The Last Hurrah

Well, the time has come. It’s hard to believe in this late summer heat wave, but summer is drawing to a close. In less than a month, school will be starting and another year’s carefree summer will be behind us. But there’s still time to enjoy a couple more beach days or barbecues. With a few handy dishes that are easy to prepare, you can steal away for one last picnic or two before the summer is done. Here are some of my favorites:

Kabobs—these are fantastically easy and can be made with ingredients on hand: chicken, beef, pork, potatoes, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, carrots… whatever is in the pantry. Marinate if you wish (salad dressings like balsamic vinaigrette or Italian are good). Throw whatever you have on a skewer and toss it on the grill.

Sausages—any kind are good on the grill. Char a few sweet peppers to serve alongside.

Fruit salad—cube up some apples and watermelon, toss in some cherries, strawberries, blueberries—again, whatever you happen to have.

Bruchetta—a loaf of crusty French bread, and your choice of toppings—light tomato/basil salsa, soy mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped olives, whatever you like.

Pita pockets—throw some ham or strip steaks on the grill and stuff the meat into toasted pita pockets with chopped cherry tomatoes, lettuce and whatever “sauce” you like—hummus, cucumber dressing, whatever is on hand.

Grilled fruit—slice a peach or pear (or anything) in half and grill lightly. Delicious and simple.

And don’t forget the summer classics that are easy to throw together—pasta salad, coleslaw, potato salad and the like. Whatever you have, throw it together when the moment strikes with a blanket and some good company, and you’ll be sure to enjoy the last days of summer to the fullest.