Wednesday, September 4, 2013

End of summer (birthday) BBQ

In Arizona, our end of summer is hardly here.  But since my daughters birthday is usually over Labor Day Weekend we often end up hosting some sort of BBQ for all of our enjoyment!  This year was no exception.  But I got sick.  So, my husband, as usual... did most of the cooking.  I won't highlight the whole menu - just the parts that stood out!  That always, at our house, begins with a cocktail!  This weekend we did a traditional margarita.  It is, by far, the best marg, I've ever had.  Why is it better than most?  I may have said this before:  all cocktails have to have at least one fresh ingredient or to me, yes I'm aware I'm pickier than average, it just doesn't cut it.  Sorry. Our margaritas are made with real lime juice.  Not the mix.

Mother of Margs

25 oz lime juice
750 ml of tequila
6 oz agave nectar
5 oz orange liqueur (we used Maison Prunier Orange Liqueur but Grand Mariner works too)

Very simply drop all those ingredients together into a pitcher... and mix.  Rim glasses with salt at least an hour prior to making drinks (it hardens and stays on so much better that way)... I used colored salt because how much cooler looking is that...?  Then, put ice in glass and shake up one margarita at a time.  It should produce 8-10 drinks.

Also, don't be afraid of the color at first... it looks like this when there's real lime juice.  Not very pretty. But once it gets shaken, as you can see above... it becomes much better looking.  One more thing:  it's strong.  Good but potent and sometimes people think it's so tasty it kind of catches up to them and catches them off guard.  We always serve in the beginning of our party!    

Next, my Cali-schetta. I love avocados with margaritas and any summer event!  Plus, I AM from the state!  It's different than our guacamole but not by much.  


Baguette, cut on the diagonal, brushed with olive oil and toast
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 medium tomatoes
2 avocados 
yellow onion
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
lime juice
salt and pepper

Mix it all together and serve on the bread.
Then we had normal sliders for the kids and some more adult sliders for the adults.

Salmon Sliders

Wild caught Sockeye Salmon
garlic salt
alder smoke sea salt
(alder smoke wood chips)- optional
spinach & onions (for sandwhich)
horseradish-dill mayo

First make the mayo, day before or earlier in the party day
1/2 cup mayo
8 tablespoons prepared horseradish 
2 tsp fresh dill
2 tsp fresh chives
salt to taste

Combine ingredients and refrigerate.

Prep the salmon earlier in the day.  Place salmon in pan covering the fleshy part with garlic and alder smoke salt.  Then place in fridge until about 30 minutes before grill time.  Take out and let sit to warm in kitchen prior to grilling, indirectly, on 250 degrees for about 2 hours.

When done with fish... toast buns and plate!  Tasty, refreshing, easy "adult" alternative to a typical slider day!

The highlight of the night... at least for the kids... was, by far, the cake.  It was, after all my daughters birthday but this was not a "party" for her.  I told her no OFFICIAL party this year so this was her un-official one.  But a girl's gotta have a cake!  The kids came and asked what kind it was... chocolate or vanilla and when I said confetti they were like, gulp,... huh?  I had no idea how it would turn out but when I asked what they liked best about it (because I thought the frosting was to die for)... they said - the cake.  And that, my friends... is purely due to those sprinkles (in the batter)!

Here's an easy way you can do it... get your favorite vanilla cake recipe and add about 4 cups of sprinkles.  I used 2 nine inch circular baking pans so it was 2 cups per cake... then of course used frosting in between the cakes to layer it. Frosted the puppy and then added colored nonpareils on top!  Success... at least according to a 7 year old!  I have to admit... the inside does look pretty cool!

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