Follow Me Foodie to Ideas for an Epic Summer BBQ
There’s no denying that I love dining out and trying restaurants. However sometimes the best food comes from your own kitchen or even backyard. It’s something I rarely get to do, but look forward to and embrace when it happens. By the way, the photo above may be a paradise, but the photos below are a foodie’s paradise.
On this occasion, it wasn’t my kitchen, but it was actually the kitchen and backyard of my friends Tanis and Dave. Sometimes there’s just nothing like a BBQ in the suburbs, especially when your backyard is your personal farmer’s market which includes an organic green house, live stock and vegetable garden. In this case, the grocery store route was left to the “beginners” and/or “downtown-ers”.
To recap my Saturday, my friends Tanis and Dave with co-hosts Jay and Coreena, graciously organized an epic summer BBQ that’s certainly worth bragging, no I mean blogging about. I’m going to brag on their behalf because Dave and Jay are not trained chefs, but just truly passionate foodies and cooks. There’s nothing better than having friends that share the same appreciation for good food and are willing to go lengths when it comes to recreating or creating recipes at home.
This post is a bit of a tease, like Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate can be, or just any of their food shows in general. Nonetheless I hope you get inspired to re-create some of these items at your next BBQ. This menu is probably intended for intermediate or expert cooks, but don’t be scared to try it or make your own versions of what you see… or you can always swap some of your non-foodie friends for some foodie friends who can help you out.
So what happens when foodies get together for a BBQ? Well the food can get pretty fancy and there’s definitely never a shortage. So without a hot dog or hamburger in sight (although there’s nothing wrong with those), this BBQ was actually going to feature lots and lots of sandwiches. Huh? Sandwiches?
Yes! But, I’m not just talking about any old sandwich, these are sandwiches that are worth a little spotlight. Actually everything on the table deserved a little lights, camera and action, so that’s what I decided to give it! My eyes lit up as soon as I saw the menu, out came my camera, and Follow Me Foodie was in action.
… then this will also do. There were a lot of things that didn’t require a BBQ, but instead a deep fryer too.
The energy and culinary creativity that flows in a room of foodies is probably one of the best feelings for me. It’s almost like being on a “food high” and you can somehow eat more than you normally could, and then there’s a moment when you start to feel a bit “food drunk”. The food drunk stage happens when you hit your full eating capacity and you start to lose your inhibitions and everything seems dream like. Anyways if you’ve ever hit any of these stages you know exactly what I’m talking about. I certainly hit both stages multiple times throughout the night. I’m hoping to transfer these feelings to you, and by the end of this post, you might just feel it too… now where else are you going to find an interactive food blog like this!?
On the table:
This was the cocktail of the night, and this recipe is per glass.
- 4 raspberries & 1/8th lime muddled
- 1/2 oz simple syrup (Boil 1 cup sugar & 1 cup water until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool)
- 1 oz Rum
- Top with mint water (8 handfuls of mint steeped in boiling water approximately 16 cups and reduce until water is infused
- Add ice, shake, and enjoy!
Avante Farm’s Piri Piri Deviled Eggs with Bacon and Chives. These were possibly the best deviled eggs of my life. The eggs are organic and from their own backyard and the bacon is house made. The Piri Piri sauce is a Portuguese hot sauce similar to the Peri Peri sauce you may have tried at Nando’s.
“Spotted Pig” Inspired Chicken Liver Toast. Spotted Pig is one of New York’s must try restaurants. They’re famous for their Chicken Liver Toasts and this was a recreation of that. It had some smashed capers, mayo and a bit of truffle oil topped with organic micro herbs. This was truly amazing. I started topping my deviled eggs with this pate too. An incredibly rich and indulgent treat.
Fried Chick Peas with Truffle Salt – Campagnolo Restaurant does a great version of these called Crispy Ceci, and I’ve also had something similar at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in San Francisco – see Spicy Fried Chick Peas. I started topping a couple of these on my Chicken Liver Toasts too.
Burrata Cheese with Portuguese Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. One of my favourite soft cheeses. For excellent high quality Burrata, I’d recommend places that offer them as daily specials to ensure freshness. I would try Nook, Tavola, The BiBo and Nicli Antica Pizzeria which have it in stock on occasion. Call ahead to make sure. I actually had a fantastic Burrata Duo Antipasto Platter at Nook featuring a Californian Burrata and an Italian Burrata – see that here.
Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad with Spicy Candied Walnuts, Strawberries, Blueberries and a Poppyseed Vinaigrette – The highlight were the spicy candied walnuts which were deep fried in duck fat (confit) and sprinkled with chipotle seasoning. I feel bad for anyone who thought this was vegetarian, or healthy… but it’s likely they raved about the walnuts being the best part too.
Spicy Blue Cheese Fried Chicken Sandwich – I know, a fried chicken sandwich is exciting, but next to Po’ Boy Sandwiches and an expected Pork Belly Sandwich it kind of got overshadowed. But surprisingly it was my second favourite sandwich of the night. The chicken was crusted with potato flour which gave it a good crunch and the home made rich and creamy blue cheese sauce really did it.
This pork’s belly deserves to be included in my Pork Belly, Bacon & Fatty Meat Series post.
16 Hour Sous Vide, Braised and Deep Fried Pork Belly Steamed Bun (Mantou) Sandwich – inspired by Momofuku’s famous pork belly buns in New York. The Taiwanese originally invented it and have been doing it long before it got popular. You can try the traditional Taiwanese version at Delicious Cuisine – see Taiwanese Steamed Bun Sandwich (Koah Pau)
This was personally my favourite sandwich of the night. I was treating it like a beef dip and dipping it in pork belly and hoisin au jus between every bite. I was really curious how it would work in a deep fried crispy Mantou bun…
Tanis’s Home made Maple Bourbon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Chuck’s Home Made Chocolate Chip Cookies – I didn’t get a picture but we ended up adding strips of bacon to these sandwiches. Crumbling the bacon in the ice cream works as well.
If you want to recreate the recipe use a standard vanilla ice cream recipe (take out the vanilla bean and vanilla extract), add maple syrup and Bourbon according to taste. You may also fry the bacon in the maple syrup and lessen the amount in the ice cream. Allow the bacon to cool, crumble and mix in the ice cream. Another idea I have is to make maple bacon chocolate chip cookies and then just use whatever ice cream you want in the middle.
The desserts also included strawberry cheese cake, pumpkin olive oil cake and a coconut, banana, white chocolate and curry ice cream, which I didn’t get pictures of. Too busy eating. Greasy phone, greasy camera and a BBQ that’s going in the blog as one of the best ever.
Oh wait! You didn’t think it was going to end there did you? You forgot the midnight snacks!… But we didn’t!
Foie Gras Poutine – with cheese curds, home made, hand cut, double fried Kennebec potato fries, seared foie gras, home made smoked bacon, and pork belly au jus and foie gras gravy. This is way worse than any dessert I’ve ever had. So good, but so bad. And of course I couldn’t end on a savoury note, so I had one more bite of a Maple Bourbon Ice Cream Sandwich and called it quits.
Until next year… Bon Appetite!