Festive BBQ Recipes

It's hard to not look forward to long weekends too much.  After all what's not to love?  An extra day of rest without an alarm clock to wake you and no routine to tend to.  I didn't really appreciate the summer holidays until I got older, and they became an excuse to get out of NYC, lay in the sun, and eat delicious cold salads and BBQ.  Somehow this didn't excite me as a kid, but now I look forward to the downtime with family.

I thought I would give you a couple of recipes to add some flair to the usual hamburgers and hot dogs.  Choose to bring a healthier tastier dish for your family to try.  I think they will thank you for mixing things up.

First up is an Asada marinade that can be used on beef, chicken, seafood, tofu, and vegetables with much success.  Make sure to prepare and marinate your protein or veggies of choice a day or two in advance so that it can soak up the flavors in the marinade.  Afterwards grill and enjoy!

Asada Marinade

1/2 c Olive Oil
1/3 c liquid aminos or tamari
4 finely chopped scallions
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Juice of two limes
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp maple syrup

-Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.  Place skirt steak, chicken, shrimp, of tofu in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade mixture in.  
-Seal bag and make sure that the meat is covered in marinade.  
-Place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before grilling or sautéing.

Next is a go to recipe that I make for a quick simple weeknight dinner, or as a side dish for BBQs or larger parties.  The recipe includes asparagus as the added vegetable, but feel free to use your favorite in season variety.  Broccoli, thinly shredded cabbage or kale, and carrots all work really well.  If you have extra peanut sauce it makes a great dipping sauce for chicken or shrimp skewers.

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

1 8 ounce package soba or rice noodles
1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed then cut into 1/2-inch segments
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup (brown) rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 cup hot water
1 small bunch of spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup peanuts
12 ounces extra-firm (organic) tofu, cut into small cubes (feel free to heat the tofu in a skillet if you like, but cold is good too)
herb flowers, optional

-Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the soba noodles per package instructions. In the last minute or so of cooking toss in the asparagus. Drain noodles and asparagus, run under cold water for about a minute to stop cooking, and set aside.
-Make the peanut dressing by combining the peanut butter, rice vinegar, garlic,sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water - the amount you'll need depends on the original consistency of your peanut butter. I like it the consistency of a thin (non-Greek) yogurt. 
-Taste and season with a bit more salt if needed.
-Gently toss the noodles, asparagus, spring onions, peanuts, and tofu with a big splash of the dressing. I reserve a bit of each ingredient to sprinkle on top of the serving platter to make it look nice. Add more dressing a bit at a time, until the salad is dressed to your liking, reserving any extra for another use. Taste, sprinkle with more salt (if needed), and a few herb flowers if you have them on hand, and enjoy!

No summer BBQ would be complete without a delicious dessert.  This one from The Minimalist Baker is both vegan and gluten free.  It call for sweet peaches, but feel free to add or swap with all of the delicious in season fruit.  Berries, cherries, or strawberry rhubarb would be equally as divine.

Peach Crisp

7-8 Ripe Peaches Pits removed, and chopped
1 c gluten free oats
1/4 c almond meal
1/4 c gluten free flour (or 1/4 c more almond meal)
1/2 x chopped pecans (or walnuts)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
A punch of salt
5 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
Sprinkle of cinnamon

-Preheat oven to 250 degrees and lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish with coconut or olive oil
-Add fruit to baking dish as you chop and spread flat
-Add the crumble ingredients to a mixing bowl and using your hands mix until everything is evenly distributed
-Add crumble to the top of the fruit in an even layer and bake for 40-45 minutes until fruit is bubbling and top is crisp and golden

So there you have it.  Three recipes that will definitely be present at my family BBQ this July 4th.  I hope that everyone has a very tasty and relaxing holiday weekend.  Stay healthy, and most importantly be present and happy.