Alfresco Entertaining with Ease

September 1, 2012 | Permalink

Create crowd-pleasing summer recipes with Muir Glen® organic tomatoes

One of the best ways to take advantage of warm weather is dining alfresco in your backyard or outdoor living space. With the right ingredients and a few simple recipes, you can host a casual outdoor affair that will impress guests — without much time or effort in the kitchen.

Fresh, Flavorful, Fabulous
Busy summer schedules present impromptu outdoor dining opportunities and Muir Glen organic tomatoes are a convenient ingredient to add to any recipe, making them a must-have pantry item for quick summer meals.

For a simple, elegant appetizer that’s full of flavor, try tomato and basil bruschetta. Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes make this recipe a snap, and since Muir Glen tomatoes are harvested at the peak of ripeness and packed within eight hours of leaving the vine, they bring the sweetest tomato taste possible to every dish. Just add fresh basil, extra-virgin olive oil and garlic, then spoon mixture onto toasted baguette slices and serve.

For a fun, interactive experience, set up a bruschetta bar where guests can assemble their own creations. Mix a few variations of the original recipe. Start with the main ingredient, canned and drained diced tomatoes, then mix a in a few different ingredients such as chopped artichoke hearts, fresh thyme leaves and balsamic vinegar. Another variation could include kalamata olives, chopped and drained roasted red bell peppers and fresh basil leaves. Set out toasted baguette slices and provide a variety of additional toppings including some of your favorite cheeses, such as mozzarella, feta and goat cheese, and an assortment of fresh herbs. Guests will love the variety and flavorful ingredients.

On the hottest days, keep cool with cold, refreshing gazpacho soup. Gazpacho is simple to prepare and can easily be made ahead of time, making it perfect for entertaining. Filled with a variety of vegetables, including Muir Glen tomatoes, onions, peppers and celery, gazpacho packs fresh flavor in a light, delicious summer dish. Add jalapeños to give it a spicy kick, and serve with a crisp white wine.

Create a Bold BBQ Feast
If you’re looking for a way to spice up hamburgers and other grilled meats, try a new twist on a traditional ketchup recipe with a mouth-watering Bacon Ketchup creation. Simply sauté Muir Glen tomatoes with onion, garlic, roasted bell peppers, brown sugar, paprika, bay leaf and thyme, then add salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and crispy bacon. In addition to French fries, this recipe is great served with hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken or anything else you throw on the grill — guests will love adding this tasty condiment to everything on their plates. For those that want a simpler topping solution, Muir Glen organic ketchup is a must have condiment.

No barbeque is complete without a variety of salads and sides. Two fresh and easy recipes, perfect for entertaining, are Corn and Black Bean Salad and Green Beans with Tomatoes and Feta.

Enjoy Corn and Black Bean Salad, combined with sweet corn, Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes, black beans, red onion, garlic and the fresh flavors of cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper and cumin and top with diced avocado. This recipe has a unique flavor due to the fire roasted tomatoes. These signature tomatoes from Muir Glen are grilled over an open flame to bring out their natural sweetness and add a subtle smokiness. This process caramelizes the natural sugars and sears in a bold, smoky flavor. Serve the salad alone or spoon into Bibb lettuce leaves and garnish with fresh sprigs of cilantro for a colorful, delicious dish.

Round out the barbeque serving Green Beans with Tomatoes and Feta, another impressive dish full of color and flavor. Top green beans with a sauté of onion, garlic, Muir Glen tomatoes, oregano and pepper flakes, then sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted almonds — a great addition to any meal.

These recipes are just a few ideas to spice up your next outdoor gathering and make this summer’s alfresco dining experience even more delicious. Visit our recipe section for additional recipes using flavorful Muir Glen organic tomatoes.

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