Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
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.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
My biggest foray into the kitchen was for Mother's Day. My contribution was the veggie tray. While this isn't a dish that showcases my cooking talents, it is pretty, and I found a couple of dips in The Big Book of Appetizers that were standouts, and certainly had a little more sophistication than the ubiquitous ranch dressing. They were also very well received, and I can see more applications for them than just a crudite accent. The dip in the bell pepper (foreground) is a Blue Cheese and Toasted Walnut Spread. The blue cheese taste was there, but pretty mild. Even those who aren't blue cheese fans (or walnut fans) seemed to enjoy this. I used the recommended Saga blue cheese, but a stronger flavored cheese could be used for a more pronounced blue cheese flavor. I'd actually like to try tossing this in a fondue pot and using it as a dipper for sliced apples and pears.
The other dip was a Yogurt and Green Onion blend from the same cookbook. This dip had a wonderful, fresh from the garden taste which could easily be modified by changing the herbs used. This would also make a fabulous baked potato topping.
Of course, the real reason to gather is family, and here are my two granddaughters, who top the list of my favorite family members: