Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feels like friday on a tuesday night......

Ahhhh the sweet taste of success! After days (well, weeks) of lackluster meals and uninspired recipes, I finally stepped up my A game. Half carnivorous and half vegetarian, this meal put me in heaven. These heavenly feelings could have been brought about by the dinner location rather than the food.... but no matter, it was a relaxing and peaceful evening nonetheless. I can't really take all of the credit, because Tom had the simply brilliant idea to pack a picnic of the dishes I had been preparing and grill out at Red Top Mountain State Park. We've been thinking of getting married there, and decided to check it out and then sit by the lake and feast. What was on the menu? Cream Cheese Jalapeno Burgers and Summer Barley Salad.

The burgers were quite simple. I bought two pounds of lean ground chuck, two packages of neufchatel cheese and a can of jalapenos. I mixed the chopped jalapenos (we used mild but could easily have handled more spice) with the cream cheese and set the mixture aside. The meat was formed into thin patties (make two times more patties than the number of burgers that you want - I promise this will become more clear in about three seconds). Form a yummy goodness sandwich with a patty on the bottom, the cream cheese mixture in the middle and another patty on top. With the cream cheese safely inside, pinch the patties together on the outside to keep the cream cheese from oozing out while cooking (we got six burgers out of this, so I Tom made 12 patties).

Recruiting a helper is best:

For the Summer Barley, I combined:

one cucumber, diced
several cherry tomatoes cut in half
a cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
one grated carrot [my recipe called for two, but really, who has the energy to manually grate two carrots]
two green onions, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

one cup barley, cooked (this should be cool before mixing with all of the other ingredients)
After mixing the veggies with the barley, mix in one container of feta cheese (yum!)

After prepping the burgers and the barley salad, we packed up one cooler, one picnic basket and one dog and headed up the highway to our site of potential matrimony.

And since I brought the perfect chef, I was left to sit on the picnic table and ponder important things, such as the nature of our very existence, the intelligence of the person who invented waverunners and our great luck at being passed over by the pop-up thunderstorms that riddled Atlanta at precisely the same time we were sitting to feast. 

 Luckiest girl in the world? That's what I was thinking.

And lest you think we're a might tooooo classy, just set your fears aside.

In all, a perfect night for a perfect meal.

And for those of you getting ready to say your vows and wondering where you can get hitched on the cheap (with lots of nature and a casual atmosphere), Red Top really is quite an economical option. We weren't particularly fond of the site (a bit of erosion in the wedding area that took away from the ambiance), but at $250 for the whole shebang you won't find me complaining about a little dirt displacement.

And since we're pretty certain that a pig roast is a fantastic way to begin many many years of wedded bliss, this caught our eye more than anything else:

Stay tuned for more wedding details. Will we choose Red Top? Will we get married in someone's backyard? Will we elope? (Just kidding Mom.) We plan to answer these and many more questions next week, when we vacation with my super amazing future family.

Until then, bon appetit!


  1. A bona fide blog! I love this post. Love the pictures. Love the narration :)

  2. Thanks Laura! My first comment! I'm glad you like it!


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