Sunday, April 19, 2009

Family Jewels

Last night I enjoyed a picture-perfect barbecue at the home of my cousin Kate and her husband, Seth, joined by Kate's sister Liza and Liza's boyfriend, Avi. I brought along as my date a six-pack of Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre, whose brute strength left me still weak in the knees this morning. Heh. A good date, indeed.

The weather was perfect, the conversation lively, the fire pit roaring, and the food excellent. As an added bonus, I learned two important lessons from Kate and Seth's wonderful, casual, al fresco dinner:

1) Boiled potatoes with nothing but salt and pepper on them are underrated and delicious -- and a frugal eater's dream.

2) Grilled chicken need not be dry, if you follow this important step: boil it first! Kate learned this brilliant bit from her mom, my Aunt Mary. No need to boil it very long, maybe 5 or 10 minutes. This way, the chicken is already parcooked and doesn't desiccate away on the open flame.

That reminds me, I have another gem to offer, courtesy of Aunt Mary: her amazing broccoli salad, which I mentioned in my last post and served at Easter. It's been a popular fixture at the past three or four holiday functions, I think. I dare you to find a better way to eat broccoli.

Recipe: Aunt Mary's Broccoli Salad

Adapted from Richmond's Ukrop's Deli via a 1980s Washington Post recipe, which does not seem to be available on their archives. Makes 6-8 servings.

For the salad:

1.5 - 2 C finely chopped broccoli florets and/or stalks
2-3 finely chopped celery ribs
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1/2 C golden raisins [Mary's note: dark is fine]
7 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled [DEO note: omit the bacon if you want to make a vegetarian version]
6-8 large, well-shaped lettuce leaves for serving [DEO note: Mary doesn't serve the salad in lettuce leaves, and it is just fine that way.]

For the dressing:

1/2 - 2/3 C reduced calorie mayonnaise [DEO note: use full-fat mayo if that's what you already have]
1/4 C sugar
1.5 T cider vinegar
1/2 - 1 t seasoning salt
1/8 - 1/4 t freshly ground pepper

Combine all the salad ingredients, except for the bacon, in a medium-sized bowl. Combine all the dressing ingredients and spoon over the salad; stir and cover. Chill 4-8 hours before serving. Top with the bacon. Serve on lettuce leaves (optional).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...or should I say Ummmmmmmmmm!
So this must be the corporate Safety Manual!
All I can say is, I'm starving,
for something involving potatoes.
How about some sweet potato chips?
Please deliver to 4311 around 5:00
PM on Sunday, 1/24. We should be back from one of your favorite towns, just in time for the NFC Championship Game! Yay!