Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Epic Weekend + Rosemary Garlic Bread on the Grill

As you may remember, last week was a busy one! I was SO thankful for Friday to come to relax and recharge!

Fortunately, I had plans to do just that! My sister and her husband spent the weekend at our house and we had an epic weekend planned.

Why so epic? Were we going to some amazing concert/vacation/movie/restaurant?

Actually, we planned to stay at home most of the weekend.

We grew up in a family who loves two things - food and games. We both inherited these interests as we became adults, so game nights with food involved is just how we get down. This is even more fun during the summer when games can be played outside.

Saturday, B and I left them for a little while in the morning to head out for our usual run. I ran 5 miles, and B opted to do 10. We both plan to train for half marathons in the fall, but I want to wait until I reach my 30 minute 5K goal before I move on to longer distances.

When we got back, I popped this overnight French toast in the oven, also popped some bacon in the oven (I always do bacon in the oven - so much easier! Here's how.), and cut up some fruit. Once it was ready, we enjoyed a fabulous brunch on the patio!

And then...the sleepiness set in. That is, it did for B. I'll give him credit though, he ran 10 miles that morning. After brunch, not only did he pass out, but Coco decided to sprawl out on the floor and take a nap, too.

I don't know what her excuse was. Her exercise up to that point involved eating and hopping on the couch so that someone would pet her.

While he was sleeping, my sister and I, being eager and productive, went outside in 90 degree weather to install the new light set I'd purchased for the patio umbrella.

That's okay guys, we got this!

Or maybe we don't...

We had no idea what we were in for. This "simple task" involved removing the umbrella and setting it upside down on the ground, attaching clips to the poles with zip ties, and clipping the cords of lights on the poles. The only problem...the zip ties were too small to fit around the poles.

Leave it to us to save the day! We had just the creativity and ingenuity to solve it!

We ended up using an old jewelry making wire I had lying around to attach the clips to the poles.  We had to attach 5 clips for each of the 6 poles, then go back and insert the cords of lights into the clips and snap the clips shut. All in sunny, 90 degree weather, sitting the umbrella upside down on the ground in the backyard. It took almost two hours.

The finished result!

Later that evening, I prepared for a fun dinner and evening outside. I created a chipotle orange glaze (from the June 2013 Real Simple issue) to be served with chicken breasts, prepared a foil packet of red potatoes and veggies to grill, and prepared a rosemary garlic herbed butter so that I could toast garlic bread on the grill.

On a side note, when I announced I was going to make chipotle orange glazed chicken, B had a less than enthusiastic response, despite the fact that he loved it the last time I'd made it. I guess he was hoping for burgers. Either way, I gave him a hard time the rest of the evening.

Once temperatures cooled off, we headed to the backyard to get the evening started. I placed the foil packet of veggies on the grill on low, and we played about 3 games of cornhole (or bean bag toss - whatever name you can handle).

There, I said it. The blog is now PG-13. Whoa. 

Once we were done playing, I turned the heat on the right two burners to medium and grilled the chicken with the glaze. In the last 5 minutes, I added the herb buttered bread to the top rack of the grill to toast.

Voila! Fun and easy dinner outside! (And B was happy with the chicken)

Thanks to our handy umbrella light installation, we enjoyed our dinner in a pretty, well-lit space, and spent the rest of the evening out on the patio playing cards.

Games = Success. Food = Success. I call that a win.

While all of the food went over well, everyone especially raved about the bread. Often, when grilling outside, it's easy to identify a main course (in this case chicken), but what do you serve with it? Do you fix veggies and other side dishes inside, therefore running back and forth between the grill and the oven?

I think that's really annoying.

So what side dishes can you fix on the grill? A lot of things, but here's a good one. A couple of years ago, a blogger, GrillGrrl, came to town and was featured in our local newspaper. She shared a technique of using the grill to toast bread on the grill while your other food is grilling. She had a great recipe for a basil butter (which was delicious), but this weekend I made my own variation with rosemary and one of my favorite spice blends I get at the grocery store. It was SUPER easy.

Rosemary Garlic Herbed Bread on the Grill

I used:

1 loaf of French or Italian bread (I used a loaf of artisan roasted garlic bread from Kroger)
1/2 cup, or a stick of real unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp. Weber Garlic and Herb blend (in the spice section at the grocery store - I tried it a few years ago with a coupon, and I keep using it as it's tasty and contains natural ingredients)
2-3 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (I guestimated, I probably used 2.5 tbsp.)

Here's how I did it:

  1. Stir the rosemary and garlic and herb blend into the butter
  2. Cut the bread into 1 - 1 1/2 inch slices
  3. Spread the herb butter blend on the bread
  4. Place the bread on the top rack of the grill (or on the main part of the grill on low heat) and grill until it starts to brown - about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Turn over if desired and grill a few more minutes (I didn't because we liked it soft on top, crunchy on the bottom)
The result: buttery, herbed crispy bread that was easy, quick, grilled at the same time as the other dishes, and was a huge hit!

The entire loaf should provide 10-12 slices, depending on thickness.

So that was my epic weekend. At home. Doing very few productive things (other than the umbrella lights).

What do you do to relax and recharge on a summer weekend? Do you have any grilling favorites?


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1 comment :

  1. This looks yummy! Thanks for sharing. Glad you had a nice relaxing weekend to recharge.