The threats and warnings of the “Fury” and strength of the approaching El Nino has, so far, failed to materialize in Southern California. A week and a half ago we were seeing colder than normal temperatures in the mid-50’s followed by last weekend’s mid to high 70’s and then this week’s high 80’s to mid 90’s. I had barely gotten the dust off of my boots & sweaters and had to dig my spring clothes back out to keep from sweating my ass off while visiting customers this week!
I am neither gloating or complaining, I would just really like the weather to make a decision. I have a great fireplace in the living room (and another one out by the BBQ island), but it just hasn’t been cold enough to justify lighting them. In fact, it’s been so warm and sunny that I turned the heater back on in the pool and invited a single girlfriend & her kids over to catch some rays and barbeque by the pool for Valentine’s Day.
Instead of making reservations for brunch we put together a menu that would need minimal prep, have no gluten and be able to be cooked & served in the backyard.
Backyard Bloody Marys:
- Pour 1 1/2 to 2 ounces Tito’s or Smirnoff 21 Vodka (both are Gluten Free) into a glass (or in this case, red Solo cup) filled with ice
- Fill the rest of the cup up with a homemade mix comprised of: Low Sodium V-8, a splash or two of juice from a jar of martini olives, a dash of your favorite hot sauce (we used Frank’s Red Hot), a dash or two of Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce, a bit of fresh-full strength horseradish, an a dash of A-1 Steak Sauce.
- Garnished with a slice of crisp bacon, a stalk of celery, a peeled mini carrot, a thick ring of red bell pepper, and a skewer with sweet peppers, onions, and pepperocini
The BBQ was kept busy with:
- Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos Stuffed With Herbed Cream Cheese
- Grilled Asparagus Spears
- Grilled Portobello Mushroom Slices
- Giant Fresh Water Shrimp w/Guy Fieri’s Smoky & Sweet Kansas City BBQ Sauce
- Spicy Italian Sausage Links
- Chicken Breasts Marinated in Scallion Oil Dressing (from The Restaurant at Ponte Winery)
Two simple side dishes allowed us to spend a couple of hours absorbing some natural Vitamin D, courtesy of our friend The Sun!
- A salad of sliced English cucumber, halved plum tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, 2 TBLS light sour cream, a dash or two red wine vinegar, freshly ground pepper and some garlic salt
- Chunks of cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and pineapple, thinly sliced Kiwi, fresh blueberries and a few whole strawberries
All in all a great day!
Weather forecasters promise that we will still be seeing the long promised “Godzilla” rain storms of El Nino, the storms are just taking their sweet time. Weather experts are “expecting a conveyor belt of squalls to enter stage left in late February and continue through March, possibly into April. This is a month or so later than original predictions for heavy rains.” In the meantime I will enjoy a few more days with the top down on my car and the ability to tan myself back from the brink of pale-dom before I have to hunker down in sweaters and rain boots.
Are you on Facebook? You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood