Palm Sunday Grilling

Palm Sunday has mostly clerical traditions over here in Austria, a country with a noticeable catholic majority, though the nonbelievers are catching up. Typically kids take ‘palm twigs’ (willow catkin) to church and get them blessed and not much more. Also the palm weekend is the start of local school holidays and people in Vienna flock to the countryside like crazy.

With this background, we are getting to our friend, who has been ‘domesticated’ recently. The Greek, as we’ll call him though he has no blood line to this beautiful country, has always been a wild one and one of the last holdouts about marriage or fixed relationships. However a few years back one of his earlier infatuations, the one he never had any real thing going with, became divorced and he jumped in to help and emotionally stabilize her. Thus he got a nice step family and became a replacement dad.

As he has to work this week and the girls are in the country side, he’s returning to his primordial male lifestyle. Going out with friends, playing computer games until after midnight, guzzling humongous amounts of beer, eating unhealthy and abundantly, and so on… To help him in his temporary ‘misery’ – and to make sure for one day he would not eat nothing but junk food, we decided to invite him over. Why not start a new tradition, a Palm Sunday barbecue?

The weather is beautiful, lot’s of sun, few clouds, temperature around 20C (70F) and thanks to daylight saving time it doesn’t get dark until 8pm. Ideal weather to roll out the Webber gas grill and get broiling. It was easy to decide on the meat – chicken is very, very affordable right now while chicken flu hysteria is raging on. At the same time it’s of good quality and better controlled for health than anytime else. So we had to decide which style to prepare things today. We considered some North African and Caribbean and then, thinking of Normita and Lucito, settled for Mexican.

As Normita was attending a family party yesterday we had no chance to ask her advice, but thanks to the web and some fine cooking books we found our way to – hopefully – proper recipes… though I’m sure that Normita will provide some fine tuning, refinements and corrections eventually. So this is what we decided on, with a little explanation on why:

Appetizer: We would have loved to try Lucito’s Volcano-recipe alas we ran out of refritos so this has to wait for another time. Thus we’ll settle for grilled quesadillas. The recipe we found sounds delicious though a tad risky as it mentions that they go up in flames easily. We’ll see.

Main course: Both Aglaja and I love the taste of chipotle, the smoked jalapeno peppers. Unfortunately they are hard to come by over here. While it’s too early to use homegrown jalapenos and smoke them – the plants are just starting to bloom – the canned variety is very nice and, for the adobo marinade we intend to make, even better. The marinade will add a lot of spice to the outer crust and provide a wonderful smoky flavor even on a gas grill. To enhance the smoky taste we’ll add some mesquite chips in an aluminum foil pouch.

Sides: The Adobo is pretty spicy; I tried it while it’s cooling. Thus we’ll have a rather mild salsa on the side, a guacamole recipe from Oaxaca that has no tomatoes in it but a little spice from jalapenos – we’re using our own, harvested last year, cut in thin slices and frozen. We’ll also serve some corn tortillas, admittedly frozen ones, but at least they are really from México. I checked and we have both in the freezer, regular yellow-orange colored ones and my favorites, the blue ones.  I might also to a freshly prepared Salsa Verde if I’m ambitious. I have a recipe I wanted to try for quite a while. We’ll see. (Ed. I’m pouting because he didn’t try the recipe we posted in the last weeks)

As for desert, let’s see if we still are able to eat by then. I was thinking about frozen Margaritas or something with pineapples. Or we will just finish it off with a few shots of Tequila. That reminds me of the beverages and I have to admit, I’m a sucker for Mexican beer, especially Bohemia. Aglaja prefers white wine so we’ll see what we can find that’s up to the challenge. We’ll report back soon with the results and recipes, provided all turns out as planned. Cheers from the pit in Vienna, saluting all reader with my grilling prongs.


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