My dad’s aunt and uncle were in the Vancouver area visiting my grandma and some other relatives, so we thought it would be a great idea to host a family BBQ for them. This past Sunday was the date for the event, and let me tell you, we had quite the spread. From salmon to salads, dip to dessert, there was something for everyone’s tastes.
The kitchen was abuzz all day, with everyone pitching in to get things ready. Even Sienna tried to help out.
Fortunately, cat stew was NOT one of the menu items. And yes, we washed that pot out before we used it.
We kept the menu fresh, colourful, and full of the flavours of summer. There were fruit and veggie plates.
(This was obviously taken after some people had begun digging in – I would never put out a half full plate!)
There was a pile of steaming hot (albino) corn on the cob – a summer BBQ staple.
My dad requested my mom’s Chinese Noodle Salad, and she happily obliged.
While I made a Cranberry Qunioa & Wild Rice Salad with Maple-Citrus Dressing.
My aunt brought along some rotisserie chickens.
And the star of the show – a whole wild coho salmon, stuffed with lemon, lime, cucumber, zucchini, and dill, done up on the BBQ. (Photo is pre-Q).
I filled my plate up with a selection of eats.
And enjoyed a little beverage while hanging out with the family.
Of course we made dessert – just something light and chocolately. I believe it’s called 6 Layer Dessert (gotta love those creative names).
I definitely had a slice.
With a few of those juicy BC cherries.
It was a great evening to be out on the deck, enjoying the setting sun and slight breeze, spending time with family while enjoying a stellar meal. I think everyone in attendance would agree.
Now, although I can’t share the actual leftovers from the BBQ, I can share with you a couple of recipes – specifically for the salads. First up, my mom’s Chinese Noodle Salad. I believe this one is best described by my late grandfather as “just like eating candy”. I like to think all the sui choy in the salad makes up for the copious amounts of butter and sugar also on the ingredient list.
Chinese Noodle Salad
Serves 8 – 10
- 2 pkgs ramen noodles (such as Mr Noodles), broken up, seasoning packets discarded
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vinegar (mom uses white, but rice would be good as well)
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 large head sui choy, torn into bite sized pieces or shredded
- 5 green onions, diced
- Heat frying pan to medium. Add butter, noodles, sesame seeds, and almonds, and fry until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain, then store in air tight container until ready to use.
- Combine soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar, mixing well. Slowly blend in oil. Set aside.
- When ready to serve – combine sui choy, green onions, and 3/4 noodle mixture in a large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat. Top with remaining noodle mixture.
Note – this salad does not keep well, so only add the dressing when you are ready to serve.
And now, for my salad. I wanted to make a grain salad, and had the combination of quinoa and wild rice on the brain. The wild rice made me think of dried cranberries and nuts, and it just grew from there. The ingredients would also make a great stuffing for Thanksgiving or Christmas if you got rid of the dressing and add few savoury herbs. In fact, I have another recipe in mind come autumn. But for now, you get the summery salad.
Cranberry Quinoa & Wild Rice Salad with Maple-Citrus Dressing
Serves 12 – 14…or more.
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 cups cooked wild rice
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used a combination of both)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- zest and juice of one orange (approximately 1/3 cup orange juice)
- zest and juice of one lime (approximately 3 tbsp lime juice)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, wild rice, cranberries, green onions, nuts, and mint leaves.
- In another bowl, combine zest/juice of the orange and lime, olive oil, and maple syrup. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss the salad ingredients with dressing, and chill for a few hours, to allow the flavours to meld.
Note – You could easily switch up the nuts, dried fruit, and citrus to suit your taste or the ingredients you have on hand. Honey would also be a good substitution for the maple syrup. Cooking your quinoa or wild rice in stock or juice would also add another layer of flavours.
Do you have a favourite summer salad recipe? Share it in the comments!