Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Please forgive me, gluten-free cobbler.

Eagle-eyed reader Kara spotted a grave omission from my cookoff post. Although I listed apricot cobbler in the list of delicious dishes on offer at the barbecue, I forgot two very important points about it.

1. It was awesome. Despite (or perhaps due to) being made with gluten-free flour, it was crunchy and sweet and gooey, just like cobbler should be.

2. It tied for first place!

So, gluten-free cobbler of Kara's, I beg your forgiveness.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Range is good.

Very, very good. Too good to write about.

Just know that we are so happy to have it in our neighborhood.

You should be jealous.

Just kidding - we started out with a selection from Range's nicely composed cocktail list. Actually, I had the special cocktail of the evening, a cherry margarita, up. And Nate had the Envy, which he described as a cucumber mojito. As aperitifs, I think his won, as it whet the appetite a bit better than mine. We had the goat cheese ravioli and marinated leeks (two separate dishes) to begin. No clear winners here. The ravioli had a nice bite, provided by both the filling and the pasta. And the leeks were topped with a poached egg that released its eggy goodness with each forkful.

I was very excited to try the Tokaji Furmint that was on the wine list. I read about this wine several years ago and have never gotten around to having a glass. Luckily, our server felt that it would go perfectly with the roasted chicken, my main. And it did - a little flower and minerals to balance the oil in my bread salad. Nate had a Temperanillo (as is his way) with his pan roasted hangar steak.

To finish, I cheese and a glass of Madeira. The kind of cheese escapes me, something sheepy, but it was exactly what I was looking for. A little sharp and very creamy. I had to have a a bit of Nate's dessert, of course. Who could say no to chocolate crepes with grapefruit and pepper ice cream? No one sane, I think.

And the winner is...

Audrey's pulled pork and beans. With homemade barbecue sauce. Sooooooooo tasty, especially on the Wonder Bread she brought.

Yesterday was the occasion of our third cookoff - the theme this time was a Southern barbecue. We had the aforementioned pork and beans, black eyed pea and ham soup, biscuits, red velvet cupcakes, apricot cobbler, cole slaw, collard greens, bacon wrapped shrimp, corn, mashed sweet potatoes and cheese, and Rice Krispie treats. A great spread, considering it was potluck and not planned at all.

Sadly missing from that list was the pork butt that I started a little too late in the day to enter the competition. I rubbed the porks with brown sugar, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. They went down on the grill at noon, along with our little smoker box. I kept them on indirect heat with the grill around 260 F all afternoon. I was mistakenly thinking that two smaller pieces would need less time than one larger piece, but they held out for eight hours on the grill (and another hour in the oven). Oops. Most of the cookoff participants had left by the time the pork was ready to eat, so Lindsay, Kara, Ben, Nate and I were able to throw manners out the window and stuff shreds into our mouth with our hands. So greasy, greasy good.

Perhaps a picture is in order.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Champagne and burritos

What better way to celebrate the hottest day of the year than with our usual Thursday fare and a fantastic bottle of Bollinger from Dad? I know it was meant for Nate and I to share, but we wanted to spread the wealth. Surprisingly, champagne is a great foil for Papalote's masterpieces. After Kara, Kiko, Rudy, Josh, Nate and I savored the first bottle, we opened Josh's offering of Moet. Yummy. Normally my bubbles are along the order of Freixinet, so this was an exciting departure.

While we're on the topic, I have to mention that our backyard is sooo much more wonderful with a table on the deck. Really, it was useless before, and a backyard shouldn't be useless.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How I plan my wedding

Nate and I are engaged! It's amazing how quickly you have to start talking about all of the details - it only happened last Thursday and already we're picking a date.

What do you eat at a backyard wedding reception in March? Mind you, this will be in Phoenix, not San Francisco, so the weather will be balmy.

I suggested grilled steaks, but Nate feels that a barbecue is either too bo-ring, or too tacky. So maybe...?

I'm at a bit of a loss. Any comments are appreciated.