Labor Day Cookout 2017

One week to go and it’s Labor Day – the unofficial end to summer and the Backyard Party Season. Labor Day is an American celebration of the workforce. The very first Labor Day Parade took place on a Tuesday, September 5, 1882. It was the brain-child of Peter J. McGuire, a carpenter and labor union leader. Mr. McGuire felt the span between Independence Day and Thanksgiving was far too long, and the workers deserved a holiday all their own somewhere in between. His inspiration came from America’s northern neighbor, Canada. In 1887, Oregon became the first state to declare Labor Day as a public holiday. By 1894, Congress had unanimously voted to approve legislation to make Labor Day a National Holiday, moving the date to the first Monday in September.

All I know is that Labor Day is one of my all-time favorite National Holidays. Who doesn’t love a three-day weekend? It’s a last hora for the barbecue/picnic season, and it means Autumn isn’t far off – my favorite time of the year in the kitchen.

While I’m not sure just where we will be this Labor Day, my menu is planned and I’m excited to get cooking! First up, this year’s menu. Those of you who have read my blogs of the past know that one of my favorite things to do is to create menus. There’s something wonderful about the thought and reflection that goes into a set menu. Sometimes I fear the meal planning  task is a lost art for the homemaker of today. So busy with work, the children and running Mom’s Taxi Service, meals are often last-minute decisions.

Appetizers and Munchies:
Red, White & Blue Deviled Eggs
Roast Beef Spirals with Cream Cheese-Horseradish Spread
Store-Bought Chips, Dips and Assorted Munchies

Main Goodies:
Grilled New Mexican Marinated Flank Steak
Spice-Rubbed Picnic Chicken in Sourdough Bread Bowls
Hot Dogs & Hamburgers

Side Dishes:
Butterfly Pesto Pasta Salad
Mema’s Potato Salad
Watergate Jello Salad
Sliced Mellons such as Cantaloupe and Honey Dew

Sweet Delights:
Shirley Temple Bundt Cake
Platter of cookies or store-bought mini cupcakes


Red, White & Blue Deviled Eggs
For The Eggs
16 Hard Boiled Eggs (or as needed, see tip below)
1 Cup Mayonnaise
3 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard (or your favorite style)
4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Onion powder to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Kosher Salt and White Pepper to taste

Tip: Boil 2 or 3 eggs more than required to fill serving tray. The extra eggs give more yolk filling, the extra whites allow for tasting and adjusting seasonings if necessary.

To Boil eggs, place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cover and let rest for 12-14 minutes. Drain, then plunge eggs into ice-cold water to cease the cooking process. The results will be a perfectly cooked egg with a sunny yellow yolk.

Tips for Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs: Once eggs are cool enough to handle, roll gently on counter to crack shells. Place into cold water, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from water and peel. Water will work its way into shell, the result is an easily peeled egg. Farm Fresh eggs are difficult to peel. Try to buy your eggs at least a week in advance.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor with mixing/chopping blade. Set whites aside and mix coloring.

For The Coloring
2 or 3 teaspoon Royal Blue Food Coloring (more if needed)
2 or 3 teaspoon Red Food Coloring (more if needed)
2 tablespoons white vinegar, divide

In a glass bowl, mix 1 cup hot water, distilled white vinegar and Royal Blue Food Coloring. Mix well and add more coloring if desired. In another glass bowl, mix remaining cup of hot water, distilled white vinegar and Red Food Coloring. Mix well, and add more coloring if desired. Set coloring bowls aside until ready to color.

Mix/chop yolks until fluffy and are fine grade resembling bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste. Transfer yolk mixture to a bowl and chill until ready to fill.

Divide egg white halves into three groups. One group is to remain uncolored, the remaining two are colored red and blue.

Color one-third of the egg whites, one at a time, in the blue mixture. Allow egg white to soak undisturbed for about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn gently to allow other side to soak.. Once desired color is reached, remove dyed white from coloring. Lay on a paper-towel lined baking sheet cut side down and let drain/dry. Repeat until a third of the egg whites have been colored blue.

Color another third of the egg whites in red coloring as above.

To assemble: Place 12 white halves on serving dish or egg platter. Select best of the halves.

Spoon filling mixture into a piping bag fitted with desired tip. (I like the larger star for deviled eggs), then pipe into egg white halves.

Tent with plastic wrap (using toothpicks for “tent) and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Roast Beef Spirals with Cream Cheese-Horseradish Spread
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 green onions, chopped about 1/2 cup
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces deli roast beef, sliced
2 10-inch flour tortillas, (flavored add a nice touch)

Combine cream cheese, green onions, parsley, horseradish, salt and garlic powder. Blend until smooth.

Place the two tortillas on work surface, spread half of cheese over each, top each with half of the roast beef slices, leaving a 1/2 inch border around edges.

Roll up, wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes or up to 1 day ahead. Remove from refrigerator, unwrap and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange cut-side up on serving tray.

Note: For a red, white and blue presentation, add a little blue food coloring to the cream cheese mixture and use white flour tortillas.


New Mexican Marinated Flank Steak
For the Steak
2 to 2 1/2 pound flank steak

Place flank steak in a large casserole dish, allowing steak to lay flat. Set aside while marinade is made.

