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Caribbean Cooking: The Long Hot Days Of August

This month calls for picnics, barbecues and casual meals on the deck, or a quiet harbor ashore. Mixed Greens and Parmesan Salad is an example of how easy it is to pull together wonderful food, fast!

The barbecue or cookout is a great American pastime. The possibilities for imaginative dishes are almost unlimited. Fish, pork, lamb and veal, as well as vegetables and fruit, take on a subtle new flavor when cooked on an outdoor grill, and can be prepared in any number of ways.

The following recipes are ideally suited for alfresco dining and use of the many fruits and vegetables that are abundant at this time. Plums are at their peak this month and can be served as an elegant dessert.

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Olive Cheese Roll
Mixed Greens and Parmesan Salad
Marinated Barbecued Leg of Lamb
Grilled Vegetables with Couscous
Plums in Wine Sauce

OLIVE CHEESE ROLL

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/3 cup stuffed green olives, chopped
1/4 cup black olives, chopped
1 Tblsp finely chopped onion
1 bunch of parsley, chopped

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine cream cheese with green and black olives, onion, and Tabasco. Mix thoroughly and set mixture in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to harden slightly for easier handling. Shape mixture into a ball. Roll in chopped parsley to coat well. Return to refrigerator. Chill for another 15 minutes or until serving time. Garnish with parsley. Serve with assorted crackers.

Note: Cheese mixture can also be thinned with sour cream or milk to serve as a dip.

MIXED GREENS AND PARMESAN SALAD

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 minutes
Serves: 4

Mixed salad greens for 4
2 large red onions, sliced
4 oz. Parmesan cheese

Dressing:
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup olive oil
Pepper to taste

Put salad greens in a large mixing bowl. Warm the sliced onions in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Grate Parmesan on the wide slicing area to produce thin slices about an inch wide, then add to lettuce. Mix lime juice, olive oil and pepper together. Pour over salad and toss. Serve.

Hint: Warm lime in microwave (about 5 seconds) before squeezing and you will get twice as much juice.

MARINATED BARBECUED LEG OF LAMB

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes (on BBQ grill)

3 lb. leg of lamb, boned and butterflied
1 tsp. coarsely cracked black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
Salt, to taste

Lay lamb flat in glass container. In a bowl, mix together all other ingredients and pour over lamb. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, longer is better.

Preheat grill. Remove meat from marinade and cook over very hot coals for 6 minutes on each side. Meat should be well browned and crusty. Spread out coals and cook for another 6-7 minutes on each side. Slice as you would steak.

Note: To enjoy the best flavor of lamb, cook medium to medium rare.

GRILLED VEGETABLES WITH COUSCOUS

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes
Serves: 4

2 baby eggplants (about 8 oz.)
2 small zucchini squash (about 8 oz.)
2 small yellow squash ( about 8 oz.)
1 large red bell pepper, cut in about 1” pieces
1 large green bell pepper, cut in about 1” pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can vegetable broth
1 cup whole wheat or regular quick-cooking couscous
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill. Trim ends of eggplants and squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Brush both sides of eggplants, squash, and pepper with oil, and sprinkle with garlic. Arrange vegetables on grill rack over medium-hot coals. Grill until tender, turning once, about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous and pepper; remove from heat. Cover; let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Spoon onto warmed serving plate; top with grilled vegetables.

PLUMS IN WINE SAUCE

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

1-1/2 – 2 lbs. firm red-fleshed plums
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups water
1-1/4 cups tawny port, medium-dry sherry, or Madeira
2 Tblsp sliced almonds, toasted
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Dissolve sugar in 1-1/4 cups of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in wine and bring the syrup to simmering point again. Remove any stems from the plums; wash and dry them. Add the plums, one at a time to the simmering syrup. Cover the pan with a lid and remove from the heat. Leave the plums in the syrup for 10 minutes. Lift out the plums with a slotted spoon and put them in a serving dish. Cover the dish with a plate or foil and leave in a warm place. Boil the syrup over high heat until it has reduced by about one-third and thickened slightly. Pour over the poached plums. Sprinkle with the almonds. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Note: The flavor of plums is brought out deliciously by poaching them in a syrupy wine and serving them warm.

Editor’s Note: Capt. Jan Robinson is author of the Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection. She holds certificates from the Culinary Institute of America, The Ritz Cooking School, and the Cordon Bleu. To order go to www.shiptoshoreINC.com or email CapJan@aol.com or call 1-800-338-6072. Mention All At Sea to receive your special discount.

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