OKOBOJI is alive with plans and preparations for a stupendous summer! My plan is to:
- Take a boat ride everyday that weather permits.
- Go on a picnic every week.
- Attend every concert at Preservation Plaza.
- Create endless memories with my grandchildren.
- Ride the roller coaster, bumper cars and wooden slide.
- Patronize the weekly Farmers Market at the Amusement Park.
- Swim in my pool every day.
- Eat at Bob’s Hot Dogs in the Park at least 5 times a week.
- Take bike rides on the new and old Dickinson County Trails.
- Attend “Art in the Park”.
- Plant an amazing kitchen garden plus designer pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn.
- Take sailing lessons at the Okoboji Yacht Club.
- Watch Fireworks.
- Visit all of the cabin locations of the Spirit Lake Massacre.
- Go to the Superior Drive In.
- Attend “Boat In Church”
- Appreciate that I have lived in such an amazing place for the past 28 years.
- Entertain more.
- Grill out every chance I get.
- Do so much more than listed above.
Speaking of entertaining and grilling, I have come up with some super easy, quick and delicious recipes. Stay out of your indoor kitchen this summer and enjoy fuss-free cooking outdoors. Grilling is the theme for summer 2021!
Paying homage to Iowa’s number three export behind tractors and corn, I have jacked up grilled pork loin with a condiment from the South. White BBQ sauce. It’s a keeper for my recipe file. Fresh vegetables sautéed in olive oil and grilled using a reusable plastic black grill mat make cooking anything that can slip through the grates a magical experience. I purchased my mat at the local hardware store in the grilling section. Become a chef when you grill a wheel of Brie and baguette slices on the grate. Great as an appetizer anytime, not just for mealtime.
Finish with a desert of grilled limoncello pound cake that will have all your guests making room for more. You can purchase the limoncello or sneak into the kitchen and make a homemade batch to raise the culinary scale. Make it now, and you can use it all summer.
It’s not summer without something cold from the freezer. Bring the ice cream maker outside and create a Lemon Frozen Custard that takes the grilled pound cake to a new level. It keeps for several weeks so no last minute meal preparation is necessary.
I encourage you to write out your summer fun list today. To para-phrase my great friend and public speaker who is my self proclaimed ‘other mother’. “Think it, Ink it, Do it!” And don’t forget to “Cook it,” using the recipes on the following pages!
Grilled Pork Loin (1.5 lb Boneless Pork Tenderloin)
Serves: 2 people
I used a Hormel Lemon Garlic Pork Loin Filet. Regular boneless pork loin can be used. Season with salt and pepper. You could cut it into a 1 1/2 pound portion to grill for this recipe or cook the entire loin for a large crowd.
- Preheat grill to medium heat (350 degrees). Place pork directly on the grate of the grill.
- Cook pork to a minimum of 155-160 degrees, turning occasionally. Using a digital thermometer insert into the thickest part of the meat to check for doneness.
- Let pork rest for 5 minutes. Serve with white barbecue sauce.
White BBQ Sauce
2 C Mayonnaise
1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
2 T Lemon Juice
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Horseradish
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
dash Hot Sauce
1 tsp Garlic Salt
- Incorporate all ingredients together in a blender/food processor. Add more vinegar if you desire a thinner sauce.
- Chill for at least 3 hours. Drizzle onto grilled pork loin. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.
Grilled Farmers Market Vegetables
1/2 Sweet Onion
1/2 Red Pepper
1 C Fresh Mushrooms
1 Small Yellow Zucchini
1 Small Green Zucchini
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
1/8-1/4 C Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Other possible veggies to grill are tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, sweet corn, green beans and pea pods.
- Wash produce and cut into thin slices. In a large bowl toss vegetables with olive oil to coat. Add minced garlic.
- Place one *“Grill Mark Grill Mat” on outdoor gas/charcoal grill. Place cut up vegetables on top of mat. Turn on grill to medium heat. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes after grill heats up. Turn heat to low and continue to cook vegetables to slightly crisp, not soggy. Take off heat and serve. Salt and pepper to taste.
* I purchased my “Grill Mark Grill Mat” (2 come in a package for $9.99) at Ace Hardware in Spirit Lake. Wipe mat off with a paper towel before each use. DO NOT CLEAN IN SOAPY WATER! This mat has changed my grilling life!
