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BBQ Season


This past week ushered in the heatwave! The first official day of Summer (the solstice) occurs on June 21; the days are long and the sun is intense. For the first time ever, my husband and I have a backyard as a respite from the swelter. We have only been in our new home a mere three weeks, and yet one of the first orders of business was to set up the grill and to get a propane tank. Our second order of business was to fill our wine “vaults.”

With a soundtrack of classic rock (David Bowie, Van Morrison, Bobbie Gentry, Dr. Hook, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan), my husband and I invited over ten friends for an impromptu hangout. The menu included a faro salad, soy-chili-lime salmon, the beef dogs from the Brooklyn Hot Dog Co. (they snap!), a purple cabbage slaw, and worcestershire-onion burgers. Not included in the aforementioned list is my FAVORITE and most simple summer salad: a watermelon, mint, and feta salad. Salty, sweet and refreshing!

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad (serves 6) 

  • Half a large watermelon; cubed
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh mint leaves (I picked mine directly from the backyard! Growing mint is super easy, especially since it’s a weed.)
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

While we were preparing the foods, my friends and I enjoyed glasses of CK Mondavi Blonde Five from our wine cooler at 46 degrees. It’s a great and easy summer wine with aromas of honeysuckle and pear. Luscious flavors of baked apple, honey and lemon zest give this ‘blonde’ a refreshing finish that isn’t too sweet.

The vineyard is run by the legendary Napa Valley wine icon, Peter Mondavi Sr., a World War II veteran. Its price point is under $10 a bottle; the only American made and grown wine in that range. Beyond the pleasant taste, I particularly loved that a percentage of each bottle sold between May – August is donated to Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (up to $50,000).  Funded entirely by public donations, IFHF serves U.S. military personnel wounded or killed in service to our nation and their families.

Interestingly enough, owner Marc Mondavi was born on the 4th of July.  The fourth generation wine-making family paired with the patriotic nonprofit in celebration of the owner’s 60th birthday and to honor America’s veterans! A double whammy. 

What is your favorite wine and BBQ pairing?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a Senior Strategist at Brooklyn United, a digital agency for bold brands. In her spare time, Keren can usually be found taking photos of old doors, visiting museum, soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, “A morning without coffee is sleep.” She lives in a brownstone with her cat, Cagney, husband, Michael, and son, Josiah, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

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