Here is a Labor Day Party Menu that keeps is simple and special! It features Jersey tomatoes, corn and berries, that are in season and at their peek. It gives your guests a break from the hamburgers and hot dogs they have been eating all summer and it comes from Jersey Girls – Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali of the Partybluprints Blog.
SUMMER MOSCOW MULE:
This summer cocktail was inspired by the classic Moscow Mule. Our twist is substituting fresh squeezed juice from an orange for the traditional lime. The combination of the orange, ginger and fizz makes for a fun, light and summery cocktail that is sure to tickle your guests’ tastebuds and appetite.
Ingredients (serves 1)
2 tsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
2 oz. vodka
4 oz. ginger beer
1 orange slice (garnish)
Juice oranges and set juice aside. Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add fresh juice, followed by the vodka. Top with ginger beer and garnish with an orange slice.
GRILLED SUMMER BRUSCHETTA:
This light version of bruschetta features the flavors of fresh produce. We went light with the olive oil because there’s nothing better than fresh produce and we wanted it to shine right through. This flavorful appetizer is both affordable and easy to prepare, making it a “must-serve” all summer long.
Ingredients (serves 10-12)
1 loaf Italian bread (sliced into ½” slices)
1 clove garlic (cut in half lengthwise)
4 plum tomatoes (rinsed, sliced thinly and chopped)
¼ cup finely chopped sweet onion
coarse sea salt, to taste
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
fresh basil (ribbon-cut/thinly sliced), to taste
Preheat grill. Spray or brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil, then rub each side with cut side of garlic. Combine tomatoes, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Grill bread on medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Mix in basil to tomato mixture. Top each slice with a generous tablespoon of tomato mixture. Serve.
FIRED-UP MIXED GRILL
Using a few basic spices from your pantry, it’s easy to mix it up a bit and add some pizzazz to popular grilled favorites (chicken breast and London Broil). Simply prepare a dry rub, sprinkle your chicken and steak with the rub, let it marinate in the refrigerator and then grill it up.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
4 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 tsp. minced onion
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 London Broil (2-3 lb. piece)
6 Skinless Chicken Breasts
- Mix dry rub ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Note: the last 3 ingredients provide the kick to your rub – if you want to decrease “the heat/spiciness” of your rub, decrease these amounts according to taste.
- Remove steak and chicken from packages and arrange on separate platters. Sprinkle both sides with dry rub – pressing the rub gently into the pieces. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill. Preheat grill on high. Cook London Broil and chicken breasts 10-12 minutes/side, or until desired degree of doneness (cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the cut and the temperature of your grill). The juice on the chicken should run clear.
- Remove steak and chicken from grill to platter and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut each item in hearty slices, arrange on platter and serve.
GRILLED CORN COUSCOUS SALAD: This side salad is the perfect cool complement to the spicy Fired-Up Mixed Grill. The fresh flavors from the produce brighten up this wholesome grain resulting in a refreshing and tasty salad. It’s an easy and affordable salad to make – a little couscous goes a long way!
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
(Expecting a larger crowd – simply double the recipe to serve 12-16)
1 cup tri-color Couscous (you can substitute plain couscous)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 ears of grilled corn on the cob (kernels removed)
6 scallions, sliced thinly
½ dry pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. canola oil
coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- Preheat grill. Remove husks and silks from corn. Grill corn on medium heat 15-20 minutes turning midway through. Allow corn to cool thoroughly and then using a knife slice off the kernels from the cobs. Set kernels aside.
- Add chicken broth and grilled corn kernels to a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Remove pot from heat, add couscous, stir and cover. Allow couscous to sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork until fluffy and all clumps are removed. Add scallions, tomatoes and parsley and gently mix. In a separate bowl, prepare dressing by mixing fresh lime juice, canola oil, salt and pepper – mix thoroughly and then dress salad.
GRILLED POUND CAKE ALA MODE: We love this dessert because it’s so simple to make, but looks so special (and it tastes just as special.) The grilled pound cake serves as the base – its crunchy exterior hides a soft buttery interior, both tastes and textures are equally delicious in combination with the refreshing sweet flavors of the berries and the creamy rich ice cream.
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
1 large loaf pound cake (cut into ¾” slices)
1 16 oz. package strawberries (rinsed and sliced)
1 dry pint blueberries (rinsed)
1 dry pint blackberries (rinsed and sliced in half)
confectioners’ sugar (powered sugar)
1 1.5 quart carton French vanilla ice cream
Preheat grill. Rinse and dry berries. Mix together in a bowl and set aside. Put slices of cake on medium heat grill, grill on each side 3-4 minutes per side until cake is heated through and grill marks appear. Remove from grill, top with berries, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and a mini scoop of French vanilla ice cream.
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