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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

spontaneous barbeque

We didn't expect to have a cookout on Memorial Day. Normally, everyone goes over to Don's parents' house -- but we'd all gone out to dinner with them the night before, to celebrate three different people's birthdays which had as yet gone uncelebrated (that's just how it works in that family). So they decided not to do anything. Don looked a little disappointed -- he holds great store in traditions -- so I suggested that we have everyone over to our place. This idea was taken up and embellished, so what actually happened was that the menfolk -- Don, his father, his aunt's fiance, and his sister's boyfriend -- all went golfing in the morning (at 6 AM, no less), and then everyone made their way to our house at about three, after they'd had time to recover from all that trekking around the green.

We were a little unprepared, which made Don grumpy. He hates being unprepared. I think we did pretty well for less than twenty-four hours notice, though. We hunted down some tables and benches, and found a fifty gallon cooler drum under the front steps (we found out later that it had come from Don's mother's father as some sort of gift to the in-laws -- apparently he could get them either very cheaply or free from wherever he worked). We filled the cooler with ice, stuck in some sodas and beers, and started grilling.

We didn't do too badly, for our first time. That was the general consensus, anyway. There were several comments along the lines of "Well, they'll learn," especially after Don put everything on the grill at the same time. Oops.

So, in the spirit of learning experiences, I'll give you all my recipe for tomato and feta salad -- which never goes wrong. This is the dish I'm usually asked to bring to parties; I've even been asked to make it for parties I wasn't invited to! It's a great summer salad, particularly if you can get really fresh local tomatoes (we like to go to Vince's, near Cromwell Station, for fresh produce).

Tomato and Feta Salad

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 ounces feta cheese, cubed in small cubes
2 tablespoons diced onion (I like red, but you can use anything)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

Mix everything together in a big bowl. Taste it -- all of the measurements above are approximations, since I don't measure when I make this. Adjust whatever you need to for your particular tastes. If it's too vinegary for you, take out as much liquid as possible from the bottom of the bowl. That will mellow it out a bit. This salad is best served chilled, so make it an hour or so ahead and stick it in the fridge while you prepare everything else.


Malnurtured Snay said...

Throwing lighter fluid on the grill and running away is a fun Memorial Day activity.


Jamaila said...

Fortunately for all concerned, we have a gas grill and don't need lighter fluid. Otherwise I suspect there would be significantly less house to write about. :P

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