Happy Labor Day!
Please join me in thanking all the American workers, those of today and those of the past 100+ years, for their service to this country. Cheer them on at your local parade where they exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community. Enjoy this 3 minute video offering a brief history of Labor Day.
One more bit of business…Please join me on Wednesday for an interview with author, Jody Hedlund. Jody is a historical fiction writer and has two books available, The Preacher’s Bride and, her newest release, The Doctor’s Lady. I will be giving away a copy of The Doctor’s Lady to one lucky commenter.
I’ve read The Preacher’s Bride and am devouring The Doctor’s Lady. Jody’s writing draws the reader in an holds you there. You’ll find yourself loving the characters and not wanting to let them go when you’ve finished the book. I lost a lot of sleep while I read The Preacher’s Bride, just couldn’t find a place where I was willing to close the book to close my eyes. More than a story set in Puritan Days, it’s a story about two people who each have a mission in life and find a way to have love, too. It has been the same with The Doctor’s Lady…late nights…just one more chapter before sleep.
Mondays in September are all about Sweet Obsessions. I know I can’t be the only one who obsesses over such things as chocolate, books, movies, or music. So, I expect that I’ll hit common ground with most of you, my exceptional readers!
Labor Day Weekend marks the final days of summer vacation for kids and their parents. For the rest of us, it signals the onset of Autumn, even though Fall doesn’t officially begin for almost 3 more weeks. Summer playtime is behind us: July 4th fireworks, beach days, lazy book-reading afternoons in a hammock, road trips, gardening, outdoor concerts, and the like.
Drive into a state park on this holiday weekend and you’ll see what most folks do to celebrate this final summer fling…BBQ! For me BBQ is the best way to eat. It’s one of my Sweet Obsessions! The aroma of food sizzling on the grill evokes memories of summers past and creates that fluttery excitement of outdoor parties.
Most of us use barbeque and grilling interchangeably. I do, but there is a difference. Barbeque includes a sauce to season meats and grilling is cooking without the sauce. When I pull out the gas grill, though, it’s all the same to me!
I can’t even name a favorite food for the grill because I like just about any food cooked that way: juicy and tender Delmonico steaks, succulent lobster tails dripping with clarified butter, vegetables made sweeter as they’re grilled on skewers, roast turkey like you’ve never tasted, thick-sliced pineapple, and the all-time favorite burgers and dogs.
Ooh, and don’t forget the summer salads, desserts and drinks! Now that I have your mouths watering (like mine), I’m going to satisfy all that drooling with a few recipes:
WHITE PEACH SANGRIA – Sweet and refreshing
- 1 bottle white wine (preferably Spanish table wine)
- 3 ounces brandy
- 2 ounces triple sec
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil for 2 minutes in a small saucepan) and cooled (leftover syrup can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 month)
- 3 ounces white peach puree (peel peaches, remove pit and puree in a blender with a small amount of water)
- Fresh peaches, oranges, and apples sliced
Place all ingredients in a pitcher and stir to mix. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 48 hours. Serve over ice.
PERFECT GRILLED STEAK – If you like beef, what could be more perfect?
- 4 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch-thick boneless rib-eye or New York strip steaks (about 12 ounces each) or filets mignons (8 to 10 ounces each), trimmed
- 2 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
About 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature.
Heat your grill to high. Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees F), 5 to 7 minutes for medium (140 degrees F) or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well (150 degrees F).
Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
GRILLED STUFFED TOMATOES – A super easy side dish!
- 6 large tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked orzo pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
Cut the tomatoes and core them, removing all the seeds and juice.
In a medium bowl add the onions, basil, and goat cheese. Mix and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add cooked orzo and combine. Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Top the tomatoes with the Parmesan.
Place the tomatoes directly on the grill with the cover closed and cook for 10 minutes. The juices will begin to run. Remove from grill and place on platter.
GRILLED NEW POTATO SALAD – A twist on an old stand-by, potato salad with a bleu cheese-bacon vinaigrette.
- 4 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed, cooked until almost tender, drained, and halved
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
- Salt and freshly ground black
- 3/4 pound hickory smoked bacon
- 1 large red onion, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup crumbled Maytag blue cheese
Preheat grill. Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill cut side down for 3 minutes. Turn over and continue grilling 2 to 3 minutes. Place in a large bowl.
Place medium skillet on the side burner or the grill and heat until almost smoking. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Let cool and crumble.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, and sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved. Pour the onion mixture over the potatoes, add the crumbled bacon and parsley and toss to combine, season with salt and lots of black pepper. Spoon the salad onto a large platter and sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese.
GRILLED PINEAPPLE SUNDAES – Easy, Fast and Impressive
- 1 large pineapple, cored and cut into 1-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- Vanilla ice cream, for topping
- Caramel, for topping
- Homemade or Purchased Shortbread cookies
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Brush pineapple slices with melted butter and grill until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with rich, vanilla ice cream and caramel topping on top of two shortbread cookies.
Thanks to my favorite source of recipes, Food Network.
Whatever you enjoy eating at your holiday celebration, please, somewhere between that first bite of steak and the last slurp of ice cream, remember all those American workers who made Labor Day weekend possible!
Do you think most people have forgotten to honor those who are responsible for this holiday? How do you celebrate Labor Day?
You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!
ATTENTION! Please submit any questions you would like answered during my interview with Kim Wright to be held on Thursday, September 15th. I’ll choose as many as I can. This is your opportunity to get a highly experienced author to give you the scoop on all things publishing! You may submit questions via email or the comments section. Thanks for your input!
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