 

For the New Mexican Marinade
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano, crushed between your palms
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered cumin seed
Juice from 2 limes
4 to 5 cloves minced garlic

In a medium-size bowl, combine all the ingredients. Whisking to blend well.

Pour marinade over steak. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate overnight or at least 8 to 10 hours, turning several times.

When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling. Prepare and pre-heat your grill for cooking. Grill the marinated steak 5 to 7 minutes per side, is medium rare or until the internal temperature reaches desired temperature on your meat thermometer. Flank steak is best when grilled rare or medium rare. Overcooking will result in a tough, dried out hunk of meat.

Remove from heat and let steak rest 5 minutes before slicing. With a sharp knife, slice steak thinly against (diagonal) the grain.

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Spice-Rubbed Picnic Chicken in Sourdough Bread
For The Rub:
6 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
¼ Cup Kosher Salt (reduce by half if using table salt)
¼ Cup Chili Powder
½ Cup Paprika
4 Teaspoons Black or White Pepper
½-¾ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (increase for spicier flavor)

For The Chicken & Everything Else
2 bone-in Split Chicken Breasts, trimmed, skin slashed, cut in half
4 Bone-in Chicken Thighs, trimmed and skin slashed
4 bone-in Chicken drumsticks, trimmed and skin slashed
2 Large or 4 Small Bread Bowls, hollowed out (save bread)
2 Large or 4 small sheets of foil (to wrap the chicken-filled bowls)

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and top with wire racks. Set aside.

Combine sugar, salt, chili powder, paprika, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Coat chicken pieces with spice mixture, gently lifting skin to distribute spices underneath while leaving skin attached to chicken. Place chicken skin-side up on prepared wire racks, tent with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours for best flavors.

Adjust oven racks upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 475-degrees.

Remove foil covering from chicken and roast until brown, crisp and breasts register 160-degrees. Roast chicken for 20 minutes. Switch and rotate baking sheets, continue to roast 15 minutes longer.

Transfer breast pieces to a platter or dish, cover to keep warm. Continue to roast thighs and drumsticks until they register 175-degrees, about 10-15 minutes longer. Turn off oven. Place an assortment of chicken pieces inside each bowl. Top with bread “lid”. Wrap tightly in foil and keep in the warm oven until ready to  place on the table, no more than an hour to prevent everything from drying out. Once removed from oven, keep everything wrapped in foil until ready to serve. Bread will absorb some of the chicken flavoring while keeping the chicken warm.


Butterfly Pesto Pasta Salad
3 Garlic Cloves, unpeeled
1 Cup Fresh Basil
1 ½ Cups Baby Spinach
¼ Cups Pine Nuts
¼ Cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese
½ Cup Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 lb Farfalle Pasta (bow-tie)
1/4 Cup or so Reserved cooking water

Toast garlic in a small skillet over medium-heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and color deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let garlic cool, then peel and chop coarse.

Process garlic, basil, spinach, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Add Parmesan Cheese and mayonnaise, continue to process until thoroughly combined. Transfer pesto to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. (Mixture can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring often, until pasta is just past al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta cooking water, drain pasta. Toss pasta with a little olive oil and spread into a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Let pasta cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss cooled pasta with pesto, adding reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until pesto evenly coasts pasta.

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Mema’s Potato Salad
3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
4 Eggs, hard-boiled
1 Red Onion, minced
2 Celery Stocks, minced
1 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings, warm (Optional)
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoons Mustard
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar plus a sprinkling for potatoes
Kosher Salt & Fresh Black Pepper to taste
¼ Cup Parsley or green onion for garnish

Peel and slice potatoes into large chunks. Place potatoes in a stockpot and cover with 1-inch of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are just tender but not soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle LIGHTLY with red wine vinegar and set aside in refrigerator to cool.

Place eggs in a saucepan, add cold water to cover eggs. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 12-14 minutes, then plunge eggs into cold water to stop cooking process. Once cooled, roll egg on counter to crack the shell. Return eggs to cold water and let sit for about 15 minutes. This will help to make the eggs easier to peel.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine onions, celery, bacon drippings, mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream and red wine vinegar. Whisk to combine. Taste dressing and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Peel and chop 3 eggs. Add to dressing. Cut V marks in 4th egg to create two tulip flowers. Reserve 1 flower, chop other and add to dressing. Taste dressing a second time, adjust seasonings as necessary.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Pour egg dressing over potatoes and toss to coat. Smooth out top. In the center, using the back of a spoon, create a small indentation. Place Egg flower into indentation. Sprinkle top of salad with parsley or chopped green onion for added color. If desired, sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until well chilled.

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Watergate Salad
8 oz Cool Whip
1 Box Pistachio Pudding Mix (low-fat)
16 oz Crushed Pineapple with juice
1 Cup Mini-Marshmallows
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans, optional

Fold pudding mix into cool whip until well incorporated.

Add remaining ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least an hour.

Note: To add a little more color, try using colored mini-marshmallows or garnish with maraschino cherries or both!


Shirley Temple Cake
The Bundt Cake
1 1/2 cups butter softened
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons lemon extract
3/4 cup 7-Up
1 jar maraschino cherries 10 oz, drained and juice reserved

Pre-heat oven to 325.

