Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gatherin' and Grillin' in the Backyard

Note: Sorry no pictures tonight as I still haven't found my camera's USB cable. I took some lovely pictures and as soon as the replacement arrives, I'll upload them to the post!

One of the things that attracted me to my current apartment was not only the proximity to Long Island Sound but the large backyard with a patio, a chimenea, a large picnic table with seating for eight, and plenty of room for a grill.

It wasn't too soon after the first warm weather of the spring arrived that I purchased a Weber kettle grill and set about hosting my neighbors in monthly get-togethers to throw some meat on the grill and sit around deep into the night chatting over a bottle or two of wine.

On Thursday evening Erica and Chris joined me at our local watering hole for dinner and we started to discuss plans for the weekend. We realized that with all our various crazy schedules we hadn't gotten together for a little grillin' and gossip since the middle of July. So, plans were made and menus discussed with the promise to gather in the back yard around 7pm.

This morning, before heading out to my Sunday morning coffee at Starbucks and then my weekly visit to the Westport Farmer's Market, I found a couple recipes from two of my favorite bloggers, law student Amy from Tart Reform and my fellow old movie maven and Bakeanista, Kelly of Sass and Veracity: Frozen Key Lime Pie and Non-Cowboy Caviar.

As soon as saw them, I knew right away that I was going to have to make them for tonight's backyard gathering. Best of all, I could make both of them with everything I had on hand or from my garden, making them perfect for my Pantry Plan.

Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite desserts and I am lucky to have a good friend whose parents have a key lime tree in their backyard in Florida. While I was away on my business trip, she had her parents send me a box from their tree. So finding Tart Reform's easy and quick recipe couldn't be more perfectly timed. It takes all of 10 minutes to put together but the result is a tangy, zippy and cool dessert; perfect for late summer days.

Kelly's Non-Cowboy Caviar came together almost as quickly. Using tomatoes and cukes from my garden, some black beans and corn from my freezer, and a can of roasted jalapenos and a can of Fiesta tomatoes from the pantry. The only addition that I didn't have was a bag of Garden of Eating Blue Tortilla chips that I found were on sale this week at Stop and Shop for $2.50 a bag.

Combined with the just picked this morning corn on the cob, some large zucchini that I will be stuffing on Wednesday as part of my joining Stephanie in a Wartime Wednesday dinner for friends, and the red onion that went into the Non-Cowboy Caviar I spent just $12.25 for all the fresh veggies and other groceries for the rest of the week.

Best of all, both the Key Lime Pie and the Non-Cowboy Caviar were the hit of the evening along with Chris' brontosaurus garlic pepper steak...

Pantry Plan To Date Grocery Totals:

$63.85 including Farmer's Market, non-home grown vegetables, and dairy/perishable goods