Our fabulous Canadian summer is the perfect time to take your meals outside. Dining al fresco gives you the opportunity to utilize your outdoor living spaces and enjoy the long summer days, while entertaining your friends and family. There’s no better way to enjoy a meal than outside in the gorgeous summer weather surrounded by great company.
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Casual is the way to go. The atmosphere of a relaxed backyard barbecue is what summertime is all about. Prepare as much as you can in advance, and choose a menu that requires little to no cooking indoors. Marinate your meat, get your veggies cut and on skewers, and have your beverages of choice on ice and ready to serve.
As is true with most parties, people tend to graze. Instead of serving all the food at once, plan out a few courses and prepare them in waves. Start off with finger foods, such as shrimp skewers, Grilled Stuffed Peppers or Grilled Jalapeno Poppers.
Summer produce is bountiful and supporting local farmers is always a good idea. I’m a fan of planning my main course around produce and meat available locally. I can almost always find a few gorgeous heads of romaine at the farmers market, which, surprisingly, grill up quite nicely – not to mention, quickly. Impress the gang with Grilled Greek Salad served with a skewer of chicken, kebabs of onions, peppers and tomatoes, and cubed or crumbled Tre Stelle Feta.
No summer celebration is complete without dessert. Keep it light and refreshing and serve your guests grilled fruit. Thick slices of watermelon lightly drizzled with balsamic syrup, or wedges of fresh pineapple soaked in rum are crowd pleasers and incredibly easy to prep and grill.
My recipe for a first-class al fresco dining experience includes great friends, good food, and a casual atmosphere. Keep the meal simple, cook everything outside, keep the drinks flowing, and don’t forget to incorporate your favourite Tre Stelle cheeses!
1 Romaine Lettuce Heart per person (depending on the size, might be able to get away with just half per person)
Canola or vegetable oil
Greek-Style Salad Dressing (homemade or store bought)
Red Onion, cut into 1.5 to 2 inch pieces
Green Peppers, cut into 1.5 to 2 inch pieces
Cucumber, cut into thick slices, then quartered
Cubed or crumbled Tre Stelle Feta
Chicken Breast, seasoned with salt, pepper and your favourite seasoning blend, cubed and on skewers
Preheat your grill to medium high.
Grill the chicken skewers first. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Once the chicken is done, cut each romaine heart in half, keeping the stem intact, and lightly brush with oil.
Place on the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly charred.
Put the tomatoes, red onion and peppers onto skewers and grill until desired doneness. I like to wait until the tomatoes char slightly and the onions have softened slight.
Place grilled romaine on a plate along with the veggie skewer and chicken. Top with Greek dressing, cucumbers, olives and Tre Stelle Feta.