In large bowl mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the eggs and continue to mix until blended. Next add the flour and mix again until smooth. Add the lemon extract and 7-Up. Beat lightly to combine.

Gently fold the cherries into the batter. Set aside until ready to bake.

Grease a bundt pan with shortening, then dust it with flour.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until center is set.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remember, the cake will continue to cook while in the pan.

Turn the cake out on a cooling rack, then turn again so that it is right side up. Place the cake while still warm onto a serving dish.

Using a skewer, poke holes all over the top of the cake. Slowly pour the reserved cherry juice over the cake and let it all soak in. Don’t worry if the juice soaks all the way to the bottom. It will be fine. Let the cake cool completely. While cake cools, make the glaze.

The Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon extract
3-4 Tablespoons milk

In a bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon extract. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Once cake is cooled, drizzle with glaze. Garnish with cherries and serve.


Wishing you and your family a wonderful, fun-filled Labor Day! If you are looking for more Labor Day recipes, check out a few suggestions from the past:

Labor Day Picnic – A Fond Farewell To Summer

****** The Menu ******
The Main Dishes
Grilled Onion Hamburgers
Bratwurst in Beer – Picnic Style
Italian Muffuletta Picnic Sandwich

The Side Dishes
Cooler Corn on the Cob
Mema’s Potato Salad

The Salads
Asparagus and Tomato Salad with a Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Red Potato Salad*

Tropical Pineapple-Lime Jello Salad 

The Sweet Dessert:
Peach-Almond Upside Down Cake


Labor Day – Oh My!

****** The Menu ******
The Grilled Meats
Grilled Smoked Sausage with Barbecue Sauce 
Boozy Bacon Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Kabobos 
Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce 
Hot Dogs or Hamburgers for the Children

The Side Dishes
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes 
Slow Cooker Smokehouse Bacon Beans
Warm French Bread with Melted Garlic Butter

The Salads
Asparagus and Tomato Salad with a Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Red Potato Salad

Tropical Pineapple-Lime Jello Salad 

The Refreshing Ends
Lemon Pie Squares
Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza 


If nothing else, I hope you come away with some inspiration and create your own Labor Day celebration that is perfect for your family and friends.

Next Up – Father’s Day

One more week and counting. This year, Father’s Day with dear old Dad is going to be celebrated on Saturday. Dad’s not getting about as he once did and doesn’t venture far from the family farm. Seems that whenever we get together for a family feed, Dad brings up how much he likes barbecued ribs. He says one of the things he misses are the “old days” when he could spend hours cooking up his barbecue ribs. (Hint hint). Dad can’t stand for very long without becoming dizzy (a very bad thing while bent over a bed of hot coals), and it’s just too hard to try grilling from his chair.The Farm This wonderful man has reached that reversed point in life when we need to show him the same loving care he has shown us our entire lives. Besides, giving back even a small portion of what he has done for me fills me with such joy, words cannot express the warmth I feel inside.

Hubby has been talking about different outings for Father’s Day – the Pirate Festival in the bay (complete with dueling ships), the Crawdad Festival along the river, hiking in the woods – anything to get out and away from the grind of every day and relax. That also means escaping from barbecue duty on Father’s Day. (Hint-hint). There was only one thing to do – and that was to please them both. Barbecue at the farm on Saturday, spending Sunday any way Hubby would like. After all, it’s his day, too. By splitting the weekend with a duel celebration everyone is happy.

Kiddo, Hubby and I have been mulling over the menu for our Saturday Father’s Day Barbecue. My guys are great at helping me to keep it simple. Oh sure, they will go along with whatever crazy menu I can conjure up (a great example was My Birthday Feast From Italy and what a wonderful birthday! There is no way I could have pulled it off without their wonderful helping hands). They have reminded me ever so gently that I needed to think about Dad – what he would like. That we would be doing the majority of the prep work and cooking at home, with the final touches at the farm and above all else, the food needed to travel well. At last, the menu was settled – time to share.

Father’s Day Barbecue
– From the Grill –
Oven-Grilled Smoky Barbecued Ribs

– On the Side –
Corn on the Cob
Hobo Skillet Potatoes
Texas-Style Ranch Beans

– Gotta Have Sweets –
Pudding Filled Cupcakes with Italian Meringue Butter Cream Frosting


While this recipe is designed to do at home, the ribs can go from the oven to a big foil pan for transportation. Just imagine skipping the hot dogs at your next picnic and serving up some grilled ribs at the park. Once grilled, simply move back into the foil pan for serving.

Oven-Grilled Smoky Barbecued Ribs
The Rub
2 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoons Hickory Smoked Salt
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
2 Teaspoons Mustard Powder
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder

In a bowl, mix ingredients for dry rub, set aside until ready to use.

The Ribs
3 or 4 lbs Baby-Back Pork Ribs
Water as needed
2 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
1 Onion
4 Cups Barbecue Sauce (your favorite)

Trim excess fat from ribs and remove thin layer of skin (that silver membrane) from the back of the ribs. The best way to remove the membrane is to slide a thin knife under the membrane and lift about an inch or so from the bone. Using a paper towel to help, grab the membrane while pressing down on the rib bone. Then give it a good tug toward you. Think of it as ripping off a band-aid – pull quickly. If your ribs are a long slab, you might need to do the same at the opposite end. Be quick and rip. Works every time.

