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The Barbecue

A couple of weekends ago we barbecued with our friend Katie in the suburbs (well, technically the outskirts of the city). This might not seem newsworthy to you, but for apartment dwellers without access to a grill it was a very special and eagerly anticipated event—the opportunity to perform an important ritual of summer and try out a couple of the grill recipes I have been collecting. I am still kind of amazed that we are now people who grill-out, not just the children of people who grill. It seems so adult. I guess we are also buying houses, having babies and opening our own businesses- so maybe grilling shouldn’t be such a surprise.

The day started off with rain and grey skies, but as we pulled into her driveway the clouds parted and we were awarded the perfect summer day—hot in the sun, cool in the shade with blue skies and big fluffy clouds. It was a BBQ miracle and the perfect early summer evening.

Bryan was in charge of the grill although it turns out I am pretty aggressive with the lighter fluid and so with a little teamwork our charcoals were glowing and eventually our grill was ready to go.  He monitored the fire and acted as grill-master while Katie and I prepared the food. And oh what food!

Our main course was chicken kebabs marinated in a yogurt herb sauce and accompanied by slices of potatoes which were first cooked in vinegar and then grilled and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper. The grilling equivalent of salt and sour chips.

The kebabs were delicious. The marinade rendered the chicken moist and flavorful. The potatoes were a real revelation- they were amazing! Such a simple idea that I had never even imagined doing. Salt and Vinegar chips are one of my favorite things and I was happy to have a less fried version that is so simple to make. The potatoes were so good that I am anxious to try to accomplish the same thing at home without the use of charcoal and lighter fluid. (oven roasted?) It was such a good meal and such a pleasure to eat outside with loved ones and look forward to the summer that lies ahead of us.

And that isn’t all. Stay tuned for the stellar cucumber soup we made and the cake that closed out our meal!

Grilled Vinegar Potatoes (adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine)

Bring potatoes and vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan (vinegar should cover potatoes). Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer potatoes until just fork tender, about 5-10 minutes. Let potatoes cool in vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain well, and gently toss with oil, salt, and pepper.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill potatoes in a single layer until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Watch carefully so they don’t burn too much. Sprinkle with salt before serving.

Chicken Kebabs (Cook’s Illustrated)

Whisk yogurt, 6 tablespoons oil, 4 teaspoons garlic, thyme, oregano, salt pepper and cayenne in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours. Whisk remaining oil, garlic, basil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate while the chicken is marinating.

Remove chicken from yogurt marinade and discard marinade. Thread each skewer with chicken, red pepper and onion alternating. Set aside.

Grill over medium-high grill turning one quarter turn every couple of minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Transfer to serving platter and brush with garlic-basil oil. Serve hot.