Grilled Summer Squash & Prosciutto Ribbons with Mint-Lime Dressing

Squash Ribbon Skewers
The arrival of summer means getting outdoors, enjoying time on the patio and firing up the barbeque. One of my favorite things to do during the warmer month (besides hiking or heading to the coast) is throwing local ingredients on the ‘que and enjoying dinner “al fresco style” with friends and family.

Each week, I head down to my favorite local produce stand (Mike’s Truck Garden) in Santa Rosa, California. This past week, I picked up some beautiful summer squash, prosciutto, a bag of Bing cherries along with other vegetables to get me through the week. As I was searching for inspiration for a new “summer squash” recipe, I came across this simple grilled squash kebab recipe from Food & Wine magazine. This recipe was so easy to make and delicious that I thought I should share it with all of you. It’s perfect as a light main dish, appetizer or side dish and it taste great straight from the grill or tossed with whole wheat pasta.

Squash Ribbon Kebabs

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
6 slices of prosciutto, cut in half
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped mint (feel free to add more mint as desired)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and ground pepper, to taste

Light the grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, mix together the lime zest, lime juice, mint, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Alternately thread the zucchini, yellow squash and prosciutto on kebab skewers. Lightly brush the remaining olive oil over the vegetables and prosciutto. Lightly season with salt and pepper (try to avoid seasoning too much salt on the prosciutto pieces). Grill the skewers over high heat until the vegetables are lightly charred, about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes each side. Serve with the mint-lime dressing on the side.

Cheers and have a safe Fourth of July holiday! ~Crystal


Game Day: Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork Sandwhich

Rochelle and I both love football season and with the NFC Championship game right around the corner, what better snack to serve at your next party than this easy slow cooked pulled pork sandwich recipe. Having a large group over? No problem! Turn those pulled pork sandwiches into pulled pork sliders for a delicious finger food that all can enjoy. What make this recipe great is that it is SO easy to make. Throw the below ingredients into a slow cooker and in 4-6 hours (on high) or 8-10 hours (on low) you will have the most tender, juicy, packed-with-flavor dish perfect for your next game day party. Wondering which libations to serve? Check out our drink guide for the perfect pairing!

1 (4 1/2 to 5 pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt)
1  1/2 cans (14 ounces) chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 – 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bottle of barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
1 bag crostini sandwich rolls/buns or slider buns
Coleslaw – recipes below

Pulled Pork Banner

Combine the sugar, salt, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry, trim off any large areas of fat (optional) and rub the spice mixture all over the pork. Wrap the pork in plastic wrap or heavy duty ziplock bag and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator (The rub does not penetrate the meat during refrigeration, at least not deeply, but it does form a moist layer of seasoning that adheres well during cooking. You can also apply a bit more rub before putting the meat in the cooker.)

Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Pour 1/4 – 1/2 bottle of barbeque sauce over the pork, cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork.  Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl and pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.

If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces using two forks, discarding any large pieces of fat. Add the rest of the barbecue sauce (to taste) and mix to combine. If you do not have barbecue sauce use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.  – Makes 6 sandwiches.

Perfect Pair? COLESLAW!

I don’t eat coleslaw often, but with pulled pork sandwiches it is a must for me. Add it to your sandwich or as an accompaniment on the side. Check out 10 different twists on the “classic  coleslaw” recipe by Rachel Ray. Pick your favorite or experiment with your coleslaw concoction.


Drink Pairing

What to drink with your pulled pork sandwich?

  • Our friends over at Heritage Public House, located in Santa Rosa, California, suggest either a Pale Ale or Brown Ale to complement this dish. The malty sweetness balanced by hoppy bitterness in a pale ale pairs wonderfully as it brings out the flavors in the pork rather than competing with it while the malty flavors in a brown ale tend to bring out the spiciness of the dish.
  • A bright and fruity Barbera wine pairs nicely with the spice and bbq flavors in the pork. Michael Muscardini, of Muscardini Cellars,  makes a delicious Barbera that’s worth a try.
  • If you are looking for a cocktail, try a dark spirit based cocktail like a Lynchburg Lemonade.