Tue Jul 19, 2016
I'm a homebody by nature, and The Meatwave is a reflection of that—I prefer to stay at home, cook, and have friends come to me rather than go out. Likewise, my sense of home is strong, making me one not apt to move around, so the fact that this Meatwave represented its second home in less than a year is kind of a big deal for me. The good news behind all the moving is that this is hopefully The Meatwave's forever home, and what better way to warm it than with tons of grilled goodies!
Being only the second week after the big move, I was still in the midst of unpacking and getting settled in, so that led me to fill the menu with items that didn't require large time or energy investments. Quick cooking skirt steak was a great choice in this light and I did this one up in Crying Tiger style—marinated in a soy/oyster sauce and served with a spicy dried chili dipping sauce. This is one of my favorite ways to serve skirt, and actually the third time I've made this dish in the past couple months.
From that jumping off point, I devised an entire Thai-inspired menu. The next thing I grilled up was gai yang—a split chicken with a lemongrass-seasoned paste. I wasn't expecting much from this recipe, but the end results was pretty damn delicious. The chicken was super juicy and the skin had a great garlicky, lemon, and savory flavor that made it awesome.
I made this mu-ping—Thai grilled pork skewers—because it had just about the same list of ingredients as the gai yang, except with the addition of coconut milk. Despite the similarities in recipe, these skewers had their own unique flavor that paired well with the two different sauces I had made for the chicken and steak.
Can't have Thai food without some rice, but I did it up a bit out of the ordinary here. I steamed up a batch of sticky rice, then skewered up balls of rice and grilled them. While cooking, I brushed egg onto the rice, which made for a fantastic side that had the heartiness of rice, but with an extra-crispy exterior that had a nice egg-y flavor (one reason fried rice is so good in my opinion).
Kristin cooked up this udon salad to help fill the gap for the non-meateaters in attendance. With a creamy peanut sauce and topped with crushed peanut and fresh cilantro, it fit in very well into the theme for the day.
Finally, for dessert I made this banana-stuffed sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled. This is actually Vietnamese in origin, but it certainly didn't deviate from the overall spread we had going on. I'm not one for gelatinous desserts or bananas, so this particular dish wasn't for me so much, but my guests loved it.
And those guests included the lovely Lindsey, here with my co-host, Kristin. Both look appropriately prepared for the 90 degree day, something I'm learning to tolerate well here in North Carolina (heat like this would usually force a Meatwave delay back in New York).
Then we have the family Gardner—Steve, Leslie, and Kareena. While Leslie and Steve have quickly become some of closest friends, it was great to finally meet Kareena, who's a brand new Meatwaver.
It's always good to host Meredith and Evan, but this time around they brought their girl Betty in tow, and I have a soft spot for animals. Betty didn't mind the heat, she proved to be a relentless frisbee champ, running and jumping all over the place.
Evan and Meredith also brought along new Meatwavers Gabe, Sarah, and Neko. Great to have new guests, making new friends, in our new house with a tradition that's now 12 years old, giving me a grounding to take comfort in among a sea of changes.