BBQ

When my father was visiting he discovered a grill in a pile of trash in my backyard. Except for the fact that the grill was poorly assembled, and therefore wobbles, it works great. After being cleaned with a grill brush and a roaring fire it was ready for its BBQ debut.

One of the best parts of working in a restaurant is that almost everyone working there loves food. We talk about food constantly and share it occasionally. Because we spend all of our time in the kitchen serving the people, throwing parties is natural. My manager, Nicole, is a young and talented culinary school grad and my favorite cooking partner. With similar tastes, style, and speed, cooking with her is like dancing. Kylie, a co-worker and friend, is also becoming a sommelier and is my favorite drinking buddy. Possessing an impressive tolerance for tequila, Kylie could probably drink me under the table. Her bubbly personality, approachability, and sensitive palate will make her a fine sommelier. This is my dream team.

Attending the BBQ were more work-friends and fellow service professionals from the market across the street from our cafe. It was great fun.

Honey Chipotle Whiskey BBQ Sauce

2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup honey

few shots whiskey

four chipotle peppers in adobo, diced

1 tbs adobo sauce

1 garlic clove

1/2 red onion

few tbs white vinegar

chili powder

canola oil

salt & pepper

Preparation: saute onion and garlic with oil in a medium-sized pot and cook until tender. Add chipotles and adobo. Add everything else and cook over medium-low heat for about 2o minutes. You just want all the flavors to come together and for it to be a thick and sticky consistency. Puree with blender, food processor, or immersion blender. If you don’t have a way to blend the sauce then I guess you could use onion and garlic powder.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup cream

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 egg yolks

Preparation: heat the milk, cream, coconut milk, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add sugar. Whisk egg yolks. Slowly add the heated milk mixture to the egg yolks, beating constantly. Put mixture back into the pot over medium-low heat and add sugar. Cook until it coats the back of a spoon. Add extract. Chill in ice bath and run it through the magical ice cream machine.

Note: this is not a sweet ice cream so feel free to increase the sugar.

Grilled Pineapple

pineapple, cut into chunks

brown sugar

Preparation: coat pineapple in brown sugar. Skewer and grill. Serve with ice cream.

Kylie was instrumental in preparing the fire.

My beautiful sous chef of the evening, Nicole.

Formal buffet table and bar.

New and exciting product- solo cups that you can scratch your name onto!

Easy elegance

My roommate and I cooked a simple dinner for dear friends. I made a parsley and almond pesto which took all of 5 minutes. Pesto is fun because you can combine any herb and nut for different flavors; it also keeps well covered with oil in the fridge or frozen. Please note that although I cook on a budget cheese is not something I skimp on. There is no substitute for real parmesan. Sorry.

I also had a jar of fig and bacon puree (made from leftovers) that I spooned into store-bought phyllo shells with a bit of ricotta. It looked fancy for a quick dinner made after work.

Parsley & almond pesto:

1 cup parsley

1/4 almonds

juice of 1/2 a lemon

hunk of good quality parmesan

olive oil

black pepper

canola oil

red pepper flakes

Preparation: blend in food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, use grated cheese and chop herbs and nuts finely. Add oil as needed. Use the canola if straight olive oil is too flavorful for your taste. I use about 3 parts olive oil to 1 part neutral oil. Taste and adjust. Serve over pasta.

Fig and bacon puree:

3 figs

3 slices bacon

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

a few tbsp olive oil

rosemary

pepper

Preparation: roughly chop figs and bacon and saute in pot. Add balsamic vinegar, spices, and reduce mixture over low flame. Add oil. Puree. If you don’t have a machine to puree for you then chop the pieces finely from the start. Store in fridge and use creatively or give as gift.

Prep

Tomorrow I have dinner guests. I am working tomorrow so I’ve prepped everything ahead of time. I washed and cut butter lettuce and put it in my prettiest (and only) wooden bowl. I cut sweet potatoes and put them in water. Soaking potatoes in cold water does something with starch and makes them more crisp and delicious. I wrapped figs in bacon and skewered them with toothpicks. I skewered them because the bacon was thick-cut, otherwise you can just put them cut side down. The chicken parts are double-bagged and resting comfortably in their marinade (which I hope doesn’t suck because it was impulsive). I also made apple frozen yogurt. I am trying to like frozen yogurt but I don’t, I just don’t. It got the roommate seal of approval and so it will be served.

Also, I quit my second job today at a catering company. Working seven days a week became overwhelming. Today, I was going to learn how to amount for food per person at the market. I should have stayed for that lesson. I amounted wrong for this dinner and have too much food but more free time.

Chicken marinade:

1 cup white wine (again, from roommate)

1 cup yogurt

pinch cinnamon

generous pinch saffron

about a tspn cumin

salt & pepper

juice of 1 lemon

tbsp honey

a few cloves garlic, minced

Apple frozen yogurt:

1 4oz container greek yogurt

1/2 cup vanilla sugar

some cinnamon

2 golden apples

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp honey

Preparation: Melt butter in a skillet and saute the apples with cinnamon and honey. Put in a big bowl and  let cool. Add remaining ingredients. Chill for awhile or overnight. Make in ice cream machine. Enjoy, or not.

 

Revision: soaking sweet potatoes was a bad idea. They turned to mush so I made them into soup (which was fantastic).