Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Sweet Outdoors

Rosemary Balsamic Caramel Glazed Chicken Thighs

Picnics, potlucks, backyard barbecues… summer is the season for fresh-air meals with family and friends! But living the al fresco life doesn’t mean abandoning the kitchen, even in a heat wave. Our easy, tasty recipes can be created in a flash and are guaranteed to impress guests or hosts. Naturally, each one contains just the right proportion of sweetness!

Playing with Fire

Grilled Spice-Crusted Steak

Turn on the grill, but don’t settle for the same old chicken, hot dogs, or burgers when you can make them mouth-watering. Brush on our Zesty Barbecue Sauce—made tangy with mustard and lemon juice—or baste with Smoky Barbecue Sauce, a complex blend of ketchup, beer, liquid smoke, hot pepper, and C&H Pure Cane Dark Brown Sugar. If your family loves ribs, they’re sure to savor our classic Barbecued Spare Ribs recipe. It was developed in 1948, just in time for the debut of our Dark Brown Sugar, and it’s been a customer favorite ever since!

Another customer favorite, always on our most-requested-recipe list: Cedar-Planked Salmon, easy to prepare on a ready-made cedar plank. (Find the planks at fish counters and hardware stores.) Don’t skimp on the brown sugar: you’ll want to cover the entire fillet. The combination of sweet and smoky is irresistible!

And talk about classic: For steak lovers, nothing beats our Grilled Spice-Crusted Steak with herb butter. The sugar goes into the spice crust along with coriander, garlic, and three kinds of pepper.

Caribbean Grilled Chicken and Pineapple

Looking for something more adventurous? Try our Caribbean Grilled Chicken and Pineapple, a sweet-and-savory combination of chicken breasts, lime juice, spices, and fresh pineapple. (Substitute canned pineapple if it’s easier.) Our C&H Pure Cane Washed Raw Sugar adds balance and a subtle but satisfying texture.

Traveling farther around the globe, our Chicken Saté with Peanut Sauce, grilled on skewers, reveals its Indonesian origins in its flavors: ginger, lime, lemon, soy sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter. A quarter-cup of C&H Pure Cane Washed Raw Sugar rounds out the flavor profile.

Our recipe for Rosemary Balsamic Caramel-Glazed Chicken Thighs, developed for us by Chef Emily Luchetti, calls for baking in a 350° oven, but you can grill the chicken directly on a well-oiled grate with the grill cover on. The recipe doubles and triples easily to feed a crowd.

Salad Days

Country Coleslaw

Salads and side dishes turn even a weekday cookout into a banquet. Be sure to exercise common sense when using mayonnaise dressings in hot weather; see our Quick Tip, below, for food-handling advice.

A picnic isn’t a picnic without a classic All-American Potato Salad, and ours is one of the best we’ve tried! For a variation, use a combination of small red and purple potatoes—and leave the peels on. For a colorful and healthful twist on an old favorite, mix up our Country Cole Slaw, which adds carrots, green and red peppers, and a dash of hot-pepper sauce to the shredded cabbage. Country Macaroni Salad also gets a color and flavor boost from chopped vegetables; a couple of teaspoons of C&H Pure Cane Organic or Granulated Sugar mellows out the dressing.

Part salad, part dessert, our Summer Fruit Salad features fresh seasonal fruits gently tossed with a tangy, creamy dressing. And speaking of fruit, Baked Beans Hawaiian—which of course isn’t a salad at all—contains a sweet surprise: chunks of canned pineapple.

Desserts and Drinks

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

For impressing a crowd (or just your nearest and dearest), nothing quite beats a home-baked pie filled with summer-sweet fruit. Two of our favorites: Blackberry Pie with Tender Pie Crust (milk is the secret to the crust’s tenderness) and Peachy Peach Pie, a Kansas State Fair contest winner. But if you’d rather keep it quick and cool, we won’t argue! Our Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes require just a little baking (for the cupcakes) and are definitely worth the effort to assemble. Keep them in mind for summer birthday parties!

No-Bake Fresh Fruit Tart

Planning a Fourth of July get-together? These Red White and Blue Cookie Squares, made with fresh blueberries and raspberries and filled with Neufchatel cheese—lighter than regular cream cheese—are festive and scrumptious. Or bring out the ice-cream maker and whip up some refreshing Peach Pistachio Ice Cream or sophisticated Cuban Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Salsa. Easiest of all? Our No-Bake Fresh Fruit Tart, a snap to make with a packaged graham-cracker crust, a lightly sweetened cream cheese filling, and plenty of fresh summer berries, cherries, and grapes.

The perfect accompaniment to your outdoor feast? An icy, fruity beverage like our Tropical Lemonade, Minty Strawberry Lemonade, or Hula Freeze. Check out the Beverages section of our website for even more great ideas!

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