Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembering with a grateful heart

Memorial Day...Surely, a day with growing significance in light of ongoing conflict around the world. No matter where one lands on the issue of the United States' involvement in Iraq, there is no doubt that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who are serving, those who have served, and the families of all of them.

Today was a quiet day around our house, just the Husband and I--accompanied by a bad cold which kept me moving pretty slowly. I was looking forward to a full day at home, but we decided to go see the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie first thing this morning. Although I heard many raves from those coming out of the theater, I frankly didn't enjoy it all that much. Perhaps it was the cold (which kept me nodding off), or perhaps it was just that this movie was more of the same when compared to the last two in the series.

When we got home, I started a couple of simple, but time consuming, cooking projects from the Cook's Illustrated summer supplement, Summer Grilling & Entertaining. The first thing I started was some Boston Baked Beans. Odd, it seems, that a dish virtually destined to go with summer barbeque requires six hours in the oven. These beans had a nice, smoky quality and a velvety texture. To suit our tastes, though, I think I'd add a bit of barbeque sauce, a little more mustard, and a minced chipotle to create some complexity and burn.

My next effort was a Grill-Roasted Beer Can Chicken. I started by brining the chicken for about an hour in a simple salt and water bath. After drying it, I applied a spice rub to the inside and outside of the chicken. Finally, I sat the chicken firmly on a can of Budweiser and planted it in the middle of the grill for an hour and a half. The cinnamon and allspice in the rub resulted in some fabulous aromas coming out of the grill. I'm sure the neighbors were all jealous. When the chicken came off the grill, it was moist inside, and had a perfectly crisp skin all around. We did learn not to use tongs with a serrated edge to remove the beer can, though. If you choose to try it, be sure you're standing by a sink. It leaks!

We finished the meal with some steamed corn on the cob and fresh strawberries.A dip in the pool finished off a perfect, beginning of summer day.

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