Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Picnic

Happy Labor Day!! I've always considered Labor Day the unofficial end to summer. Usually, I look forward to it because I am usually tired of the oppressive heat & humidity of August, but this year, I am sad that it's already Labor Day. Autumn might be my favorite season, but as much as I adore football, pumpkins, fall foliage, cool & crisp evenings, I'm just not quite ready!

This year, SP & I decided to have some friends over for a Labor Day picnic. We decided to have our picnic on Sunday so that on Monday, SP could do nothing except lounge in his pajamas all day before heading back to work on Tuesday. The rainy weather turned our picnic into a basement gathering, but it was still fun and food-filled. I am still full and it's now Monday late afternoon! Here's what we ate:

SNACKS/APPETIZERS
Vegetable Pizza
Black Bean Salsa
Hot Artichoke Dip
D&V brought their vegetable pizza. I was hoping they would! I really like vegetable pizza, but we never make it. D&V make a yummy one, and it turns out that they use low fat/fat free ingredients. If V hadn't told me, I never would have noticed (I usually go with the full fat ingredients!). I also like that they are able to control their topping. It's a reasonable amount. When I make vegetable pizza, I always pile on too many toppings and then they roll off the pizza and bounce down your shirt and then roll around the floor.
D&V also brought a black bean salsa with chips. Beans, corn, seasoning - yum!

SP and I made a Hot Artichoke Dip:
One of my long ago co-workers brought this dip in for a 'food day' at work and it was so good. It's 1 cup sour cream & 1 cup mayo, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, a can of artichokes, and hot sauce to taste. Mix it all together, sprinkle more grated parmesan on top, and bake until bubbly. We guessed on the amount of artichoke since we buy the large jars at Costco. I also chop my artichokes very, very fine. And I'm generous with the cheese! It can be served with tortilla chips or triscuits.

MAIN MEAL
Tomatoes & Basil with Balsamic Syrup
Potato Salad
Macaroni & Cheese
Ribs
Rotisserie Chicken
We bought a bunch of beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market, snipped some basil from our deck, and grabbed the bottle of balsamic syrup we keep in the refrigerator to make a platter of tomatoes & basil.
Our usual potato salad recipe. I think I used more thyme than normal, but I thought that was OK since I like thyme.

W&A brought macaroni & cheese, which was tasty but unfortunately, I forgot to photograph it.

SP made ribs the usual way: the ribs sealed in foil packets with some apple juice poured in and then cooked in a 225 degree oven for 4-5 hours. He finished them with our usual BBQ sauces: Peach Grilling Sauce, Jack Daniels BBQ, and his own homemade BBQ sauce.
We also had a rotisserie chicken. Confession: we cheated; we got it at Costco. The ribs took up the entire oven and we couldn't use the grill because of the rain so we bought the chicken. This is the first time I've tried Costco's rotisserie chicken and it was pretty darn tasty.

DESSERTS
Cake Pops
Flavored Vodkas
Peach Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Thumbprint Cookies
AB brought cake pops. This is the first time I've ever tried cake pops although I've seen them on many, many blogs. There were 3 kinds: coconut, lemon, and lime. I think the base was the same for all 3 kinds, a vanilla/white cake batter. He used flavored cream cheese instead of frosting. SP & V really liked the coconut. The lemon had some limoncello in them. Here's a photo of the lemon interior:
I liked the lime best. Look at that green zest, the white chocolate coating, so smooth and creamy and delicious. I think these are the kind of thing I could just keep eating & eating because they're bite sized and so flavorful. Mmm lime zest:
AB also brought some flavored vodkas - homemade! He's been experimenting with making his own flavored vodkas and brought them for us to taste. I got out our container of random shot glasses so we could sip away.
There were strawberry, limoncello, blackberry, walnut, cinnamon, and vanilla vodkas. The strawberry seemed to be a favorite. I liked the cinnamon - it would be good added to an apple pie or in some kind of fall apple martini. Walnut is an interesting choice - I think he said he had a walnut vodka when he was on vacation in Europe last May and he cannot find any such thing here in PA so he's trying to make his own.

W&A brought thumbprint cookies, which I love, and forgot to photograph. SP & I made a peach pie:
More on the pie in a future post - and more on the chocolate chip cookies we made in a future post:

Everything was yummy and of course I ate way too much food! But that's what holiday picnics are for - lots of good food and hanging out with friends.

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, everything looks delicious! Veggie pizza is one of my all-time favorite things, but I've never made it.
    Sounds like you had fun!

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