Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hybrid Mediterranean Picnic

I have been involved with a supper club for the past few years of close friends and tribe members who are all foodies with creative minds. Every month or so, we get together, pick a theme and cook gourmet menu items surrounding that theme to cook. Then we get together at a revolving series of homes and enjoy good food and wine together. The parties have evolved through the course of time to adapt to our lives and have gone from very formalized settings to casual, down home atmospheres. Over the course of time, babies have started to appear all around us and today, our parties have come to include the occasional afternoon fete or picnic to accompany the presence and schedules of all these new little people who have cropped up. Our most recent party was a hybrid Mediterranean picnic, incorporating a menu that took the best of al fresco dining from both Mediterranean and American cultures and mixed it up.

Roasted Shrimp Salad with Couscous
Green Salad with Shaved Fennel, Red Onion and Orange Vinaigrette
Grilled and Marinated Chicken Breasts with Grilled Portobello Caps
Crudite and Potato Chips with Onion Herb Dip
Tabouleh and Pita Bread
Charred Corn and Tomato Salad
Deviled Eggs
Marinated Olives and Feta
Grilled Sweet Pepper and Asparagus Platter
Lemon Bars

One of our club members Charlotte, who is one of those recently new mommies I speak of, came up with a quick and easy version of a cold corn and tomato salad that was the hit of the afternoon and used creativity (the use of Trader Joe pre-cooked charred corn kernels) and fresh ingredients for the mother on the go who still wants to provide healthy fare.

Cha's Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salad
Serves a crowd!
6 ears of corn (If out of season or pressed for time, use frozen charred corn from TJs-what a discovery!)
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes
1-2 cups fresh herbs from your garden (oregano, basil, cilantro, parsley, sage and rosemary were used in this one)
3 tablespoons orange muscat champagne vinegar (TJ's again, and if not, use red wine vinegar)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook corn until charred on hot BBQ and scrape kernels into large bowl. Add chopped tomatoes. Emulsify all dressing ingredients and add to the tomato and corn, no more than 1 hour before serving. When ready to serve, mix in the herbs!

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