Monday, May 25, 2009


Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Laura Belle’s Mediterranean Orzo Salad.

Memorial Day.

A day to honor our Men-at-Arms, fallen in the service of our country.

A day to tie on the ol’ Feed-Bag - because that is how Americans observe moments of great solemnity as well as those of great joy. We eat everything that is not nailed down.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, never mind that the actual solstice is still several weeks away. It is also the unofficial start of Grilling Season. Unofficial, sure: here in the Atlanta area, I grill year-round, despite the fact that winter temperatures here can flirt with the freezing mark, sometimes even letting it Go All The Way. And when the weather is a balmy 75°F and the sun is (mostly) shining, it’s hard to resist the lure of the Backyard Hot-Box.

Not everything we had was grilled, but most of it was. Here da menu:
  • Chilled gazpacho

  • Laura Belle’s Mediterranean orzo salad (recipe here) - as pictured above.

  • Grilled asparagus and Japanese eggplant

  • Roasted corn on the cob with roasted garlic butter

  • Grilled rib-eye steaks

  • Cedar-planked salmon with blueberry chutney

And what did we drink? The ladies had their Margaritas, and the gentlemen - a couple of the hardier ones, anyway - had Punt-e-gronis. This last is a variation on the infamous Negroni, one that utilizes Hendrick’s gin, Carpano Punt e Mes vermouth, and Campari. You can find the recipe here, in an article that describes the drink as being
“ gorgeously bitter that it almost stings the tongue. Drinking it is like being slapped by an ex-lover. It is such a deep ruby red that vampires would be drawn to it.”
All of that, and it packs a wallop, too.

The Punt-e-groni, pictured with its three components. The blood orange garnish is a perfect match for the drink’s hue.

The Punt-e-groni, as well as its cousin, the Negroni, are both tipples appropriate to the day, for they combine the bitter with the sweet. Bitter, the loss of those who gave everything for their country; sweet, the freedoms they fought to preserve.

All in all, a pleasant evening indeed. More Foody-Pics below the fold.

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Nina for the link to this fine article on the Negroni.]

Cedar-Planked Salmon
Cedar-Planked Salmon with Potlatch Seasoning.

Grilled Asparagus
Grilled Asparagus with olive oil and piment d’espelette.

Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks
Grilled rib-eye steaks. Mmmmmm, meat. Meaty meat.

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