Bonus column: Martha Stewart

New York Times News Service

For summertime meals on the go, think beyond the basket. Anything that can be served cold or at room temperature - grilled steak and corn, for example, taste great either way - has picnic potential. A gazpacho-like soup is a natural contender, as is a toss-together bulgur salad. Our orzo-chicken salad is eaten in crisp lettuce cups, so you can even forgo utensils.

Skirt Steak and Corn With Chimichurri: Chimichurri, a fresh-herb-and-garlic sauce from Argentina, tastes even better after the flavors have had time to meld.


The steak and corn can be grilled up to a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, in separate containers; serve them cold or at room temperature. The chimichurri can also be made up to a day ahead; store it in the refrigerator in a jar, with a thin layer of olive oil on top. Shake to combine before serving, at room temperature.

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

1 1/4 pounds skirt steak, room temperature, cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

4 ears corn, husks and silk removed, cut into quarters

1/3 cup packed finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/3 cup packed finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (from 1 small clove)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Baguette, sliced into 2-inch pieces, for serving

1. Heat grill for direct heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Grill, flipping once, until charred in spots, 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, grill corn, turning a few times, until blistered in spots and crisp-tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

3.Stir together herbs, garlic, oil and vinegar in a bowl; season chimichurri with salt and pepper. Thinly slice steak against the grain. Serve with corn, chimichurri and baguette slices.


Don’t overlook the importance of the accompaniments. Eggs, tuna, cured meats and other protein-rich items make this otherwise light-bodied soup a satisfying meal. Set everything out in separate dishes, and let everyone pick and choose among the offerings.

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Servings: 4

2 1/2 pounds tomatoes

1 small clove garlic, smashed

3 slices white sandwich bread, torn into 2-inch pieces

1/3 cup blanched almonds, toasted

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Assorted accompaniments, such as chopped hard-cooked eggs, tuna in olive oil, sliced ham or prosciutto, Spanish olives, Marcona almonds, manchego cheese and crackers

1.Make a 1/4-inch-deep X in bottom of each tomato with the tip of a paring knife, then core. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch tomatoes 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cool. Drain; peel and quarter tomatoes.

2.Transfer tomatoes to a blender along with garlic, bread, almonds, vinegar and oil. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Serve soup with accompaniments.


Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

1 medium eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips

1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips

1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips

1 large onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

2 medium tomatoes, halved crosswise

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 cups cooked bulgur or couscous (from 1 cup dry)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

1/2 baguette, halved lengthwise

1 clove garlic, halved

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves (from 1 bunch)

1. Heat grill for direct heat. Brush eggplant, zucchini, squash, onion and tomatoes with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill, flipping once, until lightly charred and tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Place bulgur in a container, and pour vegetables and accumulated juices on top. Sprinkle with lemon juice and drizzle with oil. (Store in refrigerator up to 2 days; let come to room temperature before serving.)

2.Brush both sides of baguette with oil. Grill, flipping once, until edges are crisp and charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Rub top of bread with garlic; cut into 1/2-inch croutons. (Store at room temperature up to 2 days.) Top salad with basil and croutons before serving.


Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

1 cup orzo

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons juice

1 shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons packed finely chopped fresh oregano leaves

2 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves (about 6 ounces each), butterflied, sliced in half and pounded 1/4 inch thick

9 ounces thawed frozen artichoke hearts, patted dry

1 to 2 romaine-lettuce hearts, trimmed and leaves separated

1.Cook orzo in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together 5 tablespoons oil, lemon zest and juice, shallot and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Drain orzo, transfer to a bowl and toss with half of dressing.

2.Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in remaining 1 tablespoon oil; add chicken in a single layer. Cook, flipping once, until golden and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes a side. Transfer to a plate. Add artichoke hearts to skillet; cook, stirring until warmed through, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl with orzo. Shred chicken; add to orzo with remaining dressing. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. (Store in refrigerator up to 2 days.) Serve in lettuce cups.

Questions should be addressed to Ask Martha, care of Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 601 W. 26th St., 9th floor, New York, N.Y. 10001. Questions may also be sent by email to: Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number.