Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, America! We Got You a Chicken.

What a weekend we had. Our Saturday was a relaxing one full of Farmer's Market, errands (I love to run errands), and lounging around with my favorite guy:

Sunday, we managed to lure M Cubed up for a visit with the promise of delicious dinner. When they arrived, we started the day off with Pimm's Cups, Grilled Pepper Poppers, 8 Layer Mexican Dip (loosely based on this recipe), and Pigs-in-a-Blanket (for which I hope you do not need a recipe). No photos were taken because all food was ravenously devoured before we thought to get out the camera.

Then we unleashed the beasts into the backyard and while we lounged on the patio enjoying the totally perfect weather:

Fletcher is crazy.

After a few hours of that, it was time to start dinner. Normally, I happily cook the food around this place, especially when we're having company. Not because Hugh is incapable or unwilling, quite the contrary on both, but because I have what we can nicely call control issues. However, on Sunday, Hugh decided it was time to mix things up. He found a recipe for Grilled Whole Chickens with Gremolata and Blistered Corn on the Cob and declared that he would be in charge of dinner. I did contribute potato salad and baked beans, both of which were pretty mediocre. It happens to the best of us, I suppose.

Hugh and Matt manned the grill. But before they did I went out and gave my two cents, which went something like this: Add more charcoal. No, more than that. A little bit more. Now don't wait until the heat dies down too much before you put them on. Put them on now. Are you sure it's hot enough?

The result was that they, as Matt so eloquently put it, ended up cooking the chickens over the burning pits of hell. Exhibit A:

Sorry about that, boys. However, all's well that ends well, and the chickens were wonderful. So was the corn. So good, in fact, Mandy choked on it. Twice.

I also promised Peach Pie to our lovely guests. Around 10pm, I realized that was not going to happen, so I fed everyone homemade Nutter Butters leftover from Hugh's Surprise Dessert.

Later that night, one of my favorite hometown friends, Emily, stopped by with her sweet husband, Pierce. We had a great, and very late, night talking on the porch while the dogs ran amuck. Until 3am. Do those pups ever get tired?

Monday morning Hugh cooked everyone bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches. And then he did the dishes. Because he is the best husband on the planet.

I hope your long weekend was a delight!

Both of Hugh's recipes are from GQ:

Whole Butterflied Chicken with Gremolata

Serves 2 to 4

1 chicken, butterflied and pressed flat
Salt and pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest of 1 lemon

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and let come to room temperature.
2. Make gremolata a couple of hours in advance. Mix together parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
3. Bring a bed of coals to medium and then part them in the middle so chicken is not resting directly above them. Cook for 15 minutes on one side, flip; repeat. Occasionally cover grill, with the vents open, to help bird cook through. Chicken takes a while—count on 1 hour total.
4. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees (or juices run clear when you cut into thickest part of breast and thigh). Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into pieces so you'll have 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, and 4 pieces of breast meat. Serve on a platter and spoon gremolata over top.

Blistered Corn

with Chili Powder, Lime, and Cheese

8 ears of corn, shucked
2 limes, quartered
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (or feta or grated Parmesan)

Cook corn on an oiled grill over medium-high heat, turning so that it blisters evenly (without letting it shrivel and dry out). Serve immediately on a platter with accompaniments in small bowls. Let everybody prepare his own by rubbing each ear with a lime wedge, then sprinkling with chili powder, salt, and Cotija cheese.

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