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Grillin' It Up for Canada Day!!

Already, July 1st is upon us - where did June go? While we did have some sunshine and I'd say 5 days of actual warm weather, the rest of the time it was either foggy, or the air was particular cool due to the gigantic ice bergs that were surrounding our island. But alas, hope always springs eternal for us islanders and we are now being rewarded with wall to wall sunshine and temperatures in the mid to high 20's (celsius, which for my American friends and families, that converts to approximately 68 to 78 degrees fahrenheit). That might not seem very warm to some of you, but trust me, to us? It's glorious! I guess all of that rain, drizzle, fog, snow, and cold Atlantic winds just makes us appreciate warm weather a little more than most.

The question now is, what do I cook for my friends and family when they come over on Canada Day? I want it to be really good, a little more than the run of the mill hot dogs and hamburgers, but I don't want to spend all my time cooking. I know....Maple Buttermilk Grilled Chicken, 'cause nothing says Canada more than maple syrup, Grilled Balsamic Veggies and some Herbed Mixed Mini Potato Skewers. I can prep it all today and cut my actually cooking time down to under 45 minutes - that works for me! (And maybe, just maybe, I'll do up a batch of Bacon Jam to keep 'em happy while I'm grilling the main course!).

For the Maple Buttermilk Grilled Chicken, you'll need:

2 c. buttermilk, (if you don't have buttermilk, put 4 Tbsp. of either lemon juice or white vinegar in a 2 c. measure and fill to the 2 c. mark with milk of choice - give a little stir - instant buttermilk!)

2 green onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. crushed hot pepper flakes

20 small, bone-in, chicken pieces such as legs and thighs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. maple syrup

In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, oninos, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, and hot pepper flakes. Add chicken, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate for 2 hrs., up to 24 hrs.

Remove from marinade, discard marinade, sprinkle with salt and place on greased grill over medium-high heat, close lid and grill, turning occasionally, until digital thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat reads 165 degrees fahrenheit, or 74 degrees celsius, about 35 minutes.

Grill, brushing with maple syrup, until glossy and coated, about 5 minutes. Remove to serving platter and serve!

For the Grilled Balsamci Veggies, you'll need:

3 large zucchini, green and/or yellow

1 large red onion

2 sweet peppers, such as orange and/or yellow

4 large portobello mushrooms

1/4 c. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Balsamic Marinade:

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 stp. honey

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 c. olive oil

Combine balsamic, garlic, honey, salt and pepper for marinade - slowly whisk in olive oil, until oil is emulsified, or thoroughly combined with other ingredients. Cut zucchini in half, crosswise, the cut lengthwise in 1/2" thick slices. Place in large dish. Cut onion in 1/2" thick rounds, add to dish. Core and seed sweet peppers, cut into large chunks and place in dish. Remove stems and gills from mushrooms, cut caps into 1/4" pieces and place in dish. Pour marinade over all the vegetables, toss to coat, cover and let stand for 2 hrs., tossing occasionally.

Place veg on greased grill over medium high heat, close lid and grill, basting frequently with baslsamic marinade, until tender, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and remove to serving dish - serve.

For the Herbed Mini Potato Skewers, you'll need:

60 mixed colored, mini potatoes, scrubbed

2/3 c. butter, melted

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp dried

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook scrubbed potatoes until al dente or still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly before placing or skewers, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Combine butter, garlic, parsely, rosemary, salt and pepper. Alternating colors, thread potatoes onto metal skewers. Brush with some of the butter mixture. Place skewers on greased grill over medium high heat, close lid and grill, brushing frequently with butter mixture, until potatoes are hot and golden, about 8 minutes.

For dessert? How about an Angel Food cake from the bakery at your local grocery store, cut in half, fill with some Cool Whip and sliced fresh strawberries, and topped the same way. You could even get all fancy with it and place the top strawberries in the pattern of maple leaves!

All of these recipes can be found in the Recipe section from the navigation bar above and, for your added convenience, just click on any image and a pop-up pdf version for easy prnting will appear! Happy Canada Day everyone!

#grill #poultry #sides

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