27. January 2008 · Comments Off on A Girl and her Grill · Categories: Domestic, Eat, Drink and be Merry, General, World

With the very last insurance payment for the late lamented Mitsubishi coupe (totaled last spring in a collision at the I-35/Division off-ramp) which was not received until after we returned home, don’t ask for the long and involved explanation of how this came to pass – Blondie went straight to Lowes’ and bought a gas barbeque grill. Then she hied herself to the local Humongously-Enormous Big-Ass Grocery store for all the grill impedimenta to go with it – including one of those little stands for doing beer-can chicken, which I would swear was invented by one of the clients from the inventions-consultant that I was working at when I began blogging, yeah on many years ago. (five and half, if you want to get really technical – not quite the dark ages, but nearly there.) The beer-can chicken came out well, BTW, but last night we did something else, entirely.

To celebrate Blondie’s birthday, we had a sort of garden-party dinner; catching the weather at just the right moment. Yesterday was mild and only tenuously cloudy, and Blondie cleaned up the garden and adorned it with candles, lanterns and tea-lights from her vast collection gleaned at various yard-sales and the Extremely Marked Down shelves at various retail outlets. She invited her co-workers and I invited mine; making a nice mixed crowd, since some of them knew each other. Dave the Computer Genius has sorted out the computers at Blondie’s place of employment on a couple of occasions. There didn’t seem to be any of those awkward pauses, and there was very little leftover food. Always reassuring, that – even better, no one had to go to the emergency room for treatment of food poisoning. Look, that is always a worry, when you have people over and feed them. Projectile vomiting – not a memory to hold on to, although I seem to have retained mine for all those AFRTS food-safety spots.

Anyway, we did a very nice pasta salad, from one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, and a splendid barbequed chicken – also from the same source. My sister, Pippy is a fan, pointing out that the beauty of Ina Gartons’ cookbooks are that just about everything can be done in advance. All we had to do for the chicken was throw it on the grill. This is the recipe, and it was splendid! We have enough that we will do “pulled chicken BBQ” sandwiches tonight.

For the Sauce – sauté until translucent in ½ cup oil: 1 ½ cups chopped onions and 1 Tbsp minced garlic. Add: 1 cup tomato paste, 1 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup honey, ½ cup Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup Dijon mustard, ½ cup soy sauce, 1 cup Hoisin sauce, 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, and ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered, over low heat for half an hour.

Cut up 2 2½ -3 lb chickens, and marinate them overnight in 2/3rds of the sauce. Roast them over low heat for about 45 minutes, basting them with marinade. Serve with the reserved sauce on the side.

(From the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

The pasta salad –

Cook ½ pound fuselli pasta in boiling salted water with a splash of olive oil. When done (about twelve minutes) drain well and allow to cool. Add: 1 lb ripe tomatoes, cut into medium dice, ½ cup good black olives, pitted and diced, 1 lb fresh mozzarella, medium-diced, and 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped.

For the dressing, combine in a food processor until smooth: 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 6 Tbsp olive oil, 1 diced garlic clove, 1 tsp drained capers, 2 tsp kosher salt and ¾ tsp ground pepper.

Pour the dressing over the pasta and top with 1 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1 cup fresh julienned basil leaves.

(From the Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook)

Summer Corn-Tomato Relish

Combine ¼ cup white wine vinegar with 1 Tbsp sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 cups halved grape tomatoes, or equivalent in small chopped Roma tomatoes, 1 cup yellow corn kernels (cut from cob, or frozen uncooked) ½ cup slivered onion, 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, 1 Tbsp each chopped basil and chives. Toss to coat in vinegar and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

(from Cuisine at Home, Issue #52 August 2005)

Yoghurt-Cream Dessert

Soften 4 tsp unflavored gelatin in ¼ cup cold water. Combine in a saucepan over low heat, 1 ½ cup heavy cream and ¼ cup sugar, stirring until cream is warm and sugar dissolves. Add softened gelatin and stir until that dissolves also. Remove from heat, allow to cool and stir in 2 ¼ cups plain unflavored yoghurt and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour into a 1-quart mold and chill for at least one hour. Un-mold and serve with fresh fruit. I made a sauce of ¾ water, and 6 Tbsp sugar, cooked with about 1 cup of fresh blackberries until berries were softened and syrup was slightly thickened. Then I added another cup of fresh raspberries and 2 Tbsp raspberry vodka.

I copied that recipe out of a newspaper clipping (Stars and Stripes?) into a hand-written collection – no idea of where it might have come from before then, although I think there is an Italian sweet dessert something like it called ‘panna cotta’.

Enjoy. This saves me the trouble of copying out the recipes for everyone who asked.

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