Labor Day Shortackes

Posted on: Monday, September 3, 2012

To celebrate a national day off, we enjoy playing games of bocce on the beach, sipping Dark and Stormies, and gathering for a big potluck at the Manchester Bath & Tennis Club. With an abundance of grilled entrees, we contribute a side dish and dessert to the summer celebration.

For a Middle Eastern flare we bring a tabouli salad that features grilled zucchini, feta cheese and grilled shrimp. For a sweet ending, we whip up our take on the quintessential strawberry shortcake with a ginger zing.
Tabouli Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Zucchini and Feta

1 c bulgur wheat
1 c water
1 c (4 oz) feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 medium-sized zucchini
1 lb uncooked shrimp, deveined and deshelled
1/2 c EVOO
2 T red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1 c fresh chopped parsley
1/2 c fresh chopped mint
salt and pepper throughout

Pour the bulgur wheat with a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Heat the water to boiling and pour it atop the bulgur. Cover and let sit for 25-30 minutes, until the water is absorbed.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Cut the zucchini lengthwise in half, brush with EVOO, salt and pepper, and place atop the hot grill. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side, until dark grill marks form and the zucchini is softened slightly. Remove to cool and chop into 1/2-inch cubes.

Brush the shrimp with EVOO, salt and pepper and cook atop the grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until golden grill marks appear and the shrimp are pink throughout. We skewer the shrimp for easy grilling.

When the bulgur is tender, stir in the zucchini, shrimp, feta, chopped parsley, and chopped mint.

In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup of EVOO, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour atop the salad and serve. Serves 8-10 sides.

To end on a small sweet note with a lasting punch, we assemble a platter of 3-bite-sized strawberry shortcake sliders with ginger highlights.

Gingery Strawberry Shortcake Sliders

Ginger Biscuits
2 c all purpose flour
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 c crystallized ginger, chopped 
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Incorporate the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until a coarse crumbly mixture forms. With a wooden spoon stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract into the flour mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Do not over mix. Add the crystallized ginger.

Form the batter into golf ball sized domes and transfer onto the baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly, and brush the tops with a little buttermilk and a sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 8-9 biscuits.

Macerated Strawberries and Ginger
16 oz strawberries, quartered
1/4 c Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)

In a bowl combine the strawberries and ginger liqueur. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

Whipped Cream
2 c whipping cream
1 t vanilla extract
4 T granulated sugar

In a medium bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer on high. When the cream starts to thicken after a couple of minutes, add the vanilla extract and sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: Cut a biscuit in half, top the bottom half with a heaping spoonful of strawberries, a heaping spoonful of whipped cream, and cover with the top half.

Although Labor Day is considered the unofficial end to summer, we always keep in mind that there are still three more weeks of grilling and summer fun to go!


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