I can smell someone grilling from miles away. I should clarify that I have super-human smell abilities in general, I think it started when I was pregnant with my son and then never went away. I can smell a cigarette 4.7 miles downwind of me, a dirty diaper from the other side of the house and when someone has a burger on the grill in the next town over. It’s such a great smell, isn’t it? The burger, I mean. It’s something that immediately makes me think of summer. We grilled out a lot when I was a kid and it was mostly during the summer. It makes me think of wet bathing suits and ketchup-ed faces, and running around all day into the night when the fireflies would start to dance. So even though today wasn’t a beautiful day or even a summer day, it felt like the right day to grill.
Tonight’s dinner was a lot of fun. We had my parents over to eat and I made Turkey Burger Sliders with a do-it-yourself toppings bar. I wish I had a picture to share but we all pounced on it too quickly. The buns were buttery, flaky Parker House rolls and I had little dishes of minced avocado, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, cheddar, chives, spinach, arugula, bacon crumbles, blue-brie cheese, caramelized onions and a homemade balsamic-strawberry jam, along with the usual burger condiments for everyone to choose from. We all got to make our own little (or 5 little) burgers, which seemed to be a big hit. I made white and sweet potato fries and Asian slaw to have on the side. Then once we cleaned our burger plates it was on to dessert. I made Kiwi-Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie* and homemade vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect ending to a really fun meal.
I think any time you can entertain with a ‘make your own’ type of meal, your guests will instantly have twice as much fun because deep down, we’re all still kids at heart. We work so hard all day at being adults but often forget about that little kid that’s still inside of us. Sometimes it just takes a little slider or 5 to bring us back to childhood.
-Peel and cube 2 large Rhubarb stalks, 2 large Kiwis and hull and slice 15 large strawberries, (5-6 cups fruit total…I have been known to add some blueberries to the mix as well when I didn’t have enough strawberries or kiwis. And the pictures below show that.).
-Place them in a large bowl and toss with 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp. allspice, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 a lemon, juiced and zested, 3 1/2 TB cornstarch and 1/2 tsp. of salt.
-Pour filling into pie plate lined with 1 unbaked pie crust*. (you will need 2 total)
-Dot with 2 TB cold butter.
-Cover with top crust. Brush with milk. Sprinkle with sugar. Vent with 2-3 slits. Or do a lattice top.
-Place on foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 10mins. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 50mins-1 hour or until golden brown. Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temp.
-And always, always serve with ice cream.