Sambals—those unique, chile-infused sauces—play a huge role in Southeast Asian cooking, as often one will make its appearance at the beginning of the meal as an ingredient and another during the meal as a condiment.
Lemon grass makes a nice houseplant and a continuous supplier of lemony stalks–simply root a stalk in water and then plant it in a pot. Put it in partial sun and it will grow and separate. This marinade is excellent with chicken and fish. Warning: the marinade tastes so good your will want to drink it. Go ahead, call it lemon grass tea. Use this marinade for poultry, fish, or pork, or as a dressing for a salad. Dave serves it over noodles and calls it a pseudo-curry.
Now you’re looking for some ideas for side dishes that will withstand the hot weather and not make your guests ill. Here’s what I like to serve: Thai-style cucumber salad, horseradish pickled beets and pickled red onions. Add some chipotle butter for the corn and you’ll have a great meal with complementary flavors and tastes.
Traditionally Independence Day is one of the busiest days for backyard cooking. Burgers, hot dogs, steaks and more are on grills throughout the country. For my July 4th get-together this year I’m creating a refreshing, somewhat spicy, and very flavorful appetizer to serve my guests: Chile Lime Garlic Shrimp with Baja Gazpacho.