Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Not-Quite-Gourmet, Kid-Tested, Mother-Approved, Probably-Part-Organic, Definitely Awesome Cookout Like None You've Ever Been To Before For All Time....Forever

You know how annoying it is when a terrible band with only one song you can even remember comes out with a greatest hits album? Well on Sunday, the Jacked Up Grill was that Band. The unbelievable success of this blog and its loyal reader have been so much fun these past few months that I decided we needed to have some of our new friends from our new town over to celebrate. And in true Jacked Up Grill fashion, just throwing a couple dogs on the fire wasn't acceptable. And that is because the grocery store was out of dog. Otherwise, we would have grilled probably a weimaraner.   
Just kidding.
We wanted to have a greatest hits tasting menu of all the things that we have sort of figured out how to cook this year. And we wanted to go all out. So all out we went. We invited a total of 23 adults and kids to our backyard (the only place in our tiny rental house large enough to seat more than 1.4 people) and we wanted them to come hungry and leave happy....That has a nice ring to it. Someone should write that down.....
My plan was huge, as my plans always are. We needed multiple courses with multiple offerings. There are plenty of vegans round here, and while I don't really know what a vegan is (I think they only eat fruit that has fallen from trees that have fallen from natural causes. Like getting hit by meteors.), I thought we should at least have some vegetarian food. I just threw up in my mouth a little.
As all good huge plans do, we needed a dry erase board.

Pregzilla and I took Jack the Lil' Ripper to the store to stock up on ingredients, and he had his first spin in the Car Shaped Shopping Cart.
After cooking and prepping and cleaning and cooking for two days, we came up with the following menu. Click on the links for the posts that contain recipes. Otherwise, the recipes will be at the end of this post.

Appetizers:
Grilled Tomato Soup
Bacon Wrapped Smoked Jalepeno Poppers


Entrees:
Chimichurri Chicken Paillards
Smoked Pulled Pork Sliders
Grilled White Pizza

Sides:
Ultimate Guacamole
Homemade Bacon Salt Potato Chips with Chipotle Ketchup and Garlic Aioli
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Sage Butter

Dessert:
Key Lime Pie
Poor Man's Profiteroles with Habanero Blackberry Sauce and Ice Cream

For the soup this time, I used tomatoes given to me by one of my patients at the pharmacy. It was a goal of mine to get to know my patients well enough for someone to bring me produce from their garden and for a little old lady to bake me a pie. Both have happened. Incidentally, it is also a goal of mine for a patient to give me a million dollars in small, non-sequential bills, in case any of you are reading. Then my career will be complete.
I really hit my stride with the pulled pork this time. The rub was perfect and the smoke time was spot on. It should be, considering I started it at 3:30 in the morning. I wasn't even sure there actually was a 3:30am. There is. I hope you never see it. The pork was better than any I have had in Virginia by far.
We borrowed some long tables and Boom Pregalegga did an excellent job of decorating them. We used pieces of paper from a scrapbook pad as place mats and ate off of  .25 cent plates from Goodwill. We served the soup in anything we could find at Goodwill including several creamers, a pewter cup engraved with the name Lloyd Shipley, President of the Real Estate Association, 1974, and a souvenir coffee cup fromt the US Senate gift shop. Overall the look was awesome.
Our guests arrived just as we were frantically trying to get everything finished. It was a miracle the guacamole made it onto the table, considering I was chopping garlic and mashing avocados with a fury that should have landed me in the hospital minus a few fingers. However, it all got done just in time. We pretty much stuck to schedule and pretty much got everything crossed off the list.
When the dust cleared, we dodged the rain, welcomed the guests, said the blessing (which included a special request to delay the onset of food poisoning until after everyone had eaten somewhere else the next day so that I couldn't definitively be blamed), and dug in. Everyone found something they liked, including any Vegans present, though they will remain anonymous since we are practicing the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy for meat preference. The kids ran amock, as kids do, and we all had a great time.
We owe a special thanks to Allison for her excellent photography!!






 Our first major food service was a great success! Of course the dishes took us two hours the next morning, but it was totally worth it. Whoever gave me the idea to use real plates needs a punch in the pancreas though. Anyway, we appreciate everyone who participated, and we are looking forward to our next greatest hits dinner....In about 5 years.

Ultimate Guacamole
One large Avocado
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 white onion, finely diced
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lime

Cut meat out of avocado and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cover with lime juice and toss. Mash with a potato masher until its as smooth as you like guacamole. We like ours pretty smooth. then add garlic, onion, salt, cumin and cayenne. Mix thoroughly. Gently fold in tomatoes at the end. Eat with chips. Write me a thank you note for introducing you to the world's best guacamole. Include cash.

Homemade Bacon Salt Potato Chips
1 large baking potato
2 cups vegetable oil

I have a mandolin, which is a small guitar like musical instrument. I also have a mandolin, which is a kitchen tool for slicing things thin. I used the latter to make very thin potato slices. I tossed them into the hot oil until they were crispy and golden brown and then drained them. While still hot, I sprinkled them with Bacon Salt, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Chipotle Ketchup
Heinz Ketchup
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce

Super easy, but watch out, because these peppers will melt your face off. Just portion out about 4 ounces of ketchp for every pepper you add. Puree in a blender until completely smooth. This is excellent stuff.

Garlic Aioli cheater style
Dukes mayonnaise
1 clove garlic finely minced
Cracked black pepper
lemon juice

I just whipped together all the ingredients until completely smooth and put it in a squeeze bottle. On the potato chips, this was the way to go. Very good. Get your thank you notes back out.....

Poor Man's Profiteroles with Blackberrry Habanero Sauce
1 package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
1 cup blackberries
1 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 habanero pepper, seeded
Vanilla Ice cream
1 egg

Roll out puff pastry and cut into half dollar size circles. Using water or an egg wash, (1 egg and about 1/2 teaspoon of water mixe together) stick two of the circles together, then brush the top one with egg wash. Bake at 350 until golden brown and puffed up (about 10 minutes). When cooled, split in two like a biscuit, and place a dollop of ice cream in the middle like a little sandwich. Top with blackberry sauce.
Place berries, lime juice and sugar in a saucepan and stir over medium high heat until liquefied. Finely chop pepper and add  to berries. When syruppy, allow to cool and then blend in a blender of food processor until no lumps remain. Refrigerate.

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