The June Cookout
Well, Sunday’s cookout at Sylvia Grinnell Park turned out far better than I expected given the nasty weather the day before and an unfortunate turn of events with the chicken I planned to do on the barbecue. The day actually dawned pretty nicely, as it turned out, although there was a brutal wind in the park which made the cooking just a little bit tricky.
Still, the view from the rocky heights where we had our feast was pretty darn gorgeous. Somewhere, under all the ice you see in the picture above, lies the Sylvia Grinnell River (although it is considerably narrower than the valley would suggest). In about a month from now, all the ice will be gone and people will be fishing for Arctic Char in the swift-moving waters…
My wife arranged for the use of the pavilion you see pictured here. If you look closely, you can make out the mammoth propane barbecue I got to use hidden just behind the railings. My wife’s business colleagues (or CIA co-conspirators, depending on which story you believe) arrived just after I did, and went for a quick little hike whilst I tended to the grub.
Here is the view I had while slaving away at the grill. As I mentioned, there was a god-awful wind blowing from just the right direction so as to sweep across the top of the barbecue. It made it darned difficult to keep the heat just right and necessitated constant opening and closing of the grill covers to balance things out. Fortunately, a flash of prescience which some (well, me) would call genius, gave me the foresight to pre-cook some of the food ahead of time so that it only needed a brief browning on the grill.
One of the international assassins IBM representatives didn’t eat meat so we had a nice Char to cook as well. This one was actually caught in the Sylvia Grinnell by a friend of ours last September. I was a little worried that it might be freezer burned but it turned out to be just fine. I forgot to take a picture of the fish after it came off the grill, but here you can see it ready for cooking. I stuffed the cavity with Leek and Lemon slices (my wife’s idea) and then pre-baked it in foil for about 45 minutes the night before the cookout.
In lieu of the ‘dodgy’ chicken I had to throw out, I whipped up some pork skewers as a quick change of menu plan. You can see four of them cooking here… I marinated them overnight with basically the same ingredients as I did for my Cardamom Lemon Chicken except that I also added some yoghurt to the mix. Again, as with the char, I pre-baked these very briefly just to get them started before finishing over open flame. I was worried about these but they actually turned out very nicely and were my favorite.
I also did up about a dozen skewers of fresh shrimp that were pre-marinated in garlic, mirin and a little soy. I didn’t pre-cook these but I did leave the shells on as this helps keep the meat nicely sweet and tender.
It would have been nice to eat outside were it not for the wind but, fortunately, things were nice and comfortable inside the pavilion. Here you can see the feast laid out (and partly attacked already). In addition to the cooked items, I made a pasta salad (my first, I think) and my wife put together two different green salads which were very good. One of the attendees (my wife’s co-worker who lives here in Iqaluit) brought some home-made cookies that were excellent. They actually had bit of potato chips cooked into the dough which sounds unusual but was very good.
Anyway, the afternoon went of without a hitch or accidental poisonings. The IBM team is apparently here (according to their cover story) to sponsor a computer camp for kids that is being run by my wife. I have again been dragooned into cooking (for these alleged children) and by noon today I am expected to have ready a humongous vat of Mac ‘n’ Cheese, as well as a large pot of wieners. I will spare you all any further pictures of that culinary effort…