Little labor results in lots of flavor

Adrienne Freeman Originally Published August 29, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated August 28, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
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Adrienne Freeman

A spicy twist on an old favorite: Simply poached shrimp atop ever-popular deviled eggs are dotted with Sriracha sauce for a great Labor Day barbecue or potluck dish.

Labor Day, celebrated the first Monday of September, is generally recognized as the end of summer. With the beginning of the school year, shorter days, and fall weather and activities just around the corner, it is often the last day of the season for big barbecues.

Various sites on the Web tell us that Labor Day is a U.S. federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. The holiday was first recognized nationwide in 1894 to soothe the discord of union members following a big railroad strike known as the Pullman Strike. Membership in unions has steadily declined since the holiday’s inception, and Labor Day is now generally viewed as the end of summer vacation and a time for barbecues.

The following recipes require little labor but offer lots of flavor. They are great for a potluck or a barbecue. Relax – it’s Labor Day.

ROASTED GARLIC AND TOMATO SPREAD

Ingredients:

2 whole garlic bulbs

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 plum tomatoes, quartered

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 carton (8 ounces) spreadable chive and onion cream cheese (plain will do if preferred)

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Directions:

Remove outer papery skins from whole garlic bulbs (do not peel or separate cloves). With a sharp knife, slice about ¼ off the top, leaving the bulb intact, and brush each with about 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap each bulb in heavy-duty foil. Place garlic and tomatoes in a foil-lined 9-inch square baking pan. Brush tomatoes with remaining oil.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until garlic is softened. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze each softened clove of garlic into a bowl. Drain any liquid from tomatoes and discard. Chop roasted tomatoes and add to garlic. Stir in the cream cheese, Italian seasoning and salt. Serve with your favorite crackers or baguette slices.

Cook’s tip: Some grocers sell roasted garlic packed in oil in the produce department. It is fine for a substitute and saves time, but the garlic must be roasted, not raw. Just drain the oil, and use the garlic in the recipe.

DEVILED EGGS WITH SHRIMP AND SRIRACHA

Ingredients:

6 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon dill-pickle relish

1 dozen peeled and deveined shrimp, poached

2 tablespoons shrimp boil spices (like Zatarains)

Approximately 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

Directions:

Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and allow to set off the heat for 15 minutes. Cool eggs in cold water.

Meanwhile, bring water in a medium saucepan to a boil, and add shrimp boil spices. Add shrimp, remove from heat, and allow to sit in hot water until opaque, about 5 minutes. Remove from water, and cool.

In a small bowl using a fork, combine egg yolks, mayonnaise, prepared mustard, sugar and relish. Spoon or pipe filling into egg halves. Top each with a seasoned, poached shrimp and a small squeeze of Sriracha sauce. Cool until ready to serve.

FRITO DIP

Submitted by Jan Jackson Maris of Newport via her sister-in-law, Diane Hulett, also of Newport

Ingredients:

8 ounces sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1 tablespoon diced white onion

Directions:

Mix sour cream and mayonnaise; stir in cheddar cheese, bacon and onion. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving with Frito (or other corn chips.)

Cook’s tip: “For extra celebrating, I usually double the onion and the bacon!” Maris said.

EASY LEMON ICEBOX PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared graham-cracker crust

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk, chilled

1 container whipped topping (12 ounces), thawed

1 can (6 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, unthawed

Directions:

In a large bowl, gently fold the thawed whipped topping into the sweetened condensed milk, keeping the mixture light and fluffy. Add half the lemonade concentrate, and continue to gently fold. Add additional lemonade by heaping tablespoons. This is going to be a frozen pie, so if the filling begins to look too much like liquid, stop adding lemonade. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Place in the freezer overnight.

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