“As we go through summer preparing meals, it’s easy to just put the chops or chicken on a grill, cook the vegetables, serve it on a plate and eat it,” said Chef Staci. Food prepared the same way every day. That’s why she chooses “Celebrate Sauces” for her July theme.

“Sauces add more flavor, a different dimension of flavor, depth of seasoning; a step up from the ordinary meal. A grilled steak is fantastic but adding some honey-balsamic onions that you make while you’re grilling, elevates the flavor profile.” To enjoy food, taste is as important as the quantity of food.

Staci Pedersen is executive chef at Hy-Vee Food Store, 2100 Broadway Ave. in Yankton. (605) 665-3412. She shares her own recipes with flair to make summer meals using vegetables and fruits in season. In this three-part series, “Celebrate Desserts” was her theme last month. Her recipes for desserts with presentation tips are featured in Plant Exchange Blog at http://brendakjohnsonplantexchange.com/

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Chef Staci’s Notes:

These sauces are quite versatile and can be paired with pork, chicken, shrimp or other seafood, beef or tofu. Sauces can be a dip for grilled, cooked or raw vegetables.

These sauces are easy recipes in which you already have most of the ingredients. Fresh herbs in the Chimichurri Sauce bring the green summer flavor to the sauce. The herbs are held together with oil and vinegar, without cooking. Natural flavor carries the sauce. Dried herbs are convenient but may have lost flavor.

Sambal Oelek is my favorite new summer taste. It’s an ingredient in the Chimichurri Sauce and White BBQ Sauce. It’s usually found among Asian foods on the grocery shelf. It’s made by the same company as Sriracha, but it’s not ground to a puree. It has a little heat but is not super spicy. If you’re concerned about the heat, you can bump it down or serve it on the side. In Asian food mind set, when it’s hot out, eat something hot to regulate your internal temperature.

In the Chimichurri sauce, you use half the sauce for marinade and half for sauce. Whenever you marinade raw meat in sauce, you throw it away after use for food safety.

In the Honey-Balsamic Grilled Onions, you can sauté the onions in a pan instead of grilling and then add with other combined ingredients. Onion texture will be softer without grill char.

The White BBQ Sauce may be served cold. Leftover sauce will keep in a jar in the refrigerator up to a couple of weeks.

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

1 cup fresh Parsley

2 tablespoons fresh Oregano

2 tablespoons Garlic

¼ cup fresh Cilantro

1 tablespoon Sriracha or Sambal Oelek

½ teaspoon Salt

¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

½ cup Olive Oil

½ cup Red Wine Vinegar

• Mix all ingredients. Split in half. Reserve half in the refrigerator. Marinate the other half of the mixture on meat to grill for at least an hour. Meats suggestions are chicken, pork, shrimp, beef or on tofu. Grill the meat according to internal temperature, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with the refrigerated sauce on the side or drizzled on top. Or use as a dipping sauce with raw vegetables such as peppers, carrots or broccoli.

HONEY-BALSAMIC GRILLED ONIONS

1 Vidalia Onion or other sweet onion, ends cut off, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices

1 tablespoon Honey

3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

• In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add onion slices and turn over to coat. Grill over medium to medium high heat, turning when needed, drizzling with left over marinade periodically, until onions begin to soften and char. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into medium-sized pieces. Toss with the rest of the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve. Meat suggestions are on beef, chicken or pork.

WHITE BBQ SAUCE

1 cup Mayonnaise

¼ cup Cider Vinegar

1 tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard

1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek or Sriracha

2 teaspoons Grated Horseradish

½ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

¼ teaspoon Paprika

• Stir all together and use as a finishing sauce for cooked chicken or pork chops or as a dipping sauce for raw vegetables.

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