The First Friday of Summer
YEAH, IT'S BEEN A WEEK
It's finally Friday! And, to be fair, it's not just any Friday. In fact, it sort of feels like the first true Friday of summer. Maybe that's just because we've been daydreaming of the sunshine, nice cool lake, the smell of a barbecue...But now it's finally here! We don't know about you, but it feels like there's always a pattern - we get excited for our Friday nights with family and friends and some incredible food, but by the time Friday arrives, we're too exhausted to make that ideal come true. Well, not this week! Here is our guide to cutting down your workload this weekend so you can muster all your energy for socializing. So get those last minute invites out now, because you'll want some guests for this.
1. The Meat (Or Meatless)
Alright, now you know you want to do something, but what? The best choice in this situation is something that will pack a LOT of flavor, can be whipped together quickly, and preferably can be cooked over open heat (it's time to make friends with that grill again).
Enter, Korean inspired barbecue. If you want to be doing this all summer long because you love the idea of perfectly balanced salt, sweet, and spice, your best option is probably this book (which, by the way, we can have right here ready for you in about as long as it takes for you to add it to your Amazon cart - plus no ship time!). If, however, you're on the run and don't really have the brain power to be making long-term commitments like that, this sauce is your new liquid gold.
Or maybe you still have a soft spot for that traditional French steak that looks just as pretty and is a little less spicy. Don't worry, we've got you too.
Whatever flavoring you end up using, definitely take a peek at this guide to make sure the meat is spectacular.
And if anyone in your crew is vegetarian, all of these taste just as delicious on some firm tofu
2. The Drinks
Alright, so now that you've got the central food down let's talk about hydration. If you've got kiddos or choose not to drink yourself, you might be best suited throwing some watermelon chunks with lime in the blender for a minute or two, but if you've got a taste for something stronger let's dive right in.
If you've read a magazine lately, you know that negroni are having a pretty big moment right now, but we've really had cherry on our minds recently. And if you've seen this drink from Food and Wine, you'll understand why. Listen, I'm definitely not telling you that making it with either of these cherries will be the best drink you've had in a long long time, and I'm also definitely not telling you that throwing in a dash of these bitters will totally change the entire drink, cause that might sound crazy, but you should definitely try that anyway.
Or, for a more tropical kick, try making a batch of Fireflies for you to sip as you watch the real things start blinking all around you over the sunset.
Psst! If you haven't had a week of warning to infuse that bourbon, add a few dashes of the cherry syrup to the drink. You'll thank us.
3. The Veggies
Now may be the best opportunity you've ever had to go by the policy of "no recipe is the best recipe." By now you hopefully have the grill up and running (come on, the meat needs it, the drink needs it, you gotta just do it), so grab whatever you've got and either add it to the smokey grill or make a salad! Somewhere in there, you'll hopefully have a few ears of corn. Check out this recipe to get your technique airtight. We'll have a whole bunch of salads coming your way real soon, but for now, try this open-ended salad dressing recipe, and maybe add a pinch of cayenne and lime zest to the butter on your corn (it really is the best).
3 parts olive oil
1 part balsamic vinegar
½ part maple syrup (play around with it)
Salt and pepper (yes really)
and a good squeeze of mustard
Shake everything up in a jar and adjust the sweetness/tanginess to suit the veggies you're using and your own taste!
4. ...And Finally, Dessert!
Strawberry shortcake is pretty much always perfect for days like this, but it might not always be perfect for your schedule. After all, there's mixing, chilling, baking, chilling, and more mixing between you and that sweet berry goodness. Those kinds of things are perfect for Sunday, after the farmers market gives you those gorgeous berries and maybe some cream from your local farmer. Tonight is the night to utilize all the little things that can make a dessert come together in 5 minutes.
And so I present to you, grilled peaches. Well, not any grilled peaches of course. That link will show you how to get the basics down, but our idea involves some butter (you have it for your corn), some bourbon (your cocktail), maple syrup, and ice-cream. I'll admit, you might need to buy the ice cream just for this, but other than that all those ingredients should be around.
So get to work and melt a gob of butte in a sauce pan (maybe even on the grill grate), let it simmer down with some maple to form a caramel-y sauce, add the bourbon for the last minute or so, and get to pouring. Oh, definitely don't forget the ice cream though!