Oy! What a weekend. It all started on Friday, after the opening of the Charles package and the discovery of the absinthe. Four shots of absinthe and I was a hot mess.
Saturday, the boy woke up at 4:30 am to get the smoker started for his pork butt. I heard him shuffling around downstairs for a couple of hours, but the absinthe fog had me dreaming in bright vivid Technicolor and I couldn’t distinguish between being awake and asleep.
I crawled out of bed at 8:30 am so that I could run up to the farm to pick up my share, where I received a very lovely large amount of yellow green beans. They’re green beans (but they’re yellow in color!) and I like them. I think we’ll use them up tonight as we’re doing dinner with the neighbors. After the farm, the boy and i ran around the house like big silly chickens and did all kinds of food prep and housecleaning. I did all the mise en place for everything so that I wouldn’t have to worry about being stuck in the kitchen later and missing out on party fun. I found time to take a 30 minute power nap, which fortunately revived me completely and I woke up feeling fantastic. I mastered the power naps when I was in college. All those damn drafting assignments and term papers kept me up nights (not to mention the 4-hour Saturday class I had my second year, which meant I didn’t go to sleep on Friday nights). I fine-tuned my body to 20 minute naps – I’d look at the clock and tell myself that I would wake up in exactly 20 minutes, put my head on the pillow, pass out blissfully, and wake up refreshed 20 minutes later. I can still do that, and it came in handy on Saturday.
I’d so love to show you what food we had. I really would. But with all the running around, I didn’t remember to take any food pictures, which is a total shame and really ridiculous, because we had a lot of food. The only picture I managed to take was this one of the grilled pizzas we had for appetizers.
these are versions of grilled sweet onion with white cheddar and fresh thyme; white pizza with roasted garlic, fontina, mozzarella, with some chopped basil and parsley on top. These were so laden with good cheese that they had to rest for about 20 minutes after pulling off the grill in order for the cheese to not melt all over the place once the slices were cut. I made two of each, but only tasted a piece of the onion one, and it was mighty good.
We’ve had great success grilling pizzas. The grill must be super hot, but then turn it down (if you’re using a gas grill; if using charcoal, move the dough over to the cooler side if possible). If you’ve got a pizza peel, use it to haul the dough on and off the grill. If you don’t, you can improvise with a cookie sheet or big flat plate. Make sure that your peel or cookie sheet is coated in cornmeal, and make sure the grill is well oiled before scooting your dough onto the grill. Cook until you get the grill marks you want on one side, then flip the dough over. It should be easy to flip over once one side is done; you can flip it using your asbestos hands or with a pair of tongs. You don’t want to cook the next side all the way; just crisp it up a bit then haul it off onto your peel or cookie sheet so that you can put toppings on it. Once the toppings are on, carefully slide the pizza back on the grill and lower the grill lid until the pizza is all melty/gooey/looks how you want it to look. Alternatively, you could leave the dough on the grill and bring your mise out there and, working fast, top your pizzas. There really is no correct way to grill pizza; it’s more of a trial and error until you get adjusted to using your own grill and figure out how to get the pizza just so; however, I wouldn’t put too many toppings that are apt to make the pizza too heavy to shimmy on and off the grill. Of course, you could do all of this in an oven with a pizza stone, but I’ll be damned if I’m turning the oven on to 500+ degrees in this weather.
The other food we had: those grilled shrimp, the boy’s smoked pork butt (complete with two different barbecue sauces; I made versions of Mario Batali’s cherry barbecue sauce and Bobby Flay’s mesa barbecue sauce), our buddy Ken’s smoked beef brisket. MA brought baked beans; others brought salads and sides. We also threw some corn on the grill but forgot to serve until after most everyone had eaten. Afterwards, the party (and the giant cupcake birthday cake that Mrs. B made) migrated to Mr. and Mrs. B’s house where other latecomers showed up. We didn’t get home until the wee hours.
Yesterday afternoon, several folks came over to dine on leftovers, and I found a couple of bottles of cava while rooting around in the fridge, so we popped those open. And that was the beginning of the end.
Today I am understandably tired. Methinks I need one of my 20-minute power naps when I get home.
My birthday is tomorrow, and I don’t know what I want for dinner. Anyone have any suggestions? I’m talking low-key at-home dinner. I think I’m done with big parties for a little while.
at least until the next big party.