I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

September 8, 2009

Labor Day food love

Holiday weekends just to me scream food...they beg for us to eat, drink & be merry amongst our friends and family. To celebrate the folks that are fallen, the fighting, the working and the fact that we are here, healthy & happy.

Having held a job in restaurants, bars, catering companies & hotels since I was 18, holidays tend to mean that you are working your rear off serving the folks that actually get the days off. This is one of the first Labor Day weekends I can remember that I have not really had to work. Sure, I went in this weekend for a few hours for a couple of sites...but no huge weddings, no events that require me to miss out on the multiple nights of family and friends gathering to celebrate the holiday.

I've been invited to Mom & Dad's house for three nights running, and beyond some kitchen wench assistance & clean up duties I have pretty much been spoiled with awesome meals all weekend long. After posting my Friday night meal on Facebook and getting responses from friends like "My invitation must have gotten lost", "If it wasn't for Chinese takeout, I'd be knocking on your door" and "Can I move in with you?" I decided to share the whole darn weekend and include a few recipes of Moms' since they are so darn awesome. :)

** means the recipe has been shared :)

Friday night-Mom, Dad, Brock & I

Fried Green Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp & Ancho Chile Mayo **
Grilled Ribeye Steaks
Emerald Double Stuffed Potatoes **

Saturday night-Same, + Uncle Brian, Aunt Laura & Awesome Cousin Delany

Kick a** salsa & chips
Cheetos-both crispy & puffy (family tradition, we can't not have them at a party)

Cucumber Mint Mojitos **

Bratwurst & Sauerkraut
Sweet Bi Color Corn from Underwood Family Farms
Green Salad with Dad's Tomatoes & Avocados and Hearts of Palm
Angel Food Cake, Sliced Strawberries & Whipped Cream

Sunday night-Mom, Dad, & I + "The Gang". Couples my parents have been friends with for 30+ years, considered part of the family. As you will see it is a communal effort as everyone contributes!

Cocktail Hour (or two)
Prosciutto Wrapped Melon
Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms **super easy awesome hors d' oeuvre
Terry's 50's style Spinach Dip
Ron's House Smoked Salmon


Gourmet Burgers on the grill with ALL the fixing's (MJ & JB's Tomatoes-gorgeous!)
Potato Chips
Riki's Crunchy Asian Cole Slaw
Susans "to die for" Rocky Road Cake **No recipe included, it takes about 2 days to make so I will let her keep making it for us :)

Obviously not all the recipes are needed as they are everyday items that you will find in almost every household on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. The ones that I am sharing are the out of the norm, fun and different and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! If there is something you want that I neglected to share, feel free to ask and I will share it with you!

Cheers, hope your weekend was as great as mine!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Grilled Shrimp & Ancho Chile Mayo
Serves 4

2 Medium-Large Unripe Green Tomatoes, sliced about 1/2” thick
(should give you about 2 slices per person)
16 Medium Shrimp
Field Greens

About 1 cup Dixie Fry
2 Eggs, beaten with some water for egg wash
Vegetable Oil for frying

Dressing-mix it all together
1 C Mayo
1 T Lemon Juice
½ T Paprika
¾ tsp Ancho Chile Powder or Cayenne Pepper
¼ C Honey

Dredge tomatoes in Dixie Fry, then egg wash and then cornmeal (all on separate plates/bowls) and fry in a large nonstick skillet until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels (I recommend you keep them warm on the BBQ while you grill the shrimp). Speaking of which….season the shrimp with S&P, spray a BBQ grill rack with non stick goodness and heat on medium. Grill shrimp until perfectly pink.

Place greens on a salad plate, top with tomatoes & shrimp and then drizzle, drop or plop some of the mayo mixture over the salad.

mmmmmmmmm………Baja meets the South courtesy of my Mama!

Emerald Double Stuffed Potatoes
4 Servings

2 Large Russet Potatoes, Baked and split in half lengthwise (do I need to tell you to poke them before baking?)

Scoop out the insides to a big bowl and add:

1/4 C Milk
1 T Butter
¼ C Non Fat Sour Cream or Non Fat Yogurt
6 Slices of Bacon, Cooked & Crumbled

2 Small Zucchini, Shredded Fine and Squeezed DRY
1 Green Onion, Chopped
1/8 T Dried Dill Weed or ¼ tsp Fresh Dill
1/8 C Parsley, Chopped Fine

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Mix everything together and refill the potato skins. Sprinkle with parmesan if you wish…we do because we love cheese. Reheat in a 350 degree oven. Super tasty and a great way to get veggies in to the diet in disguise.

Cucumber Mint Mojitos
Makes 3 or 4 depending on how big your glasses are. :)

Peel & Slice ½ of a Cucumber

Muddle in a bowl and then add:
2 T Sugar or Splenda
Generous handful of fresh mint on the stem

Muddle again
Add the juice of 1 lime
Add 1 cup of Rum (white)

Let this sit in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours

Strain into a bowl or cup and the squish the cucumber/mint mixture down so as to extract maximum flavor & alcohol from it.

Fill a rocks glass 2/3 with ice. Fill a martini shaker 2/3 with crushed ice and pour Mojito mix in to it and shake until super cold. Strain in to the glass leaving about an inch from the top. Squeeze in some lime juice & top with club soda. Garnish with peeled cucumber ribbons & fresh mint springs. Sooooooo refreshing!

Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms

16oz Buttom or Crimini Mushrooms
3 T Butter
¼ C Balsamic Vinegar (may need more to deglaze)
1/8 C Brown Sugar
Salt to taste

Sauté Mushrooms in a large pan (do not “crowd the mushrooms” a la Julia Child)

When the mushrooms start to release their water, add the Balsamic and stir over medium heat until the balsamic starts to get syrup-y. Add the brown sugar and stir until mushrooms are glazed, beautiful and shiny. If you need to add more vinegar to coat, feel free, the syrup will get a little less thick as the mushrooms continue to lose their water. Salt to taste and serve with nothing more than a toothpick.

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