The Be-All, End-All Party Guide, from Barefoot to Black Tie
by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
A traditional barbecue conjures up images of sunny days, grilled meats, flip-flops and the inevitable "Kiss the Cook" apron. Not so for authors Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, who show readers how to barbecue with style in their latest book, BBQ Bash. This party guide takes novice entertainers along each step in planning the perfect—and they mean perfect—barbecue bash.
Adler and Fertig present twelve themed party menus, from the traditional All-American Barbecue to the Barefoot Poolside Bash to the stylish Black-Tie Barbecue, each with recipes, drink pairings and décor suggestions. Though the book bills itself as an easy and unfussy guide, a lot of the party planning tips—especially the color-coordinating decorating advice and the unnecessarily cheesy music suggestions—seem over-the-top.
Organization is also not the authors' strong point, as the themed party menus are scattered throughout the book rather than contained in one section, as are the cocktail and drink recipes. The rest of the recipes are divided by appetizers, entrees and sides, but within those sections, the dishes are a jumble to sort through. And sadly, the beautiful photographs of the dishes have been condensed to a meager 16 pages, all stuck in the middle of the book as though an afterthought. Despite the chaos, there are great grilling and party tips scattered within the pages, which form little snippets of brilliance in what is an otherwise monotonous cookbook/party planning guide.
So, if you have the time and patience as well as a strong urge to show off your swanky hosting skills, then you’ll probably find something of value in BBQ Bash. But otherwise, a few quality steaks, good wine and great friends are all you really need for a memorable barbecue.
Grilled Figs on Rosemary Skewers
Makes 12 servings
12 6-to 8-inch rosemary branches
6 large firm, ripe figs
½ cup honey
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lime wedges for squeezing and garnish
6-ounce wheel or wedge of double-cream Brie cheese
6 ounces pate de fois gras
French baguette, sliced, for serving
Strip the leaves from the bottom of the rosemary branches, leaving 2 inches of leaves at the tip. Place the branches in a bowl of water and soak for at least 30 minutes. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the stripped rosemary leaves and set aside.
Prepare a medium-hot fire on your grill.
Halve the figs lengthwise. Skewer each fig half crosswise on a rosemary branch. Set the skewered figs on a baking pan, cut side up. In a small bowl, combine the honey, lime zest, and lime juice. Brush the cut side of the figs with the honey mixture. Grill the figs 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and soft.
On a large platter, attractively arrange the skewered figs and the lime wedges. Lightly sprinkle the figs with the chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime. Place the Brie, a wedge of pate, and the baguette slices on the platter. Serve while the figs are still warm.
Reviewed by Nancy Huang