Thursday, September 8, 2011

Labor Day Dinner: BBQ Chicken, Squash Gratin and Grilled Okra

For Labor Day I think you're supposed to have something like this, or burgers, or hot dogs - there's a rule somewhere. Like wearing white. But who pays attention to that? I mean, summer is FAR from over down here. Unfortunately.

But for this year's Labor Day, we invited Jack and Beth over for a little barbecue and cards. (We didn't eat the cards.)

I made a squash gratin, grilled some okra (you heard me) and a derivation of my grandmother's barbecued chicken.

Marc taught me to make the squash gratin a while back in one of his cooking classes at Marc's on Market. It's just alternating layers of yellow squash, zucchini, sliced onion, sliced tomato, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and some panko crumbs and parmesan cheese over the top.

For the chicken, make a dry rub of 2 Tbs. brown sugar, 2 tsp. dry mustard, 2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. of black pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle that over the pieces of a cut up whole chicken.

Now you can put this chicken directly on the grill, but I like to put it on a foil lined roasting pan topped with a piece of parchment. I'm lazy and I hate cleaning the grill. And there's something about that blackened, charred stuff being a carcinogen, and I sure don't need any more of that in my life right now.  Put the chicken on about a 400F degree grill (medium high heat). And put the squash in the oven at 375F at the same time. Both are going to need to cook about 40 minutes.

Now you can cook the okra at the same time as the chicken if you've got room on the grill, but it only needs about five minutes. This is a close approximation of the recipe in last month's Fine Cooking. I tossed whole okra in olive oil and salt and pepper and put it on a perforated pizza pan and just put that on a hot grill (400F) for about 10 minutes. I made a dipping sauce out of sauteed shallots, a quarter cup of mayo, 2 Tbs. of tomato paste, a teaspoon of paprika, and a pinch of salt.

Pull everything off the grill, and take the squash out of the oven.

We all helped ourselves to dinner.

Hey, Beth!!
After dinner, I served ice cream with Abby Dodge's Nutella Brownie Bites.

And we settled in to a pretty good game of Hearts. Jack tried to smear us.

Check that cocky grin.
Pootie was losing big, but managed to pull out a tie with Jack in the end. That's what happens when everyone teams up against you. Sorry, Jack-man.

If you'd like to play a round of Labor Day Dinner in your own kitchen, here are the .pdfs.

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