Quick little cook-out a couple of Sunday’s ago…
I used the hand made corn tortillas from Publix. Can’t remember the brand but they say handmade on the front and they look different from the other tortillas. I used yellow corn and the white corn with green chilies, nice little kick to them.
For the Meat
A friend brought marinated flank steak, I marinated chicken tenders (organic vegetarian fed and cage free of course) with a mojo (garlic, lime, grated onion, and olive oil) and shrimp with lime zest and red chili flakes
Tip on the shrimp I learned the hard way don’t put citrus juice on shrimp and let it sit a long time. It cooks it and turns it to mush. Just leave the shrimp alone until you’re ready to grill them or sauté them or whatever. Then sprinkle with zest, chili flakes, salt, and pepper and toss in olive oil. Also, I get the peeled, deveined, tail off raw shrimp in the seafood section. Who wants to pull poop out of 30 little shrimp. I’ll let the nice people at Publix do that for me.
I like to take something simple and mess with it. So I bought the Mexican crumbling cheese and added lime zest and crushed pink peppercorns. The shredded cheese is just jalapeno cheddar that I shredded from a block.
Instead of sour cream I used non-fat Greek yogurt and added cilantro, lime zest, green onion, and jalapenos (leave in the seeds if you want it to be spicy)
I bought the already shredded cabbage cole slaw mix (with carrots and red cabbage) and added julienned granny smith apples, very thinly sliced radishes, and jalapenos. Used lime, brown sugar, and olive oil for the dressing. If it’s not tangy enough hit it with a little apple cider vinegar. I bought mild pickled okra and julienned them along with grape tomatoes. And made a simple pickling liquid with equal parts brown sugar and apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon or so of anise seed (it has a nice licorice smell) and some salt. Adjust the liquid to make it more sweet or more tangy by adding more sugar or vinegar depending on what you like. Then pour the warm liquid over julienned nectarines and onions.
Store bought high quality fresh salsas in cool containers and you are ready to go.
To make is easy on the day of the cook out so you aren’t messing around in the kitchen when everyone else is outside here’s the game plan.
First everything you prepare today you will put in the container you’re going to serve it in and cover it with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it for the cookout unless otherwise stated.
Marinate the chicken and the steak
Shred the cheese and mix the crumbling cheese
Mix the cilantro, lime zest, onion, and jalapeno for the yogurt
Mix the cole slaw except for the apple
Prepare the grape tomatoes and the pickled okra
Make the nectarine pickles
Put the prepared salsas in serving containers.
Get everything out that you will need – plates, napkins, cups, bowls for ice, etc.
Day of the cookout
Set up the area with plates, napkins, etc.
Heat up the grill
Put drinks out and in an ice tub
Take the meat out about 30 minutes before to let it warm up slightly so it’s not ice cold when you throw it on the grill
Toss the shrimp with zest, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper and put on aluminum foil to cook on the grill
Julienne the apples and toss them in the cole slaw
Mix the herbs and veggies with the yogurt
And you are good to go.
I like to use containers you wouldn’t usually use for food or that are meant for other purposes for food.
I put the pickled stuff in glass containers that are meant for candles.
I found these really cool metal tins that have a top and bottom compartment from World Market. I put ice in the bottom compartment to keep the yogurt cool in the top compartment.
I save any cool jar that food comes in like pesto or the Vlasic Farmer’s Garden pickle jars (which is great because you don’t have to pay for it again and you’re recycling).
I’ll browse around Target, World Market, H&M (yeah they have a home section now and it’s really cute stuff for cheap!), or West Elm and look at anything that could hold food. Vases, glasses, pans, mugs.
I just picked up 2 really large pans from Tractor Supply. They are feed pans for animals but I’m going to use them as trays or to hold food. Or I can fill them with ice and put smaller bowls in them to keep the food cold. They were $2 each. Nice!