Grillin’ Weather

After being up holed up inside from 7-3pm, I was surprised to walk outdoors in my winter coat and discover it was a balmy 62 degrees, even though it had just snowed two days ago! Welcome to Wisconsin. You know you’ve lived in Wisconsin when you have used both the heater and air conditioner in your car on the same day.

After work, I came home and chatted with Dave a few minutes, and we both decided it was necessary to take advantage of the beautiful weather and grill out. (I can even officially say “It’s the first grill out of the year!” because the last time we grilled out was New Year’s Eve, and I’m certain Dave was done before midnight).

But first, exercise! I did Level 1 of Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown shortly after I returned home from work. The chatarunga push-ups seemed a little bit easier, but my left elbow still twinged a bit towards the end. Regardless, I felt as though I noticed my body getting stronger. My yoga necessities: the mat my mom bought me for a gift a few years ago and some awesome yoga socks my sister’s boyfriend Christopher gave me this past holiday season. I’ve always had the trouble of my feet and hands sliding on my mat, and these grippy socks work out perfectly.

Gaiam is the way to go!

We had already planned to do a cook-out at my parents on Sunday, since it’s supposed to be lovely again, so while I yoga’ed it up, Dave set to work making some potato buns for veggie burgers my Mom is whipping up.

Afterwards, we trekked to Fleet Farm for a new plastic BPA-free water bottle for me and a pepper grinder. We have an awesome granite mortar and pestle that we use quite frequently, but when we just want a scoche of pepper on something, it’s kind of annoying to grind up a few peppercorns and try to scrape it out. So we got a shiny new wooden pepper grinder that I used almost immediately upon arriving home.

After Fleet Farm, we headed to Festival, where we got a whole Amish chicken for the grill. Preparing a whole chicken intimidates me beyond belief, especially since I generally stick with veggie main-courses when I cook by myself, but luckily Dave is always up to the task, armed with Alton Brown’s best methods. Both Dave and AB are quite handy men.

Cutting the backbone

For the side, I cut up two sweet potatoes and an onion and tossed them in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper for the salad.

For the salad dressing, I mixed up some minced garlic, yogurt, honey, rice wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I also made a marinade for the chicken with low sugar Marmalade, Rosemary, Marjoram, and Za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice consisting of roasted thyme, sesame, sumac, and other spices–I found this at Woodman’s last year and love it). I dipped my finger in the marinade and it was delicious, so hopefully some will stick on the chicken!

Everything on the grill:

Chicken always goes skin-side down on the grill: it prevents the chicken from burning and keeps in all the tasty juices.

While we were waiting for what seemed like forever for the food to cook (probably because I was hungry), I sipped on a gin and club soda with a splash of tonic and lime. Followed by a mocktail of club soda and tonic with a splash of lime.

Everything tastes better in a Guinness glass.

Dave couldn’t resist taking a photo of the beautiful chicken and of himself:

I was so hungry that I finally ate an appetizer at a little after 8, because Dave said, after my continuous groaning, “Just eat a pickled egg!” I think he was probably tired of hearing me complain. 😀

Finally, at 8:30….FOOD!

Dave's portion on the left, mine on the right.

This was perfect for our first grill-out of the year. The chicken was incredibly tender and juicy from cooking slowly, and the marinade imbibed it with wonderful orange-rosemary flavor. The dressing on the sweet potato salad was also quite good. Well worth waiting for. Right after dinner, Dave immediately removed the rest of the chicken from the bone to make soup stock. So resourceful!

He has run to get us a special treat while we finish Gladiator…this treat will deserve a post of its own, so I’m signing off for now.

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