In the past, we talked about how much we love all of the side dishes during the winter holidays. To me, the side dishes at cookouts can be just as exciting. Who doesn’t get hungry at the sight of a whole table spread with such dishes as homemade potato salad, pasta salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, and an array of other delicious concoctions, including too many cold salads to list them all?
I’m sure we’ve all piled a plate high at a cookout, then sat down in the shade somewhere to sample the offerings. If you’re like me, you can’t help but silently judge them as you eat. For instance, perhaps that potato salad doesn’t have as much mustard as your grandma used to use. Perhaps the macaroni and cheese is some of the best you’ve ever had, or you wish the baked beans had a touch more brown sugar and some more bacon. But it’s so much fun to see how other people make these summer staples.
My favorite side dish is always going to be good macaroni and cheese, but I hate to heat up the oven in the summertime, so I tend to make deviled eggs when I’m invited to a cookout. They are so affordable and easy to make. My simple recipe includes a little mayonnaise, a little mustard, a little pickle relish, a pinch of sugar and some salt and pepper, with paprika sprinkled on top.
I’m also a huge fan of good baked beans, but I must be Southern because I like my baked beans thick and rich, heavy on the bacon and brown sugar with some molasses thrown in for good measure. I make my baked beans with an array of different kinds of beans because I like the speckled look of red, white and black beans all together.
This weekend will be one of the biggest cookout weekends of the summer. I’d like to know- what is your favorite summer side dish to eat and/or to make? Before the next big cookout weekend, I’d like to ask local chefs to share with us their favorite cookout side dish recipes. In fact, I’ve already started… how does spoonbread with boursin cheese and smoked hog jowls sound? Stay tuned on that one.
This weekend, I plan to make the popular Asian-style salad with cabbage, Ramen noodles and sliced almonds. I think I’ve found the recipe I will use, but since this salad gets around so much, if anybody thinks they have a better one than this, please do tell.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 (3 ounce) package chicken flavored ramen noodles, crushed, seasoning packet reserved
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 medium head cabbage, shredded
5 green onions, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, ramen noodle spice mix, salt and pepper to create a dressing.
3. Place sesame seeds and almonds in a single layer on a medium baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven 10 minutes, or until lightly brown.
4. In a large salad bowl, combine the cabbage, green onions and crushed ramen noodles. Pour dressing over the cabbage, and toss to coat evenly. Top with toasted sesame seeds and almonds.