Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a background in catering; esp. when I have to bring something to a potluck. However, I do and that’s why I can’t just pick up pre-cut fruit, and bring it to where ever I am going.
Recently, I made a fruit platter for our VBS (Vacation Bible School) potluck bbq. I had envisioned using a cored out pineapple as the center of the dish; however, this was not meant to be.
I laid down some red-leaf lettuce. One, it provides a nice garnish but also covers up any blemishes on the platter. When I can, I prefer to use purple kale and I like the color contrast, but I had to use what was available.
I then cut a watermelon in half and sliced the half. This gave me some straight pieces of watermelon, which I halved again and created watermelon triangles. I placed them on the border of the platter and added a second layer.
I had cubed some cantaloupe melon and made a small layer, adding it between the watermelon layers to hold up the second layer of watermelon.
Added blackberries, opposite each other, did the same with some grapes and added cherries in the center. After all, everything is better when topped with a cherry (or cherries, in this case), right?
Last touch was to sprinkle some blueberries over the entire platter.
All in all, I was pleased with the outcome. To me, it ended up looking like a flower was in bloom.
Homemade fruit platters aren’t the cheapest to make, but they are gluten-free, fresh tasting and provide a healthy alternative to some of the items that normally accompany a bbq.
Summer is coming and so are the family cookouts. I created this recipe a few years ago. It was a painstaking process, as I normally cook by sights and taste vs measurements.
I DESPISE mayo (gag, yuck, ewww). I always have and always will. I actually published this mayo-free potato salad recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com. It’s gotten some pretty good reviews. The nice part is, it’s completely adjustable. I am always tweaking recipes and adding items or removing them. If you don’t like paprika, skip it. Like olives, add ’em.
Please don’t expect a nice “white” potato salad. If you add the paprika in the dressing mix, it will change the color a bit. I actually like the rustic color. A bonus, is it’s gluten-free. Having to be on a special diet, food can be challenging. This version of potato salad is very flavorful.
I also like using potatoes I don’t have to peel. It makes the process a bit quicker that way. Give it a go. I’d love your feedback if you do make this recipe.
I am the primary cook in our home. My tween daughter now knows enough not to starve or can make her and her dad something, should I not be home for some reason.
That being said, I LOVE kitchen appliances and gadgets. I enjoy finding bargains and being frugal. My husband saw a post that had a small, outdoor smoker, for sale. He knew this had been on my list of “culinary wants” for some time now. Ok, so I have been too cheap to buy it new.
Patience can sometimes be key for items you really want. We picked up this cute little smoker for just $15!!! It’s in really pretty good condition and I figure it’s the perfect size for our little family of three. Once I have perfected my smoking of our favorite dishes, I can see about purchasing a larger one.
I am already researching wood chunks and chips. I am looking at oak, cherry, apple and pecan wood. I cannot wait to smoke some ribs and am really looking forward to preparing a brisket. I blame my husband partly for all this. The Food Network and their BBQ cook-offs and the like have my mind swirling with all the culinary possibilities this smoker will now offer!
Before heading out the door for work yesterday, I managed to start the crock pot so dinner would be done when I arrived home.
I had thawed some boneless pork roast. You can use the bone-in kind too, but you just have to remove it from the bone. That’s a time-consuming task that I’m willing for forego the majority of the time, esp. when we’re talking pennies on the dollar for boneless.
I cut the meat into chunks and placed them in the crock pot. Then sprinkled with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. After giving the meat a quick toss so spread the seasonings around, I added about a cup or so of (homemade) vegetable stock. I then added roughly a quarter cup of BBQ sauce (gluten-free, of course). Gave then crock a quick stir, add the lid, set on low for 6 hours and off to work I go.
When I come home, the pork chunks are a bit browner and ready to be shredded.
The easiest way to shred these is put the pork in a bowl with some of the cooking liquid (1/4-1/2 cup or so). Take your hand mixer and begin shredding. No need to tear apart with two forks, the blender is king for this task!
Once the pork is shredded, you can add a bit more liquid if you think the meat needs it. If not, you can add more BBQ sauce or serve it on the side. Take the shredded meat, pile onto a hamburger bun and enjoy. When I could still eat hamburger buns, before I added the top of the bun, I’d add some mayo-free coleslaw. Heaven on a bun!
I received a text from my daughter’s Ninang (Godmother) yesterday that had me busting up, so I had to share.
She has two boys, ages 5 (Joseph) and 7 (Jordan). Joseph already had confessed to his Elf on a Shelf that he was running in the house and asked he not tell Santa. It was really cute, because he told his mom that when she asked about their conversation. If he only knew. lol
Joseph had received his naughty list warning from his Elf. As any little brother would do, he sought advice from his older sibling. He asked Jordan what would happen if his name gets on the naughty list.
Jordan responded he would get coal. “What’s that?” Joseph inquired. Jordan tells him, “It’s like the charcoal dad uses in the BBQ” Without skipping a beat, Joseph adds, “Ohhhh. Well if I make it on the naughty list and get lots of coal, I’ll just give it to dad so he can BBQ!”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Joseph has one of the brightest and most positive spins on life. Not much phases this child. It was a great way to look a potentially negative consequence. Who needs a silver lining when you have a coal one?
The weather has been absolutely gorgeous today. We hit 71 degrees this afternoon. It’s still really nice out, so I thought I’d start the BBQ up and we’d have some bbq chicken and baked potatoes. I really enjoy grilling and it’s so easy, minimal cleanup and there’s no risk of my over-sensitive smoke detectors being activated.
Seriously, I don’t know who set the settings, but any amount of “heat” will set them off. Not only do they have an annoying alert, but they also have added, “Warning! Fire! Fire! Oh I despise those settings.
The chicken is almost done. That’s where I’ve been. Cooking and making sure the skin is just right before moving it indirect heat to finish cooking. Grilling outside tells me Spring is on the way. That’s a half-truth. If it’s not really windy or too cold, I’ll crank up the bbq just because I can.