Springtime entertaining. Nice enough to start up the grill but still a bit chilly to eat outdoors. So, set the table with spring colors and liveliness! Mix matched china dishes in spring flavor, a bird cage with aspen wrapped candles, a pretty rose tablecloth underneath the lady bug vinyl cloth. Candles scattered across the table. Cloth napkins, mix matched silverware. We started the meal (and finished it) with Mimosas. I had a bottle of Champagne from my wine club and a jug of orange juice. The bright taste was perfect with the food.
The grill master went out to start the BBQ. The charcoal briquettes were from last fall so they were less than effective. Doug threw on some pieces of cedar, pine needles, and lit the thing on fire. The smell was mountain-like, camp fires, the sweet smell of cedar permeating the air. When it was hot, he added the briquettes. He had prepared the most lovely piece of salmon. He had slathered it in my homemade barbecue sauce which is kind of on the sweet side, adding his own touches of soy sauce, Worcestershire, and honey. He placed it on the grill after wrapping them in foil, checking it regularly. Eventually Nancy went to check on it and the flames lapping the sides of the food prompted us to bring it in. It was perfect, sweet, succulent.
Nancy, Faleena, and Steve joined us for a spring dinner. They brought a little chick feeder filled with pastel colored M&Ms. Such a clever hostess gift! I would like to say I had a few, but all of our children were there as well. The candy went pretty fast!
I made two foil packets (I used Martha Wrap (as in Martha Stewart). If you haven’t seen this marvel look for it at the store. It is lined with parchment. Inside parchment paper, outside foil, no aluminum in one’s food!) I filled them with fingerling potatoes, half a bottle of Guinness (to Doug’s horror), sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, garlic. sprinkled it with salt and pepper and wrapped up the whole thing and placed it on the grill. (Note: the potatoes take an hour on the grill, plan accordingly!) These are what we call Beer Potatoes and they are delicious!
I snapped the ends off of a bunch of asparagus and lined them up on a cookie sheet. A drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of sea salt is all it takes. At the last minute they go into a 450 degree oven for 5 minutes.
These can all be made ahead of time then placed on the grill or oven in appropriate time leaving plenty of time to drink Mimosas. A quick salad adds to the meal. Sparkling sodas for the kids in wine glasses.
We finished the meal with a delicious light cake topped with strawberries and fresh whipped cream that Nancy had made. A pot of french roast.
Cooking shouldn’t be such an intense science. Look at what herbs you have, what spices. What is in the root cellar, what is in the freezer? Check for doneness. Your nose is the best timer. Most of all, enjoy your company, your friends, the conversation, the laughs, the Mimosas!