I worked today, cooking for Customer Appreciation Day at Willow Park. (On these days I get to rifle through their massive kitchens and challenge myself to creatively use up whatever has piled up in their fridges and freezers. They have an entire fridge devoted to cheese. Today they had more Spolumbos sausages than I ever care to see in one place again.)
I got home around 5, and we decided to have an impromptu barbecue on the back porch to celebrate the fact that a) the trees are finally starting to grow leaves, and b) it’s actually warm enough (33 this afternoon!) to have an impromptu barbecue on the back porch. So a bunch of assorted friends congregated in our back yard; K & N brought cross sections of corn on the cob, wrapped in bacon (inspired by the menu at Palomino). J & P brought teeny sweet peppers, tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and chunks of pineapple threaded onto skewers to grill for dessert. Everything got thrown on the grill, but unfortunately I got distracted taking photos of all the boys hanging out the kitchen window and our bacon-wrapped corn caught fire. After extracting the cobs, we actually had to douse the lingering flames with baking soda.
To make bacon-wrapped corn, all you need to do is cut the corn into chunks about the same width as your strips of bacon, then wrap a strip of bacon around each piece, securing it with a toothpick. (Soak them in water first if you don’t want them to burn.) Grill, turning as you need to, until the corn is sort of shrink-wrapped by the cooked bacon.
The peppers, similarly, were slicked with oil (and a bit of balsamic) and tossed whole onto the grill until they were slightly charred and soft, then returned into their bowl with its oily, vinegary residue.
I didn’t have much time to think about what to make (Spolumbos sausage would have been easy), nor did I feel much like cooking anymore, so called my trusty pork satay into service – besides being quick, they are easy for larger numbers of people to eat while sitting on folding chairs on the deck. Plus, I haven’t met a little boy yet who didn’t love meat on a stick.
I told you – when I stumble upon something that works, I make it over and over again. I did switch back to the maple-rosemary version though.
For dessert, the pineapple was simply grilled until it was soft and grill-marked, then drizzled with honey.
And finally, a raspberry crumble cake, made with a handful of the frozen raspberries I keep in the freezer for smoothies. This eat-straight-from-the-pan cake is one of my favorite go–to recipes, and perfect for summer because you get the benefit of cake and fruit crumble all in one. It’s not too sweet, easy to eat with your fingers, and can be made with any kind of fruit you have around, even if it’s getting wrinkly. In the summer, use berries, peaches or plums, and add some grated lemon zest to the batter. At Christmas, try it with pears and cranberries with grated orange zest in the batter.