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Hot Summer in the City: Grilled Daurade

So, while I’m currently in Charlotte, NC, for a conference–and managing to enjoy quite a few tasty meals inbetwixt thrilling work stuff–I want to reach back a few weekends ago to a trip Mr. T and I made to visit some friends in the City.

Though our hosts were literally in the midst of moving into their fabulous new home, they managed to shoehorn us all into their very busy schedules and not only did we squeeze in some serious beach time, we also cooked up a simple but mindbendingly gorgeous meal in their brand-new (still totally empty) kitchen.

And, while I am generally thrilled to cook FOR people, rare is the person I can cook WITH. Though I don’t really know him all that well, sadly, I quickly cottoned to the fact that Chef M was someone I’d probably be quite happy to sous for. A rare occurence indeed, as I generally just steamroller people out of their own kitchens. It’s for their own good, really… Shortly after reporting for duty, though, I found that I’d been right, and we fell into a companionable rythm while trimming up a seemingly endless parade of prickly, pain-in-the-arse artichokes.

With the mere handful of of basics from their old kitchen and a few Fresh Direct boxes, Chef M worked wonders–grilled daurade (aka sea bream, aka orata, aka dorata, etc.) along with lots of cold white, those damned grilled artichoke hearts (whose arduous prep was in stark contrast to the easy-breezy fish), and a lush green salad. We finished everything off with peaches and strawberries tossed with a little sugar and a good splash of that cold white–a perfect end to a hot night in the city.

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Smoky Spicy Pork Ribs: Perfect for Campying

So, I went camping this weekend. Well, campying is the technical–and more accurate–term, I suppose. (Campying = the usual hiking, boozing, card-playing, and sleeping in tents with snappier than usual repartee and impromptu pop sing-a-longs.) This trip was brought to you by bourbon and the letter L (LaRoux and Lady Gaga). And, as with most such engagements–whether camping or campying–I was granted full menu control. (Bwahahahaha…)

Having come to the whole cooking outdoors thing as a fancypants adult (no Boy Scouts for me, thanks so much), I had no experience or expectations when I first started packing up the coolers for camping weekends several years ago. I just assumed that everyone threw charcoal briquets into their fires–ain’t no way this fruit is cooking on wood alone–and that since we had a car, we should avail ourselves of all possible opportunities to bring real food and not freeze dried nonsense suitable for astronauts and serious adventurers.  As a result, we tend to eat rawther well despite only having a NPS-grade fire ring at our disposal.

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