Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mangia, Eat, Enjoy the Taste of Italy with this Italian Inspired Menu

Labor Day weekend…a time when our thoughts turn toward the long winter months coming ahead.  The kids are back in school, or soon will be (thank god); the days are getting shorter, and for many people, Labor Day signals the time to put away those lawn chairs; cover up the grill and get ready to hunker down.  So why not invite a few people over to celebrate the end of the season with you?  And why not make it a special “vacation” themed party; how about a vacation in Italy?  How about a vacation in Tuscany?  LindySez..WTF…why not?
This menu A Tuscan Vacation Grill, is designed to use all the fresh fruits and vegetables you can find, in their prime, right now.  Of course I recommend going to your local Farmer’s Market, to get your ingredients; keeping that carbon footprint to a minimum, but if you must, a supermarket will do just fine.  And another beautiful thing about this menu is it can be made almost entirely in advance allowing you time to relax and enjoy your own party.
Prep your vegetables (except for the eggplant, it doesn’t do well sitting around) for the Grilled Summer Vegetables a day ahead and store in zip top bags; the dressing can be made at the same time…store it in a jar in the fridge…just remember to take it out a couple of hours before you want to use it so the oils will liquefy again.  The Skewers with Italian Style Chimichurri can also be cut in advance, and really should have an overnight to marinate anyway, so that’s done…when ready to grill them, have the kids put them on the skewers or do it in the morning and keep them on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan, covered and in the refrigerator.  Make the chimichurri and let it sit for at least a couple of hours at room temperature, or make it, store it in the refrigerator and take it out a couple of hours before you need it to allow it to come to room temperature.  Even most of the dessert,Grilled Polenta Cake with Stone Fruit and Olive Oil Vanilla Ice Cream can be made a day or two ahead, you could make the Polenta Cake and store it, covered for a day or two, or three and the ice cream can be kept in the fridge for last minute ice cream making magic, or entirely made in advance and kept frozen (although if you have a hand crank ice cream maker and a few kids they love to make homemade ice cream); or you could buy some Hagen Daz… but what’s the fun of that?  The only thing that really needs some last minute love is the Grilled Tuscan Bread Salad, but that’s so simple to prepare, it will only take a nano second of your time.
LindySez: ” SoSouMe - Open a couple bottles of some good Italian wine, perhaps a chilled Pinot Gris, or a Rosso from Toscana and enjoy these dog days of summer.”

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