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Side dishes to perk up summer grilling

Over the holiday weekend we spend most of our time outdoors, enjoying many different flavors. From chicken to smoked ribs on the Fourth of July to Sunday we fired up the grill once again and enjoyed mouth watering rib eye steaks, salad and a wonderful recipe for cheesy potatoes that I recently found on the Internet. They were definitely a hit and a recipe that I will for certain be making again. I made a cookie sheet full and used my own judgement on proportions for toppings on each potato.

Crushed Cheesy Potatoes

4 smaller potatoes (red, yellow, whatever)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon chives



2 tablespoons grated cheese (any kind you like. I used sharp cheddar)

1 tablespoon Parmesan

Any other herbs and spices you like. I used fresh chives and flat leaf parsley from my herb garden

Wash potatoes well and place in salted water. Bring to boil and cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Mix oil with crushed garlic clove. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the parchment. Using a potato crusher, crush the potatoes carefully. You may also use a paper towel and press the potatoes with your palm. Pour some garlic oil over each potato. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Add some Parmesan, cheese and chives. Broil for seven to 10 minutes or until nice and crispy.

Garlic Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

Place beans and water in a two-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for six to eight minutes or until tender. Drain and keep warm. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Microwave, uncovered, on high for one minute. Pour over beans; toss to coat. Stir in parsley.

Amber's Cowboy Caviar

1 can shoepeg corn

1 can black eyed peas, drained

Chopped cilantro, to your taste

2 green onions, chopped

2 avocados, chopped

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped


1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine dressing ingredients. Combine shoepeg corn, black eyed peas, cilantro, green onion, avocados and tomatoes in a bowl. Pour dressing over mixture and mix well. Can serve immediately but the flavors blend better after chilling in the refrigerator for a while. Serve with tortilla chips.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If you can smile whenever anything goes wrong, you're either an optimist or a repairman.

GARY'S TIP: Peaches, plums and nectarines that are still firm should not be placed in the refrigerator. Chilling them will impede ripening.