Friday, August 03, 2007

Finally, A Party

This Summer has flown by. I mean, it's August 3. Middle Child starts school in less than three weeks. It seems like The Saint has just finished school herself. That graduate course on Shakespeare went more than halfway into July. The Saint earned an A, but I'm sure you've already guessed that.

I'm too tired for a transitional paragraph.

It's 98 degrees outside and our air conditioner is overworked. Tomorrow, we need to install the backup. It used to be in Daughter's room, but water leaked from it through our bathroom ceiling. We think it'll fit nicely in the den.

Again, fatigue prevents a proper transition. That whole thing about the air conditioner, it's relevant because:

Summer cookout season is finally in full swing. We have this group of five couples who all had kids in Middle Child's kindergarten class. Then those same five kids all played baseball together for two seasons. Two years ago, we started having Saturday cookouts, rotating among all the houses. Pretty soon, it was a good-natured competition, every host trying to wow the guests.

This is our third Summer, and we're still rolling along. We all started late this Summer. The Saint had that course, and the kids went away for Grandchildren's Week, and then we had to retrain them. In the middle of this, the Saint and I decided to put in a new bathroom. Have I mentioned that we only have one bathroom? We have very forgiving neighbors, and we also went to the gym at some very strange hours. But now we can show off a new room. Yeah, it's the bathroom, but it's still new.

So now that we have a new bathroom, we're hosting a Summer cookout.

I just made my Velvet Hammer Peach Sangria. It has wine, cognac, peach schnapps, triple sec, fruit juice, fresh peaches and berries. Drink it over ice on a hot day and it tastes like a spritzer, or maybe fruit punch, hence the velvet hammer appellation.

Best Man and Godfather may find this blasphemous, but I used white wine this time, not red. I sacrificed the richness of a red for the lightness of a white. The temperature is supposed to keep climbing tomorrow, and with the heat index, we'll be well into triple digits. The white stuff will taste better.

On the menu as well: jambalaya. I learned the recipe from a dear friend in college who grew up in New Orleans. I served as his sous chef on several batches of collegiate jambalaya. I also traveled to New Orleans with him, twice (and twice more on my own), sampling various delicacies. This version has ham, chicken, andouille sausage, two kinds of smoked sausage, and shrimp. Sometimes I add crawfish and smoked oysters.

There's a little cayenne pepper, and the andouille sausage is spicy, but other than that, I haven't turned up the heat. It's not really kid food, but I don't want those with bland palates (yeah, you know who you are) to have to recalibrate them. As a bonus, if any of the kids do decide to try it, it's free of all allergens. No nuts, no dairy, no eggs.

I've spent the last few hours chopping cured animal products, cubing fowl and peeling crustaceans. When I thought the worst was over, I minced the two largest onions I have ever seen (together, they were bigger than Rhode Island) and then hacked my hands to pieces when I was supposed to be dicing bell peppers (one green, one red, one yellow and one orange because I wanted all the pretty colors). My hands hurt so much I almost yearned for the bad old days of lawn mowing, but Oldest Son took care of that this evening.

Yes, we'll also have traditional cookout fare like hot dogs, burgers and steak tips. But it's our first party in a while, and I was feeling ambitious. I am exhausted. I'd like to edit a few chapters of my novel, but that new bathroom I mentioned? It needs cleaning.

We have a few neighbors joining us, too. I know he's in Montana, but I'm hoping that the Great and Gifted Jamie Ford drops in, with news. Check the comment section on my last post if you're wondering what news I mean.

I also got a new speaker system for my iPod for my birthday, which means there will be tunes. Thankfully, my Manuscript-Necessitated Bruce Exile is solidly in the rear-view mirror. I believe my Fenway bootleg will be getting a workout tomorrow afternoon.

Come on by. We'll have plenty of beer, food and sangria. Don't say I never warned you about the velvet hammer.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Adam,
Just wanted to let you know that your Jumbalaya ROCKED!!!!! It was the best I have ever had. The party was a blast as well. I am looking forward to the next one at the Malloy's. See you soon...Michelle

11:54 AM, August 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sooooo happy that you are a good cook and that you enjoy it too. Wish we could have been there!!!
Keep chopping!!

4:05 PM, August 06, 2007  
Blogger Dana said...

Now you've made me hungry. I can't believe summer's almost over.

10:03 AM, August 09, 2007  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

It's not over until the kids are back in school, Dana.

Oh, wait. Middle Child starts school in less than two weeks.

Never mind. Summer is almost over.

10:16 AM, August 09, 2007  

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