Friday Five: Holiday Weekend Edition.

Summer holidays mean outdoor entertaining, and who doesn’t love that? For today’s Friday Five, we bring you a rundown of our tried-and-true al fresco favorites, but take no responsibility for the fickle moods of the weather gods.

And, in the event that the deities refuse to cooperate, these recipes taste just as good inside as out.

1. Veg Sides.

This carrot salad with harissa, feta, and mint won rave reviews at a tailgate and backyard barbecue alike. Safe to say it’s a crowd-pleaser. Honorable mentions: Moosewood’s quinoa and black bean salad and an easy, delicious Tuscan bean and tomato ragú.

2. Potato Salads.

Jill whipped together a non-mayo take on the standard potluck player last year, and as often happens, I wished for a teleportation device to deliver me straight to her door for leftovers. Honorable mentions: two takes—curried and lemony—from Martha Stewart.

3. Pastas.

This category’s a tough one, but in the end, I’ve gotta go with this vegetarian chickpea concoction: No-cook sauce, interesting spices, and equally delicious hot or cold. Honorable mentions: A simple zucchini and goat cheese combo, a zippy green-olive-dressed pasta salad, and the best macaroni and cheese in the world.

4. Meaty Mains.

It’s impossible to pick a winner in this category. These sticky balsamic-glazed ribs are amazing, but Jill’s ginger-honey version is a serious contender as well. Not into pork? I can’t say enough good things about this grilled lemon-coriander chicken, these grown-up lamb skewers, or these messy, finger-licking good peel-and-eat shrimp.

5. Desserts.

It may not be time for peaches quite yet, but that minor detail can’t stop me from fantasizing about this amazing cobbler from Nigel Slater. I aspire to eat like Nigel, with his homey kitchen and bountiful garden, but until I win the lottery or relocate, I’ll be making do with recipes like this one. Honorable mentions: an upside-down cake with sugary crunch and my grandmother’s blueberry pie.

What are your go-tos for barbecues, picnics, and potlucks? Tell us about ’em in the comments; after all, sharing is the theme of the season.

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2 thoughts on “Friday Five: Holiday Weekend Edition.

  1. hungrywoolf says:

    You’re making me hungry!

    I love Claudia Roden’s mashed carrot salad. Sounds like some similar flavors.

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