Go Fourth with flair

29 Jun Go Fourth with flair

Waving an American flag at a patriotic parade, watching fire­works flare in the night sky and enjoying the aroma of a backyard barbecue are all essential ingredi­ents for a fun-filled Fourth of July in my book.

Whatever you’re planning, this holiday calls for some rest and relaxation, and the last thing you want to do is to be tied to the con­fines of the kitchen.

Uniting friends and families over the long weekend and spend­ing quality time together will call for sustenance at some point.

A few “Easy does it on the grill” recipes might come in handy.

If you happen to be the brawn behind the barbecue apron, keep­ing it simple and planning ahead will lighten your load. Having recipe components prepped and ready to go will liberate you to enjoy the Fourth festivities.

Choosing entrees with just a few ingredients and limited cook­ing times makes entertaining eas­ier, of course. And handling prep work like slicing the andouille sausage, assembling the skewers, stuffing the tomatoes and making the teriyaki sauce for the shrimp are all things that can be done ahead if you choose, minimizing last-minute work in the kitchen.

Celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with the Special of the Day: Easy Does It on the Grill recipes. Enjoy!

Andouille-Baby Red Potato Skewers

Andouille and Baby Red Potato Skewers

(Andouille is a spicy pork sausage often used in Cajun cooking with a bit of a kick. If you don’t do spicy,    you could always substitute a milder variety of sausage, perhaps a chicken sausage.)

(serves 4)
                1 pound package andouille sausage
                24 ounce package baby red potatoes
                1 clove garlic, minced
                1 tablespoon butter, melted
                1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
                Preheat barbecue to medium heat.
                Slice andouille sausage diagonally into 2 inch pieces.
                Thread skewers, alternating sausage and potatoes.
                Place prepared skewers on preheated barbecue.
                Combine garlic, butter and parsley and brush over potatoes and        sausage.
                Grill until sausage is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
                Turn skewers and grill other side an additional 3 minutes.
                Turn off barbecue and continue cooking until potatoes are cooked.
                Sautéed Zucchini and Yellow Squash
               (serves 4)
                3 tablespoons olive oil
                1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
                1 medium yellow crook neck squash, sliced into thin rounds
                Sauté squash while skewers are grilling.
                In a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, heat olive oil.
                Quickly sauté zucchini and squash until lightly browned.
                Do not overcook.
                Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
                Serve grilled Andouille and Baby Red Potato Skewers atop sautéed Zucchini and Yellow Squash.

Grilled Steak with Gorgonzola

               Sliced Grilled Steak with Gorgonzola Crumbles
               (serves 4)
                1 pound petite sirloin steaks
                Salt and freshly ground pepper
                ½ cup Gorgonzola crumbles
                Preheat barbecue to medium.
                Place steaks on preheated grill and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
                Cook 4 minutes and turn.
                Salt and pepper other side and cook an additional 3 ½ minutes (for medium).
                Top steaks with Gorgonzola crumbles and close lid of barbecue to allow cheese to begin to melt.
                Remove steaks from barbecue, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
                Slice steak thinly and serve over buttered pasta.
                Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
                (serves 4)
                2 tablespoons olive oil
                ½ sweet onion, chopped
                1 clove garlic
                4 medium tomatoes
                2 tablespoons dried basil
                2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
                1 cup bread crumbs
                ½ cup grated parmesan cheese 
                Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
                Cut tops off tomatoes and remove core and flesh from insides of tomatoes.
                Discard cores and chop flesh of tomatoes.
                In a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, heat olive oil until hot.
                Sauté onion and garlic until soft.
                Add tomatoes, basil and red wine vinegar and cook until most of the liquid is gone.
                Remove from heat.
                Add bread crumbs and cheese and stir to combine.
                Stuff tomatoes with stuffing and replace tops.
                Brush outsides of tomatoes with olive oil.
                Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until stuffing is heated through.

Teriyaki Shrimp Kabobs on Grilled Pineapple Spears

                Teriyaki Shrimp Kabobs
                (serves 4)
                1 pound large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
                1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced into spears
                Teriyaki sauce:
                ¼ cup soy sauce
                1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
                2 tablespoons sugar
                1 tablespoon corn starch
                Whisk all sauce ingredients together until smooth.
                Preheat barbecue to medium.
                Thread shrimp on skewers.
                Place preheated kabobs on preheated barbecue and grill, just until  shrimp start to turn pink.
                Turn kabobs, brush with sauce and grill just until pink.
                At the same time, grill pineapple spears on both sides, brushing with sauce.
                Serve Teriyaki Shrimp Kabobs over Grilled Pineapple Spears.
                Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds (Asian foods aisle) if desired.

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com.

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