Saturday, May 23, 2009

Long Holiday Weekend means BBQ!.....

We have another long holiday weekend (in the States anyway) but it still affects us here in Mexico making us preserve our traditions, especially when it comes to BBQueing- there's nothing like the flavor of charcoal to get your mouth watering, plus you get to play with fire, so primal, huh?..... the weather is beautiful, everyone is in a relaxed and joyful mood, what better way to get together and take advantage of this time of year?

Let's get out there! Here's some reasons why......

Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip.- I don't know anyone who doesn't like this:

1 cup canned artichoke heart or frozen artichoke heart, chopped
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup spinach, chopped- can be fresh or frozen
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pepper, to taste
crackers or chips or bread, toasted

Cook spinach and artichoke hearts in a cup of water in small saucepan over medium heat until tender, about 10 minute. If using canned.... Drain.
Heat cream cheese in small bowl in microwave set on high for 1 minute. Add spinach and artichoke hearts to the cream cheese and stir well.
Add remaining ingredients to the cream cheese and combine. Serve hot.

Note: You can also add chopped red pepper, corn kernels, chopped cooked onions, chopped black olives- experiment and create your own version.

Smoked Tuna and Veggies Salad with Dijon Dressing.- Full of flavor and everyone loves it!

1 Iceberg Lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
1/2 Red Onion, cut in extra thin slices
4 tomatoes, cut in thin slices and then in quarters
1-2 carrots, shredded
1-2 celery stalks, cut in thin slices
1 cup Smoked Tuna, shredded
2 tbl cilantro leaves, cut fine (no stalks)
6-10 Basil leaves, rolled and cut into very thin strips (no stalks)
salt and pepper, to taste

Dijon Dressing.-
1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Virgin Olive Oil (or to taste)
1 tbl water
1-2 tbl Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, add all the salad ingredients and toss well. Keep chilled and don't add dressing until ready to serve.
For dressing: Put all ingredients in small bowl and whisk together so they emulsify. Taste and adjust seasonings. Can be kept in covered container, chilled until ready to serve. Shake.

Spicy Asian Burgers.- A nice change of pace from regular burgers and sure to become a family favorite too!

1 lb ground pork
1-3 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbl fresh ginger, crushed
2 tbl soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp hot sauce, your choice
1 tbl fresh mint, minced

Combine pork, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, hot sauce and mint; form into 4 patties.Grill over medium-hot coals (or broil) for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Serve on buns.

Barbequed Country Ribs.- Juicy and tender, you can change the flavor easily from tomato BBQ Sauce to any citrus fruit you like.... or use tropical fruits too! Any way you make them they'll be great!

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2
tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seeds
4 tbl butter
10 oz onions, diced (about 4 small)
1 tsp salt
whole tomatoes, roughly chopped, juice reserved
cup ketchup
cup brown sugar
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
tbl apple cider vinegar

3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
cups water
4 lb country-style pork ribs ("carrilleras" in Mexico at the butche
tbl canola oil
1 1/2
lemons, sliced 1/8 inch thick

Make the sauce:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the cumin and yellow mustard and celery seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant (dry pan). Cool and finely grind in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, season with 1/2 tsp salt, and cook until soft and brown - about 6 min. Add tomatoes and their reserved juice, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, cayenne, and the toasted ground spices to the onions. Add the 3 cups water, bring to a simmer, and set aside.

Cook the ribs: Season ribs with remaining salt and pepper to taste. Cover with heavy aluminum foil and close well, braise in the oven for 1 hour. Check ribs to see if bones can be easily moved (coming off the bone), if not then turn the ribs over, paint sauce over them really well and top with lemon slices and return to the oven for another 30 min. Check again after the 30 min. and turn again, paint more sauce on them and back in the oven for another 30 min., make sure bones have gotten loose. If not, paint again and give it another 15 min.

If the bones begin to loosen up then take out of the oven, pain more sauce on and put on the hot BBQ so the sauce will char and you get the charcoal flavor on the meat. Ribs are done when the meat comes away from the bone in a clean manner. Serve some sauce on the side.

Summer Sweets for You.- Ice Cream Pie: Easy to make and fun to eat! Plus you can keep it frozen (make a couple) and ready whenever you are: This is made so you can either make your own ice cream or use store bought, it's great either way....

pint strawberry ice cream
ready-to-use graham-cracker pie crust
1 pint vanilla ice cream
pint raspberry sorbet
cup sugar
cup water
1 pint blueberries
tsp fresh lemon juice
Blueberries and mint, for garnish

Make Pie: Place strawberry ice cream in microwave oven and heat on High 20 seconds to soften slightly, or place in refrigerator 30 min. Spoon strawberry ice cream into pie crust and spread evenly. Freeze until firm, about 15 min. Repeat with remaining ice cream and sorbet. Cover pie and freeze, at least 4 hours or overnight, until firm.

Make Blueberry Sauce: Before serving, in saucepan, combine sugar, water, and most of the blueberries, reserve 1/4 cup; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 min or until blueberries soften and sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice. Let sauce cool until warm, then stir in remaining blueberries. Makes about 2 cups.
To serve, let frozen pie stand at room temperature 10 min for easier slicing. Garnish pie with blueberries and mint leaves. Serve with blueberry sauce.

Backyard Sangria Too!.- Top off your BBQ party with this easy and refreshing fruit drink....always popular and you'll love it too!

Make a pitcher of Green Lemon Lemonade (1 cup Green Lemon Juice,
1/4-1/2 cup sugar and the rest is water, but taste it and insure)
1/2 pitcher of Orange Juice, can be fresh or from concentrate
1 bottle of red wine, your choice
Cut up the following fruit: oranges, lemons, strawberries, peaches, pineapples, grapes, your choice and add

In a large pot, bowl or punch bowl put the pitcher of the lemonade, the orange juice and the bottle of wine. Mix well. Taste to adjust sugar. Chill. You can also make some Sangria Ice Cubes so the taste is not diluted.

Note: Soda water, tonic water, sparking wine or champagne can also be added for fizz.

There you have it, a lovely holiday meal you can enjoy with family and friends during these long holiday weekends or any time at all. Don't wait for a holiday to enjoy the backyard or have friends over for great BBQ..... summer nights are made for this. Enjoy!

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