Labor Day can oftentimes be a bittersweet holiday. While it is a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to come together for a great meal, Labor Day also signals the end of summer. That being said, Labor Day falls during a part of the year when there is a cornucopia of fresh, local produce available around the country that can brighten any holiday barbeque.
A great start to any Labor Day gathering would a fresh corn salad. To serve 6, start by selecting four fresh ears of corn. When you purchase them, make sure the husks are still intact. Husk the corn and try to remove as much of the silk as possible. After about five minutes in the boiling water, remove the corn and rinse briefly under cold water to stop the cooking process. While the corn dries, dice a red onion and chop three large tomatoes. Add these to a bowl and combine with olive oil, a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. When the corn is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off the cob and add them to the mixture. Finally, add 4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese. Not only is this salad light and refreshing, but you can make several changes to it, including grilling the corn instead of boiling it, or adding a can of black beans to the salad to make it more filling.
For an entrée, try serving kabobs. Kabobs are a great idea for any barbeque, as they can be prepared well in advance of your guests arriving, meaning you won’t be scrambling in the kitchen for the entire evening. Furthermore, kabobs can be mixed and matched depending on the dietary restrictions of your guests. At least an hour or two before you prepare your kabobs, soak the wooden skewers in water to prevent them from burning on the grill. While the skewers soak, chop red and orange bell peppers in one-inch pieces. Rinse whole cherry tomatoes, making sure to remove the stems, as well as whole button mushrooms. If you would like to add meat to your kabobs, cut one-inch cubes of beef or chicken. The key is to try to make all the components the same size to make sure the cooking times are consistent. Also, cook the same vegetables on the same skewers, rather than mixing them together, as this will help to prevent overcooking.
For dessert, a simple fruit salad would be a perfect way to finish the meal. Fresh berries abound during the late summer, and can usually be found at low prices in most supermarkets. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and bananas are always popular as well. If you plan on making your fruit salad ahead of time, add a bit of lemon juice to your salad before placing it in the refrigerator to prevent discoloration.
4 ears of corn
1 diced red onion
3 large tomatoes
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper
Soaked wooden skewers
Chopped bell peppers
Cubed chicken or beef