Summer Cooking Begins on Memorial Day

Although summer officially begins on June 21, most people like to think the kick-off begins Memorial Day Weekend. Our clothing and activities change with the seasons, as do our menus. Soups, stews and roasted meats are replaced by salads, grilled meats and vegetables. Summer cooking is all about fresh, local flavors with a flare of sophistication. Any weekend gathering is no longer limited to burgers, hot dogs, chips and beer. With a handful of wonderful ingredients, you can put together a top-notch barbecue that’s simple, elegant, healthy and incredibly delicious.

I love a well-seasoned, crispy roast chicken in the wintertime. It’s the one food I hate to give up once the warm weather comes. All that changed once I discovered beer can chicken. Who would have thought? Start with two, beautiful organic roasters. I get mine from Makinajian Poultry Farm on Cuba Hill Road in Huntington. After putting aromatic sprigs of fresh rosemary from my garden under the delicate skin, I season my chicken with ground pepper and sea salt. I have this contraption where two beer cans fit into two round holders so they won’t tip. I place it on a foiled cookie sheet. Pour (or drink) half of each can of beer and then place them in the holders. Spray with a cooking spray so the chickens won’t stick, and then stand the chickens upright on the cans. Make sure your grill is nice and hot. I usually cook at around 425 degrees. Close the lid, and go back to your gardening. In a little over an hour (depending on the size of your chickens) you’ll have the most amazing, moist and succulent roast chicken. Your neighbors will be envious when the delicate scent wafts into their yards.

Replace traditional winter accompaniments like mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables, with lighter, summer fare of a salad of chopped tomatoes, arugula and crumbled gorgonzola, and grilled brick oven bread smeared with ripe avocado, freshly ground pepper, lime juice and kosher salt with a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Delicious, bright, simple. Serve with a bottle of Peconic Bay Vineyards Steel Fermented Chardonnay and you’re good to go. Bon Appétit!

Six-time, award winning author Kerriann Flanagan Brosky, best known for her Ghosts of Long Island  books, has been featured in a number of publications, and has appeared on radio and television. She is the co-author ofDelectable Italian Dishes for family and friends with Sal Baldanza, and she is the co-host of the blogtalk radio show, “The Kerriann & Joe Show – Spirit Connection.” Her debut novel, The Medal, a work of inspirational fiction is her latest book. When not writing she spends her time cooking. Visit her at