Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pool Party, BBQ and "The Morning After"

Ultra-Cool Annie
The Pool Party and BBQ was a success. Although I'm not sure if having one other couple over for dinner really counts as a "Party!" Nevertheless, it was fun.

C & D have been friends ever since Rog and I met. Actually, Rog has known them longer. D was Roger's smoking buddy at work - and, if there are any smokers out there reading this (we're a dying breed, ya know?!) - you'll know the importance of "Smoking Buddies!" Anyway, Rog used to lament to D about how he "couldn't find a girlfriend" yada yada. So every time we get together, we get to re-visit "The Old Days" and Rog gets reminded of "How lucky he is - to have met me!"

(And that ain't a bad thing!!!)

I didn't go completely "Hog-Wild" with food prep this time (the last time we threw a party - 8 ppl, so that counts! - I started food prep at 6:00am. And continued non-stop 'til the guests arrived around 2:00pm! I was exhausted!). No, this BBQ was pretty low-key. We ended up cooking enough food to feed a small army, however. I don't know why! Even when I know that folks "eat like birds" I have this insane fear of running out of food!!! Or it could be that I just don't know HOW to prepare recipes for ONLY 4 people!

* * * * *
HA! Segue into "Picnic In the Park:" Back in '01, when Rog and I went on our second date, I had suggested we have a picnic in the redwoods - I would take care of everything. Back then, I still lived on the boat where galley-space was extremely limited (considering the ENTIRE living space was 180 SF, and the galley was maybe 4'x8' - and counterspace was maybe 2-1/2'x2' - I'd say that's a gross understatement), add to that the fact that I could only run one appliance at a time (15amp AC circuit to run everything on the boat), well, I was faced with a challenge...

I opted to go to Trader Joe's. I think that's mainly a California Thing (Nope, I Googled it, they're sprinkled all over both coasts - but mid-continent folks are somewhat lacking in the TJ Dept). Anyway, for those *not* familiar, Trader Joe's is a Super-Cool, Definitely-Unique, Gourmet kinda grocery store with all kinds of tempting goodies. Most of it is ideally suited for picnic fare (though they've got plenty of "Cooking Required" stuff as well). Basically, this is one of those stores that you simply CANNOT walk into and come out with only ONE thing, okay? (And yes, I still *hate* to shop - but when one is trying to make a Good Impression on a Potential Suitor...)

Bottom Line: I came out of there with an Honest-to-Gawd FEAST. Gourmet cold-cuts, a veritable U.N. Assortment of Cheeses that represented every continent on the planet, Fancy-Fru-Fru Breads, all kinds of exotic munchables; Organic Veggie Chips and Crackers, Assorted fresh veggies, Various dips and spreads. Basically, if it looked good, into the cart it went! I'm sure I must've even dragged the wicker picnic basket out of storage (with matching heavy-duty plates, real-metal cutlery, LINEN tablecloth and napkins). Hell, I probably had candles as well! I don't recall all the specifics (and this was before we had digital cameras - fortunately, or unfortunately!!).

Annnnnywaaaaaay... Suffice it to say that when Roger met me at the park, I had enough food spread out on one (entire) picnic table to feed a good dozen (or more) people! There was sooooo much food, even passing hikers and horsebackriders gasped in amazement. In fact the equestrians even called down as they rode past "Got enough food down there?!!"

Well, I must've made the right impression b/c we ended up getting married, right? ("The way to a man's heart..." and all that!)

So this "We Must Not Starve" thing is nothing new!

BTW - Today is our sixth wedding anniversary, so that kinda explains the "Waxing Nostalgic" digression!

* * * * *
So anyway, back to yesterday's get-together: Weather was perfect. Upper 80's. Everybody DID wear swimsuits and actually got in the pool! Beer and wine and margaritas were flowing...

The Hounds were entertaining. Annie was a hoot, in fact! When C swam laps, splashing across the pool, Annie "raced" him from shore - running and barking furiously the whole way! Back and forth, back and forth! We did have Dynah outside for awhile (imprisoned in her tiny playpen), but she was a bit too vociferous in her protestations, so she had to go back in the house, unfortunately. Tazz welcomes all guests (including hired-help, complete strangers, door-to-door salesmen, burglars, mass-murderers, Jehovah's Witnesses...) by bringing her Tire Toy over to be thrown. Again and again and again and again and again and again, ad nauseum. The tire ended up getting locked in the shed!

