Labor Day is this weekend, and most of America will find itself begging to get in at least one more outdoor party, smokey bbq or evening soiree. No doubt all of summer's best dishes will make a strong cameo appearance. The grilled steak, the amazing sauces those bisecs were marinated in, summer vegetable salads, juicy fresh fruit and let's not forget that a party is not the same without sexy and luscious drinks!
In our house, it's an every weekend occurrence to get together and throw down on all those favorite staples. All-American summer food with a splash of Latin influence is the perfect combination for a Friday night or weekend dinner. Succulent grilled steak marinated in spices and herbs, baked sweet potato, boiled plantain, grilled corn with sweet butter and fresh black pepper, and a fresh salad is always enough for me. There's a good chance coconut battered shrimp is a choice at these bountiful gatherings, but I always forgo shellfish. When I opt out of heavy cooking at these yummy shindigs, my contribution is usually a bbq sauce I always make, which is simply a mixture of bbq sauce, honey, A-1 sauce and some cumin! I love that stuff. It makes for a great steak topper. Nothing fancy, just damn good! And of course I sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon on my sweet potato. How could you not?
And for dessert, finish off that savory dinner with these refreshing and still-in-season chilled berry shooters. They double as a quintessential palate cleanser.
Now head out to the backyard (or the countertop grill) and enjoy!
Mojo Seasoned Steak
2- 6 0z sirloin steaks
1 cup mojo marinade
1 lemon juice
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
In large platter, rub salt, pepper and cumin on steak. Add mojo and lemon juice to steak and cover. Refrigerate for an hour. Make sauce for steak.
Place steak on lit grill and brush bbq sauce on one side. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Turn steak and repeat brushing with bbq sauce. Cook for another 8-10 minutes or until both sides are lightly charred, but tender.
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup A-1 sauce
2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sage
In small bowl, mix all ingredients well until blended. Chill until ready to use.
Chilled Berry Shooters
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup ginger ale
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
pinch of salt
Place strawberries in food processor; cover and pulse until fully pureed. Add ginger all, milk, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Cover again and blend for two minutes. Transfer to large bowl and whisk in sour cream until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about two hours.
For additional cooking advice from Bren Herrera, visit flanboyanteats.com.