LABOR DAY BBQ’S MENU AND FUN
For some of us, Labor Day is a holiday celebrating all the working men and women’s achievements of today and yesterday. Yet for others, it’s a day off, filled with fun, food, drinks and a sad wave goodbye to summer! I typically love to throw a BBQ Pool Party on Labor Day (and any other summer holiday for that matter!)
So where to begin! Well if you have a pool, I would suggest throwing a few rafts in it. You could also get a floating corn hole game, water basketball hoop, put a volleyball net across the middle of the pool, or if you must, get floating beer pong (but be prepared for beer-ish pool water).
From there, lets think about the menu. Do you have kids or elderly people coming, big drinkers or non drinkers, vegetarians, people with allergies, etc… I typically have a mix of all of these. Now, what’s seasonal? If you need a quick list here is great link! http://www.sfma.net/consumer/inseason.shtml Berries, Avocados, Artichokes, Arugula, and most stone fruit are big right now.
Since I have quite a few vegetarian friends I always do a big beautiful seasonal fruit salad with a sprinkling of chopped mint, lime zest and lemon juice (works great for kids, adults, elderly, and veggie eaters!). If you want to sweeten it up you can always toss with a tiny bit of brown sugar or cinnamon, but not too much that its noticeable!
Next a green salad, keep it simple. Not everyone likes everything in their greens or foodie salads. I like to go with a basic spinach and arugula salad with heirloom tomatoes, garbanzos, persian cucumbers, and homemade rosemary croutons. Now, if you know you can have fun with the salad, I would do a spinach and arugula salad with finely sliced persimmons and apples and topped with machego in a meyer lemon viniagrette. YUM!
If you want to do a seasonal vegetable and fruit salad with your menu, you can try a sweet yellow corn and diced strawberry salad with crumbled goat cheese in it. For a dressing I make an olive oil, lemon, lemon zest, brown sugar and mint dressing. Be careful to toss right before setting out, as the strawberries will color your cheese!
For the vegetables, I would do asparagus, zucchini, mixed colored peppers and yellow squash on the BBQ. I would marinate them over night (or for atleast a few hours) in a blended olive oil, rosemary, sage, roasted garlic, and minced onion sauce. Then throw them either in your oven to roast at 350 for 45 minutes or on your BBQ veggie section if you have room. You want them to get a mellow-medium char to them.
Lastly the meat and potatoes! I think a baked potato is the best way to go for a BBQ, as everyone can dress it anyway they like! I like to rub my potatoes with rosemary and olive oil and then sprinkle with black lava salt. I then wrap them in tinfoil and off to the BBQ they go!
As for the meats, if you are going to do red meat, you should offer and white meat or fish companion. Not everyone does red meat anymore. I think it pleases the BBQ crowd best to do a chicken and a red meat option. For my chicken, I always marinate it atleast 24 hours ahead of time regardless of the sauce. I love to do a coconut almond chicken that marinates in almond flavoring and coconut milk with sea salt the night before. This keeps the chicken amazingly juicy as well. As for the beef, a lightly salted ribeye or New York steak or a chimichurri lamb chop goes beautifully!
For a fun drink, think about doing a honey grilled lemon and rosemary lemonade! You can always add a shot of vodka to this too for some added fun!