Wednesday, June 1, 2011

old friends


Hot weather hit us hard this holiday weekend. Yeoach! Not that I am complaining. A trek upstate to visit very dear friends hosting a large house party, one where we could all spend time outdoors, was on my agenda. The countryside was dripping in green with the humidity keeping the weekend pace in definite slow-mo.

No one wanted to spend much time on cooking projects, but ya gotta eat! So with the grill going it was all about making life easy. The guests assigned to cooking duties decided to surprise me by making the chickpea quinoa patties from our January 27, 2010 Grapes and Greens post. When it got time to fry these vegetable burgers, the innovative home cooks decided to skip the trouble of heating a pan with oil and planned to throw them on the grill instead. Just before the patties hit the flames they presented me with the idea. Slightly skeptical but curious, I advised adding a bit more flour to the recipe to help keep the patties tight, worring that they would fall to mush on the hot grate. The grill chef wielding the spatula was instructed to "be gentle" and we all held our breathes. Without much mishap several came off the grill in reasonable shape and although they were a little drier than I would have liked, there was a very pleasant smokiness to them.
 Grilled Chickpea Quinoa and Spinach burgers can survive an open flame!

One of my favorite go-to recipes to compliment just about anything that comes off the grill is green olive salsa, a recipe I explored last June on this blog. One of the great pleasures of the recipe is its simplicity. The ingredients are combined in a food processor, pulsed a few times, and then served.  We had it this weekend, served several ways: as a condiment for the chickpea-quinoa patties, as a salsa on top of crackers and as a tangy topping for the inevetable grilled meats that hit the table.

Green olive salsa requires not much more than scooping olives out of a jar. I like pitted, pimento stuffed olives and I usually have a jar on hand in my pantry. Jazz it up with garlic, a squirt of lemon juice and plenty of fresh herbs. It can sit in the fridge for two weeks and the flavor just gets better.
Green Olive Salsa tastes great just served on crackers!

What a wonderful way to spend the weekend, relaxing with friends, cooking under a big beautiful sky and eating what nature so graciously provides.

Sounds like you had a wonderful, peaceful weekend. Mine, on the other hand, was spent at the very crowded town pool keeping a close watch on my little ones. Weather was perfect and a great time was had by all. Including me! Spent the late afternoons barbequing with friends.

When I barbeque, doesn't matter the fare, I just love a glass of Rose. It just goes with everything. And when I am invited to friends' homes during the summer, it's typically what I bring. There's just something so festive about it, and it undeniably exemplifies "summer".

There's no question that Rose would be a spectacular match for Deb's Chickpea, Quinoa and Spinach patties. On a side note - those patties are one of my all-time favorite recipes from this blog. I make them all the time, and I thank Deb for introducing me to them! I've served them to friends who are always impressed with the simplicity combined with the delicious results!

Currently I am into French Rose. My go-to these days is the Domaine Haut Cances Cairanne Rose. It's a small production from the Rhone. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan, it is a wonderful refreshing wine with lots fruit and plenty of spice. The best Rose shouldn't taste like a "pink" wine - there should always be a red wine presence. You can pair this wine with just about anything. It might be tough to find - you can always ask your local retailer for something similar. A great Rhone Rose can typically be found for around $15-$20. Please do yourself a favor - if you are not already familiar with these perfect hot-weather wines, take the time to seek them out and experiment! You won't be disappointed!


  1. Oof, I am definitely complaining! What happened to spring?! All I want to eat right now is cold watermelon, the thought of turning on the stove is just...eek.

    Times like this, I wish I had outdoor space for a bbq :) Your friends have a beautiful place!

  2. Thanks for that green olive salsa idea - how easy it is to have something "fresh" on hand. Thanks!


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