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June 05, 2017

Our Favorite Summertime Dinner | Herb Grilled Steaks, Tomato & Mozz Salad, Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Do you ever have one of those meals that makes you want to have a party so you can make it again for more people?  This!  This is one of the best meals we've had in a good while.  It all worked so well together  - the olive oil from the tomatoes blended with the bacon dressing and steaks finished with a little butter on top.  Oh man.  So good.   And it came together in 30 minutes.  Start to finish.

Our Patio & Back Porch.  I love this space.  I'm planning on a garden tour post as soon as the hydrangea bloom, so hang tight for details on what we've added in the last two years.  Details on patio table below.

This is such a perfect meal for summer entertaining.  It is fresh and indulgent, with bright flavors and a seasonal flare.  That is Emma's hand grabbing a slice of mozzarella that she calls "garlic cheese" for some reason.  I try to document little things like that here because when I come back to read this post in a couple of years, I'll laugh and smile at the thought of her little 5-year-old self.  

I'll walk you though the steps here, but each recipe will have a link for the actual recipe, as they are easier to organize that way on my site.  Those recipes are coming later today.

The Menu : 

Grilled Baguette

If you are entertaining, of course I recommend you make as much as possible ahead of time.  As much as possible.  Don't save anything that can be done ahead of time.  Here is what I'd do ahead of time : 

Salad : Wash Lettuce, Make Dressing (just reheat in microwave before serving), put it in a bowl with serving tongs.

Tomato Salad : Make completely except for salt.  Refrigerate.  Salt before serving.

Steaks : Chop herbs.  Rub on steak and salt just before grilling.

Bread : Slice in half.

When Guests arrive, all there is to do is grill the steaks and bread, toss the salad, sprinkle salt on the tomatoes and serve.  Make sure to have all of the napkins, water glasses, wine glasses, utensils and water pitcher ready to go.  These things always add up at the last minute.

Start/Light the Grill.

Chop rosemary & thyme.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt on both sides.  Rub rosemary and thyme on both sides.  (These are ribeyes.)  They had a bit of fat on them so they flared up a bit.  For entertaining, I like to use leaner cuts like filets because they are easier to eat - no trimming necessary.

Put them on the grill.  These cooked for 6 minutes on each side, then rested for 8 minutes under foil.  So, total cooking time is 20 minutes.

After you've put the steaks on the grill, start the salad.

Chop the bacon into small pieces (about 1/2 inch).  Fry on a lot heat, rendering the fat and crisping up the bacon.  After about 4-5 minutes, turn off the heat and go flip the steaks.

Add the sugar to the bacon fat and pour into a glass bowl or pourable measuring cup.  Wash lettuce and chop green onions, put in a bowl.  Add vinegar to dressing, making sure it isn't too hot, or it will splatter.   The salad is ready to go - just toss with the dressing right before taking to the table.

The steaks are probably ready to take off of the grill.  Test them with a meat thermometer to read 125-130 degrees.  Remove from the fire and cover them with foil.  Put the bread on to grill, but make sure the flame is low.  Grill the bread for just 2 minutes.

This can be made ahead of time, or quickly assembled while the steaks are resting.  Just slice the tomatoes and mozzarella.  Arrange them on a platter.  Drizzle generously with olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Sprinkle fresh basil and chives over.  So good.

Grab the bread off of the grill as you head out to the table.


Today, I added an umbrella to our old picnic table and turned our patio into a shady spot for meals... why did it take me two years to think of this??!!

I have been looking for the perfect teak (investment!) dining set, but couldn't find anything I loved... that fit my budget.  My main motivation was getting a table with an umbrella so we could have some shade in the evenings.  Today, I just got an itch and went out and bought an umbrella and solved my problem!  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in searching for forever pieces for our home, sometimes I forget that less expensive solutions can be just as beautiful and charming.  I'm pretty happy with this!

The table was from Lowe's 2 years ago ($100) and I picked up the umbrella from World Market (about $100).  Mike drilled a 2" hole in the top of our table to accommodate the umbrella.  Easy sneezy.


For dessert, may I suggest the easiest dessert ever...

This is so unbelievably good.  If you are entertaining, go ahead and scoop the ice cream into glasses before guests arrive and keep in the freezer.  Then bring them out to the table and top with soda.   So good on a hot night.

I'm hoping to share more simple, summer meals we're enjoying on this table this summer.  Emma and I are both off official duty for the summer, but we will still be cooking and eating, so I'm going to make every effort to carve out some time to share, as well.

Happy Summer!

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