Friday, June 8, 2012

Barbecue recipes

Over the Memorial Day weekend, we had a barbecue at our house with friends.  In a move 100% designed to make my life easier, I told everyone that we would have the burgers (knowing that I wouldn't have to make them, since the Husband/Wife Division of Labor at my house provides that I do not have responsibility for hamburger-making or grilling) and asked the guests to bring a side.
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While I'm sure this had Martha (and perhaps Emily Post) weeping, it turned out fantastic for me, because my friends more than rose to the occasion and we had a truly amazing spread.  Everyone brought something wonderful!  And turns out that it's also fantastic for you, readers: my incredibly kind friends agreed to share their fabulous recipes.  So the next time you're having or heading to a barbecue, I highly recommend trying out one of these dishes.  
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Guacamole Dip
Five avocados
One to two tablespoons each of cottage cheese and sour cream (depends on how large the avocados are)
Garlic salt (be liberal)
Half a lime squeezed on top
1 tomato diced

Mix everything together, and squeeze half a lime on top.  Leave 2-3 pits in the bowl to keep the dip from browning.
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Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving. 
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Tomato Cucumber Salad
The Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, NY

1 ½ lb tomatoes
Pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper
Pinch of sugar
2 medium cucumbers
1/2 large red onion
30 small fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Core the tomatoes and cut lengthwise into 6-8 wedges. Cut each wedge in half crosswise. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and wake them up with a big pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Cut the ends off the cucumbers and use a vegetable peeler to make long stripes in the skin. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Add to the tomatoes. Peel the onion and cut lengthwise into slivers. Dump the onions in with the tomatoes and cucumbers and give everything a good toss.

Clean and dry the basil leaves. Stack them on top of one another and roll lengthwise into a tight cigar. Cut crosswise into thin strips and stir into salad.

Throw together a batch of dressing. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over tomatoes and cucumbers. Marinate the salad at room temperature for several hours. Refrigerate any leftovers.
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Orzo Pasta Salad

1lb of orzo
2 cups of chicken stock
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
6 scallions, chopped

Cook orzo in boiling water for about 8 minutes.  Drain.  Do not rinse off.

While orzo is cooking, sweat the scallions in a little olive oil til they are soft.  Do this in your largest skillet.

After the orzo is cooked and drained, add it to the skillet with the scallions over low heat.  Slowly add the chicken stock a little at a time while stirring.   Mix in the chopped herbs and you're done.
At this point, you can add grated peccorino or any other cheese you'd like (if it's going to sit outside or keeping it refrigerated is going to be an issue, just skip this step.  I had it without the cheese and it was delicious!)
Eat it warm or room temperature.
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1.5 lbs of ground beef
1/2 chopped finely onion
1-2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg (optional) 

Mix the ingredients together. Roll out 4 hamburger patties that are each about three-quarters of an inch thick.  Make an indent in the center of each patty with your thumb.

Heat grill to high/medium high.

Rub olive oil on the patties and put them on the grill, indented side up. Cook 3-5 minutes, flip, and cook for 3-8 minutes.
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Peanut Butter Temptations

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
48 mini reese's peanut butter cups

Place paper cups in mini muffin pans and take paper off of candy. Cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Press dough into 1 1/2 inch muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press one peanut butter cup into each hot cookie crust. Cool.   
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In an effort to not be a completely awful hostess, I made this corn salad (a recipe shared by a friend and her sister long ago, and it's my summertime staple!) and this pound cake, too.  And, of course, very delicious Summer Beer.  I highly recommend all of them, even though no one ate the pound cake because by the time we finished the first round of burgers and sides, everyone was stuffed! 

Hope you enjoy these recipes at your next barbecue or gathering!  Do you have a go-to barbecue recipe or dish? 

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