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Last summer hurrah before autumn’s splendor debuts

Fire up the grill for Labor Day.

By Linda Smith / For the Enterprise

Although I realize that summer technically runs from mid-June through mid-September, we usually calibrate it in our neck of the woods from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. And this year Mother Nature has decided to have our summer season end with beautiful weather, and that calls for a long weekend of celebrating what a great summer it has been. With the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables available now, cooking is at its best. Fire up the grill, stock the refrigerator with an assortment of beverages and invite family and friends over for that last summer feast.

Fresh Rosemary Biscuits

1 3/4 c. flour

1 scant T. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

4 T. cold butter, cut into small pieces

2 T. minced fresh rosemary

3/4 c. milk

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter until size of sunflower seeds. (Alternatively, mix dry ingredients in food processor, cut in butter using machine, then dump mixture into a separate bowl.) Sprinkle rosemary over flour mixture. Pour in milk and stir briefly, just until a sticky dough forms. Turn onto floured surface. Knead lightly and briefly, 4 to 6 turns. Roll or pat to a thickness of 1 inch. Cut into rounds with a floured biscuit cutter. Gather dough scraps and cut again. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until high and golden, 11-13 minutes. Makes 6 large biscuits.

Grilled T-Bone Steaks with Rub

4 T-bone steaks, 1 1/2-inches thick

Kosher salt

Coarse ground pepper

Garlic powder

2 T. butter

1 t. fresh thyme leaves

2 cloves minced garlic

1 lb. sliced Portobello mushrooms

1/4 c. dry red wine

Grilled onion slices, if desired

The day before you plan to grill the steaks, rub the steaks on both sides with pepper and garlic powder to taste. Seal with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until approximately 4 hours prior to cooking. Set out, still covered, and allow steaks to come to room temperature. When your charcoal is ready, spray the grill rack with nonstick cooking spray or wipe grates with a paper towel soaked with vegetable oil to keep the steaks from sticking to the grates. Then place the steaks on the grill and cook, turning once, approximately 6 to 8 minutes on each side for medium-rare or until steaks reach your desired doneness. Sprinkle kosher salt on the steaks after they have been grilled to improve the flavor and keep the steaks more juicy. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the thyme and garlic and sauté until softened, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and sauté until softened, 2 to 4 minutes. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Remove the steaks from the grill to individual plates and spoon the mushrooms evenly over the top. Garnish with the onions and herb sprigs and serve. Yields 4 servings.

Grilled Salmon with Spinach

and Yogurt Dill Sauce

Yogurt Dill Sauce:

1/2 c. nonfat yogurt

2 T. prepared horseradish

1 t. minced fresh dill weed


4 (2 1/2-oz. to 4-oz.) salmon fillets

Spinach and Assembly:

1/4 c. white wine

2 t. minced garlic

10 oz. fresh spinach leaves, trimmed

1/16 t. freshly grated nutmeg

1/16 t. freshly ground pepper

Sauce: Whisk the yogurt, horseradish and dill weed in a bowl until combined.

Salmon: Preheat the grill and spray the hot grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Grill the salmon over hot coals for 2 minutes per side, turning to make diamond or square grill marks for presentation. Remove the salmon to a platter and cover to keep warm. Spinach: Heat the wine in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Saute the garlic in the hot wine for 1 minute. Add the spinach to the garlic mixture and sauté just until the spinach turns bright green and wilts. (If the garlic sticks to the pan, add 1 to 2 T. vegetable broth or water.) Sprinkle the spinach with the nutmeg and pepper. Assembly: Pat the spinach dry and portion evenly on 4 heated serving plates. Arrange the salmon to partially cover the spinach and drizzle with the sauce. Garnish each plate with 1 sprig of dill weed and 1lemon wedge. Serves 4.

Goat Cheese and Tomato Salad

Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette:

6 T. olive oil

2 T. balsamic vinegar

1 t. mild Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 t. salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste


3 Roma tomatoes or small vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped

1 small Haas avocado, chopped

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1 1/2 to 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted

1 head butter lettuce or red or green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces and chilled

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Vinaigrette: Combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and seal tightly. Shake to mix. Salad: Combine the tomatoes, avocado, cranberries, goat cheese, pine nuts and 1/4 c. of the vinaigrette in a bowl and toss gently to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add the lettuce to the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Divide the salad evenly among 4 salad plates and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Nectarine Pie

Pastry for a double-crust pie

5 c. peeled and sliced nectarines

1 t. lemon juice

1 c. sugar

1/3 c. flour

1/4 t. mace

1/8 t. salt

1/4 t. grated lemon peel

1 1/2 T. butter

Combine nectarines, lemon juice, sugar, flour, mace, salt and lemon peel. Place in pie crust. Dot with butter. Top with the remaining crust and cut vents for steam. (Cover pie crust edges with aluminum foil or baking shield to prevent overbaking on edges of crust.) Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until crust is browned and juice begins to bubble through vents. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Makes 1 pie.

Spiked Watermelon Lemonade

4 c. puréed seeded watermelon

2 c. water

2 c. fresh lemon juice

1 to 2 c. vodka

1 c. sugar

Combine the watermelon purée, water, lemon juice, vodka and sugar in a pitcher and mix well. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time. Pour the lemonade over ice in glasses and garnish with lemon slices and sprigs of fresh mint. Serves 8.