Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Session #3 - Epilogue

At last... Game day. Going into Monday, the grilling plan was far from certain. I would be quarterbacking the event, but when I woke up the menu and the guest list was still to be determined. Knowing there would most likely be a holiday rush, I headed to SUPER Stop & Shop at 8:30 AM so I could get first dibs at the meat and produce.

Stop & Shop did not disappoint. I walked into the store and was immediately greeted by a produce worker piling up fresh corn on the cob. My previous corn selection was second rate so I was inclined to serve up some grilled asparagus. But when I saw the corn I had to do it, especially given the occasion. I had toyed with the idea of doing a stuffed chicken and the racks of beautiful thick cut Purdue chicken breasts sealed the deal. After browsing the rest of the produce section, I decided to stuff the chicken with spinach and a blend of mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses.

Happy Memorial Day

In addition to Nat and Cassie, I anticipated cooking for an additional five people including my roommate Mariel. I had to bring backup. To help feed the masses I picked up a huge package of beautiful chicken wings and a bottle of Ah So Sauce, a neon pink Chinese style barbecue sauce that immediately puts your chicken wings on steroids. Finally I grabbed some hamburger meat so I could pad every ones appetite and ensure that everyone got some of the good stuff.

Upon my return from the store I started the prep work. First, I seasoned the chicken breasts and placed them in a marinade of Italian dressing. I coated the chicken wings in the Ah So sauce and put everything in the fridge. Once the main players started arriving, I sauteed the spinach in a skillet with some olive oil and chopped garlic. Once the spinach cooked through, I slit each chicken breast laterally and stuffed the spinach and cheese in the newly created pocket. After each piece of chicken was stuffed I pinned it shut with a toothpick and sprinkled the top with breadcrumbs.

With the coals started and the food prepped, Cassie began addressing our new glaring problem: We forgot to buy beer. While this may not seem like a formidable solution to the rest of the earth, this is an enormous obstacle to those of us living in backwards ass Massachusetts. We had already failed at a disastrous multi-town search for an open liquor store, so Cassie took my formidable collection of miscellaneous hard alcohol and proceeded to create some delicious summertime drinks.

I bet you didn't know jean shorts were back

I placed the chicken breasts on the back of the grill to let them cook slowly. Hamburgers were placed over the coals to cook through quickly as my guests were growing impatient. I wanted to boost the chickens flavor as much as possible so I began adding hickory wood chips that I had soaked earlier. The chicken cooked through perfectly and the blend of cheeses kept the meat incredibly moist. When the stuffed chicken breasts were off the grill I piled on the chicken wings and started boiling the corn. I applied several new coats of Ah So sauce while the wings cooked through.

Stuffed chicken

The results of our grilling efforts were top notch. Both the stuffed chicken and the Chinese chicken wings provided an interesting twist to the menu and we successfully accommodated the thirteen total guests who came to enjoy our grilling madness. Cassie provided the most impressive after dinner treat with a home made thatched crust cherry pie that was a flat out show-stopper. With the help of some great appetizers, Frisbee, Nat's iPod and the Nintendo Wii, we went the distance and capped our memorial day weekend with a truly epic grilling session.

Cherry pie

Thanks to Alyson Dusseault for letting us use the awesome Polaroids she took.

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Posted by Matt.

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