Today is Labor Day - the official end of summer. Where did it go? I haven’t even had a vacation yet!
It is also appropriately called the "workingman's holiday" in honor of the hard worker. This holiday is dedicated to you, with respect and appreciation for the work you do in or outside of the home, union or non-union, big company, small company or government. As long as you work somewhere at something, today is yours!
The first Labor Day was celebrated by the Central Labor Union in New York City on September 5, 1882.
In 1884, it was moved to the first Monday of September, which is when it's celebrated today. Labor Day quickly became popular; and one state after another voted it as a state holiday until June 28, 1894, when the U.S. Congress voted it a national holiday.
Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. While the fall equinox is still a couple of weeks away, summer vacations end and kids go back to school. So marks the end of the season.
In addition, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. The NCAA usually plays their first games the week before Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day.
Most importantly, people celebrate with delicious food. Here's a lovely recipe for Greek beef kebabs with yogurt-mint sauce, sure to impress at that last picnic: a slightly spicy skewer kebab, complemented nicely with cool, mint yogurt sauce.
Labor Day recipe:
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ½ cup mint leaves, chopped
- 1 clove small garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- 1 ½ pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 tablespoons Greek seasoning
- 1 cup water - adjust the amount in order to coat beef
- 1 large Vidalia onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 Portobello mushroom
- Salt and pepper
Whisk together yogurt, mint, garlic, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
In a large bowl, stir together the beef and Greek seasoning and water.
Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to four hours.
Soak 12 bamboo skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.
Peel and cut onion, pepper and mushroom into quarters and then thirds.
Keep three layers together for the skewers.
Drain skewers and thread onto them the beef, mushroom, pepper and onion, alternating each until skewer is full. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat grill and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
Grill the kebabs for 2-3 minutes per side.
Transfer to a warm platter and serve with pita bread and yogurt mint sauce.
* Originally published in August 2009.