Thursday, May 26, 2011

just relax

when i imagine how things are going to play out, it's generally 100% different than how it actually does.
in my brain, buffets would be well organized with things displayed in glass containers & everything would look like my table at the market. in reality it's more like this:

a complete gong show.
but i guess it's more fun like this, and hopefully all your guests are super chilled out and can fend for themselves. 
'jenna, where are the forks?' 
'i dunno' 
'jenna, are there any more tortillas?' 
'i dunno'
'jenna, where are the cups?'
'i dunno'
 'jenna? jenna? jenna?....'
basically, my answer to any question was 'just root around, i'm sure you'll find them somewhere.'
around here, there are no crisp linens, formal centrepieces, or organization of any sort for that matter!
but i guess that's what summer, bbq season is all about - hanging with friends, eating food, getting messy & just havin' a laugh.
some people were even a bit nervous to bring food because i cook for a living & thought it would be all super fancy.
oh contraire.

this is how i roll.
my effort was more focused on the proteins. i cured a side of salmon, from the fish shop, over night and then cedar-planked it. cedar imparts a lovely flavour to the fish, but i mostly use it because then you don't have to worry about it sticking to the grill or making a mess :) i guess it was a hit because this was all that was left by the time i got any photos:

i also braised some pork shoulders over night, transferred them to the grill to smoke & then mixed it all up with some maple bourbon bbq sauce to make pulled pork.

not much to look at! but pulled pork never really is. it was yummy and that's all the matters.
i also made a few ribs.

cooked low & slow and then slathered with a combo of maple bourbon and chipotle lime bbq sauces.
there was also about 18 grilled chicken breasts - but, alas, no photo evidence. those were destined for a build-your-own fajita bar. the chicken was marinated in lots of garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander & herbs. combined with salsa, sour cream, cheese & peppers it was quite delectable & messy.
i made some salads too - it wasn't only meat!

this is the broccoli salad with toasted almonds, bacon & raisins. i also made a ginormous batch of marinated veggies and pasta salad. i was just reading the latest issue of bon appetit & they deemed cold pasta salad entirely 'gauche'. i don't care. i love it. i've been eating it out of mixing bowls for 2 days now and it just goes to show you, you don't have to be a slave to everything the mags tell you.
the cheddar & chive biscuits also went over pretty well.

they make a wonderful receptacle for pulled pork & coleslaw - yum.
and what would a shindig be without a ginormous cupcake?

and when entertaining, just remember, your guests will be thinking 'everything always tastes way better when you didn't have to make it yourself,' so just relax.


  1. What doesn't show here is how amazing the whole shindig was visually, not only the food but being up on a hilltop overlooking the Atlantic, and lower down by the harbor a fire going where people were sitting around eating and chatting. I tasted most everything and would recommend it all.