesty blend of dried onion, garlic, kosher salt, Madagascar black pepper, Lapsang Souchong black tea, lemon peel and spices, it’s an all-purpose seasoning you’ll reach for year-round.
KURT'S KITCHEN WISDOM
Summertime means fishing season in my family, and there’s nothing tastier than grilling up freshly caught fish. Here’s a terrific topping for fish from our Pure Flavor cookbook. Try experimenting with different cheeses to find your favorite. Use the pesto as a pasta sauce or dipping sauce for bread.
Parsley and Dill Pesto
1 or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup packed fresh dill
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Beecher’s Flagship cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor or blender, blend the garlic. Add the parsley, dill, lemon zest, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse until well combined. Scrape down the bowl and pulse until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Refrigerate in a covered dish for up to five days. Spread over fish just before serving.