A Tale of Two Parties: Our Island Party and the Food

Now that we set the stage with the amazing party in New West… no pressure, right?  Oy…  Now I have to begin with confessing that some how, and I’m not exactly sure what happened, but we ended up with next to no pictures from Dave’s graduation party at our house.  I know…  I don’t know what happened…  I did, luckily, take pictures of the food (mostly) while I was preparing the dishes so at least that’s something.  But seriously… no pictures?  Ugh…

Here's our happy graduate!

Here’s our happy graduate!

On the brighter side, let’s talk about food.  Here’s the menu for Dave’s graduation party.

Dave’s Graduation Party Menu
Spiedies: Italian marinated pork or chicken that is skewered and grilled. Served on a bun with sauteed onions, mustard and mayonnaise.
White T-Shirt Shrimp: A Cajun spiced shrimp boil with beer and butter. Served with bread to dip.
Utica Pie: A deep dish tomato and parmesan “pie” with a Chicago-style crust.
Red, White and Blue Coleslaw: An homage to one of our favorite restaurants in Ithaca, NY, this is red cabbage, white cabbage and blue cheese slaw.
Half Moon Cookies: Made famous through Seinfeld, these Black and White cookies are claimed to have originated in Utica, NY, as Half Moons.

A fantastic blend of neighbors, family and friends.  What an amazing blessing!

A fantastic blend of neighbors, family and friends. What an amazing blessing!

It’ll take me a few posts to get all of the recipes posted, but today we are going to start with the Spiedies and White T-Shirt Shrimp, the two recipes that I don’t have images for.  This just means that you’ll have to try the recipes and send me pictures from your creations.  🙂  I’d love to see them!

Spiedies are a classic Binghamton, NY, dish.  This is the perfect festival food from Binghamton, honored yearly by the Spiedie Fest.  In fact, at my bachlorette party my fantastic ladies made a version to serve along with other bites of New York.  I hope I did them all justice with this recipe.  While the pork spiedie is the classic, we also offered a chicken version.  They were both delicious, especially with a heap of sauteed onions.

Spiedies
Ingredients
:
5 lbs. of pork loin or chicken, cubed
2 cups plus ¼ cup olive oil
½ cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. garlic powder
4 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the meat with 2 cups of olive oil, the vinegar, and all the dried spices in a large, nonreactive bowl or resealable plastic bag. If using a plastic bag be sure to place it in a casserole dish or other walled dish or bowl in case of any leaks. Place the meat and marinade in the refrigerator and chill for several hours or overnight. In a pinch, 30 minutes will get you some flavor, but longer is better.
  2. Meanwhile heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the onions. Be prepared to cry a little… or a lot. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the onions until they start to brown on the edges, then turn down the heat to medium and slowly cook them until they are soft and golden. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Put the onions into a serving bowl and set aside. If making the spiedies in advance you can refrigerate the onions for up to 2 days and then reheat them in the microwave before setting them out with the other condiments and buns.
  3. When you are ready to grill the meat, prepare the skewers. Skewer the meat, leaving some space between the cubes to ensure even cooking. If using bamboo skewers be sure to soak them according to package directions in advance. Grill the skewers over high heat to get a char on your kebabs. Depending on the size of your cubes this can happen quickly, so watch them like a hawk. Test individual skewers to ensure for doneness.
  4. Remove the meat from the skewers and place it in a serving bowl. Serve the grilled meat with torpedo buns, the delicious, golden onions, as well as mustard and mayonnaise. Enjoy!

Please click here for a printable version of the Spiedies recipe.

Our front yard was festooned with balloons... and then we spent the entire time on our fantastic new back deck.  Ah well...

