Hello Again & Pink Pickled Onions

I think it’s about time to start posting again, don’t you? 😉

The summer is nearly over. I’ve hung sparkly fall leaves on our doors, supermarkets are roasting chiles, the monsoons have weakened.

Gold leaf

I will post sometime soon about my second job, as a vet tech/”customer service representative.” It is maybe my main reason for lack of posting since late January, when I started. For the most part, the past months have been tiring and steady: a lot of work, housekeeping and dog-relaxing – with occasional bouts of boozing and potato chip eating and lonesomeness (if I’m being completely honest).

Lately, Andrew has been preparing to race on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. As far as I can tell, this desire was spurred within him by the movie, The World’s Fastest Indian. It is a sweet, inspiring movie about an old, funny man who is a mechanical genius with a dream. I was, at first, reluctant to watch an inspirational motorcycle movie. But it is a good movie. Sort of like Rudy – you don’t have to be a football/ motorcycle fan to appreciate and be affected by the story.

Apparently, motorcycles need to be equipped with certain… equipment to ride in the Bonneville races. Andrew rides a classic 1974 BMW and has, since March, devoted a whole lot of time to restoring it.  As far as I can tell, “restoring” it means he took the entire thing apart, cleaned all the pieces and is now putting it back together. Since the race is at the end of August, these last couple weeks he has been at his shop until midnight or later, near every day.

So this Saturday, Andrew invited all his buddies over for a Thank You BBQ. A lot of mechanically-inclined friends have helped during the motorcycle restoration and they definitely deserved to be hosted, wined and dined, etc. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with being a host. I love the idea of a well-planned and thoroughly enjoyed party. I like being generous to people, letting them relax in a space prepared just for them: giving them food, tunes, conversation. But I also don’t entirely like socializing with a whole group of people AND managing the party planning. It wears me out quickly… but I set out to do my best. (Yes, I realize how Great Gatsby-ish this makes me sound.)

We decided on light Mexican fare: carne asada on the grill for tacos, with all the fixings. I tried out a marinade for flank steak a couple weeks ago and it was a hit with Andrew, so we used the same recipe for our guests. (You can find the recipe here.) I also had a list of three things I wanted to prepare: pickled onions to compliment the meat, simple Mexican pinto beans, and berry sangria.

The sangria and the pickled onions came out yummy. The beans… not so much. Despite putting them in the crockpot at 9 A.M., they weren’t soft enough to eat even by midnight, when people were leaving. Oops. I’ll have to try a different recipe next time.

Even without beans, the party was great – easy, happy, pretty. We actually had enough seating. It was a warm night for August, but when the sun set it was cool enough to light a fire in our chimnea.  The youngest guest, a boy about 4 years old, particularly enjoyed the fire and roasting sticks. If I had remembered more about kids, I would have made sure to have marshmallows on hand.

I do want to share the pickled onion recipe, since it is something I’ve never made before and is quite unique. I didn’t take pictures of the process since I wasn’t thinking about blogging when I did it, but here are a couple pics of the result:

I used a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, the Kitchn: Quick Pickled Red Onions – with some of my own additions. For the spices, I used 1 clove of garlic, halved; 5 allspice berries; 5 black peppercorns; a few small dried chiles; salt and sugar. Oh, and a bay leaf – because you always need a bay leaf, right? If you love pickled things (I do!), I encourage you to try this easy recipe. It’s a nice addition to tacos, or cheese sandwiches, or right out of the jar; the onions turn a translucent true pink and taste sour with a hint of sweetness.

I admit, I went to bed before the party was over 🙂 Mesa was locked away in our bedroom because of her ferocious barking and I went in to check on her… and never came out.  But it was kind of perfect that way, for me.  (Though not entirely polite. Woops, again.)


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