Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today's fortune: July 16, 2011 - PHOTO ESSAY

Today's fortune: You have a heart of gold.

When you attend a male-dominated Carnivore Party, it's not a good idea to bring up the fact that a fortune cookie is telling you that you have a heart of gold. The fellas tend to ridicule you.

But that's okay. I displayed a heart of gold anyway. This morning, as Jamie was sleeping, I snuck out of the house and bought donuts and some herbivore-friendly items for Jamie to eat at the Carnivore Party (unfortunately, her back is still tender, so she stayed home). That was pretty golden-hearted of me.

My brother Marty - who also has a heart of gold - has been planning a Carnivore Party for months, and today it finally happened. The rules were simple: everyone attending had to bring some kind of meat that could be made outside on the grill. Vegetables were begrudgingly welcome, but only as an afterthought to the meat. Then we spent the (thankfully) breezy and relatively cool afernoon cooking over open flames.


Everything cooked was added to a list, which by the end of the day looked like a restaurant menu in Man Heaven.

Everybody also brought sauces, marinades and rubs, and the selection was a bit overwhelming.

My contribution to the party was Marinated Buffalo Chicken Strips, which is exactly what it sounds like: chicken strips marinated in buffalo sauce. Since I have such a golden heart, I'll even give you the recipe for the sauce: 1 cup melted butter, 1 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce (or a little more if you want it spicy), a couple teaspoons of vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. I marinated the strips in the sauce overnight. Here's what they looked like on the grill:

And the finished product, which I served with bleu cheese dressing:

My brother came up with a brilliant idea to incorporate this blog into the Carnivore Party. He had an interesting thought for coating some chicken with this:

Yeah, that's crushed-up fortune cookies. We dredged the chicken in an egg-and-milk mixture and coated them in the cookie crumbs.

The general opinion was that they might have been better pan-fried, but since this was an outdoor cooking fiesta, they worked just as well on the grill, and they looked pretty good when they came off.

Here's a picture of me eating the first-ever (to our knowledge) piece of Fortune Cookie Chicken.

And you know what? It was pretty damn good. The sweetness of the cookies added a nice mild zest to the chicken. I'd like to make it again - maybe pan-frying it the next time.

Everybody got in on the grilling action, including my dad, who made his famous grilled pork chops basted with honey mustard barbecue sauce.

Later in the afternoon, my brother's best friend Lee produced a styrofoam cup from Marty's freezer. Inside the cup were six dead cicadas. Lee was planning to grill them, and he surprisingly found five other brave souls to try them as well. Of course, I was one of them.

Lee and one of the bugs.

We de-winged the creatures and dipped them in egg wash before coating them each in a different kind of rub. To keep them from falling through the grill, we placed them on a sheet of aluminum foil. After they came off the heat, they looked like this:

I ate the one in the upper right. And just so you don't think I'm lying, a video exists. I will upload it to this blog at a later date.

The cicada was better than I expected. The flavor was actually pretty good. But there were two major problems which will probably prevent me from ever eating a cicada again. One, when I bit into the bug, his innards sprayed into my mouth, which was quite disgusting. Two, the bug's exoskeleton was inedible. I should have shucked it like a boiled shrimp before eating it.

All in all, it was a hell of a party. My gut is full of meat, and I'm back home now with my wife. After a crazy day, I can reflect on today's fortune. "You have a heart of gold." It's a nice thing to hear. Sometimes I feel like my golden heart is tarnished, and sometimes I believe it's only fool's gold. But then my wife, who is worried that I may have gotten too much sun today, brings me a bottle of water and rubs my back and shows me what a real heart of gold looks like. And my own golden heart glistens, because I want to be a better person for her.

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