Once the ribs have been trimmed, it’s time to rub. Lightly brush meat with a little olive oil (this helps rub “cling” to meat). Generously coat meat with rub, then use your fingers to massage seasoning into meat. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for several hours or over night for best flavor.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Using a broiler pan, pour about a half-inch or so of water into the bottom. To the water, add liquid smoke.

Peel and cut onion into large slivers. Scatter onion slivers over the smoky water in the pan.

Place the top rack of broiler pan over the flavored water. Unwrap ribs and lay on rack. Cover tightly with foil to seal well.

Bake ribs in the oven for about an hour. Check ribs. You want them to be cooked through but not falling off the bone. (Be careful, a puff of steam will poof out when the foil is lifted). Bake another 30 minutes, then check again.

Meanwhile, build a nice fire in your barbecue for both direct and indirect grilling. (Build coals on one side rather than spread out). Sear ribs over the direct heat. Move to indirect heat, mop with barbecue sauce. Close lid and let smoke about 10 minutes. Turn ribs, mop again and let smoke another 10 minutes.

Remove from grill. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

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The beauty of Cooler Corn is that you can boil the water at home, pour it over the corn and pack the corn for a “road” trip – by the time you get to your destination, the corn will be cooked. Keep it in the cooler to keep it hot. Use tongs to serve straight from the cooler.

Cooler Corn on the Cob
12-24 Ears of Corn
Boiling Water

Husk, clean and trim ears of corn. Place corn in a clean camping cooler. Bring several kettles or pots of water to a boil, enough to cover corn.

Pour boiling water over corn, close lid and let steep for 30-45 minutes.

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I love Texas Style Ranch Beans with barbecued meats – especially smoked pork or beef. These beans are more than tasty – once heated through they will travel well. For our barbecue, I plan to transfer the beans to a foil pan with a tight-fitting lid for transportation.

My pans are part of those “cheap” chafing sets you can get at a party supply store. These great for transporting foods and will keep everything nice and hot. Oh sure, you could accomplish the same thing with a fancy chafing dish, but for backyard barbecues and casual entertaining the aluminum foil sets are great – as well as versatile. You can use full pans, half pans or even quarter pans, depending upon how much food you’ll be serving.

Easy Texas Style Ranch Beans
1 Tablespoon Bacon Dripping
1/2 Medium red onion, diced
2 tsp New Mexico chili powder
2 large Cans Original Ranch-Style Beans
1 can (10 oz) Ro-tel Tomato & Green Chilies, undrained
1/4 cup Water (optional – see cooking methods)

Heat bacon drippings in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, saute until tender. Season with chili powder. Stir to blend.

Quick Method: Open cans and empty contents into large pot. Add water and onions. Heat over medium heat until bubbling.

Slow Method: Open cans and empty contents into a slow cooker. DO NOT ADD WATER. Stir in onions, cover and simmer on high for about an hour or until beans are heated through. Lower to keep warm and serve directly from the pot.

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While the potatoes are designed to serve straight from the cast iron skillet, again those foil pans with a tight-fitting lid are perfect for travel while keeping the casual “hobo” appeal of the potatoes.

Hobo Cast Iron Skillet Potatoes
4-5 bacon strips
2 tablespoons butter
5 medium/large red potatoes, diced
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
1-2 teaspoons seasoned salt
pinch of ground black pepper

Heat skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon until crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel, leaving the grease in the skillet. Add the butter.

Carefully add the potatoes and onion to the skillet.

Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the potatoes and stir gently until all of the mixture is coated in the grease.

Cover with a lid and cook for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Stir potatoes every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning/sticking.

Before serving, crumble the cooked bacon and toss it into the potatoes.

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Pudding Filled Cupcakes with Italian Meringue Butter Cream Frosting
The Pudding Filling
1 package Instant Pudding and Pie Filling (any flavor – white chocolate, vanilla or chocolate works best)
2 Cups Milk, very cold

In a medium bowl, empty Pudding mix. Add milk and mix until smooth. Continue to whisk until pudding thickens. Place plastic wrap directly over the pudding and refrigerate until well-chilled, at lease an hour.

The Cupcake
1 Box French Vanilla White Cake
3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Melted butter
1 Cup Water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line muffin tin with paper cups. Set aside until ready to fill.

Place eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat with paddle until pale, about 2 minutes.

Melt butter in a microwave safe dish. (Butter should be melted but not “hot”). Add to eggs. With paddle running, slowly add vegetable oil and water until light and frothy.

Add cake mix, blend for 30 seconds on low, then 2 minutes on medium high.

Using a small ice cream scoop, spoon batter into prepared tins. Bake according to package directions for the size cupcakes you are making. Regular tins work well, jumbo are also excellent for filling. While Mini cupcakes are okay, these are far more difficult to “core” and “fill” – which can lead to frustration.

Note: If more than a dozen regular or six jumbo cupcakes are desired, double the batter recipe.
Remove cupcakes from oven and let cool completely on a rack before filling and frosting.
While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.

