The members of the Schmautzhaus have gotten together again for some summer celebrating. This time we were celebrating two birthdays for the price of one, so to speak. Two birthdays were exactly a week apart, so we all got together yet again.
I don’t know if any other family has family rules, but one of ours is that you can’t talk about your birthday until yours is the next one to be celebrated. For example, since my birthday is in March and my oldest son’s birthday is in May, he can’t talk about his birthday celebration until after mine is over. This wasn’t a difficult rule to follow until my daughter’s boyfriend joined the fray and his birthday is exactly one week before my son’s girlfriend’s birthday. This rule meant that she can’t talk about celebrating her birthday until his birthday is over. Not much time to crow about a birthday, beg for the things you want to do to celebrate, etc. Oh well…rules are rules. Welcome to the family!
This time I picked out the celebration menu so Yes!Chef! wouldn’t have to worry his pretty little head about such things. Some of the dishes turned out well, and some fell a little flat. We started out with Watermelon Mojitos; Blue Cheese Dip with Crackers and Grapes; and Spicy-Sweet Glazed Shrimp. The Blue Cheese Dip is an old family recipe (I’ll blog about that recipe on another post…unless I forget) and we have it at almost all family gatherings. It is well beloved.
The Watermelon Mojitos were a hit. I think they would have been even better had the watermelon been a little riper. It’s hard to tell with watermelon. Yes!Chef! didn’t really like all the muddling involved in making the drink nor the watermelon mash at the bottom of the drink. He likes his drinks clean. Everyone else enjoyed the drink and it was perfect cooler for the spicy Shrimp with a Honey-Sriracha glaze. Now that was spicy!
They were easy to make and everyone loved them.
The birthday menu also included Barbecued Salmon with a Mango Chimichuri sauce; Black rice with mango, papaya, hot chili peppers, pecans and avocado; and a Cucumber-Ginger-Avocado salad. We ended the meal with a Peach Crumble and Vanilla Ice cream. The Salmon was amazing…perfectly cooked and topped off nicely with the Spicy Mango Chimichuri. The Black Rice and fruit was a pretty tasty side dish but it called for Habanero Chilies but we chickened out and substituted a hot red pepper. It was a little bland, so we shouldn’t have been so timid. The cucumber salad was pretty blah. The cucumbers were almost pickled (which made it seem like a pickle salad.) Even the fresh ginger couldn’t save that dish. The peach crumble was yummy.
It was a very warm evening, so we took the celebration outdoors again. We dragged the dining room table outside and, aside from the meat bees nibbling on the food, it was a very pleasant place to have our dinner.
Here’s the recipe for the watermelon mojito supplied by Martha Stewart:
The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006
- Yield Makes 1
- 4 large mint leaves
- 1/2 lime
- 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
- 4 ounces seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3/4 cup), plus a small wedge for garnish
- 2 ounces white rum
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- In a heavy large glass, combine mint, lime, and sugar. Using a muddler, mash together mint and lime until sugar is dissolved. Add watermelon, and muddle until broken down. Stir in rum and ice cubes. Pour into an 8-ounce serving glass and garnish with a watermelon wedge. Serve immediately.
And here’s the recipe for the Spicy-Sweet Glazed Shrimp, also provided by Martha Stewart
Everyday Food, July/August 2012
- Prep Time 20 minutes
- Total Time 20 minutes
- Yield Serves 6
- Vegetable oil, for grill
- 2 tablespoons spicy chili sauce, such as Sriracha
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 pounds extra-jumbo shrimp (about 32 total), peeled and deveined (tails left on)
- Salt and pepper
- Heat a grill or grill pan to high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Stir together chili sauce and honey. Assemble kebabs (using 2 long skewers for each, threading 1 skewer through head end of shrimp and 1 through tail end); season with salt and pepper. Grill until shrimp begin to turn opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, brush liberally with glaze, and cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush with more glaze and serve.
Brush On a Glaze
Chili sauce and honey are all you need for major flavor. The glaze caramelizes on the grill for even more complexity. Also try it with bone-in chicken pieces or beef kebabs.
It was a great evening with wonderful people. (I might be a little prejudiced.) Cheers!