I can't believe we ate so much!

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The usual suspects, L-R: Bob, Réal, Ken

| The usual suspects assembled chez Bob to celebrate our independence — from dietary restraint, apparently.

Before that could happen, however, Ken demonstrated his independence from short-term memory. At the appointed hour of rendezvous, I was setting out the appetizers when my phone rang, with callerID showing that it was Ken. When I answered, his question, in an annoyed tone of voice, was "Where are you?"

I'm at Bob's; where are you?

He was at my house. Oh, no, wrong place!

I provided a selection of appetizers to start the gastric juices running. Two of them were meh! while two of them were quite good. The one that was insanely delicious and wholly evil was Maple Pepper Pecans, albeit a mess to eat. A second one, Crostini with Thyme-Roasted Tomatoes, turned out to be surprisingly good, although I had expected them to be the worst of the lot. They take forever to do, with all the slow roasting, but the concentrated flavors in contrast with a plain crostini are a delight. (Contrary to what the recipe implies, I served them at room temperature.)

Bob brought out of the freezer a standing rib roast that he'd snatched up when it was on sale. He uses a cooks.com technique; basically, you put the roast in the oven, turn it up as high as it can go (or 550°F, whichever comes first), then turn off the oven after a set number of minutes per pound, and don't open the oven door until two hours have passed, at which point you take it out and carve. (As I learned from experience, such a method requires that the roast be at room temperature before going in the oven.)

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Bob's other contribution was Tammy Wynette's 24-hour salad from the Dead Celebrity Cookbook (Who knew there was such a thing?). This was an extraordinary assemblage consisting of layers of lettuce, spinach, chopped cauliflower, Miracle Whip, etc. that was allowed to gestate in the refrigerator overnight before tossing. I know, it sounds bizarre, but it didn't taste half bad.

Corn on the cob was provided by Ken, who cooked it on the grill using the Martha Stewart technique: soak it in water, unhusked, for a long, long time, then lay it on the grill for 20 minutes. Works like a charm! We also used a shucking technique (YouTube video) that removes simultaneously the husks and the silks in one go. Try it, you'll like it!

And I again made Paula Deen's red potato salad, which has become my go-to recipe. Sorry Mama!

By this point of the afternoon, we were all clutching our bloated bellies in near agony. But wait! There's more!

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The pièce that overcame all our résistance, however, came from Réal, who has become the King of Trifle. We had enormous servings, justified by the need to experience all the layers.

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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