Actifio Potluck - Summer BBQ

Type of Post: 
Best of Show
Making Lunch

We did it again. The weather forecast was promising, so the VP Engineering surprised us with a shiny new gas grill!

The Software Developers and the QA crew had at it, with a little help from the Technical Writers, Marketing, and two industrious interns. Our CSA share came in that morning, so we had a lot of "raw material" to work with.

This was our biggest pot-luck lunch so far, maybe thanks to the creative energy unleashed by that grill. Some of it was competitive energy, and some was just the joy of sharing something delicious with our friends.

The savories side of the table

We had:

Pineapple Salsa

Brad's Pineapple Salsa, photo by Brad GoodnessThis is a fine accompaniment to Grilled Scallops.

Lemon-Walnut Mayonnaise

Lemon-Walnut MayoI had some egg yolks on hand, so I made this Mayonnaise up to accompany a lot of summer dishes, mostly chicken salad, grilled chicken and white fish, and fresh farmers' market vegetables. It's really good!

This is easy to prepare in an electric mixer. This recipe makes quite a lot!

Sous-Vide Cooking

Type of Post: 
What's on my Plate?

The display on a home-made sous-vide cookerSous-vide cooking is a technique, not a recipe. The principle is to cook a piece of meat slowly at a carefully controlled temperature no higher than the final cooking temperature of the interior of the meat. This results in supremely tender meat.

The steak cooked in the homemade cooker below reached an internal temperature of 131 degrees Fahrenheit after an hour and 53 minutes in the cooker. 

Celery Stew?

 Annette's braised celery, photo by Richmond Talbot

The guests at the party hit the charcuterie hard, but the crudites not so much. When we sorted the debris after the folks had departed, we had a big bag of celery sticks too good to throw out. Annette went into research mode and came up with recipe for celery stew. I have great confidence in her culinary judgment, but celery stew? I shouldn't have worried.

Braised celery is a venerable dish, and essentially that’s what this was. Warm, soft, and flavorful, the celery was no longer a workout for the jaw and was actually closer to comfort food.

Slowly cooked with onion and tomato It made a delicious supper. The recipe Annette found on the web called for pancetta, but being out of that, she substituted bacon. She garnished it with a fried egg, the yolk of which ran down into the mixture like a sauce.

This method is a good use of a bunch of celery that is showing its age. What does it matter if you have a bunch of stalks that are a little limp? They’re only going to get limper when you slow cook them. You get a nice meal and clean out the vegetable drawer.

Now we’re on to the carrots.

Independent Fermentations

Indie Brewer Paul NixonRichmond was dining at the New World Tavern in downtown Plymouth when he learned of the existence of a new brewer in town, and a very talented one at that. He naturally knew who to call to set up an expedition for the coming Friday evening.

Independent Fermentations is a small operation (for now). Brewer Paul Nixon brews an eclectic assortment of seasonal ales in a barn by his home above the sea in Cedarville, near the Cape Cod Canal. 

The Foodie Pilgrim assisting with heavy lifting, Pilgrim-style - photo by Richmond Talbot

IndieFerm (as it's known on Facebook) is a devoted locavore, low-footprint operation. Paul uses locally-grown hops (including his own Cascades and Nuggets, which you can see behind us in this photo) and malt from Valley Malt in Hadley, MA. 

Type of Artisan: 
MA-South Shore/South Coast


A Whiskey HighballA simple cooler for the summer, the Highball is just any spirit served in a tall glass with ice and soda. 

There are many types of highballs, including the venerable Gin and Tonic, the Moscow Mule, the Cuba Libre (and its degenerate cousin the Rum & Coke), all the various Collinses...the list goes on longer than the summer does. 

Made properly, this has only a jigger (an ounce-and-a-half) of liquor and the rest is ice and soda, so it's an easy way to relax on a lazy summer afternoon without getting drunk.

It's not illegal to add a touch of triple sec or other liqueur and a dash of bitters, and then you unlock a whole realm of classic cocktails repurposed as summer coolers!

Pegeen Cocktail

Pegeen Cocktail as made by Oriana at Bubala's in P-town

I invented this for my sister at her request on the occasion of a big birthday. Like her, it is three parts Irish to one part Italian, with a little bitters to balance the natural sweetness...

Her friend Lesli called it a blonde Manhattan, and that's a pretty good description. It's a summer-weight cocktail made with Irish Whiskey and Carpano Bianca Vermouth (that's a bianco vermouth, not a dry or a sweet vermouth).

Hot Summer Night Bread Pudding

Vera's Hot Summer Night Bread Pudding, photo by Vera CarrollThis is a light and refreshing version of the traditional Bread Pudding to enjoy after a summer cookout with family and friends!

Braised Chestnuts

Chestnuts Braised in Beef Stock and Red WineThis easy and delicious Burgundy-style recipe is no trouble at all to prepare. The chestnuts can come from a jar, so it's just a matter of adding stock and wine and braising for a while.

The dish is a fine accompaniment for beef or some savory roast pork dishes, and it is a classic accompaniment for roast goose. 

Of course you could make this with fresh chestnuts, but the chestnuts in a jar work really well. You can get them at Whole Foods and sometimes at Trader Joe's and other high-end grocery stores. I get them at Ed Hyder's Mediterranean Marketplace in Worcester, or at Micucci's in Portland.

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