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Labor Day Cookout Menu

Classically at a cookout, you would serve chips and dip, burgers, coleslaw, baked beans, and ice cream for dessert. That’s what we’ll have . But let’s make it a grown up menu for the fun of it. Remember to stay cool with some lemonade or Budweiser, my choice would be a crisp light Italian Pinot Grigio, chilled icy cold.

This is as easy as it gets for throwing a cookout. You can make everything a day in advance except for the burgers and mushrooms, but they can be made in advance the day of the party. This will give you more time to spend with your friends around the pool.

OnionGouda Dip:

10-oz ball imported Gouda cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

4 oz Roquefort Cheese, crumbled

4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3 drops hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

4 tablespoons dark beer

With a sharp knife, cut a lid from the round of Gouda 1 inch from the top, reserving the lid. Carefully hollow out the cheese, leaving a thin wall of cheese on the sides. Finely grate all the Gouda you remove and set aside. In a small skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside to cool. In a food processor combine the cheeses, remaining butter, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauces, and mustard, process until smooth. Stop motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl and with the motor running, pour in the beer. Fill the hollowed out cheese with the dip; there will be some leftover, put it in a bowl. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Bring the ball of cheese to room temperature. Use the additional dip to refill the ball as needed. Serve with thick cut potato chips or “Terra Chips” or Bagel chips.

BlueChesse Hamburgers

with Barbecue Sauce and Sautéed Mushrooms:

3 lb. ground beef

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

4 oz blue cheese

Salt and pepper to season

8 onion rolls, cut in half

In a large bowl combine the ground beef, cumin, paprika, pepper, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Gently form into 16 3-ounce patties about 1/2 inch thick. Use a spoon to make an indentation in the center of 8 of the patties. Place 1/2 ounce blue cheese in the indentation and cover with another patty. Gently form into burgers. Cover and refrigerate.

Just before grilling, lightly season with salt and pepper, then coat with barbecue sauce (recipe follows). Grill the burgers over a medium fire until done to your taste: -5 minutes per side for rare, 6-7 for medium, 9-10 for well done. Remove burgers from grill and brush with more barbecue sauce. Toast the rolls and serve the burgers topped with the mushrooms (recipe follows).

Barbeque sauce:

1/2 cup catsup

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and remove the crushed garlic cloves.

Sautéed Mushrooms

:4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons minced onions

4 tablespoons minced shallots

1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup beer

Heat the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and shallots and cook until they are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the moisture has evaporated. Add beer, salt and pepper to taste. The beer will evaporate.

Blueberry Coleslaw:

1 medium green cabbage, shredded

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons minced orange zest

1 cup blueberry mayonnaise (recipe follows)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup blueberry vinegar (preferably low-acid, 4.5%)

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cloves


Fresh ground black pepper

1 pint fresh blueberries

Orange slices for garnish

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, onion, parsley, and orange zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, orange juice, sugar, and cloves. Taste then season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss until well coated. Toss with the blueberries. Garnish with orange slices and serve.

Blueberry mayonnaise:1 large egg

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 low acid blueberry vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar


1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 1/4 cups mild olive oil

Place the egg, yolk, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Process for 30 seconds. With the machine running add the oil in a slow steady stream. Remove to a bowl, taste and correct the seasoning.

Mean Baked Beans:

2 18-ounce cans pork and beans

1 can apple pie mix

1 lb hot sausage, browned and drained

2 tablespoons molasses

1/4 cup steak sauce

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large casserole. Bake for 1-½ hours at 350 degrees.

Strawberry Ice Cream

5 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

Chop 1 cup of the strawberries and set aside. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or a blender, combine the remaining strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Process or blend until the mixture is pureed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cream. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is half frozen, add the reserved chopped strawberries and complete the freezing process. or *buy a gallon of good ice cream to serve with some sweetened fresh strawberry topping

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