Friday, May 8, 2009

Summer BBQ with an Edge!

I love summer foods. I love barbeques and corn and potato salads... I love the flavors and the ease of it all. I love that much of it can be prepared ahead of time. It seemed a perfect thing to have on Wednesday as we celebrated Don's Birthday and had his parents over for dinner. I took all these wonderful, easy foods and jazzed them up a bit.
BBQ Chicken...

There is no BBQ sauce better than Barefoot Contessa's. If you are going to make home made bbq this is the recipe for you!


I use boneless chicken breasts when I grill chicken. I generally buy enough to serve 6. Leftovers are good) I made extra the other night to accommodate our company.

I washed and trimmed chicken breasts of any fat. I then cut each breast in to two large pieces then placed the chicken in a marinating dish with the sauce. I pierce the chicken with a fork or knife to really get the flavors absorbed. Marinate chicken for several hours or overnight.
Serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Barbecue Sauce:

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup tomato paste (10 ounces)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a large saucepan on low heat, saute the onions and garlic with the vegetable oil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Copyright, 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved
Purple Potato Salad

I haven't met too many potato salads I don't like. But I do prefer the ones that are a little more unique, have a little more bite, or a special ingredient. I love warm German potato salad with it's olive oil and vinegary flavors. But it lacks in color. I love color in my food. My mother never served monochromatic dishes. Food needed flavor and color. Food needed to appeal to the eye and then the mouth. And so this is how I serve my food. And when I was at the grocery store the other day and saw the small bag of blue potatoes next to the red new potatoes I grabbed them both. I first had blue (purple) potatoes with salmon and asparagus at the Plaza Hotel just after Don proposed to me in a Handsome Cab (horse and buggy) in the middle of Central Park on a beautiful Autumn day.

My potato salad would be reminiscent of a German potato salad and have the color and zing of Springtime!

1 lb. small blue (purple) potatoes
1 lb. new red potatoes
6 scallions, washed, trimmed -- both white and green parts
sea salt
olive oil, 1/8 Cup
Cider vinegar, 4 Tbs. or more to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook about 12 -15 minutes until done. (Fork should poke through very easily)
Remove potatoes from water and let cool
When cooled, dice and place in a large bowl
Some potatoes will crumble -- this is fine and good as you'll have different textures
Add the scallions, olive oil and vinegar, taste and add more of what you think you need
Add salt to taste
Serve warm or at room temperature

Corn Salad

Another summer favorite of mine is corn salad, especially Barefoot Contessa's. But I make it a lot and wanted another summery variety that was equally as refreshing and yet a little different. So I came up with this. (It was even better the next day so I might suggest making this a day ahead of schedule.)

6 ears of corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
6 scallions, trimmed and cut using both white and green parts
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
5 Tbs. olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Shuck and corn and cook in boiling water, about 3 minutes.
Remove from water and let cool
With a large and good kitchen knife, stand corn upright and slice kernels off.
Repeat with all 6 stalks
Place corn in a large bowl, add drained black beans and scallions
Add olive, oil, vinegar and salt to taste
Cover in Saran Wrap and place in fridge for at least a few hours.

You'll notice that I used vinegar, oil, scallions and sea salt in both the corn and potato salads. The two salads go wonderfully together and yet taste quite different!

Both salads are great to make at home and easy enough to make ahead of time to bring to a pot luck BBQ!

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