Musing with Max

Musing with Max

July 14, 2011

Dinners with Friends...outdoor edition

When Summer arrives we pretty much move outdoors. After being cooped up in the house all Winter (especially this last one) and on rainy Spring days we can't wait to spend as much time outside as possible, whether it be in the back yard
where we can run around and play

provided someone plays with us

or laying about on the porch because laziness just comes with the territory

and it fits some of us so well

So it just goes to reason that we shall eat outside as much as possible, which reminds me of Europe. Don't ask me why, maybe its all those outdoor cafes and beautiful parks and the fact that they let you drink wine in them. So where should we transport ourselves for this outdoor European dinner, well Portugal of course, and the Algarve where we dined twice outdoors in the lovely gardens of Julio's on the region's specialty: frango piri-piri. Trying to duplicate that idyllic setting is not easy considering they are on the Mediterranean coast and we're in...well, South Orange, NJ (far from the Jersey Shore thank God), so we'll just have to fake it and let our imaginations soar.

(think of sand under your feet and twinkly white lights) Invite some friends over

and serve them some food.

Ensalada de Atun y pimientos del Piquillo (OK I cheated this is Spanish)

One can of roasted piquillo peppers, drained and sliced in strips
One can of Atun (tuna) in olive oil drained
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix the first three ingredients carefully, season with salt & pepper, add olive oil as needed to incorporate the ingredients.
Serve as either a salad or on grilled bread

Fig and Olive Tapenade, a bastardised recipe from this one by the great David Lebovitz
(I used green figs, not dried)

Frango piri-piri

1 medium sized chicken, washed and split lengthwise at the breast bone but not in two
1 cup of piri-piri sauce
a pinch of ground piri piri chiles (can substitute Thai)
a pinch of oregano

After splitting the chicken so it lies flat, flatten as much as possible with a mallet. Place the chicken in a shallow glass pan, season with salt and pour the piri-piri sauce over it. Marinate covered in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Remove the chicken and sprinkle with some ground piri-piri and oregano. Grill.

Chop the chicken in pieces and serve. Traditionally it is served over a plain salad of lettuce onions and tomatoes and french fries which I cheated and made in the oven because I didn't want to be frying away while everyone was having a good time

For dessert I wanted to serve Portugal's greatest invention, Pasteis de Nata

which I unfortunately didn't have time to either make or run out and buy at the last minute ( you shouldn't buy them days ahead, which I could have done, they dry up which is criminal) so instead we settled for grilled plums in syrup adapted from this hilarious post from Scarletta Bakes. I left out the tostadas and put a dollop of Ricotta cheese instead. They were a big hit, especially the syrup (you know who you are!)

...and Max, he got NO leftovers and behaved like a perfect little gentleman

Ahem. Hopefully memories are short.

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