Jemelene Wilson

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July 29, 2014
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Douglas County Moms: Summer and al fresco dining are two natural partners

Summer means firing up the grill every chance I get.

Outdoor dining isn’t just for casual meals. This season is meant for food eaten outdoors on real plates atop shabby-chic tablecloths. Diners can delight in a slower pace, savoring every bite, smell and spice.

A few years ago, my brother told me about a simple marinade he was using for zucchini as well as peppers and yellow squash. I took it and added red or green onions. The flavor brings out the vegetables but adds an unexpected complexity to the dish. The grill allows you to cook it quickly so you keep a crispy texture. It also supports my efforts to “live gently,” which include buying local whenever I can. Gardens and vegetable stands are filled with daily offerings of just-picked, nutrient-packed foods. A hot grill seems to bring out the best in those foods.

This is a great time for the best cuts of meat, too. Rib eye, one of my favorite steaks, calls for a good, hot grill. Allow the meat to come to room temperature. No need for anything more than kosher salt and some cracked pepper rubbed in after a drizzle of olive oil.

My family indulged me and let me cook my own birthday dinner this year. Fresh lamp chops with a beautiful chimichurri sauce brings mint to the dish without the jelly. The cilantro, garlic and vinegar make a perfect addition to chicken, beef or pork as well.

Jemelene Wilson of Roseburg is married, has two daughters and is a substitute instructional assistant for the Roseburg School District. She is one of several bloggers who contributes to Douglas County Moms on The News-Review’s website,

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The News-Review Updated Jul 30, 2014 09:07AM Published Aug 11, 2014 09:59AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.