Our front yard was festooned with balloons… and then we spent the entire time on our fantastic new back deck. Ah well…

I cannot believe that I don’t have a single picture of the White T-Shirt Shrimp served at the party.  Ugh!  So you’ll just have to use your great imaginations to picture a vat of spicy sauce comprised predominately of butter and beer with succulent shrimp, served in bowls with crusty bread to soak up that delicious sauce.  My mouth is already watering…  The name for this dish comes from when Dave first tried it at a wonderful cabin (aka “camp”) up on Otter Lake.  He was wearing a brand new, white t-shirt he’d received for his birthday.  He took one bite of a shrimp, and watched the tail flip down in slow motion splattering his front with bright red, spicy butter sauce.  Dave now recommends a bib when eating these shrimp, but I’d wear a trash bag if I had to just to get a bowl of that sauce with a hunk of bread.  At the party we served the White T-Shirt Shrimp on a warming tray with a platter of warmed baguettes next to it to keep them both hot throughout the party.

White T-Shirt Shrimp
Ingredients
:
4 bottles of beer
¾ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup Cajun spice
4 lemons, juiced
1 lb. butter
5 lbs. shrimp, shell on, uncooked

Directions:

  1. Heat all of the ingredients except for the shrimp in a large pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the shrimp and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  3. Serve with bowls and lots of crusty bread to soak up the amazing boil. Enjoy!

Please click here for a printable version of the White T-Shirt Shrimp recipe.

 

New DeckStay tuned for more recipes… with pictures… from the party!  😉

 

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4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Parties: Our Island Party and the Food

  1. Mr. Bright Wings

    That white t-shirt shrimp sounds tasty!

    The spiedies do, too, but there’s one thing about them I don’t get: why marinate them in olive oil? Oils do absolutely nothing as a marinade. Zip. Zero. Nada. They don’t penetrate meat, they don’t carry in flavors. It seems to me that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between spiedies that were marinated in olive oil and herbs, and those that weren’t marinated at all, but just brushed with olive oil and herbs right before hitting the grill. Still delicious. Just a pointless marinade.

    Reply
    1. TheSheepAreOut Post author

      One of the reasons that I like oil-based marinades is that oil itself (regardless of olive vs. canola) helps keep the meat moist, as well as allowing some of the spice and herbal flavors to get into the meat. You can easily swap out the olive oil for canola oil or another oil of your choice if you prefer. I tend to like the flavor of the olive oil better than if it was just the truly neutral taste of canola oil. Maybe that’s part of my time in Turkey, where a really good olive oil (doesn’t have to be pricey) leaves another herbal/floral note to grilled meats that you just don’t get from other oils. So I would disagree that it’s “pointless,” but maybe a Spiedie taste off is in order… 🙂

      Reply
    2. Dave Hopwood

      Actually the oil is key in many marinades for a number of reasons. Some spices require oil to release their flavor, olive oil in particular is a penetrating oil and allows the flavour to penetrate deeper and faster into the meat and of course the oil itself contributes flavour to the party. The oil also helps the meat not stick to the grill.

      Reply
      1. Mr. Bright Wings

        We might just have to throw down over this one. Maybe take Marie’s suggestion and do a Spiedie taste-off when we’re all in the same place at the same time. 🙂

        I’m not against olive oil. I love it. We don’t buy any other oil any more. Which, yes, means that we probably get some cheap knockoffs, but they’re still olive oil, and it’s delicious.

        There may be fat-soluble flavor compounds in spices. But there’s simply, physically, no such thing as a penetrating oil, where meat is concerned. It’s a delicious accompaniment to the meat, and, yes, it helps the grill. But it doesn’t penetrate diddly, where meat is concerned.

        I did just notice that the marinade recipe calls for vinegar, which I don’t actually see used anywhere in the recipe. That would penetrate the meat a bit and carry some of the spices’ flavors in with it. Not as much as a salty liquid, but more than oil.

        What say you, Dr. Hopwood? Are you up to a spiedie throwdown? 😉

        Uh oh… I just realized… Dr. Hopwood could now refer to either of you. Do I have to specify Mr. Dr. Hopwood? Dr. Mr. Hopwood? Dr. Hopwood of the Dave persuasion?

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