Yesterday was the perfect summer day to have friends over. It wasn't hot, and it wasn't cold. There was a fantastic breeze that kept it from getting too sticky, and Andy wanted to grill some ribs and chicken. It couldn't have worked better. To accompany his BBQ chicken and ribs, how could I make anything other than potato salad, and how could we not slice up a perfectly ripe watermelon.
For the potato salad I opted to go with Emeril's Favorite Potato Salad, which I have made recently. I thought it would have the perfect balance of flavor with the BBQ, and I could leave out the eggs for our egg-sensitive friends without the potato salad suffering. Of course, after I had the potato salad combined, I was reminded that Emeril is a genius, because the potato salad is simple, yet amazing. My changes this time were to leave out the eggs, but add some chopped red bell pepper for color, and a tiny handful of fresh dill from the garden. Make this one a few hours in advance, because it really is spectacular after it's had time to combine.
Then there was the zucchini. One of our friends was bringing a broccoli and cauliflower salad (which was awesome, btw) but I also wanted to use some of the zucchini from the garden. Andy suggested dessert, but I lacked a few ingredients and really didn't want to run to the store. So in an effort to help me out, he spent a little while searching online for a recipe for me to do something different with the zucchini that used hands-on ingredients. The closest he came was a Summer Squash Casserole from Paula Deen. I looked at it, studied it, and came up with my own, lighter version that turned out very well. It was exactly what I wanted- onions and zucchini sweated on the stove top, and then cheese is added along with a crunchy topping, and the whole thing baked in the oven. It was slightly sweet from the onions, and the zucchini really shone. I'm afraid I missed taking a photo of it, but the recipe for my Zucchini Gratin is in the Recipe Trove for anyone interested.
The get together was perfect. The weather cooperated, the kids had a great time, and way too much food was had by all. Another friend brought a chocolate cherry cake that was the perfect way to finish the evening, and I must hunt her down to get the recipe, because I've never seen my kids so taken by a cake. They always eat a little, then leave the rest on the plate. In this case, although they both filled up on ribs, chicken, and watermelon, they were licking their plates of crumbs!