First ingredient for any Sunday barbeque ... and this one was no exception ... martinis.
My preference is Tanqueray 10, but Sapphire works magic too. To answer the highly debatable question of gin vs. vodka, I have this to say: Gin is a classic martini, there's no denying. My friend John and I will fight to the death over this seemingly simple point. It's the way God intended (I asked her, trust me on this one). But you'll notice from the picture that I've already deviated from the "classic" by adding a twist of lemon to the mix, vs. the traditional olive(s). I don't do olives, ever, for any reason, and in the case of a martini ... it's my gin, and I'll put whatever I want in it. Vodka martinis are awesome. I prefer to think of it as a mood thing, vs. one liquor over the other. Belvedere and Grey Goose make for wonderful martinis. Up, with a twist ... But for today's festivities, Bombay Sapphire was a total hit.
Tonight we were graced with a visit from friends Howie and Angela. I've known Howie since seventh grade, when we attended Ben Franklin Junior High School together in Daly City. We were casual friends in Jr. and High school, but have become the best of friends over the past 15 years or so. Howie and I are members of the "Weasels," which is a group of about 15 of us who've known each other since grammar school, and get together a few times a year. I'm not going to explain how the name "weasels" came about ... send me an email if you're dying to know. Howie and I live ten minutes apart so I get to see more of him. We're also both certifiable "car nuts," meaning we've spent way too much money and time on four wheeled toys over the years. When we moved to Bend in 2005, I discovered that there was not an Acura dealer in the area, and the front wheel drive on my beautiful blue TL was totally out of place in the ice and snow of Central Oregon. Howie's one of my very best friends, and I had no hesitation selling him the Acura. As much as I hated parting with it, much like a Great Dane that you just can't move into a 600 square foot studio apartment with, as much as you love the beast ... it went to a perfect home. And it still lives there.
Angela is a friend from massage school days. We met and immediately bonded in our Fundamentals of Massage class on 4/4/04 (tough to forget anniversary date). Angela's one of our core group of friends, and has been so since we met her. She, Rebecca and Nicole have made 3 trips to visit in Bend ... a record among our buddies. And one of the pluses of living in the Bay Area again is having her nearby and able to come over for impromptu barbeques like this one. Angela brought "mookies" for us tonight, which she and her mom America made earlier in the day. These are the most incredible oatmeal'ish cookies on the planet. They're so good and so rich that I simply don't want to know what's in them, or I would either make them for myself, or not eat them after finding out all the bad stuff in them.
My original dinner thought was a pan of lasagna, per Howie's suggestion. WolffDen 10 is coming up in September, and I think I'm going to do lasagna for the 15 of us, so I thought maybe I'd break it in tonight. But since it was just shy of 100 degrees out, I couldn't fathom spending that much time doing prep work, and the though of having the oven on that long wasn't appealing either!
So ... I opted for some beautiful NY steaks from the wonderful Lunardi's Market down the street. Lunardi's is painfully close to a Draeger's or Andronico's in quality and gourmet snob level, but slightly more approachable for those of us who can't afford a Bentley or Porsche Turbo. French fries compliments of Ore-Ida, cole slaw that garnered much praise, and a nice collection of reds from Paso Robles rounded out a great meal with the very best of company.
Appetizers - smoked gouda, brie, water crackers (plain and cracked pepper)
Chipotle Rubbit NY Steaks.
Marinated for 4 hours in: My "Rubbit" rub, which is: 2 parts each of paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Coleman's dry mustard, 1 part each generic dried Italian seasoning, 1/2 part cayenne pepper, plus a sprinkling of real chipotle powder, extra salt.
TDF Cole Slaw (TDF=To Die For, he says humbly)
Shredded 1/2 heads of white and purple cabbage
2 carrots, shredded, cut into matchsticks
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 cup of dried unsalted peanuts1/2 a small white onion, chopped
tablespoon of celery seed
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Cole Slaw Dressing:
2 tablespoons of light Best Foods mayo
2 tablespoons of fat free sour cream
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup of white vinegar (to taste, your call)
Ore-Ida Steak Fries
Too hot today to do these from scratch - Ore-Ida does them perfect!
Did I mention it was hot today? Angela's mom's famous "Mookies." Killer cookies.