As the bittersweet finale of summer '16 approaches, we're finalizing our plans to send the season out with a bang. We're sure we're not the only ones preparing to host a celebration over the upcoming three-day weekend — what better way to bid August adieu than with beloved friends and family and some barbecue?
We’ve teamed up with the experts at Blueprint Registry and Simply Real Health to round up everything you’ll need for this year's ultimate Labor Day BBQ. Below, take a glimpse at outdoor dining decor, perfect serving dishes, and more, and don't miss the three bonus recipes at the end!
To Buy: Cedar Grilling Plank ($10)
Upgrade your grilling game this Labor day with a small (but flavorful) addition. This cedar grilling plank is perfect for adding a smoky, sweet flavor to salmon, steak, veggies and more. Experiment with soaking this in cider, wine or beer to add a delicious boozy twist to your mouthwatering meal.
To Buy: Galvanized Metal Party Bucket ($49-59)
Keep the cold ones coming and save yourself multiple trips back to the fridge with this chic cooler upgrade, perfect for outdoor hosting all year long.
To Buy: String Globe Lights ($40)
These string globe lights are a fun way to light up your BBQ, well into the evening hours, and you can add as many or few as you want to get the mood just right. Hang them from trees in the yard or along the deck to create a whimsical ambiance.
To Buy: Wooden Yard Dice ($68)
Your average BBQ becomes a whole new ball game when paired with this set of wooden yard dice and a little friendly competition. Made from solid wood and branded by hand, this set comes in a handy jute tote for carrying to and from backyard festivities for years to come.
To Buy: Galvanized Metal Condiment & Tray Set ($24)
Perfectly sized for holding utensils at your outdoor event, this set adds a stylish touch to your table and serving ware.
To Buy: Grey & Ivory Placemats ($4.95)
These neutral-toned cotton placemats are a simple and classic addition to your table decor this year. They're machine washable, which means there's no need to worry about ketchup stains.
Once the decor's all set, the next step is to prepare the food. Impress your guests with these all-natural summer recipe favorites from Sarah Adler, Founder of Simply Real Health: Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Summer Picnic Poblano Salad, and a Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp for dessert. Just a warning: don't be too surprised when everyone begs you to host the Labor Day BBQ again next year!
Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Makes approximately 4 servings
For the steak:
- 1 pound organic grass-fed flank steak
- olive oil, sea salt + pepper to taste
For the Chimichurri Sauce:
- 1 bunch parsley, leaves only
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
For a more traditional chimichurri sauce, chop all ingredients finely by hand and mix with olive oil. If you are short on time, add it all to a blender, and pulse or blend to your desired consistency.
Ahead of time: Cover steak in a plastic bag or in a glass baking dish with the chimichurri sauce (saving most of it for a topping after the meat cooked) or olive oil, sea salt and pepper, for up to 24 hours before cooking.
When ready to eat: Heat a skillet, grill pan, or BBQ to medium-high heat. Add a bit of butter, olive oil or coconut oil to the pan, and wait for the heat source to warm up. Add steak to the hot pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak and your taste preference. When the steak is done, remove it from the heat, and let stand 2-3 minutes before slicing against the grain.
Top with chimichurri sauce to serve.
Summer Picnic Poblano Quinoa Salad
- 1 cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
- 1 pint baby tomatoes or 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 2 poblano peppers (or green bell peppers)
- 2 ears (organic, non-GMO) corn
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked (yields 4 cups when done)
- garlic infused olive oil, to drizzle (or 2 cloves chopped garlic + olive oil)
- red wine vinegar, to drizzle
- 1 large handful fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa, according to package. When done, scoop into a large bowl and place in the fridge to let cool. I added sea salt, pepper and garlic olive oil first- tossed it, and put it in the fridge while I chopped the rest of the goodies.
Add the veggies, herbs, sea salt and pepper to a large serving bowl. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and olive oil and toss well to combine. When quinoa is cool, add it to the bowl. Garnish with extra herbs, sea salt and pepper before serving!
Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- 8 cups quartered strawberries (or assorted other berries, peaches, apples, pears or plums)
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb (approximately 3 stalks) (or 2 cups extra fruit)
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 5 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a rectangular baking dish with some coconut or olive oil. Add strawberries and rhubarb to the bottom of the baking dish. In a small bowl, melt the butter or coconut oil.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, and spices. Pour melted butter or coconut oil into the mixing bowl, and crumble the mixture with your hands. Spread mixture evenly over the top of the strawberries and rhubarb.
Cover, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove cover and bake until the top browns and the fruit bubbles up, approximately 10 more minutes.