Kids away at camp Fire up the grill and get the party started

There’s something about the summer that makes people want to socialize. Everything — the warm sun, the fresh fruits, the cold drinks — calls out for a party.

You can wait for invitations to start rolling in, or even better yet, seize the opportunity to host. Need a theme? How about a “The kids are away for two weeks at Camp Newman-Swig” party?

No doubt you’ll think of some other good excuses, er, bona fide reasons to have a party this summer. And when you do, it’s good to have a few standby recipes — either to contribute to potlucks or to serve at your own get-togethers.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, along with perfect grilling weather, are the true tastes of summer to me.

That’s why Eggplant-Tomato Stacks with Fresh Goat Cheese (and leeks) is a perfect choice as a vegetarian entrée or a barbecue side dish. Not only that, but it’s a grill recipe that can be prepared quickly.

And wouldn’t your summer party be that much better with a fresh strawberry mojito? Bonus points if you serve it with an umbrella.

 

Eggplant-Tomato Stacks with Fresh Goat Cheese

Serves 4

2 regular eggplants, sliced into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds

3 large, round red tomatoes, sliced into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds

6 oz. soft goat cheese

2 leeks, sliced

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat grill on high. Grill eggplant slices 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks form on eggplant’s flesh. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt.

In small, lightly greased pan over the grill, cook the leek slices 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant.

To assemble the stacks, layer in this order: eggplant, goat cheese, tomato, goat cheese, eggplant, goat cheese, tomato, leeks. Garnish with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

 

Chili-Gilded Salmon Satay

Serves 4

4 4-oz. fillets salmon, cut into 3-inch strips

1 tsp. chili powder

3 Tbs. peanut butter

1⁄8 cup coconut milk

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1-inch piece ginger, minced

2 tsp. honey

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lime, juiced

4 cups spinach or mixed greens

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped

Skewers

If using bamboo skewers and an outdoor grill, soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Push salmon pieces onto the tips of the skewers. Sprinkle the strips lightly with chili powder.

Heat grill on high. Grill the salmon 2-3 minutes on each side or until lightly crisp with grill marks. While the salmon grills, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, ginger, honey, garlic and lime.

Serve satay sticks atop a mound of greens with peanut sauce on the side for dipping. Garnish generously with cilantro.

 

Strawberry Mojitos

Serves 4

20 mint leaves

4 tsp. fine sugar

2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and de-stemmed

2 limes, juiced

8 oz. silver rum

4 oz. club soda

4 lime wedges

Extra mint leaves

Combine mint, sugar, strawberries and lime juice in a large pitcher and muddle. Minty-sweet aroma will tell you when to stop. Add rum, soda and ice. Shake well. Pour into frosty glasses and garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

Gabi Moskowitz is the clergy assistant at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, a caterer and cooking teacher. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. Follow her adventures in and out of the kitchen in her blog, www.gabimoskowitz.com.

 

Gabi Moskowitz
Gabi Moskowitz

Gabi Moskowitz is the co-author of “Hot Mess Kitchen” and the co-producer of “Young & Hungry,” a Freeform comedy currently in its fifth season. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Evan. She can be reached at brokeassgourmet.com.