Teacher Tip of the Day: Don’t ever clean a mesh strainer with your hands that previously had jalepeno puree in it and then have to look up self-help options on the web only to discover that the only relief you will find for your burning hands is to soak them in the sour cream you need for the fajitas for your party.
No I did not do this, I’m just telling you so you don’t ever do it.
On today’s Caribbean/Latin American Menu:
Mango Nectarine and Sugar Plum Salsa
Pico De Gallo and Guacamole
Achiote Honey Lime Shrimp with Chipotle Cole Slaw in Endive
Grilled Corn with Smoked Paprika and Cheese, Chimichurri Marinated Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Saffron Rice and Beans with Red and Yellow Peppers, Watermelon Margarita
Sweet Chipotle BBQ Baby Back Ribs , Jerk Chicken Wingettes, Mole Spiced Steak Fajitas
Spiced Coconut Banana Bread
Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Ice Cream
Summer is a wonderful time for casual and fun backyard parties. Last year my husband and I threw a huge Southern Style BBQ complete with a smoker he built out of a 50 gallon oil drum. He found directions on You Tube, completed it within a few days, painted and pinstriped it and lost all his eyelashes and some eyebrows burning it out. But it worked and it sure was fun to talk about afterwards! Pulled pork, smoked ribs, fried chicken, mac and cheese, cole slaw, baked beans, corn bread, 3 different homemade BBQ sauces, peach cobbler, red velvet cupcakes, strawberry lemonade, bourbon spiked peach ice tea and enough corn to feed the world… it was an insane amount of food. As always I made too much food and I had to send people home with goodie bags of corn on the cob. I didn’t care if they were going to throw them out – I had too much guilt to do it myself. So maybe 60 ears was too much after all. We really enjoyed the party and the food and have talked all year about the next one we would throw. A few months ago, after a wonderful trip to a new Caribbean restaurant on Long Island, we decided that this year our BBQ’s menu would be Latin American inspired. The above menu turned out great, many laughs were had and all burnt hands returned to normal just in time for the guests to arrive. Now I have 10 months to think of next years theme!
Recipes based on 10-12 people
Mango Nectarine and Sugar Plum Salsa: www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
Finely chop 1/4 red onion. Chop 1 -2 nectarines,mangoes and sugar plums. Puree 1 8 oz can of plum tomatoes. Mix all together and add honey, lime juice, chopped cilantro, cumin, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Pico De Gallo and Guacamole www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
Finely chop 1/4 white onion. Chop 2-3 ripe tomatoes. Puree 1 8 oz can of plum tomatoes. Mix all together and add lime juice, lime zest, chopped cilantro, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. For guacamole add 2 mashed avocados and minced garlic. Both can benefit from minced jalapeno if you like heat.
Grilled Corn with Smoked Paprika and Cheese www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
Remove corn silk and husk but leave stem “handle” on. Grill over medium heat until slightly charred. Top with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and grated cheese of your choice.
Chimichurri Marinated Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
In a food processor combine 1 bunch parsley, 2-3 cloves garlic, a splash of white vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cut pork into 2 inch rounds and wrap in bacon. Marinate in chimichurri sauce up to one hour. Grill over low heat until internal temperature reaches 150. Let rest 10 minutes wrapped in foil.
Saffron Rice and Beans with Red and Yellow Peppers www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
In a large heavy pot sweat 1 large chopped spanish onion in olive oil. Add 1 each chopped red and yellow bell pepper. Add 2 cups long grain rice and toast, 2-3 minutes. Add 3 1/2 cups water or stock, 2 cans rinsed black beans, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp saffron and 6 tablespoons butter. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and simmer 15 minutes. Shut heat and let steam 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Remove bay leaf.
Watermelon Margaritas www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
Puree one baby seedless watermelon and strain through a mesh sieve. Add 1/2 cup lime juice and taste. Add superfine sugar ( 1/8-1/4 cup) to taste. Sugar needed will depend on sweetness of watermelon. Add tequila and a splash of orange flavored liquor to taste and desired strength. Serve with frozen watermelon balls.
Sweet Chipotle BBQ Baby Back Ribs www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
Simmer 2 racks of ribs in chicken broth for 15 minutes until tender and cooked through. Drain and brush with equal parts honey and BBQ sauce of choice and a sprinkle of chipotle powder. Wrap in foil and grill for 30-40 minutes over low heat. Remove foil and grill for 5- 7 minutes to slightly char and caramelize. Re- baste with honey and BBQ sauce before serving.
Jerk Chicken Wingettes
In a food processor blend 2 cloves of garlic, 3 scallions, 1 tsp allspice , 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 jalapeno, salt and pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar. Marinate 20-30 wingettes and drumettes for up to an hour. Grill over low heat until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
Mole Spiced Steak Fajitas
Mix 2 TBL each of smoked paprika, cocoa powder, brown sugar and 1 tsp each of cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Rub onto 4 cleaned and trimmed skirt steaks and marinate up to an hour. Grill 3-5 minutes on each side and wrap in foil to let rest. At the same time grill halved peppers and onions until softened and charred and slice. Sliced thinly against the grain into short strips. Serve sliced steak and vegetables in tortillas with sour cream and lime wedges.
Spiced Coconut Banana Bread www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together 1/2 cup room temperature butter, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix in 2 mashed over-ripe bananas and 3/4 cup coconut. In a separate bowl combine 2 cups flour, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt. Gradually add dry mix into wet mix and stir until just combined. Bake in greased pan until golden brown and when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 15 minutes for mini-loaves/muffins and 20 minutes for larger loaves.
Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Ice Cream www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe
In a large metal bowl combine 1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 14 ounce can of evaporated milk , 1 14 ounce can of coconut milk, 1 tsp of almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup toasted sweetened coconut. ( toast in a dry skillet over low heat ) Chill for 1 hour and then freeze or place in prepared ice cream maker.
Remove pineapple top and slice a pineapple into four equal pieces lengthwise. Cut 5-7 1/2 inch slices from each piece and grill over medium heat until grill marks appear. Top with ice cream, freshly grated nutmeg and lime wedges.
Get yourself one of those margaritas and enjoy your party!