Malibu Beach Recovery Diet – Labor Day USA
Recipes for a fresh, amazing salad, grilled flatbread topped with melted cheese, and shrimp skewers with dill sauce
One of the last festivities in the summertime, right before we tackle school and end-of-year celebrations and everything that reminds us of winter months to come, one of our last chance to gather friends and families around the last barbecue is Labor Day.
Wherever you are in the world, there is always a celebration of that special day to recognize the social advancements that were brought into the workplace, sometimes at a huge cost, and sometimes as part of a broader revolution. In Europe, this day is celebrated on May 1st and comes with its rallies and demonstrations, peaceful or not so much, and pretty much focuses the entire nations engulfed in the celebration into a period of leisurely inactivity. Some take it slowly at home and gather friends around a barbecue pit to celebrate the beginning of summer and some hit the pavements in vivid demonstrations of gratitude and additional demands.
In the US, Labor Day is celebrated the first Monday of September and seems to coincide with our end of summer as we know it. I thought it would be special to devote this month’s contribution to making appetizers on the barbecue.
Very often, we will light a barbecue with the intent of cooking a complete meal which most of the time will consist of grilled meat with some type of vegetable on the very very narrow side. I thought it would be interesting to use the barbecue for another purpose and make it a lighter meal altogether. All of these recipes can, of course, be handled in the kitchen, either on a large grilling surface or on a cast iron grill if you have one.
Nothing says summer fun like people making their own food on the grill. It also relieves the host from having to be the pit-master for all of his guests. Prepare the food in advance and let each person take turns at grilling one of the dishes. Everyone can master his own grilled flatbread and add whichever ingredients he/she prefers at the end. The dessert is so simple to assemble that you can all work an assembly line at the very end.
This way, it is really a communal effort and a sharing experience that all can partake in and enjoy.
Have a great Labor Day and give thanks for where you stand today!
Grilled Apricot with Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad
Makes 4 servings
- 6 fresh apricots, halved and pitted
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 bunch (4 ounces) arugula, stemmed
- One 4-ounce log fresh goat cheese, cut into 12 slices
Light a grill. In a medium bowl, toss the apricots with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Grill the apricot halves over high heat for about 5 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and softened.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and finely chop.
Put the pine nuts in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula and toss. Arrange the goat cheese slices on plates. Top with the apricot halves and arugula salad and serve right away.
Grilled Flatbreads with Mushrooms Ricotta and Herbs
Makes two 12-inch flatbreads
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
- 1/2 pound oyster and shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (2 cups)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- Freshly ground pepper
- Two 8-ounce balls of pizza dough, at room temperature
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (8 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped chervil
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped tarragon
Make the ricotta from the recipe we provided last month.
In a medium skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and lightly oil a rimless baking sheet. On the baking sheet, stretch each ball of pizza dough out to a 12-inch round; brush with extra-virgin olive oil. Carefully slide the dough rounds onto the grill and cook over moderately high heat, shifting the rounds to prevent scorching, until lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the rounds and spread 1/2 cup of the fresh ricotta cheese over each one. Scatter the sautéed mushrooms and herbs over the flatbreads and grill until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the flatbreads to a work surface, drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cut into wedges and serve right away.
Shrimp and Lemon Skewers with Feta Dill Sauce
- 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 scallion, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
- 2 lemons, each cut into 12 wedges
If you are using frozen shrimp, make sure they are thawed completely. Pat dry with a paper towel so that there is no water that would dilute your marinade.
Light a grill. In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt with the scallion, 1/4 of the garlic and 1/2 tablespoon of the dill. Stir in the feta, mashing it slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining minced garlic and 2 tablespoons of dill with the olive oil. Add the shrimp and lemons, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Thread 4 shrimp and 2 lemon wedges onto each of 12 skewers. Season with salt and pepper and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are charred and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the skewers to a platter and serve at once with the feta sauce.