Monday, July 5, 2010

Grilling and Chilling: My 4th of July

From my decidedly non-scientific poll, it seems as though oodles of folks stuck close to home this past holiday weekend, opting for grilling and chilling as opposed to driving and colliding (I wanted that to rhyme... sorry, lame). That certainly was the case with me. I stuck close to home, and think I turned on the grill for darn near every meal over the long weekend. For my one lone venture to parts yonder, I made it all the way from Napa to St. Helena (phew!), and enjoyed the grill skills of good friends.

The next few posts will give you a run-down of some of the noms I made when left to my own devices; this, however, is the result of the 4th of July extravaganza BBQ put on by my friends:

(Doesn't that look ridiculous?!! Off the hook....)

(This one is my plate, as I was attempting to show restraint at the buffet.... FAIL!)

I dare say, it was not your average Q. This particular group of friends consisted of a local chef and caterer (yo Kinyon!); an Italian who would like nothing more than to hang up his day job and cook, cook, cook; a passionate baker; a food blogger (yours truly); a hobbyist winemaker (lucky me - my DH!), and a couple of devoted foodies thrown in for good measure. Assemble those kind of folks together for a dinner party, and by God, the spread didn't disappoint. My friend Glenn (the Italian), worked up a burger bar beyond belief - lamb burgers with edam cheese and fresh mint; beef burgers with sharp cheddar - and Kinyon grilled them to perfection. Topping choices included carmelized onions, sauteed shiitake mushrooms, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, house-made pickles, arugula, Fatted Calf bacon... and on and on. The rest of the Independence Day spread could have fed Patton's Army: grilled Dijon potato salad, tortellini salad, white bean salad, grilled veggies, Model Bakery buns and rolls... probably more! Not to mention the appetizers, desserts and free-flowing wine.

At the end of the night, I almost wished someone would have taken away my freedom to graze the buffet. We were there to "let freedom ring" and all, but damn... it should be downright unconstitutional for me to indulge like that. Erp.

How about you? Was it a grilling and chilling sort of holiday for you as well? Whatever the case, I hope you enjoyed some good times with good friends over some good food... you know, fare to remember! Read on for some of my grilling adventures from this chill weekend...mmmm!

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