A cookout -- 05/31/10

We thought it would be nice to have a gathering at our house this weekend, a beginning of summer cookout, a chance to get together with friends and family.

Sunday afternoon was selected because Nancy's sister Clara and her daughter Caitlin would be in town. On Saturday Nancy and I went shopping to buy some food and drink. I got almost five pounds of boneless chicken breast and about two and a half pounds of steak. When we got home I cut up the beef and chicken and put it to marinate for about 24 hours in spiedie sauce (Salamida's State Fair Spiedie Sauce). I also cooked a pot full of potatoes and hard-boiled a lot of eggs. Then, on Sunday morning Nancy and I chopped up lots of onion and chives and celery, etc. and made a huge potato salad and a lot of deviled eggs. (Got arranged nicely, the eggs on a bed of lettuce, looking very colorful being decorated with paprika and fresh cut chives and the potatoes with sliced eggs on top along with snips of fresh parsley and a chive flower in the middle -- and I was thinking they would make nice pictures but then I completely forgot to take pictures of them. Duh!)

Jeremy was a big help in getting the marinated meat onto skewers. Some of the skewers were just chicken or just steak while others had grape tomatoes and pieces of red and green peppers and slices of yellow and green squash interspersed. (And then he washed and sanitized all the kitchen counters!) Jeremy was wondering if he should also make pizza, but then he decided that it might be more interesting to make individual sized calzones... So he dashed off and came back with pizza dough (just stop by a pizzeria and say you want to buy a couple balls of dough) and some Italian sausage... and then he went to work on making a marinara sauce and pre-cooking the sausage... Meanwhile, Jill was sharing the kitchen with him as she was making two apple pies.

Jill and Eli had come back to Rhode Island for the weekend -- Jill's last day at her job is coming in a few days, meanwhile she was collecting overtime pay for working yesterday and today, so it was certainly worth her while.
This picture shows Jeremy shaping the dough for the calzones. For each of these small calzones he is using a ball of dough about 1/8 of the amount needed for a large pizza. He is making it into circle using the flat of his left hand and the knuckles of his right hand. (It is fascinating to watch him work his magic with this stuff.)

It may seem as if we are preparing vast amounts of food, but there were seventeen of us... Nancy & me, Jeremy, Jill & Eli, Eli's mom
(hi Susan!), Nancy's mother, Nancy's sister Clara and her daughter Caitlin, Nancy's sister Janet, her husband Tom, their son Mike, their daughter Alison and a friend, plus Jill & Eli had three friends over...

In the above photo Jeremy has put the Italian sausage (sliced and cooked with some onions and a bit of marinara sauce) and mozzaralla cheese. He then folds the dough over the filling, seals the edge, and then puts a little knife cut in the middle of each calzone pocket. And in the photo below you can see five cooked calzones on a platter. (A moment before there had been eight, but by the time I could get my camera out three of them had mysteriously disappeared. Don't worry, there was another batch in the oven.)

Here's Jeremy at work with that new grill he bought a couple weeks ago... cooking the chicken and steak...

And, finally, here are those two apple pies Jill baked.

Oh, yes, of course we had started with lots of veggies and dip and chips and salsa, etc. And Janet had brought a spinach and strawberry and walnut salad. And Nancy had made lemon squares for dessert. And Clara brought chocolate brownies....

What? Why yes, we do like to eat around here...

Having a quiet day today. Fed Tiger, made coffee, put out the flag... Nancy and I had breakfast out on the back deck... she's watered the lawn and the gardens. I had thought about going into town for the Memorial Day parade, but the thought of negotiating my way through a crowd wearing my moonboot was not enticing... plus, I must admit that I kind of overdid walking and standing on Saturday and Sunday and my foot has been complaining... so I think I will spend as much time as possible not standing and not walking. In fact, I think I'll post this and then go read a book for a while with my foot up.

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