The Frosting
1-1/4 Cups Sugar
2/3 Cup Water Room temperature
5 Large Egg Whites
Pinch Cream of Tartar
2 Cups Unsalted Butter Room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Continue to boil until sugar syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 240 – 244 degrees on a candy thermometer. As the syrup cooks, start the meringue.

Separate eggs and place the whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat whites on low until foam begins to form, increase to medium until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whip on medium-high-speed until medium to stiff peaks form. Do not whip to the point that the whites are dry.

With mixer running, add cooked syrup to whites in a slow but steady stream, beating at high-speed. In a steady stream, the addition of the sugar syrup should take about 5 minutes.

Add butter one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth, approximately 4-5 minutes.
Beat in vanilla, scrape down sides gently and beat again for 1 minute.
Note: This frosting will keep up to 3 days at room temperature, 2 weeks refrigerated

To Assemble Cupcakes: Here is the EASIEST tip for filling the cupcakes. Take an APPLE CORER and pull a cylindrical plug of cake out of each cupcake. Save the plug on the side while you pipe filling into the hole you’ve created.

DO NOT fill cupcakes to the top, you need a little room to reinsert the “plug”. Trim bottom of “plug” a little so as to cap the pudding-filled hole.

Once all the cupcakes have been filled and capped, pipe on the frosting as desired. Chill until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, remove the paper from the cupcake, plate and serve. It’s best to eat with a fork to avoid filling from dripping out on your clothes. Besides, serving a cupcake on a dessert plate elevates the cupcake to an elegant presentation. If desired, garnish the plate with a few berries and mint leaves or edible flowers.

A Simple Backyard Supper with Flavors of Italy

Summer is finally here with a vengeance! It was cold and rainy mid-week, only to jump into the upper 90s by the weekend. A shock to the system to say the least. The last thing anyone wanted to do was to be stuck in the kitchen cooking. No, truth be told, a bowl of ice cream sounded like the perfect solution.

As wonderful as good ice cream is, it’s not much of a supper no matter how hot the day may be. We needed a good meal that wasn’t going to heat up the house. Yet it was far too warm for Hubby to be tending to a fire. Whatever we had, it had to cook up on the grill quickly. The plan was to make my Grilled Pork Chops with an Italian Relish. After all, twelve minutes or so on the barbecue would be all the “cooking” required. Originally, I had planned to serve up my chops with a side of Creamy Herb Risotto and Smokey Pan Seared Asparagus. While the asparagus would not have required much effort, a good Risotto requires a great deal of attention over a hot stove. Change of plans. And the results were beautiful!

Recently I made a simple pasta with a creamy pepper sauce. Mind you, there are only three of us, so a pound of pasta was more than we could possibly consumed in an evening. This pasta warmed nicely in the microwave. With only a slight modification, my Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli rounded out our Italian Supper perfectly.

Now I’d like to share the meal with you. Remember, the pasta can be made a day ahead of time, then gently warmed in the microwave for about 5 minutes. What a great supper for simple entertaining – bright, bursting with flavor. A real “wow” at the table. Serve with a good bottle of Italian wine, and enjoy!

Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish
¾ lb Roma Tomatoes, seeded, chopped
¾ Cup Chopped Red Onion
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped (about 1-2 tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
4-6 Thick, Center-cut Pork Chops, 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste

Seed and chop tomatoes, place in a medium-size bowl. When chopping the tomatoes, leave some in larger chunks, some in smaller pieces for a less-uniformed appearance.

Chop Red Onions, add to tomatoes. If using fresh herbs (best) chop fresh basil and oregano. Add to tomato mixture. Pour Red Wine Vinegar over tomato mixture, toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 1-2 hours to allow flavors to mature and fully marry.

Arrange pork chops in a glass baking dish just large enough to hold the chops snugly. Salt and pepper the chops, turn season-side down. (This will prevent the seasoning from washing away when the marinade is added).

Pour relish into a strainer over a glass bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to drain on its own. To complete the draining process and get as much liquid as possible for the pork chops, gently press relish to remove any remaining liquid without mashing tomatoes. Spoon or pour liquid over pork.
Cover glass dish with plastic wrap and let pork chops rest on the counter in liquid goodness for about 40 minutes to an hour, turning occasionally.

While pork is marinating, prepare barbecue grill to about medium-heat. Since the pork is cooked over the heat directly, you don’t want the grill to get so hot that the chops burn or dry out before they are fully cooked.

When the fire is ready, grill pork until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.
Transfer pork chops to serving platter. Tent to keep warm and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. When ready to serve, spoon most of the relish over the pork chops, reserving some to pass table side.

Angle Hair Pasta with Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce
Pasta:
1 lb Angel Hair Pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large stock pot, bring lightly salted water to a full, rapid boil.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. (For pasta to cook properly, there needs to be a large amount of rapidly boiling water. The pasta should  freely “dance about” in the water as it cooks. A little oil helps the pasta to dance).

Add pasta, return to a rapid boil and cook until tender but firm, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and rinse quickly under warm water. Allow pasta to drain completely. (Don’t worry about pasta cooling while it drains, it will warm nicely in the sauce).

Creamy Roasted Pepper Sauce
1 Jar (12 oz) Roasted Red Peppers with Juice, reserve ¼-cup chopped peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 Cups heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Puree roasted peppers with juice in blender. Set aside.