My brother-in-law Terry Morrow gets part of the credit for this recipe. He made these extra special veggies several times at their home when I was there for a meal. I found out later that Dennis VandeHoef of Lake Park shared with Terry on how to make them. Shout out to 2 great Lake Park grillers.
P.S. Terry grills the BEST steak ever!
1 Fifth/25oz Everclear or 190 proof or 100 proof Vodka
12 Meyer Lemons
2 C Sugar
2 C Water
- Peel only the yellow part of the lemon using a vegetable peeler. Do not use any pith.
- Place lemon peels in a one quart clear jar or larger. Poor entire bottle of alcohol over lemons. Screw on lid and store in a dark cool room for 4 weeks.
- Bring water and sugar to a simmer, then cool completely.
- Using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth, pour lemon alcohol mixture into the sugar water. Discard lemon peel.
- Pour lemon mixture into bottles that have a tight seal. Ready to drink or use in recipes. Store in a dark dry place for up to six months.
This recipe came all the way from France. While traveling there, a group of friends were asked to tea by a local woman named Maureen. She was from England, but she had lived in France for a number of years. Well, there was wine and Limoncello, but no tea!
I chose the Limoncello and was directed to sip it slowly. Wow! It had a punch! They consider it a digestive to aid in daily digestion. I requested the recipe she used and stashed it with the hundreds of loose recipes that I have accumulated over the years. I came across it recently and decided it would be a great flavoring for the grilled pound cake. Plus, now I have a stash to share with my friends!
Grilled Limoncello Pound Cake
1 Pound Cake: Purchased, Box Mix or Homemade
2 tsp Limoncello per slice of cake
- Cut cake into 3/4 inch slices. Drizzle homemade or purchased limoncello (purchase in the liquor aisle) onto on one side of sliced cake. Grill on medium heat till grate marks appear. Serve with a scoop of Lemon Curd Frozen Custard.
Lemon Curd Frozen Custard
2 C Heavy Cream
1 C Half and Half
1 1/4 C Sugar
6 Large Egg Yolks
1 1/4 C Lemon Curd
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the cream, half and half and sugar. Cook until foam around the edges.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow. Add about 1/3 cup of hot milk mixture slowly, while whisking into the egg yolks.
- Add everything back into the pot and cook, do not allow to boil, until it coats the back of a spoon, about 150-155 degrees. Do not cook over 160 degrees.
- Pour into a clean bowl, press saran wrap over the custard and cool in the fridge, 30-60 minutes or until completely cold. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker per user instructions. Once the ice cream is almost thickened, slowly add in the lemon curd.
- Store in an airtight container in the freezer with plastic wrap pressed down over the custard to avoid ice crystals. Best eaten the first day but can last in your freezer for up to two weeks.
What is fruit curd? It is a dessert spread/topping usually made with citrus fruit such as lemon, lime, orange, or tangerine. Other flavor variations include passion fruit, mango, and berries such as raspberries, cranberries or blackberries.
What is the difference between ice cream and custard? Both ice cream and frozen custard are made with milk, cream and sugar. The additional ingredient that gives frozen custard it’s creamy texture is pasteurized egg yolk.
Credit given to “Ohsweetbasil.com” for this luscious recipe that will be on my repeat list this summer. I am excited to make other curd flavors to add to the custard. If you are feeling up to a challenge the complete recipe for homemade curd is included with the Lemon Frozen Custard recipe on the website. Personally, I prefer to purchase Lemon Curd at the grocery store.
Grilled Brie and Baguettes
1 Baguette Loaf
2 t Italian Seasoning
8-16 oz Brie Cheese Wheel
1 T Fresh Basil
- Slice baguette diagonally into 3/4 inch slices. Brush with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
- Place bread slices onto medium heat and grill on both sides till lightly toasted. Set aside.
- Brush olive oil on both sides of the cheese wheel rind. Grill for 3-4 minutes on medium heat, on each side, until grill marks appear.
- Turn heat down to low and continue cooking cheese approximately 5 minutes until cheese is soft. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Watch cheese carefully as you don’t want the rind to crack as that would result in a cheese flood on your grill coals and none for you to eat!
- Remove cheese from grill and sprinkle fresh oregano on top then serve with grilled bread.