Friday, December 15, 2006

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Season’s Greetings & Happy Holidays

Christmas BBQ! Can you believe the weather outside? It’s frightful! I don’t know about you, but Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little barbecue and hot sauce to warm things up. Last year my wife and I decided to host the Christmas day festivities in our new home. And like most silly know it all kids we thought we knew everything. What we didn’t know is that we would be stuck with it for the rest of our lives. I blame this on the BBQ and my need show off. The calls and email began to filter in just after Thanksgiving. It seems my family has grown in a year. We now somehow have neighbors coming over. Not our neighbors, mind you (although you are all more than welcome), my aunt’s neighbor and her children. We also somehow have adopted my cousin’s newly acquired in-laws and their respective siblings. I have always believed the more the merrier and have promised to whip up summer treats for this wonderful winter day. Anyway, I thought I would share a couple of my families favorite appetizer type treats and give my guests a preview of the Christmas menu. Yes, Nathan I will make you your own rack of ribs!

Anthony’s Favorite Wings...

5 to 6 pounds of chicken wings
Kosher Salt to taste
Cracked Black Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2+++ Ole Ray's Apple Cinnamon

Preheat grill (or oven to 425')-- Separate the wings with a sharp knife or leave them whole, it is really a personal preference. Season liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Grill until completely cooked about 15- 20 minutes over high heat. Don't leave the grill during cooking you may need to flip the wings often to avoid burning and flare-ups. If you are cooking the wings in an oven spread them onto a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes or until done (Done means the juices run clear and you can see NO pink on the inside when you cut the meat from the bone.). Remove the wings to a large bowl (work in small batches if necessary), pour Ole Ray's Apple Cinnamon over them, and toss until wings are completely coated. Serve with plenty of napkins and cold beer (if you are old enough)... Celery and blue cheese dressing are needed only if the ladies are around.

Substitutions...Ole Ray's Kentucky Gold, Peruvian Gold Grilling Sauce, Anchor Bar Buffalo Wing Sauce, or your favorite BBQ or Grilling Sauce

Anthony’s Antipasto

1 medium size eggplant
1 large zucchini
1 large yellow/summer squash
1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1 large orange bell pepper
3 or 4 large portabella mushrooms
1 large jar/can of beets
1 large jar/can of artichoke hearts
1 large can of white chunk tuna in olive oil
15 to 25 anchovy fillets in olive oil
1lb imported Italian prosciutto sliced very thin
1/2 lb spicy/ hot pepperoni
1/2 lb imported hard salami
1/2 lb imported sharp provolone cheese
1/2 lb mozzarella cheese
*** any other meats, cheeses or vegetable that you like or come across
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs Old Bay seasoning
*** Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 loaf of fresh hard crust Italian bread

The vegetables can be prepared in the oven or on the grill. I prefer a very hot charcoal grill because some vegetables cook faster than others; plus I love the earthy taste that the charcoal imparts to the vegetables. More importantly the grill allows me to remove the items that cook more quickly. If you prefer, preheat the oven to between 375' and 400'. While the oven or grill is preheating slice all of the vegetables (except the beets and artichoke hearts) approximately 1/2 inch thick. In a large bowl toss the sliced vegetables in the olive oil and season liberally with fresh ground pepper, kosher salt, and Old Bay Seasoning. If cooking in an oven arrange them on a baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until brown. If grilling, cook over high heat for approximate 2 minutes per side (I like to roast my peppers separately and remove the skin.) The meats needs to be rolled or folded into manageable pieces and the cheese should be sliced into wedges or squares. Arrange the vegetables, meats, cheeses, tuna fish and anchovy fillets on large serving platter. Serve with hard crust Italian bread and enjoy...

Ok, maybe this is a little much. Here are is a link to some of my favorite recipes...