Ugh. My belly seriously hurts. Plus it doesn’t help that my belly is already big from being 23 weeks pregnant, and now all the food I’ve stuck in it is pressing it even farther outward. I’m just glad the baby can’t kick very hard, else I would be having some massive issues.
Why am I so full? We had a Memorial Day barbecue (or braai, if you are South African) today. I wasn’t really thinking of doing much, but Kurt called me Friday morning from work to ask me if I wanted to have his friend over for lunch since she had duty. She lives 30 miles north, so she can’t just go home in between carrying out her responsibilities, so he figured it’d be nice if we could cook for her.
Like I am going to say no to cooking for someone else.
Then as we were running errands Friday morning, I called my friend down the street, the one with two girls right around Grace’s age and asked her what she was doing on Sunday. She didn’t know, so I said, “Well, then you’re coming over for a barbecue on Sunday!!”
And when we went to pick Grace up from school, we ended up talking to her best friend’s mother for a while, and when she asked us what we were doing for the holiday, we told her we were having a barbecue and would she and her family like to join us?
So then all of a sudden we had a total of nine people coming to our house for a barbecue!! Ack!
It ended up being just seven, since Grace’s best friend’s dad and her baby brother elected to stay home because he was having a rough day. But even still. I am not sure I’ve ever cooked for so many.
I didn’t really cook much. I have this fantastic coleslaw recipe that my sister gave me years ago, so I made that, adding red cabbage to the pre-shredded cabbage they sell as coleslaw mix. Then I found this really delicious potato salad recipe (here is the recipe) that is just amazing. You roast the potatoes, caramelize a couple of Vidalia onions in bacon fat, and toss with a Dijon mustard-based dressing. It was a really neat departure from your traditional potato salad.
The coleslaw took me probably five minutes to make, and the potato salad wasn’t hard either because you have to roast the potatoes for so long. I drove Kurt nuts with the aroma of caramelizing onions, and then when I tossed the pressed garlic into the pan, it nearly sent him over the edge.
Once Kurt got the fire going, I opened two bottles of dark beer and started boiling the brats in it. My mom was always concerned about getting bratwurst properly cooked, as it is a pork product (and we’ve only ever eaten the fresh, never the smoked version). So she always boiled the brats before they went onto the grill. That’s where I got the idea, and I love to use the dark beers because they add so much more flavors. Also, when we buy a variety pack of beer, invariably they include a selection of dark beer, like porters. Neither Kurt nor I like the really dark beers, so the best thing to do with them is cook with them!
After I took the brats outside to Kurt for him to throw on the fire, I chucked another Vidalia that I had sliced into the beer for it to caramelize.
And that where Kurt took over the cooking. He had burgers, hot dogs, and the brats going all at the same time on the grill.
Doesn’t that look yummy?? The hot dogs were actually turkey dogs, bought because they were only $4 for three pounds at BJ’s, which is like Costco or Sam’s Club. The hamburgers were also bought from BJ’s, but they were fresh, not frozen, which taste better in my opinion. And the brats were Johnsonville, bought at — you guessed it — BJ’s. We did a BJ’s run on Friday when we found out we were having all these people over, and the prices there were actually really good. So we just bought everything there, including buns.
Of course, being in New England, we end up with those goofy New England-style hot dog buns. After using them tonight, I will have to say I like normal buns so much better. I understand that New England-style buns stay upright more easily, but the bun doesn’t seem to open up far enough to accommodate a large frank like a bratwurst.
In case you were wondering what a New England-style hot dog bun is, they’re buns that are sliced down from the top, instead of through the side. If you need a visual, click on THIS LINK to see an ad for them. There you can see how the buns are baked in a row, and simply sliced down from the top. They do stand up better, but they don’t open very wide. Another benefit to this style is the outsides can be buttered and placed on a grill for a really tasty, grilled bun. They do that at our favorite diner here on the island.
There was so much delicious food at this barbecue I could hardly stand it. I ate three brats, one cheeseburger, a serving of coleslaw, a serving of potato salad, many chips with dip, celery with dip, one piece of fudge, and one brownie. I cannot believe I ate three brats! But they were so darn good, and they were sitting right there in front of me, calling my name.
I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have lunch!
We had such a great time today. Our friends are all such wonderful, funny people — and my favorite part is they have the same humor I do! So the whole time, we laughing and joking and teasing one another. No one’s feelings are getting hurt because we’re all getting gently teased. There was no drama, no fussing, no arguing. It was perfect!
Also, the folks we invited were all non-drinkers. Not that I have a problem with people who drink, but it’s hard for me to throw parties that feature alcohol because we don’t really drink. I never know how much I need, what I should buy, what people like to drink. Most people who come over know that, so they bring their own beer. But even still, they get a little tipsy, and then they get hard to talk to. So I’d really prefer not to feature alcohol. Besides, we had four little girls, all under the age of 5.
A wonderful time was had by all. I think my favorite part of the entire evening was when we adults all went outside with the kids and starting throwing around tennis balls and the like. I threw one over the head of one of my guests, so Kurt kept calling me Nolan Ryan after that. I was just trying to show off and throw it hard, but it sort of backfired on me. The kids got into the act too, and it was so cute to see the little ones trying to catch the ball when they don’t have the motor skills for it yet.
I tell you what, though — Grace is going to sleep well tonight! For five straight hours, she didn’t stop running and chasing and moving and laughing. Hopefully she’ll sleep in, even, giving us a bit of a break!