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Beach Party Recipes: Quinoa Tabouli, Jerk Chicken, & Peachy Beet & Tomato Salad

August, some would say, is the best month of summer. By August you’ve finally, gotten into your summer “groove”, and with produce at its best, why not have a beach party?  No, not the Annette Funicello kind, but the cool, laid back, great food and drink kind.

Simply pack up some cute disposable plates, napkins and silverware, and you’ll  be good to go!  Friends want to bring something?  Let them take care of drinks and dessert! Here’s Marcia Selden Catering’s ultimate beach party menu…

Quinoa Tabouleh Recipe

Quinoa Tabouleh– light, refreshing, and gluten-free.  Make this delicious salad early in the day, and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to go. Pack it into either a large bowl or individual ball jars for easy eating!

1 C. quinoa, rinsed well

½ tsp. kosher salt plus more

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1½ Tbs. sumac

½ C. extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large English hothouse cucumber, cut

   into 1/4″ pieces

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2/3 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley

½ C. chopped fresh mint

2 scallions, thinly sliced

¼ C. pitted Kalamata olives

¼ C. toasted slivered almonds (optional)

½ C. crumbled ricotta salata or feta

   cheese (optional)

Bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, garlic and sumac in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread quinoa on a baking sheet and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in ½ of the dressing. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover remaining dressing and quinoa separately; chill.

Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle remaining dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper.

“Peachy” Red Beet and Tomato Salad

This salad screams summer.  The juiciness of the ripe peaches pairs beautifully with

the sweet and tangy rainbow beets.  Serve with grilled shrimp or salmon for a hearty main course.

4 medium sized assorted color beets

4 large, assorted color, heirloom


Kosher salt and pepper

6 tbs. olive oil

4 tbs. lemon juice

2 Tbs. honey

2 medium shallots, finely diced

6 ripe peaches, peeled

5 Tbs. mint leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves

2 Tbs. small basil leaves

2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

Preheat oven to 425.  Rinse beets and place on a large piece of aluminum foil. Cover and bake for 1 hour or until beets can be pierced with a knife.  Cool and slip skins off, under running water and cut into ¼”thick slices. Rinse tomatoes and peaches and cut into small wedges.  Gently toss tomatoes, peaches and beets in 1 tbs. of lemon juice in a bowl, and set aside.  Combine oil, remaining lemon juice, honey and shallots in a jar, cover and shake until combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add mint, thyme, basil and pine nuts to the salad, and dress just before serving.  Sprinkle with goat cheese, if desired.

Jerk Chicken Skewers

These flavorful skewers pack a big punch of flavor and spice, and can be eaten while holding your favorite cocktail! If hot food is not your thing, reduce or eliminate the hot peppers and substitute sweet red peppers.

1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped

   (remove seeds for less intense heat, optional)

2 jalapeño peppers, chopped (remove

   the seeds for less intense heat)

1 Tbs. fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp. Jamaican allspice, ground

3 Tbs. brown sugar packed

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. powdered ginger

¼ C. olive oil

¼ C. soy sauce

Zest of 1 lime

¼ C. lime juice

¼ C. orange juice

½ C. rice wine vinegar

2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs (or

   breasts), cut into 2” pieces

2 onions, quartered

1 bottle of dark beer

Chop peppers, removing seeds if desired for less heat.  Add everything except chicken to a blender and blend until incorporated. To a large Ziploc bag add the chicken and enough of the jerk sauce to completely cover the chicken. Close bag and gently massage chicken being sure it is well covered in the marinade.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours. (overnight is even better).

Grilling the chicken

Soak 12 to 16 bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes while your grill is heating.  After the chicken has been marinating for at least four hours, remove from refrigerator. Place 4 to 6 pieces of chicken on your wet bamboo skewer with a few pieces of onion between the chicken pieces.   When the grill is hot, brush with oil and place each skewer on the grill. Baste with beer. Depending on your grill, it should about take 3 minutes per side.   Remove skewers and cover in aluminum foil.  Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.