Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chicago Grilling Season Kickoff

Don't you love it when you invite an eclectic mix of friends over for a super-causal dinner, and everyone just clicks? We did this on Sunday afternoon to officially open grilling season. Despite the fact that the weather was too chilly to lounge on the rooftop deck, it was the easiest, most enjoyable entertaining we've ever done. We kept the menu simple and fresh so that I could relax and enjoy having everyone camped out around the kitchen island, which is where they all usually end up anyway.

The Menu

Grape, Mint and Jalapeno Salsa
Navy Bean Artichoke "Hummus"
Blue Corn Chips
Pitchers of Vodka Lemonade
Grilled Salmon Fillets with Ginger Soy Glaze
Grilled Petit Sirloin Steaks
Red Potato Salad with Gorgonzola
Tossed Green Salad with Mango
Assorted Cookies

Nothing on the menu took more than a few minutes to prepare, except for the steaks - which at succulent 4 inches thick required some serious grilling. The quality of both the salmon and steak (from the previous day's Whole Foods expedition) were AH-MAZ-ING.

The big star of the day however seemed to be the grape salsa, for its unexpected blend of cool sweetness, mint, and heat. Pile that onto a salty chip and YUM!

Grape Mint Salsa
From Southern Living Magazine by way of Epicurious

2 cups green seedless grapes, coarsely chopped
2 cups red seedless grapes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 whole jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and finely chopped (don't forget your gloves for this part!)

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