Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa) with Cold Rice Noodles

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa) with Cold Rice Noodles

Thit heo nuong xa – grilled pork chops – are a staple in Vietnamese restaurants. But they’re so easy to make that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t bring this classic dish home. Traditionally, they’re grilled, so we thought it was the perfect excuse to eschew the burgers and hot dogs for one weekend and kick off our summer grilling season with something a little more flavorful. 

The noodles make it the ultimate refreshing summer dish, almost a noodle salad of sorts. Between the sizzling charred chops, the chilled rice noodles, plenty of fresh and quick-pickled vegetables, and the nuoc cham, a bracing savory-tart dressing, it’s everything you want on a hot day.

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Lemon-Garlic Chicken and Tomato Skewers with Basil Chimichurri

Lemon-Garlic Tomato and Chicken Skewers with Basil Chimichurri
Lemon-Garlic Tomato and Chicken Skewers with Basil Chimichurri

Grilled chicken doesn’t always need a long marinade to be full of flavor. These spend just a few minutes in a lemony-garlicky mix before they’re grilled to charred perfection. The hot chicken absorbs the flavor of the fresh basil chimichurri, and the grilled cherry tomatoes bring sweetness and acid.

(This recipe appeared earlier on Serious Eats.)

We need only the slightest of excuses to cook outside in the peak of heat-wave summer. Turn the stove on? Ah, no, thank you. Making a quick-marinated chicken dish that we can throw on the grill is an ideal solution. And, if we can use the Mediterranean heroes of the summer vegetable garden—tomatoes and basil—so much the better. Not only do tomatoes and basil taste great together, they also have a symbiotic relationship in the garden; companion gardening with the two plants in proximity improves their resistance to pests.

Lemon-Garlic Chicken and Tomato Kebabs with Basil Chimichurri
Prepping basil and parsley for the chimichurri

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken

Thai Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken
Thai Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken

These peanut noodles might be one of the most delicious and easiest recipes we’ve ever created. It’s basically the love child of Chinese cold sesame noodles and Thai chicken satay. If you like those kinds of flavors, I think you’re going to be pretty happy with your dinner.

It’s also happens to be very adaptable. You can make a vegan version with tofu. You could grill shrimp instead of chicken. You could add pretty much any vegetable you would throw into a stir fry (I’ve listed some options with the recipe below).

Fresh Chinese wheat noodles
Fresh Chinese wheat noodles

We found these fresh noodles at our local Asian market but dried spaghetti works equally well. I’ve also seen fresh Chinese egg noodles for sale at our grocery store and those would be great too. Whatever style you decide on, cook them until they’re al dente (but don’t undercook them either).

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Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese and Chive Compound Butter

Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Chive Butter and Balsamic Red Onions

Grilled steak ramped up with a tangy, creamy blue cheese and chive compound butter. Watch out, steak night, the bar just got raised.

Okay folks, strap yourselves in tight because it’s going to be an exciting ride (picture me winking and making a clicking noise while pointing at you). This is a “seal the deal” kind of dinner. The kind of dinner I make for Matt when I really want him to say “Huh? Whatever. I wasn’t listening but ‘yes’ as long as you make this again.” It’s that good.

There’s something about the combination of rich beef and tangy blue cheese that just works (which is why the best burger combination is blue cheese and crispy bacon, in my opinion). Well, this recipe takes that classic pairing to the next level.

We grilled New York Strip steaks and topped them with the most delicious blue cheese and chive compound butter and served it with Balsamic Roasted Red Onions with Thyme. You’re licking your screen, aren’t you? I understand, here’s a tissue.

Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Chive Butter and Balsamic Red Onions

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Grilled Buffalo Shrimp and Avocado Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce

Grilled Buffalo Shrimp and Avocado Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce

The fact that Matt grew up in a rural English village and I grew up in New York City means that, every so often, we have absolutely no idea what the other person is talking about.

For example, here’s an exchange that may (or may not) have occurred recently (it did not, but work with me here).

Emily: Less hit the bodega for a ’40 and stoop it till we mad toasted. You know you down, don’t front.

Matt: What’cha talking abaht, yer daft bint? Put yer knickers on and make me a cup of tea.

Then there was the time I convinced Matt that in New York City, it’s very common for dogs to wear prescription glasses. “Really?” he said, and then I laughed until I got a cramp.

Then he tried to convince me that in Scotland, there are huge, orange cows with hipster haircuts that look exactly like the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. No way, buddy. Like I’m going to believe that.

So you can imagine the fun I had trying to describe what ‘buffalo sauce’ is. I’m not sure how we’re still married.

Anyway, on to our sangwich. Let me start by saying that I would be quite happy if buffalo sauce & blue cheese dip were on pretty much everything I ate for the rest of the summer. These are the kind of bright, zingy flavors I just go crazy for.

Add to that perfectly grilled shrimp, creamy avocado and crisp lettuce and you’ve got yourself a seriously delicious sammich.

Shrimp without titles

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Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers with Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers with Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Sauce

With the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy, our grilled Asian chicken skewers are a treat any night of the week. We like to serve it with creamy avocado-cilantro sauce. 

Hooray, it’s allergy season! I don’t know about you guys, but I could power a small town with the force of my sneezing alone. I basically look like a teary-eyed, puffy-faced medical emergency this week, to the point where even my beloved dog is giving me side-eye and calling around to find a replacement begging target should I expire before dinnertime.

Be that as it may, I will not let a little thing like debilitating histamine reactions stop me from doing what I’ve been waiting months for. That’s right, grilling! Last night Matt dusted off the old grill, gave the spiders living inside it their eviction notices and warned the neighbors that delicious smells would be wafting their way soon.

And I gotta tell you, we have made this chicken three times in the last month and it is amaaaaaahhhhzing. The first two times we cooked it inside on a grill pan and set off our smoke alarm about 15 times during the process. You know what? I REGRET NOTHING. It’s that good. It’s spicy and sweet and tangy and sticky in exactly the way you want food on a stick to be.

Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers with Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Sauce
Our Asian chicken skewers take only 30 minutes so they’re perfect for weeknight meals.

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