Labor Day Menu

It's hard to believe Labor Day Weekend is upon us once again! More than likely, you will be out and about making the most of that extra day off. But whether you're staying at home or going out of town, these are some menu ideas that won't fail to please. Don't worry, we've tried ALL of these recipes and they are easy, delicious, and perfect for the last days of summer. Great Appetizer :: Chickpea and Sesame Hummus 2.5 cups home-cooked chickpeas, drained (reserve liquid) 2 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled, halved, and green germ removed 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste) 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 2 tablespoons best-quality sesamae oil 1/4 cup cilantro leaves 1/8 teaspoon paprika Set aside 1/2 cup of the chickpeas for garnish. In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, mince the garlic. Add the remaining 2 cups of chickpeas, the lemon juice, tahini, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Blend until smooth, adding the reserved cooking liquid if necessary to make a smooth puree. Taste for seasoning. Spoon the dip into a large, shallow bowl, and garnish with the reserved 1/2 cup of chickpeas,a drizzle of olive oil, cilantro, and paprika. Serve. Summer CousCous This couscous recipe is one of my absolute favorites from Patricia Wells. It's light, fresh, zesty, and completely satisfying. Not to mention it is one of the easiest things to make. Here's how you do it: 1.5 cups medium-grain quick-cooking couscous 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt 1 lb ripe red tomatoes, cored and quartered 1/8 teaspoon ground chile pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 1 green bell pepper, finely diced 1 red bell pepper, finely diced 2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves (Yield 8 servings) 1. After cooking the cousous, place it in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss with a fork to blend. Set aside. 2. In a food processor or a blender combine the lemon juice, oil, salt, tomatoes, chili pepper, and cayenne. Process to blend. Pour the mixture into the bowl of couscous and toss with a fork to blend. Fluff until the grains are evenly separated. Cover and set aside, occasionally fluffing and tossing the grain until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. 3. Add the diced peppers and mint. Toss to blend. Taste for seasoning. Enjoy!   

Flaky Tomato and Olive Tart

 

8 oz sheet all-butter puff pastry 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 3/4 lb tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into thin slices Fine sea salt 2 oz shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 20 best-quality black olives, pitted Small handful of fresh basil leaves Hot pepper flakes, for serving

1. Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F 2. Unroll the patry, place on the baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork. Shower with the grated cheese. Freeze for 30 minutes. 3. Arrange the tomato slices side by side on a thick layer of paper towels. Season generously with salt to draw out excess liquid and prevent it from becoming soggy. Set aside for 10 minutes. 4. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Place in the oven and prebake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. If the pastry has puffed, prick with a fork to deflate it. Arrange the tomatoes in a slightly overlapping layer on top of the pastry. Shower with the cheese shavings and the black olives.Return to the oven and bake until the pastry is a deep golden, and the tomatoes are soft and the cheese melted, about 2o minutes. Shower with the basil while still hot from the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature, cutting into 8 equal wedges. Light Arugula Salad (shown above) Whether you grow your own or you buy it from the store, arugula is one of those great, spicy greens that beautifully accompanies many different foods. Simply get a nice bunch of arugula, drizzle your finest extra virgin olive oil over the top, season with a pinch of salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper, toss, and enjoy! {If you're a big citrus fan, you can squeeze half a lemon over the top for extra summer flavor!} Lemon Zest and Lavender Honey Sorbet Light, sweetly flavored with a touch of citrus, this homemade sorbet is the perfect way to end summer. Zest of 2 lemons, preferably organic 3/4 cup lavender honey 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1.5 cups water 2 teaspoons lemon vodka 2/3 cup nonfat lemon yogurt (Yields 12 servings) In a food processor or blender process the zest, honey, and salt. With the machine running, add the juice in a slow, steady stream, processing until the honey is incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the water, vodka, and yogurt and blend. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. We hope you have a delicious and safe Labor Day Weekend! If you get to try any of these recipes, please let us know how you like them and share some pictures!
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