Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Dinner Party

It is no secret that I love to cook for people.  I believe that good food is meant to be shared, so I try to do it as often as possible.  I especially love summer cooking because there is nothing better than enjoying a drink outside in the sunshine while the grill heats up. 

I specifically chose simple dishes. I did not want to spend my whole day doing food prep and sometimes--especially in the summer, simplicity is an important factor.  Dinner included grilled pork chops, sweet corn and brussels sprouts.  Dessert was strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar.  The pork chop recipe was from Epicurious, however instead of making a garlic-lime sauce, I made a marinade.  The brussels sprouts are a simple dish I make all the time. The corn on the cob was just boiled, but included the addition of cumin butter (human butter according to one of our guests). The strawberries are a Hammond family favorite--and now one of my favorites because of its simplicity and tastiness!

Grilled Pork Chops Marinated in Garlic & Lime
6 boneless center cut pork chops, 1/2 inch thick

For the Marinade
2/3 cup EVOO
1/2 cup lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

1) Mix the ingredients of the marinade.  Stir well, and then place the pork chops in a large plastic bag (or two if you have to) and pour the marinade over them.  Let them sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours before grilling. 
2) When you start the grill, take the pork chops out and pat them dry with a paper towel.  Reserve some of the marinade for basting if you want to.  Let the pork chops sit outside of the fridge until the grill is going.
3) Grill the pork chops on medium high heat, 5 minutes on each side.  After taking them off the grill, let them sit for 3-5 minutes to let the juices settle. 

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon
1 lb of brussels sprouts
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbs. EVOO
salt & pepper to taste

1) Slice the brussels sprouts starting at the top of the sprout first, and then discard the end.  I did this step well before dinner so it was done before the guests arrived. 
2) In a medium pan, heat 2 tbs of EVOO.  Once the oil is heated, toss the brussels sprout in the pan.  Add the lemon juice, and then add salt & pepper to taste.  Cook about 7 minutes until some of the sprouts are caramelized.  

Cumin Butter
1/2 stick salted butter (or 1/2 stick of unsalted and salt it yourself)
1 Tbs. of dried cumin

1) Soften the butter.  I prefer to set it out and let it come to room temperature rather than microwaving it.  Once it is soft, add the cumin and mix well.  Butter your corn with it.  It should work for about 6 ears of corn.

Strawberries Dipped in Sour Cream and Brown Sugar
2 lbs. of strawberries, tops cut off.
8 oz. of sour cream
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar

This one is almost self explanatory.  Spoon sour cream and brown sugar on your plate. Dip the strawberry in the sour cream first, then the brown sugar.   Enjoy!


  1. This all sounds delish! Best of it, so stinkin' easy!!

  2. Exactly! I tried to focus on things that would be uncomplicated and easy for this gathering and I think this meal is definitely simple, and also delicious. I want to make more meals like this!