"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it."
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. And he must have been thinking of folks like Curly and Uncle Juan when he wrote it. Because today, when I got home from a long slog with an overdue writing project, my dear friends had engineered a surprise bar-v-que in my absence. They let themselves in, fed the dogs, and then slaved away for hours on what can only be described as one of the most satisfying summer meals I've ever enjoyed. I don't have the words to express my gratitude, so I'll steal some from the legendary Marcel Proust: "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
"Blossom" is an understatement. With barbequed chikin-style seitan (homemade by Curly, of course), dill potatoes, spicy ginger green beans, grilled sweet corn, onions, and peppers, and a tossed salad of spicy bitter greens, this was a veritable soul explosion. Honestly, I almost cried. Here are some highlights:
Readying the Webber Kettle
Uncle Juan likes to do everything on the grill, no exceptions. So the potatoes and the green beans got their own little foil pockets, while the seitan, corn, peppers, and onions went straight onto the fire.
The Honorable Grill Master UJ Presiding
Barbeque Seitan Crisping Up With Sweet Corn
Curly's barbeque sauce is not something you're gonna forget anytime soon. She brings the heat, and she brings it large. Just look at these triple-slathered seitan cutlets makin' the corn jealous as a valet at a Rolls-Royce convention.
Summertime BVQ Ambience
Nothing like a little fruit of the vine to limber up the ol' palate. Since Unc and Curly handled the food, I got to play sommelier. While the food was cooking, we enjoyed a little Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Valley, and then uncorked a 2005 Lolonis Redwood Valley Zin for dinner. Organic. Vegan. Perfect.
Using Up the Leftover Heat
A good Grill Sergeant never lets the fire go to waste. Uncle Juan pressed the glowing embers into the service of prepping a few halved Trillium Haven eggplants for a fresh batch of Baba Ganouj in the AM. Thank you, friends! This was an unexpected gift that I will never forget!