Memorial Day Picnic

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly have another fun outing…yesterday happens. I had recovered sufficiently from my Blair Vineyard Wine Evening (see previous post or click on May 30th on the calendar) when I was whisked off to our friend Tom’s house for a Holiday picnic (which also happened to fall on our Wedding anniversary!). I wanted to wax on as I usually do about food,  friends and family getting together when my friend Lori suggested that since I appeared to be wiped out from three crazy days and nights in a row of the “good life”  I should say it with pictures instead.

So here you go, pictures, recipes and comments on yesterday’s wonderful and memorable Memorial Day Picnic!

I knew Tom was making pork ribs on the grill with his special mango barbecue sauce, along with a grilled shrimp dish, so, my job was to fill in with a side-dish and a dessert. The day was hot hot hot so I was inspired to make something cold to end the meal. Earlier in the week Tom dropped off a watermelon and my new Fine Cooking Magazine had a recipe for a Watermelon Granata. I had to make it. I followed the recipe but changed the vanilla bean seeds to vanilla essence because that is what I had (I don’t get ruffled about using exactly what anyone says) and I used a more perfumed tea (black tea with dried Jasmine flowers) for the binder.

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Watermelon Granata (serves 8-10)

You will need: 3 cups of watermelon puree (about 5 cups cubed watermelon), 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, 2 tbs granulated sugar, 1 tbs of loose black tea with jasmine flowers, 2/3 cups boiling water. 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream.

1 – Put waster on to boil and put tea leaves into little bowl. When water boils pour water into bowl and stir. Add sugar and vanilla to tea and stir until dissolved. Let tea cool.

2 – Chop the watermelon and puree in food processor. Strain into a big bowl to get rid of the seeds.

Ready for the freezer..

3 – Add tea mixture to watermelon puree and stir. Put into square metal  baking pan and cover with cling film and place in freezer.

scrape granata until it looks like this..

4 – After an hour take out and scrap across the granata with a fork until it looks like rubble. Do this every half hour for the next 2 hours. Before you serve scrap it one last time.

Refreshingly icy and creamy.

Serve with freshly whipped heavy cream.

I also made a rice dish. I wanted something plain but with a pure punch. The herbs from my garden gave me what I was looking for and it complimented the ribs very well.

Herby Rice (serves 8-10)

You will need: 3 1/4 cups basmati rice for stove-top OR 5 cups of rice using rice cooker and rice cooker measure, 1 big sweet onion, diced, 1 1/2 cups freshly chopped herbs (I used oregano, flat-leaf parsley, winter savory & apium), 2 tsp coarse sea salt, several grinds of black pepper, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil.

1 – Cook rice according to instructions and leave to cool.

Saute onions..

2 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and add oil. When it has warmed add onions and salt, along with several grinds of pepper and cook until some of the onions have charred slightly (about 15-20 minutes).

Add herbs...

3 – Add herbs to pan and cook for 1 minute before adding rice. Stir.

Ready to serve..

Here is the rest of what we had for dinner compliments of Tom.

This Cheese was mild and creamy and I couldn’t stop eating it!

Grilled Pork Ribs..

with Tom's special mango rib sauce..so good

Jumbo shrimp grilled with chunks of fresh pineapple and hot peppers..

Tom dressed the shrimp with a blended grilled hot pepper and pineapple laced with rum - Yum!

He also made an outrageous salad..

This is a plate of food I will dream about..

A spot of boating after dinner..

Happy Anniversary to us!

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