Philadelphia Catering Company Affordable custom catering for your business

2019 South 26th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145

Phone: 215.468.0518
Fax: 215.468.0818
E-mail: info@philadelphiacatering.com
 
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CHEF'S CORNER

 
Classic Summer Barbeque
By: Deirdre Cooper

 

This year marked the 35th time that we hosted our annual Memorial Day Barbecue. It started when we first moved to our house in Pennsylvania, with most of our family still living in New York and New Jersey. Everyone was invited, and they all came. Aunts, Uncles, cousins, in-laws, first wives and seconds. It started before many of us even had children and has continued through those children growing up, and now arriving newly wed or with significant others. The pictures through the years are priceless and now appear at wedding showers and milestone birthdays. Last year we became dog friendly!
 


 

In recent years we have gradually lost a whole layer of parents and dear aunts and uncles who looked forward to this event every year. The calls for "what can I bring" started coming as soon as the invitations went out. I remember early on how, after the first round of food was gone, my Mom and aunts would take over the clean-up of the kitchen. I couldn't find anything for weeks! Then, more recently, they started arriving with walkers and wheelchairs and we were suddenly reversing roles.
 
I was thinking the other day how the menu has changed over the years. I remember obsessing over what kind of Jello mold to make. Does anyone make Jello molds anymore? One year I decided to make baked beans from scratch. It took two days and when they were done, they tasted just like the ones in a can. And I ruined a favorite pot to boot! And the time when the party was over and I was cleaning up the kitchen, only to find a huge dish of sausage and peppers in the oven which never made it outside. One year we cooked a whole pig in a pit, my husband starting it at 4:00 in the morning.
 


 

We have had gorgeous weather and terrible weather; wilting heat and a chill in the air. We have had pouring rain in the morning while my husband frantically tried to put up an awning, only to have the sun return in the nick of time. One year we did it in a very hastily cleaned garage.
 


 

There are pictures of dear Uncle Frank patiently cooking 75 pieces of chicken while my daughter held an umbrella over him and the grill. There are pictures of all the ladies at one table intent in conversation, and all the men at another table solving the world's problems.
 


 

 

It is not a family barbecue without Aunt Elsie's (91 years old!) inimitable potato salad. The menu this year included spinach/artichoke dip, sausage with chimichurri on crusty bread (a nod to my husband's South American roots), barbecue chicken and ribs, Caprese salad with new basil from the garden, tortellini salad, cole slaw, spinach/strawberry salad and eggplant parm (a nod to my Italian roots). Naturally, there was a bottle of wine on each table and the desserts were sinful, plentiful and delicious.
 
So, we will keep up the tradition as long as we can and hope that the memories inspire our children and grandchildren to one day carry it on.
 


 

Here a few recipes perfect for a summer barbeque. The Spinach Strawberry salad is a nice variation of the typical green salad. The flavors blend together nicely, and the presentation is beautiful.
 
Chimichurri sauce is a South American staple when it comes to an accompaniment for meat, sausage or even chicken. We always have a supply on-hand. It keeps for months in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
 


 

Spinach/Strawberry Salad
This mixture of greens and fruit is such a great summer combination. The recipe is for a large crowd, it may be halved.
 
2 bags fresh baby spinach
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 pint blueberries
1 can (12 oz) pineapple chunks drained and cut in small pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
 
Toss all ingredients with either raspberry vinaigrette or white balsamic vinegar.
 
 


 

Chimichurri
 
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped onions (rough chop)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash Tabasco or cayenne (optional)
 
Combine all ingredients, refrigerate until ready to use. Recipe can be doubled.
 
 

Deirdre is a culinary enthusiast who enjoys traveling, gardening, and needless to say works wonders in the kitchen. Deirdre, a native New Yorker, now resides in Ambler with her husband John, and can often be found entertaining family and friends. Enjoy!
 
 
 
 

2017
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul.
 
 | Current Recipe
 
 
2016
 
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2019 South 26th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145 · Phone: 215.468.0518 · Fax: 215.468.0818 · E-mail:
info@philadelphiacatering.com
 
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