Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The First BBQ!

We kicked off BBQ season in healthy style at our place yesterday, with an impromptu cookout before Keith's friends headed back to Los Angeles. And in the process, we cleaned out some of the freezer from last season. We started out with a lovely honey-sweetened lavender lemonade, which unfortunately I did not get a picture of, made with some of the lavender that my brother and I picked out in the Hood River Valley last summer and some juicy delicious Meyer lemons.

Then Keith fired up the grill for some chicken, and broke out the cherry-chipotle BBQ sauce I made last summer. It thawed out perfectly and tasted just as I remembered it - rich and dark, with a spicy sweetness.

To go with it, I made homemade chips by tossing sliced Yellow Finn potatoes and sweet potatoes with a little olive oil, sea salt, ground pepper, and rosemary from my yard. I roasted them until they were dry and crispy. They went really nicely with the BBQ chicken!

I also threw together a spring salad, with baby greens, baby turnips, watermelon radish, artichoke hearts, carrot curls, and sunflower seeds. To drizzle over it, I whipped up a salad dressing out of olive oil, rice vinegar, the salty lemon juice from my preserved Meyer lemons, and a little Dijon mustard.

And for dessert, I made Jamie Oliver's rhubarb fool. It's definitely a dessert but healthier than it looks - I pulled out some rhubarb that I froze at the end of the summer last year, and stewed it into a compote with a little sugar and the juice of an orange. Then I beat the orange zest and a spoonful of honey into some nonfat yogurt, and rolled out a sheet of puff pastry with cinnamon and a little confectioner's sugar, and fried it up in a dry skillet before setting it aside to cool. I layered up the rhubarb compote, orange-honey yogurt, and puff pastry on a plate and served it with fresh ground coffee.

The weather was beautiful and sunny, the food good, the company great... all in all, it was a terrific kickoff for the season. Here's to a nice long spring and summer out by the grill in our very own yard!

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