Dan’s BBQ, Salad Spinner and My Favorite Alliterative Dish

Weather not permitting, my classmate Dan (of the theater blog Venal Scene) invited us over today for a rainy day BBQ with his lovely wife, Julie, and daughter, Ruby, who entertained us with somersaults and her overall adorableness. Dan manned the grill, and note the gender of my verb: Jason, Diana and I had a long talk about why it is that men tend to do the grilling. Ruth Reichl asks the same question at the start of this month’s Gourmet. I forget who came up with what point, but some ideas were:

– men like to play with tools;

– men like to play with fire;

– there’s something very primal and not fussy about throwing a big hunk of meat on an open flame (though someone else pointed out that true grilling aficionados are incredibly fussy when it comes to how they grill)

As for Dan, he just shoves a beer can up a chicken’s ass. Check out Dan and his beer can chicken:

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Dan’s trick is that he does it while the chicken is still alive: this improves the flavor.

Just kidding. No, Dan opens a can of beer, pokes some holes in the top and places it in the chicken’s cavity so that the beer steams the chicken on the grill, both imparting flavor to and tenderizing the meat. Plus, Dan coats the chicken with a terrific rub that features cumin, brown sugar, chili powder and other flavors. (For details, maybe Dan can fill us in.)

Needless to say this chicken was terrific. Packed with flavor, I devoured every chunk of chicken on my plate.

My contribution was–as the title suggests–my favorite alliterative dish: Pasta, Pesto and Peas from The Barefoot Contessa: Parties. (Why do I obsessa with the Contessa?) The link in the last sentence will take you to the recipe, but the pictures there are pretty gruesome. Here, enjoy this much lovelier photo taken with my new camera:

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This is such an outstanding springtime dish and the basil at Whole Foods was plentiful and cheap. (When basil’s not in season, it can be mighty expensive.)

But the best part is I bought myself a new appliance. I’d been meaning to buy one for a while, but there wasn’t a recipe to justify it until I made this again. Please give a warm welcome to my shiny brand new SALAD SPINNER:

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See that basil? My spinner got it MAD dry. And it’s so fun to pump from the top: this is the Oxo salad spinner, they sell it at Whole Foods, and you just pump and pump and it spins and spins and can entertain you for hours. I found myself spinning paper, laundry, even my cat! (No animals were harmed in making of this post.)

Yes, it’s my newest appliance and I plan to use it often. If you have any salad to spin, please give me a call.

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