Barbeque is a summertime pastime for dining nearly anywhere in the world.
This cooking technique is believed to have originated centuries ago. Some historians say its roots were yet another discovery by Columbus on the island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic. The cooking techniques of the Taino Indians were imported back to Spain known as barbacoa.
From Spain, barbacoa was advanced to other nations in both Europe and the New World. This method of cooking was altered from region to region, and variations took place over the years to what we now visualize as the typical summertime BBQ.
This Labor Day try an uncharacteristic outdoor get-together with a BBQ relating to a Mediterranean theme. Part of your menu can be prepared in advance, and your alfresco dinner party is sure to be a success.
While eating and between courses enjoy the company of your guests as they do in the Mediterranean countries. By doing so, will allow you to indulge in conversation as there should be no rush with this feast. Make this a lingering meal as they do along the Mediterranean region.
Remember the food is only one aspect of the meal, and it should be shared with others as a quality-time lifestyle.
This dinner BBQ get-together for six will have your guests discussing it for years.
Roasted cheese in tomatoes
3 beef tomatoes cut in half and cored
4 small springs of rosemary (chopped) or 1 tsp from a jar
Fresh basil leaves
1/2 lb. soft cheese of your preference (Brie, Camembert, Blue Cheese, etc)
2 tsp olive oil
1) Sprinkle insides of tomatoes with a little rosemary.
2) Slice the cheese into 6 pieces and place in each tomato half. Brush all over with the olive oil place aluminum over the tops.
3) Barbecue with the foil side down for 3 to 5 minutes.
4) Turnover and remove the foil sprinkle the chesses topping with rosemary and barbecue the tomato side for an additional 5 minutes.
5) Add basil leaves for granish
Serve with cold Cava (champagne) with a fresh strawberry in each flute.
Char-grilled swordfish with herb sauce
6 small swordfish steaks
6 tbsp. of olive oil
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Juice from 1 lemon
1 beef tomato chopped
1 green pepper chopped
3 tbsp. of capers (rinsed and chopped)
4 tbsp. s of chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. oregano
Olives of your choice
Black pepper, to taste
1) Crush the sprigs of thyme with the olive oil, black pepper and oregano and use this mixture by brushing on the steaks.
2) Place on grill and barbecue for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
3) Warm the remaining oil and sieve to remove thyme.
4) Whisk in the lemon juice, add the tomato, pepper, capers, olives and seasoning and spoon this over the fish to serve.
This second course or entree should be served with:
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. each salt and fresh cracked black pepper
12 button mushrooms
2 yellow summer squash
1 red onion
12 wooden or metal skewers
1) Whisk together the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and set aside.
2) Cut the zucchini and the squash diagonally into slices about 1/3-inch thick and 2 to 3 inches long.
3) Peel the onion and cut off three slices, each about 1/4-inch thick. Skewer the vegetables, alternating between the onion quarters, squash, zucchini and 1 mushroom in the middle.
4) Brush them well with the olive oil mixture.
5) Barbecue the vegetable skewers until tender, basting with any of the leftover olive oil mixture.
Serve a wine with a definite citrus undertone such as a Chardonnay.
Flan - Custard
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2) In a small non-stick saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat. Shake and swirl occasionally to distribute sugar until it is dissolved and begins to brown.
3) Lift the pan over the heat source (4 to 6 inches) and continue to brown the sugar until it becomes a dark golden brown.
4) Pour caramelized sugar into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and spin to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
5) In a blender, combine sweetened condensed milk, cream, milk, eggs and vanilla.
6) Blend on high for one minute. Pour over the caramelized sugar.
7) Place the filled casserole dish into a larger pan and add 1 inch of hot water to the outer pan.
8) Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until set.
9) Let cool and place in the refrigerator until serving time.
10) Just before serving, heat some sugar over medium heat and spoon a little melted sugar onto the top of each slice.
Top off the flan with a cup of coffee to your liking; however, an espresso goes exceptionally well with flan.
Finalize the meal with an after-dinner-drink such as brandy, Dissarono from Spain, Amaro or Sambuca from Italy.