Grillin’ and Chillin’

It’s backyard barbecue season, baby! Time for laid-back, outrageously delicious, summer entertaining. 

Everything seems to taste better hot off the grill, from herb-infused flank steak to peaches and rosemary-skewered potatoes and tomatoes. In our June Invite, we’re going straight from the fire to the serving board. C’mon kids — let’s get out there and grill.

Grilled Rustic Bread with Homemade Tomato Fennel Jam and Lemon Ricotta  

This savory summer jam is so good! Slather it on thick slices of rustic grilled rosemary bread. I like to add a layer of lemon ricotta spread first, then heap on the jam.

Tomato Fennel Jam 

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced

1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced

1 shallot, sliced

Olive oil

Zest of ½ orange

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

1 teaspoon anise seed

1 tablespoon chopped, sundried tomatoes

Salt & pepper


Place the tomatoes, fennel, and shallots on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar, anise seed, and salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Scrape the roasted veggies into a stovetop pan. Add orange zest. Simmer for 15 minutes until the flavors come together. Salt and pepper to taste. Scrape mixture into a food processor, and pulse until almost smooth. Add chopped sundried tomatoes, and pulse a few times to incorporate, but leave chunky bits of tomato to bite into. Store in a jar, and refrigerate.

Lemon Ricotta

Whisk together: 1 cup ricotta cheese, zest of half a lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a bit of olive oil onto thick slabs of rosemary bread. Grill on both sides. Slather on the lemon ricotta; add a second layer of tomato fennel jam. Garnish with a fennel sprig.

Repurposed Chic




Arrange blooms in canning jars and cool repurposed containers, like this Italian tomato can.

It’s in the Jeans



Dress the table with denim napkins and (new) hair-tie napkin rings.

Grilled Potatoes and Tomatoes on Rosemary Skewers

Soak woody stems of rosemary overnight in water. Toss small yellow potatoes in a bit of olive oil and salt. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 to 28 minutes, or until tender. Thread the baked potatoes onto the rosemary skewers, and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Drizzle grape tomatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and thread onto the rosemary skewers. Place the skewers on the grill, with the leaves off of the heat. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the skewers until the potatoes and tomatoes begin to caramelize. Arrange the skewers on the cutting board.1

Herb Flank Steak 

I recently came across this grilling technique and fell head over heels. It turns a humble cut of meat like flank steak into something outrageously delicious. It’s all about layering flavor with herbs, garlic, and a bit of heat from jalapeno peppers.

  1. First, create a barbecue station sideboard, with everything you need at your fingertips, and then get grilling.
  2. Start by rubbing the meat with olive oil and dried thyme. 
  3. While the meat marinates, chop up: 1 clove garlic; 1/2 a small, seeded jalapeno pepper; a handful of parsley; fresh thyme; chives; and oregano.
  4. Grab a cutting board with a juice groove.
  5. Drizzle the board with a glug of good olive oil, and sprinkle on the chopped garlic, peppers, and herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Herb Mop 

Next, create a fresh herb mop! Using twine, tie sprigs of fresh herbs on the end of a wooden spoon. I used fresh garden thyme, sage, parsley, and oregano. (And this is why I have a kitchen herb garden.)

Quick Marinade 

In a small bowl, combine a 1/4 cup olive oil, zest of half a lemon, a good squeeze of juice, and ½ teaspoon of salt. 

Fire It Up!

Start grilling the flank steak. Use the herb mop to slather the meat with the marinade as you go. Grill 2 lemon and lime halves on the side. Take the meat off the heat. Place it on the board, on top of the herb, garlic, and peppers. Squeeze a bit of the grilled lemon and lime onto the meat. Slice steak, dredging each slice through all that goodness.

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone 

Cut a few peaches in half, removing the stones. Brush very lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle the cut side with vanilla sugar. Grill, cut-side-down, until the fruit begins to caramelize. (When the vanilla sugar hits the heat, the fragrance is fantastic!) Arrange the peaches on the board. Add a dollop of mascarpone, a sprinkling of orange zest, and a drizzle of honey.

Salad Bar 

Each summer, I plant a lettuce-only garden container. I call it my salad bar. Snip and rinse a few tender leaves. Drizzle the cutting board with a bit more oil, sprinkle on a few of the chopped herbs, a bit of the chopped garlic, and a squeeze of grilled lemon and lime. Toss and serve the salad, right on the board, along with the grilled bread with tomato and fennel jam; grilled potato and tomato sides; grilled stone fruit; and, of course, the grilled herb flank steak. I love summer!






See Monica Hart’s design, recipe, and entertaining ideas in every issue of 425 magazine, and at 

Hair by Seven Salon.

is a 425 contributor.
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