|My Summer Ready Back Yard|
To me Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer. Farmer's markets are in full swing and filled with smells of pure freshness, the sun seems to be brighter and of course the repertoire of dishes to prepare skyrockets! My focus drastically shifts from soups, stews and less then bright salads of the winter months (we are in California so winter is not all that bad) to the bright colors and flavors of summer.
|Fresh Mint and Finely Grated Feta Cheese|
|Watermelon with Feta and Fresh Mint|
Meats and various sides are front and center of our Memorial Day BBQ. Thanks to my co-worker Lianna whom I harassed to get the scoop from her in-laws regarding the magical meat marinades that are present in their Armenian culture, I now prepare all my meat for BBQ's in this manner. All it takes is 24hrs in the fridge, a few simple spices and you will have the most incredible moist and mouthwatering chicken kabobs. Recipe to follow. Lianna gave me the low down on chicken and beef kabobs, but I plan on obtaining more very soon. I hear the lamb chops are something extraordinary.
Middle Eastern Flavors definitely tend to dominate the protein portion of my Memorial Menu, however that's not the case for the sides. "Northern Italy particularly Genoa in the Liguria region" according to Wikepedia is the home of my next summer ritual...PESTO. Pesto is everything, truly the perfect creation. And although I make it year round (I like to spread it on crusty baguettes and put it in soups), something about being able to pour this wonderfully tangy sauce on grilled summer asparagus, bright colored bell peppers, summer squash and zucchini just screams summer.
|Pasta Salad with Pesto and Cherry Tomatos|
Marinated Chicken Breast Kabobs-Armenian Style...TX Lianna!
6-8 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Cubed
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Large Lemon, Juiced
1 tablespoon Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
Cut the chicken breasts in to bite size kabob pieces. Starting with the oil, combine the next 6 ingredients in a small container you can cover. Shake the marinade and pour over the chicken pieces. Using gloves or your hands mix to coat evenly all the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 24hrs prior to cooking.
When ready to cook, remove the chicken from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before putting on the grill.
Skewer 5-6 pieces of meat on to small bamboo skewers (Tip:soak the skewers in cold water prior to using to prevent burning). Cook 5-6 minutes per side on a grill preheated to 400 degrees (You may use a stove top grill-pan as well on medium to high heat). Remove from heat and let the meat rest for 6-8 minutes before serving. Enjoy!