Sunday, August 14, 2016

BBQ dinners with friends

In Canada we wait through months and months of cold, snowy, rainy weather for those days that we can go outside and spark up a BBQ and hang out with our friends.  Some people can't wait for that summer weather and will go outside in Parkas just to grill their meats.

But the reason we can't wait for the limited great weather is to enjoy BBQ's with friends.  It really is what the perfect summer is all about.

I lived in a house most of my life and could have BBQ'd whenever I wanted to but I didn't BBQ much, and now that I am in an apartment I wish I could BBQ on nice days.

So It's always nice when I get to go to my friends house for a BBQ.   It's even better when you call up one of your friends to see what they are doing and they ask if you want to come over for a BBQ that day and you combine forces and cobble a dinner together.  That's what happened last weekend.  I sent my friend a text about 4:30pm to see what he was doing.  He was at his sisters but said he would be home around 7pm.  Then he texted back and asked if I wanted to come over for a BBQ.  I was itching to get out of the house so I said "heck ya" and he picked me up on his way home.  He said all he had was chicken and maybe a salad.  I said I could bring some of the veggies I got in my Fresh City Farms delivery that week.  I had a mini watermelon, a whole fennel, a bunch of Swiss Chard and some Green Beans,   I blanched the green beans and tossed them in a light garlic coconut oil vinaigrette.  That took all of under 10 minutes to do.  I trimmed the fennel and cut it up for grilling.  I left the Chard whole because I hadn't decided what to do with it.  And the watermelon was whole.

Once I got to my friends place the plan was to Char the Chard and the Fennel.  I never BBQ'd Swiss chard before but there are a lot of people that grill lettuce so why not.  I just washed it and trimmed the ends and we put a bit of olive oil and salt on it and placed it on the grill.  Once they were charred we took them off and I cut them into smaller pieces.  The smell was interesting.  It was kind of like Kale chips.  I read that you could blanche the Chard first but I didn't bother and it was interesting and crispy this way.  We also grilled the fennel in a metal tray with holes after just a drizzle of olive oil and salt on it.  

My friend insisted that I cut up the watermelon into tiny cubes so I worked on that.  It would have been great if we had limes and mint to make it into a refreshing watermelon salad.  Next time.

My friend put the chicken on skewers and grilled them to perfection.

Once everything was ready my friend Randy insisted that we make a fancy plate and he wanted to layer the chard and fennel.   In a bowl I added some more olive oil and salt and pepper and some cayenne and splash of vinegar and tossed it lightly for flavour.  

He took a bit of the Chard and placed it on the side of the plate and then put the fennel on top.  He said it needed more color and something red, so I went inside and grabbed a few grape tomatoes and we cut them in half and placed them on top and drizzled a bit more olive oil.
The green beans went on the side and then I used a Balsalmic glaze to fancy up the plate and the skewered chicken was placed on top of that.  

It was not only a beautiful plate but everything came together fantastic.  It was a total team effort between three of us and even for a last minute meal you would think we planned it.  We were all pretty impressed with ourselves.   My friend said "I like it when Linda comes over for dinner because she brings great food".   It helps when my friend has a nice BBQ set up and everyone pitches in to make it work.   I handle prep and my friend Adam does the grilling and Randy does the clean up.  What a combo.  And now we have a new thing to grill on the BBQ that is amazing.
And for dessert even though I thought we were just going to eat the mini watermelon my friend Adam comes out of the house with fancy toasted waffle ice cream sandwiches.  So much for our perfectly healthy meal.  It's all about balance I guess.

I am planning a BBQ at another friends condo for some blogger friends but it's a little more planned but I gave them the option to bring something to make it a bit more spontaneous and interesting.  So will see how it goes and I hope that we don't have any insane storms like we had yesterday.

Here's to summer BBQ's with friends.  They are the best thing ever!   Go forth and Grill Master!.

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