Friday, July 3, 2009

Fourth Of July Celebrations (Updated)

Happy Fourth!

The most important part of any celebration is spending time with people you enjoy. Get everyone to bring a dish. I usually make the main dishes. This was last year's Fourth of July party. What's great is we walk across 2 minutes to the beach to watch the Fireworks and come back for dessert.

See below for this year's spread plus updates in blue. After making the ribs, I realized I missed a few directions which help tremendously.

Most of the cold dishes can be prepared ahead of time, just assemble prior to guests arriving. Main thing is get your table setting beautiful so when guests walk in, it's stunning!

Shrimp with Chayote and Red Bell Peppers
Field Greens with Avocado, Tomatoes and freshly made Olive Oil Dressing

Hoisin Spare Ribs
Quinoa with Flame Roasted Bell Peppers and Dressing
Celery and Red Bean Salad

1. Get ribs to room temperature. Line baking tray with double foil, gets messy. Pierce meat with fork. Marinade, leave for 1/2 hour prior to grilling.

2. Proportion: 4 hoisin, 1 tamari,
2 chili garlic sauce, 1/4 lime juice. Marinade should be thick so it clings to ribs. Slather it on. When you flip over ribs, add more marinade.

3. Grill till crispy with burnt edges.
Slice down each rib. It's even better to grill each rib on its side. Watch and smell, you'll know when they're ready...


Here's what we had for this year's Fourth!

Ralph and I were thrilled to host this Fourth for our friends', Sander & Ina's grandkids visiting from New Jersey. We wanted them to experience Fireworks right on the pier. They are Giulia 8, Mary Jane 12 and Cassidy 15 and are just adorable. Well behaved and you can converse with them like adults! Unfortunately, Ralph (my hubby) was taking photo!

Shrimp ceviche with red onion and cilantro (thanks Sander)
and my
Hoisin Ribs

I had to ripen tomatoes and mangoes by the window, they tend to pick them way too green. Notice the mint and parsley I got from Toyota Venza event on Lincoln Road, posting right after this.

Pineapple, Mango Salsa with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, scallions, red and green Jalapena chilies, pickled in Japanese rice vinegar, lime juice. This is perfect with the ribs or grilled salmon, well, just about anything actually.

Red quinoa Salad (Ina made olive oil dressing) with flame roasted red bell peppers and fresh basil (from Irene & Richard's balcony). Quinoa is an Inca grain, very light, you cook the same ratio as rice - 1 cup grain: 1 1/2 cup water. It's not starchy and heavy like potatoes or rice and great for vegetarians because it has protein and balances out the carbs. We eat a lot of quinoa, here's another dish I make with CurrySimple's Thai curry salmon with quinoa.

Mixed Field Green salad with cherry tomatoes, red onion and cucumber (Linda's).
Pickled Jalapena chilies in rice vinegar

The Best Freshly made Blueberry Pie with top & bottom crust (Irene's), slurp.

We always have a fresh fruit platter. This is just strawberries and cherries.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Veggies and Venza

Test driving a Toyota Venza, vroom, vroom gets you a beautiful Boos chopping board and a huge, lovely hessian shopping bag.

Wow, this board is solid, weighs a ton, so I'm not going to move it. It's perfect for taking my food shots, so now I have a permanent space for it. This is the setup for the Pineapple, Mango Salsa I made for Fourth of July celebrations.

Problem with holding events outdoors in Florida is you're at the mercy of the weather. It rained on and off all afternoon, so it was surprising there was even a crowd. But guess whenever there's free food, you'll get the crowds. It was nice to spend time with Paula of mangoandlime. She wrote a more descriptive, foodie blog with photos from the event.

This is ratatouille and goat cheese croquette from Chef Xavier.

Bella Cuba's avocado and tomatoes on top of a corn crunchy, much better description by Paula!

Dean Richardson of Tropical Treescapes Inc. likes to grow veggies that are unusual. Never seen red yard long beans. Some of the chefs were using his veggies. Maybe we can get him to bring some to one of my Wok Star cooking classes and cook them?

It was wonderful to see how the chefs came up with their dishes, especially Chef Marcelo from Le Cordon Bleu. Here's the Deconstructed Salad.

For me, gourmet food is best left to restaurant chefs who have sous chefs to assist them and can source specialty items from purveyors. I met a very nice Cordon Bleu student, who is Jamaican Chinese, always find it fascinating the mix of cultures and cuisines.

Going out to eat means two things to me - either savoring unique, off the wall dishes which tend to be on the expensive side or enjoying well prepared food at reasonable prices. I am going to post about a few soon because people keep asking me.

His liquid nitrogen, smokin' Deconstructed Salad was a show stopper.

Different stages of his Deconstructed Salad.

Whenever you ate a dish, you got a stamp in your "Passport" and after 3 stamps, you get a nice potted herb plant. Ralph and I managed to get a mint and parsley. I mentioned Claire Tomlin's The Market Company in Organic and Farmer's Market, they were responsible for organizing this event and think they did a great job, considering the rain.

We had Claire on our TV show: Open to the Public, years ago when Ralph and I used to produce TV shows on Miami Beach. Yes, another hat I used to wear and would like to get back into it, well, not the producing so much but appearing. You can see an excerpt of me interviewing a chef, scroll down to bottom of my BIO.

Mis en place on one of those beautiful Boos chopping boards!

Grimpa's croquettes. I was too full to have any.

Adriana in Surfside's Tilapia ceviche.

All in all, it was a nice way to spend a rainy afternoon. We also got to spend time with friends and their grandkids who enjoyed the Florida rain. You'll see them at my Fourth of July Celebrations.
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