Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day at the Lake

My sister and I decided to have a family party at her house on Lake Lorman. We had a small crowd, just us and our families and our parents. We spent a few hours taking turns being humiliated and delightedly pulled behind their boat on a two seated inter-tube. We spent a couple more house lazing in the sun next to the pool, then a couple of hours taking turns playing guitar hero. We somehow managed during that time to progressively eat everything that Jen and I cooked or assembled. Jen and I were going for a very salad-y cold menu that could be easily transported from the kitchen to the boat to the pool and back to the TV room.

My sister can make something as simple as a relish tray look elegant and complicated. It's one of those standard southern dishes that people don't always remind you to throw together. I think Jen has made it her mission to always include it because of our family gatherings at my mom and dad's house. For some reason our genetics require that we constantly buy pickled items. My parents could have 30 jars of assorted pickled stuff at any given time. With backups in the pantry. Jen began the tradition of the relish tray at some family gathering. It was essentially a means of consolidating the fridge, but she made it seem that it was a sharing of the pickled bounty: pickled okra, mushrooms, olives, onions. Sweet, dill, sour, bread and butter, spicy cucumber pickles. Pickled pepperoncini, cherry or red bell peppers. My sister has the relish tray down to an art. She and her kids also made a really good chicken cheeseball and 7 layer dip.

We threw together some turkey tortilla wraps. These were simple but fairly creative: a thin layer of cream cheese, then homemade mayhaw jelly (peach or apple would be a good substitute) then the turkey. Rolled up and sliced as a pick up food. Another is guacamole dip spread over the cream cheese and layered with turkey and cheese. The kid's favorite was a simple peanut butter and jelly wrap.

I threw together a few cold salads:

Broccoli and Fruit Slaw
2 packages of shredded broccoli stalks with carrots and cabbage, 1 jar of bottled coleslaw dressing, 1/2 cup of dried cherries, 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, 1/2 cup of golden raisins. Combine with salt and pepper.

This was great in a pita with some grilled flank steak and some roasted red peppers and onions.

Southern Cucumbers

During my childhood days with my next door garden we had thousands of cucumbers every summer. My grandmother kept a bowl of white vinegar, onions and cucumbers in her fridge at all times. Usually with ice floating in it if it was coming to the table. This is my version:

Heat 12oz of red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and combine. Set aside to cool. Slice 3 cucumbers. Layer cucumbers, dill and basil, cucumbers, dill and basil, cucumbers. Add 6 pieces of candied ginger and a handful of whole black peppercorns. Pour vinegar mixture over and allow to marinate for as long as you can. Last night I added 2 more cucumbers to the brine for later.

Artichoke salad

In keeping with my genetic code I throw this salad together any time I have people coming anywhere near my table:

1 can of artichoke hearts, 1 jar of pickled baby corn, 1 jar of cherry peppers, 1 can of black olives. Drain and cover with 1 container of red pepper italian dressing and 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. Allow to sit over night if possible.

Tomato Moz

I stopped at the Fresh Market and got vine tomatoes, hand rolled mozzarella, and basil leaves. I sliced layered and drizzled with basil olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. This was good with sliced turkey in a pita.

I'd like to pretend that we were so very elegant and that this is what we feasted on all day but there were also cheetos and snickers in attendance. It wouldn't be a super snack day without those.

Happy Father's Day to the wonderful men in my life.


Mark West said...

Sounds like yall had a great time! Great site and keep it up! When do you move from BBQ Princess to BBQ Queen?
10 Bones BBQ

wanda1234 said...

thanks for sharing.....

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