As far as the food goes: D brought a delicious salad with mixed greens, olives, avocado, mushrooms, beans, and a whole bunch of other yummy stuff. I picked fresh tomatoes which were served on the side (since D can't eat tomatoes). We skipped the Insalata Caprese.

We had italian-style veggie kabobs and fresh, sweet corn on the cob (Hint: If you boil the corn, which we did - due to lack of grill space, add a couple of teaspoons of Splenda [or sugar] and a splash of cream to the water. It enhances the sweetness!).

We also cooked up two big London Broils. It was one of those situations where I wasn't sure if one steak would be enough for 4 people and two steaks is definitely too much! Nancy Method: "Err on the side of too much!" (besides I can nosh on leftovers all week!).

The steaks were marinated for about an hour in Lawry's Meat-Tenderizing Marinade (Envelope of powdered stuff - found on the spice aisle) to which I added about a tablespoon of olive oil, a splash (probably a teaspoon) each of worchestershire sauce, and liquid hickory smoke (from the BBQ sauce section of the store). Ours is a gas-grill (unfortunately, it doesn't have a smoker box), so we don't get that smoky flavor unless I add it! Rog cooked 'em perfectly to Medium/Medium-Well. The steaks were DEEEEEE-LISH! And I'll definitely use that marinade again!

Side dish (Rog insists on carbs with every meal) was - don't laugh! - Country Crock "DELUXE" Cheddar Broccoli Rice. Nuke it for 5 minutes and you've got a tasty side-dish! Actually, it was surprisingly good (and I hate rice - which is good b/c my diabetes won't allow me to eat starches).

I was feeling guilty for my lack of "Culinary Creativity" - what with serving pre-fab/nuke-able food! Although D says she appreciates my low-drag approach to entertaining "You're a REAL down-to-earth person and that's what I love about you!" Either she's being super-nice, or super-truthful and she's deranged! (I vote for 'B'). Anyway, I went out yesterday morning and picked a whole slew of peaches off the tree and I *did* bake a couple of fresh peach pies (using pre-fab [but not nuke-able!] pie crusts, of course!).

I think peach pies don't get much fresher than that. "Peaches were on the tree this morning and now they're dessert!" In fact, the pies had *just* come out of the oven when they arrived!

I used an "Amish Peach Pie" recipe I found via Google (on Super simple. The main ingredients for the filling are peaches (duh!), sugar (in my case Splenda Sugar Blend - halved the quantity b/c the peaches were plenty-sweet on their own), and tapioca. I also added a tsp of cinnamon for a little extra "zip." Pie was positively orgasmic!

BTW, a few weeks ago (when the white peaches were ripe), I made pies using a "standard" peach pie recipe that used flour as a thickener. Not bad - but not spectacular. Tapioca-thickened peach pies are MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better IMHO...

Well, I daresay nobody went home hungry!

* * * * *
Unfortunately, I did kinda overdo it in the Carb Realm. "My" case of diabetes is particularly annoying in that I have almost ZERO tolerance for carbohydrates - in any form. And I get to take MASSIVE quantities of insulin (and even at that, I have a helluva time keeping my blood glucose down). I try to keep daily carb intake around, or below 50g. Anytime I go over 100g, I "pay for it" for the next day or two.

Yesterday, I not only ate a PEACH and a handful of GRAPES (GASP!!!), but I also allowed myself 2 TABLESPOONS of the cheddar and broccoli rice, AND I ate 1-1/2 slices of PIE. Today's Fasting Blood Glucose was well over 200 and I'm feeling pretty Slow-Mo... I'll be living on Protein Shakes (and insulin) all day. No solid food. No carbohydrates. Well, at least until dinner since we ARE going out tonight... Gotta de-tox now :::sigh:::

I do allow myself to go Off-Plan on rare occasions, but I know I'm gonna pay for it. Oh, well!

Good Friends and Good Times... Hey, at least it was worth it!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks to your impressive writing skills.....I was there, I was there, I was there, not in the Congo. Great story (as usual). Jaguarwoman


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