Like most holiday weekends, this one started out in the smoker. 8 pounds of wings were smoked down into spicy goodness.
Since I've gone over the basic recipe previously, I won't re-hash it again- except to say that the smoking makes it even better.
The wine was a special bottle shared by my father, who received it hand-carried by a friend from Italy. The Tenuta Dell Abate Giffaro 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah is one of those powerful, muscular wines that held an enjoyable balance of fruit and earth. Loamy, berry-filled goodness that stood up nicely to the fire and spice swirling about.
After that barrage of fire, spice, and fruit, it was time to tone things down with a little palate cleanser. Fresh strawberries were whirled through the food processor, along with sugar and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, before hitting the ice cream maker, then the freezer.
The strawberry flavor shone cleanly through, proving that sometimes it really is best to end the night on a light, bright note.
But the party didn't stop here. While DucCat and I have grown quite comfortable with hosting duties, we couldn't turn down an invitation the following evening at a friend's house. With promises of fresh crab, killer food, and the cacophony of fireworks exploding in the air, how could we say no?
We began with a hearty chili dip, deep in flavour, and complemented by crunchy blue corn chips.
The celebration continued with a wonderfully bright and fresh strawberry salad.
As for the rest of the meal, I'm really not sure what I liked best...
...was it the succulent, crispy soft shell crabs-
...or perhaps the largest and meatiest Alaskan Kinig crab legs I've ever witnessed.
Really, it's too close to call.
But, if I have to settle on something, it would be the perfect strawberries that just seem to keep popping up at this time of year.
Yeah, that's the good stuff.
Fresh Strawberry Sorbet
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 quart strawberries, cleaned and hulled
lemon juice, to taste
Grand Marnier (optional)
Combine water and sugar in small saucepan on stove over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, stirring so sugar dissolves, and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, puree the strawberries in a food processor until smooth, then press through a sieve to remove seeds/pulp.
Add half the sugar syrup to the puree, along with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Taste, and continue adding until you've reached the proper balance of sweet and tart.
If you like, throw in a bit of Grand Marnier as well.
Process according to your ice cream maker's instructions.