Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Miscellaneous Wednesday Happy July 4th

Happy Birthday America, isn't that what we are suppose to say?  This is when we celebrate by getting together with friends and family, on the mainland it is a barbecue, Hawaii its a luau.  No matter what you call it is a party and we are going to have some fun.  

The menu you choose really doesn't matter as much as the 
company you are sharing your time with.  Though after I have said that I have a few recipes today that should knock your socks off, use one or use them all, mix and match to your liking.  

The one thing I have to say is  that I love entertaining, and I love cooking, and that my knack for cooking comes from the family in which I was raised.  No doubt my grandmother is the best cook I know.  I grew up standing by her side in the kitchen.  Whenever I was around her, we'd be in the kitchen I would ask all sorts of questions, holding a wooden spoon as if I were a reporter trying to get her secret recipes.  But there she was in the kitchen, hovering over a pot of her gravy (tomato sauce for the rest of the world).  I cherished every one of those moments we shared in her kitchen.  It was not only making a meal but creating lasting memories, that to this day bring a smile to my face.  Almost as big as those as everyone who enjoyed her food, running joke was gram could make shoe leather taste amazing. 

There is some special thanks for the help with today's menu, I asked my Twitter friends for words, ingredients and an eclectic menu was born.  So thanks to Wanda(@WandaWJenkins), Ellen (@ess270), Candy (@promogirl2), Cath (@FitGrl), Cindy (@Pinkiepie230 's) Dina (@hedwig2212), Maddy (@MaddyRicco50)and Ronnette (@sabrinanthesand).  Without all the help and support I have no idea where I would be.  

How about we start this party off right with a few very special cocktails, not sure but I think there may be a bit of a theme why don't you let me know.  

Naval Destroyer 
1 oz Vodka
1 oz peach schnapps

  1. Fill a glass with ice add vodka and schnapps fill with orange juice.


Blue Wave 

2 oz apple schnapps
2 oz blue curacao liqueur
12 oz lemon lime soda

  1. Add liquors to a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake and strain into an old-fashioned glass, top with soda, stir briefly and serve.

*** This may knock you on your butt***

Navy Seal

part Southern Comfort
1 part black raspberry schnapps
1 part peach schnapps
1 part 151 rum
1 part vodka
1 part cranberry juice
1 part Sweet & Sour
1 Cherry (optional)

Mix ingredients in a shaker, then pour into a shot glass.
Top off with a cherry if desired.

Sex On A Surfboard 

1 oz. coconut rum 
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao
1 oz. Peach Schnapps
1 oz. Ginger Ale 
Ice cubes 

  1. Add Rum and Schnapps to glass and stir quickly. Then add ginger ale and several ice cubes until glass is nearly full. 
  2. Then slowly pour in Curacao and watch this cocktail turn blue like the waters of the south Pacific.

When it comes to food, you can feel free to mix it up and just have fun.  Have a theme or go wild like I did here, what ever you may choose the prime objective is to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Hawaiian Beef Sliders

1 -20 oz can unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef 
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
18 miniature whole wheat buns
Baby spinach leaves
3 center-cut bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
Sliced jalapeno peppers, optional

  1. Drain pineapple, reserving juice and 1-1/2 cups pineapple.  In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup reserved crushed pineapple, pepper and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 18 patties; place in two 11-in. x 7-in. dishes. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, pepper flakes and reserved pineapple juice. Pour half of marinade into each dish; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning once.  Drain and discard marinade. 
  3. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil, grill patties, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.
  4. Grill buns, uncovered until toasted, serve burgers on buns with spinach, remaining pineapple, bacon and jalapeno peppers if desired.

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

slices eggplant, cut 3/4 inch thick
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
medium roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely shredded basil

1. Sprinkle eggplant slices lightly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl stir together olive oil and garlic; brush on both sides of eggplant slices. In another small bowl toss together Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses; set aside.
2. For a charcoal grill, grill eggplant slices on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 5 minutes. Turn eggplant slices and sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture. Top with tomato slices and the remaining cheese mixture. Cover and grill for 2 to 3 minutes more or until eggplant is tender and cheese melts. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place eggplant on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as directed.) Before serving, top with shredded basil.

Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs

1/2 cup rice vinegar
5 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
3 Tbsp minced garlic
salt to taste
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp chopped green onion (optional)

  1. Whisk the vinegar, honey, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, garlic, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Pour half the marinade into a large plastic zipper bag; reserve the the rest for the sauce. Place the chicken thighs into the bag with the marinade, squeeze all the air out of the bag, and seal. Shake a few times to coat chicken; refrigerate for 1 hour, turning bag once or twice. 
  2. Preheat grill,  pour the other half of the marinade into a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, to thicken sauce. Remove the chicken from the bag; discard used marinade. Place chicken thighs onto the grill, and baste with reserved sauce. 
  3. Grill, basting one more time after 10 minutes; cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into a chicken thigh should read 165 degrees F approximately 25-30 min cooking on med heat. Let stand for 5 minutes; and bring remaining marinade back to a boil for 1 or 2 minutes, and serve with chicken. Sprinkle with green onions.

Hawaiian-Style Hot Dogs with Mango Salsa and Pineapple Mustard (Puka Dogs)

8 polish sausage links
8 hotdog buns
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cups beer (Longboards may do nicely)

Mango Salsa:
1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
1/2 a small red onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Pineapple Mustard:
2/3 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. honey
1 small garlic clove

  1. Prick each sausage a half-dozen times with a needle or pin, arrange the onion slices on the bottom of a saut√© pan just large enough to hold all the sausages. Place the sausages on top and add beer and water to cover (the ratio should be about 3 parts beer to 1 part water). Place the pan over medium heat and gradually bring the liquid to a simmer, not a rapid boil. Poach the sausages until half-cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. 
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high.  Dice and combine all the ingredients for the Mango salsa, Toss and set aside.  In the food processor, puree the pineapple chunks, garlic and dijon mustard until smooth.
  3. Open the buns and grill face-down for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Grill the sausages for 5-8 minutes, rotating for even char marks.  
  4. Place the sausages on the buns and top with mango salsa, and pineapple mustard.

Grilled Peach Cobbler

medium fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced, or 5 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices, thawed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
3/4 cup coarsely crushed pretzels (about 3 ounces)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
Caramel ice cream topping (optional)
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. In a large bowl combine peaches, granulated sugar, lemon juice, tapioca, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Place half of the peach mixture in a 2-quart disposable foil pan. Drizzle the 1/3 cup caramel topping over the peaches in pan. Top with remaining peach mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil.
2. For topping, in a medium bowl stir together crushed pretzels, brown sugar, and flour. Using your fingers, work in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
3. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place foil pan on grill rack over pan. Cover and grill for 30 minutes. Uncover foil pan. Sprinkle topping evenly over peach mixture. Cover grill; cook for 10 to 15 minutes more or until mixture is bubbly and topping is light brown. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Place foil pan on grill rack over the burner that is turned off. Grill as directed.)
4. Remove foil pan from grill. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. If desired, drizzle cobbler with additional caramel ice cream topping and serve with vanilla ice cream.

If you make any of the recipes take a picture and share it with me either here or on Twitter @cherylhofmann or by email I will share them here with everyone.

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