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet with high sides. (Remember, this pan needs to hold both the sauce and pasta). Add garlic; cook 2 minutes over medium-low heat until fragrant.

Add pepper puree, cream, salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, cook sauce over medium heat until hot and bubbly, about 6 minutes.  Stir in ¼ cup cheese. The sauce in now ready for the pasta.

Combine angel hair pasta with pepper mixture. Let pasta warm in sauce over low heat.

Garnish with Color:
½ cup fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips
¼-cup roasted peppers
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Transfer pasta, sauce and all, to large serving bowl.

NOTE: If making ahead of time, allow pasta to cool. Place in a Tupperware container or other microwave safe container with a tight-fitting lid. When ready to serve, warm in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl and enjoy!

Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli with Italian Cheese Garnish
1/2 lb Broccoli
1 Tablespoon Garlic-Herb Blend (McCormick’s has a nice blend)
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieced
1 gallon size zip-lock freezer bag
¼-cup Italian Cheese Blend – Parmesan, Romano and Asiago

Cut broccoli into individual pieces and place into the bag. Season with Garlic-Herb seasoning. Shake bag a little to distribute seasoning. Lay bag flat on a micro-wave safe plate. Distribute pieces of butter throughout the bag.

Seal bag, leaving small gap at the center of closure to vent. Micro-wave on HIGH 90 seconds. Turn bag over, micro-wave on HIGH an additional 90 seconds. Check broccoli for doneness. It should be hot and tender-crisp. If still firm, turn bag again and micro-wave on HIGH for another minute.

Repeat until broccoli is heated through, tender but not “soft”.

CAREFULLY open bag (it will be steaming hot) and empty into a serving dish. Toss gently to incorporate seasoning and butter completely. Just before serving, sprinkle cheese over top of broccoli and serve.


Suggested Simple Dessert: Angle Food Cake with Luscious Glazed Strawberries

Labor Day – Oh My!

Labor Day is but a week away – can you believe it? When our children were still children, Labor Day wasn’t about picnics or backyard barbecues – it was about running away from home – headed up the California Coast and cool ocean breezes. Now, we are more home bodies – and Labor Day involves extended family – which is fine. I like my nutty family. Besides, planning family events teaches our children (or in this case, our grandchild) the importance of family ties. The older we get, the more we appreciate those ties.

When I was growing up, so much of our lives revolved around extended family gatherings. It seemed most gatherings were at our house. After all, we had the space. It wasn’t just a few Uncles and Aunts – we were easily a dozen kids or more. And it wasn’t just Christmas or Easter or even Labor Day – we are talking Sunday dinners after church. Every Sunday, without fail. Oh how I miss those days. We are so scattered now. By the time our motley crew grew up, we had scattered to the four corners. Our gatherings these days are much smaller, but no less precious.

Decisions, decisions! Hamburgers? Hot Dogs? How about some foot-long franks? Chicken? Ribs? Salads – green leafy salad? Pasta? Potato? Oh, and remember those old-fashion Jell-O salads! (My mother use to make a lime concoction with chopped lettuce – not one of my fonder childhood memories). It’s just so hard to come up with new recipes without falling back on the tried and true.

Oh, one last thing before we get started – make as much or as little as you like. Add to your family favorites or just be inspired – whatever suits your fancy!

****** The Menu ******
The Grilled Meats
Grilled Smoked Sausage with Barbecue Sauce *
Boozy Bacon Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Kabobos *
Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce *
Hot Dogs or Hamburgers for the Children

The Side Dishes
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes *
Slow Cooker Smokehouse Bacon Beans*
Warm French Bread with Melted Garlic Butter*

The Salads
Asparagus and Tomato Salad with a Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette*
Red Potato Salad*

Tropical Pineapple-Lime Jello Salad *

The Refreshing Ends
Lemon Pie Squares*
Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza *

Mini Cupcakes
Watermelon Wedges

* Recipes Below

****** Grilled Meats ******

Grilled Smoked Sausage with Barbecue Sauce
2 Packages Hillshire Farms Smoked Beef Sausage
1 Cup Barbecue Sauce, any flavor

Heat small grill gas grill for direct cooking. Split sausages in half width-wise to create 2 halves. Split again lengthwise to open sausage. You will now have 8 “J” shaped sausages.

When grill is ready, place sausage haves on grill skin side up until nicely cooked. Turn, brush with barbecue sauce and continue to grill until heated through.

Serve with additional barbecue sausage if desired.

This recipe can easily be increased depending upon how large a crowd you plan to serve.

DSC_0067-1024x680Boozy Bacon Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Kabobos
2 cups Bourbon Barbecue sauce (Recipe below)
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
6 slices raw bacon, cut into small pieces

Light the grill and heat to medium-high, or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

In a food processor, combine the kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, and bacon. Pulse until completely smooth.

Put the chicken thigh pieces in a bowl and then rub with the bacon paste. Once well-coated, thread the chicken thigh pieces onto skewers (pre-soaked, if they’re wooden).

Place the kabobos on the preheated grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side. Mop the kabobos with the bourbon barbecue sauce and cook for an additional minute or two on each side.

Serve with the remaining BBQ sauce.

Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
2 cups Ketchup
1/2 cup Lemon juice
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder (or heat to taste)
4 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke (or smoke to taste)
1 cup Bourbon

In a pan mix the ingredients. Bring sauce to a simmer to thicken. Keep warm until ready to use.

 

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Ingredients: Flat Iron Steak
1 Flat Iron Steak, about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds
1 Tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning

Take the steak out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking, rub with steak rub, and let it come to room temperature.

Build a fire in the charcoal grill, heating grill to medium-high heat. Clean grate and wipe with a little oil to prevent steak from sticking.

Place Flat Iron Steak on the grill at an angle. After about 3-4 minutes, or when nice grill marks start to form, rotate steak 45 degrees using tongs and continue to grill for about 3-4 minutes more on first side.

Flip steak over, again at angle and repeat grilling on second side. Continue to grill until cooked to your liking. Flat Iron Steak should be cooked no more than medium rare, for about 12 minutes, depending upon thickness of the cut.

When steak is done to your liking, remove from grill, tend and let rest for 5 minutes to allow juices to settle. Slice steak thinly across the grain. Serve hot, with Chimichurri sauce drizzled down the center. Serve remaining sauce on the side to add as desired.

Ingredients – Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves (about 1 cup before chopping)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves (about 1 cup before chopping)
2 Tablespoons Roasted minced garlic
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Teaspoons White or Red wine vinegar
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil

Wash cilantro leaves and parsley leaves and dry with paper towel or spin dry in salad spinner. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, finely chop the cilantro, parsley, and garlic.  Transfer mixture to a glass bowl.

Add lemon juice, wine vinegar, and seasonings. Whisk to combine.  Slowly whisk in olive oil. Let sauce stand at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes for flavors to marry. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

 

****** Sides ******

roasted rosemary potatoesRoasted Rosemary Potatoes
12 medium red potatoes
4 tsp. olive oil
3 branches fresh rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground salt to taste

To peel or not to peel, that is the question. If you seriously dislike potato peels, go ahead and remove them. But if you leave them on they will become crispy and delicious during the roasting process.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a baking pan with 1 tsp. of the olive oil.

Wash the potatoes, cut them into cubes and place them in the baking pan. Cut the rosemary into pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and sprinkle over the potatoes. Grind some pepper over the potatoes. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil.

Roast for half an hour, give the potatoes a stir, and return to the oven for about another half hour, until the potatoes are golden and starting to brown. Be careful: The amount of roasting time will depend on your oven, so keep checking to make sure the potatoes do not get too well done.

Remove from the oven when ready. Add the salt. Serves 6. May be increased for larger groups.

Slow Cooker Smokehouse Bacon BeansSlow Cooker Smokehouse Bacon Beans
32 ounce package dried pinto beans
1 pound thick cut bacon, cooked and diced
1 medium yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups water
¼ cup molasses
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon dried chipotle chili pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Sort through beans and pick out any stones, small and shriveled, excessively dirty (like a black spot covering a whole side of a white bean), or otherwise look old and mishandled beans.

Pour beans into a large sieve or colander and rinse well.  Pour rinsed beans into 6 quart slow cooker and cover with water by 2 inches.  Place cover on and leave slow cooker OFF.  Allow beans to soak overnight (about 8-12 hours).

Drain the soaked beans and rinse the slow cooker.  Place onions, garlic and bacon into the slow cooker.  Then add beans back into the slow cooker.  Add water, molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, chili pepper, vinegar, and pepper.  (Salt will be added at the end).

Cook on high for 10-12 hours until beans are tender.  Add salt to taste, we use the full 1 tablespoon.

Serve and enjoy!

COOK’S NOTE:  If you want your beans really thick, after about 10 hours remove 2 cups of beans from cooker and smash them.  Add them back to the cooker and stir.

Warm French Bread with Melted Garlic ButterWarm French Bread with Melted Garlic Butter
1 Loaf French Bread
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
2 Tablespoons Johnny’s Garlic Spread

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix melted butter with Johnny’s Garlic Spread.

Split bread lengthwise, leaving about 1/2 inch still connected to create a butterflied loaf. CAREFULLY open bread on a shallow baking sheet.

Brush bread with butter mixture. CAREFULLY close bread, turn so that cut side is up, hinged side is down. Slice bread almost all the way through, leave “hinge” in tact.

CAREFULLY open bread, place in oven open to warm. Warm until lightly toasted. CAREFULLY transfer loaf to a clean kitchen towel. Wrap and place into a French Bread Basket.

To serve, pass wrapped loaf around the table, inviting diners to “break” off a piece of bread.

****** Salads ******

Tomato-and-Asparagus-SaladAsparagus and Tomato Salad with a Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Asparagus and Tomato Salad
1 bunch of asparagus
4 large tomatoes
1/4 heaping cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons

Remove the woody ends from the asparagus. Lay asparagus on a cutting board, tips even. Beginning at tips, cut trimmed asparagus into thirds.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Using a large slotted spoon or small strainer, pluck asparagus from the boiling water and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Let asparagus remain in ice water for about a minute. Remove asparagus from ice water, place on paper towels to drain, folding more towels over top to absorb excess water.

Place blanched asparagus into a large bowl and set aside.

Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Rinse, removing seeds and pulp. Pat dry with paper towels and place into bowl with asparagus.

Lay three or four basil leaves in a stack. Roll into a cigar shape. Cut width-wise into thin ribbons. Sprinkle over salad. Toss to combine. Chill well until ready to serve.

While salad is chilling, make dressing.

Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 large clove garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Whisk together until combined and honey has dissolved.

Place dressing into a small container with a tight-fitting lid. Set aside until ready to serve.

When ready to “dress” salad, shake dressing well to emulsify. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Serve remaining dressing along side salad with a small spoon to drizzle as desired.

red potato saladRed Potato Salad
3 pounds red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Mayonnaise Real
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white vinegar
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 dill pickle, chopped
1/3 celery stalk, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 dash hot sauce
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 dash onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, eggs, pickle, celery, green onions, and hot sauce. Season with dill, garlic powder, onion salt, salt, and pepper. Pour over the potatoes, and gently toss to coat. Chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Tropical Lime JelloTropical Pineapple-Lime Jello Salad
1 Large Can Crushed Pineapples, well-drained
1 ½ Cups Mini-Marshmallows
1 Box Large Box Lime Jello
1 Cup Cottage Cheese, small curd
1 Cup Cool-Whip, thawed

Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup. Add enough water to create 1 ½ cups liquid. Bring to a boil. Add marshmallows, allow to melt.

Add Lime Jell-O, stir to dissolve. Cool until thickened. Add Cottage cheese and cool whip, stir to blend.

Place in a mold or glass serving dish. Chill overnight.

****** Refreshing Endings ******

Lemon Pie SquaresLemon Pie Squares
2 envelopes cook & serve lemon pie filling
3 cups of graham cracker crumbs
12 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 pint Heavy Whipped cream to top
1/4 Cup Sugar (or to taste)
2 Lemons, sliced for garnish

Prepare pie filling according to directions. Let cool in fridge.

Mix graham cracker crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Press into greased 9″ X 13″ inch pan. Pour filling onto crust. Place in fridge to chill.

Whip cream with sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove Lemon Pie Squares from refrigerator. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with graham crumbs.

Serve chilled, garnish with slices of lemons, if desired.

Sugar Cookie Fruit PizzaSugar Cookie Fruit Pizza
Sugar Cookie Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 cups spoon & leveled all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 &1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low-speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. Once completely combined, cover the dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Without chilling, your cookie dough may spread over the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Remove chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator and press onto the pizza pan in an even flat circle, as pictured above. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the eyes are very lightly browned. Over-baking will lend a hard crust. Allow crust to cool completely before decorating. After 10 minutes of cooling; crust can be placed in refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.

While crust cools, cream frosting and chop fruit.

Cream Cheese Frosting and Fruit Topping
8 oz Cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-2 Tablespoons cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Kiwi, peeled and sliced
Handful of Blueberries
1 Mandarin Orange, peeled and sliced
1 Small Basket Strawberries, sliced

In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and 1 Tbsp cream. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 more Tbsp cream if needed to thin out. Beat for 1 minute. Spread in a thick layer over the cooled sugar cookie crust.

Decorate with fruit. Cut into slices and serve.

Fruit pizza may be made 1 day in advance, covered tightly, and stored in the refrigerator before serving. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

****** Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor this Labor’s Day ******

 

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chicken

Are you going to Scarborough Fair:
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine.

I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel – brings back such memories. Such a haunting melody. Scarborough is a small coastal town in England, and Scarborough Fair was a popular Medieval gathering held in mid-August that lasted 45 days. The song itself actually dates back to Medieval times (a little fact I did not realize). I remember when “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was the popular song of the day. My cousin had it played at her wedding. It was the first wedding we (my siblings and I) were actually able to attend. I think Mom and Dad felt we would be okay at a “hippie” wedding set in a park. (As dad put it a gathering of long-haired, barefooted college kids). It’s not that we would have misbehaved, it’s that in general traditional church weddings would have bored the pants off even the best behaved children. On the ride home, my youngest sister questioned why we had not attending a wedding before since weddings were so much fun! What does all this have to do with roasted chicken? Nothing, except the title of the recipe, Simon and Garfunkel music and my thoughts wandering about.

galleryscarboroughaerialshot2-348x264

Scarborough Castle

Wouldn’t it be fun to serve up this beautiful chicken in a casual setting, with Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background? I can envision sitting down to a table with bottles of wine, baskets of warm bread and beautiful grilled vegetable platters surrounding this beautiful herb infused chicken. Good company, good food and good conversation. Now that’s what I call a party!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme Roasted Chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 (5-to 6-pound) chicken
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon Hungarian Sweet Paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, season with salt and pepper. Using your hand, gently separate skin from chicken. Rub seasoning mixture under skin and inside cavity, reserving some for the outside.

Place the herb-rubbed chicken onto a rack over a roasting pan. Pour a little Olive oil over the chicken, rub the remaining herb mixture into the oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Cover roasting pan with aluminum foil and place chicken in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove aluminum foil and roast the chicken an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until no pink remains and juices run clear.

Remove from oven, tent to keep warm and let rest for about 10 minutes. Split chicken in half, transfer to large serving platter and garnish platter as desired with additional fresh herb sprigs.

Cheers!