Summer Sides and Grilling with Hebrew National
It has been an amazing summer! In Southern California we have had it all, from extremely hot beach days to cold and rainy ones. I have to say, I enjoy a little bit of both. The rainy days give me an excuse to relax and watch movies, while the nice days give me an excuse to be outside and grill, which is one of my favorite things about summer.
As you saw in some of my previous posts, I always spend a few weeks in the summer with my family in Michigan. The farm fresh food there is incredible, and I love being able to spend time with my family on the lake. There really is nothing like being on the lake in Northern Michigan during a summer day. When I come back to California after my trip, I always go through withdrawals, so I wanted to add a little bit of Michigan to one our recent (of many) cookouts.
Michigan is well known for their cherries! Summertime is when they are in season, specifically in the month of July. Northern Michigan is always booming during the 4th of July, but it gets even crazier when the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan gets going the same week. It is a huge festival with tons of food, beer, wine, and music. You can't have summertime in Michigan without cherries, and since I wanted to add a little bit of Michigan to our cookout to help with my withdrawals, I thought it would be really fun to add cherries into the meal somehow. I have been making a lot of crostini lately because it’s easy to prepare on the grill. This Michigan inspired, crostini is simply grilled bread, with fresh goat cheese, dried cherries, fresh parsley, toasted pine nuts, and a drizzle of fresh Michigan honey. I recommend using the local honey wherever you are if you can find it. Local honey is a really fun and interesting way to experience a ‘place’, because the honey-producing bees carry the flavors of the local land and flowers. If you find local honey in Northern Michigan it will taste completely different than the local honey in Mid-Michigan. This crostini is a nice, sweet, cookout addition that allows you to experience a little piece of Michigan flavor. The sweet yet tart cherries are a perfect complement to the creamy goat cheese, and nutty toasted pine nuts. Recipe here!
Since I am back in California, the place I now call home, I had to give it some love as well. Southern California is such a magical place because there is so much going on so close! Within a few hours drive is the beach, skiing, or a Hollywood premiere. There is always something going on from volleyball tournaments at the beach, to Vince Vaughn shooting his latest movie up the street. It feels like anything is possible! I talk about the wonderful fresh farm food in Michigan, but California is right there with them. The farmers markets here are packed full of local flavor with produce that is in season. Since moving to California, I have become much more health conscious. I'm not an extreme "juicer" or "raw foodie" or anything, but I am crazy about the quality of the food I eat. I really appreciate something as simple as perfectly seasoned produce, drizzled with fresh olive oil. Avocados are a very popular thing to eat in California, and we tend to add them to everything! When I saw a perfect grapefruit at the farmer's market I had to pick it up, because I thought the mixture of grapefruit and avocado could be “California” on a plate. The grapefruit is bitter, tart, and slightly sweet, while also being bright, acidic, and extremely refreshing. That makes it the perfect complement to the creamy, mild, and earthy flavors of the avocado. I don't worry too much about making a dressing for this, because a simple drizzle of fresh olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper allow these flavors to really shine on their own. Recipe here!
My ‘go to’ this summer when grilling hot dogs has been Hebrew National because they are made with quality ingredients. I started thinking of fun toppings that would be in season towards the end of summer. Tomatoes and corn both are at their peak in flavor towards mid to late summer, and both have been looking great at my local farmers market. The mixture of the acidic tomatoes, and sweet corn, along with fresh parsley, make for a refreshing topping on the savory grilled hot dog. Recipe below!
All of these dishes are a perfect way to experience summer on a plate!
Corn and Tomato Topping
1 cup sliced tomatoes
1 cup fresh corn; corn on the cob or frozen corn works
1-2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper
*Coat the corn on the cob with olive oil and place on a preheated grill; turn every few minutes until all sides are cooked (the corn can also be cut off the cob and cooked in a sauté pan instead)
*Allow to cool; then cut the corn off the cob and place in a large bowl
*Add in the sliced tomatoes
*Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, chopped parsley, and toss together
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Place over a perfectly grilled hot dog placed in a grilled bun
The combination of franks and these toppings may not be Kosher
What makes a Hebrew National kosher hot dog premium? It's all about what makes the cut (And what doesn't). We're choosy about what goes into our franks – we use only premium cuts of 100% kosher beef from the front half of the cow and then choose the best from that. No artificial flavors, colors, fillers or by-products. When your hot dog is Kosher, that's a hot dog you can trust! For more summer fun with Hebrew National, visit facebook.com/hebrewnational.