Last weekend the Annual East Tennessee Blogger party was held at Larry's Lake front home... Larry of the Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings Blog. This was my third attempt to attend (but only the second time we made it (Car Trouble a few years ago)). My story back home in Kansas before we left was that we were traveling more than a thousand miles to have lunch...
Worth every mile to me...
Ah well, I'll tell my story and they can tell theirs somewhere else.
Larry from Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings
Chris from Nibble Me This
Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen
Sam from My Carolina Kitchen
Sadly, one of the planners had a last minute emergency, so we missed my favorite displaced Cajuns this year... Katherine and AJ from Smoky Mountain Cafe
Counting spouses, friends and neighbors; our group topped 20 before I stopped counting. The weather was perfect, the friends and conversation was perfect.... And the food was...
Well, you be the judge...
I made a very simple contribution of pineapple (my current craze, I just LOVE grilled pineapple), wrapped by a big Shrimp, marinated in Teriyaki sauce and then grilled.
The recipe is all pretty much in the description. I simply sliced up some fresh pineapple, cut them into chunks about the same size as the shrimp. I then put two toothpicks in them to make flipping easy. My blogging buddy Chris had a big jug of a store bought sauce that was perfect to marinade the assembled appetizers in for about an hour.
Then we simply grilled them over medium high heat for a couple minutes per side. The shrimp were pre-cooked, so all we were doing was heating and adding grill marks.
People came hungry as these were snapped up before the rest of the food was set out.
I was amused as each of the food bloggers were seen snapping photos before they dug in for a taste. Among this group, presentation is important.
The perfect host!
Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Ribs, also for appetizers.
These were snapped up even faster than the shrimp appetizers. And deservedly so, perfectly cooked, deliciously marinaded and sauced. I must confess to snapping up my fair share.
Below is my first plate of food for the meal... I think I got a sampling of everyone's dish (and I am sure I I got more than a sampling before the day was done...
Starting from the upper left and working clockwise...
Nibble Me This made grilled Huli Huli Chicken Sliders with a Ponzu slaw (slaw not shown in the big photo, so I am adding this side additional shot... The slaw was FANTASTIC)! Told you I had seconds.
Larry from Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings smoked a couple of BIG Pork Shoulders, cooked in an Hawaiian method called Kalua which uses an underground coal oven (OK, Larry used his smoker), but he did season them Hawaiian style, wrapped them in authentic Banana Leaves and smoked with Hawaiian Koa Wood. For details, check out Larry's post with lots of photo how to's and recipes... Click HERE for that.
Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen Served up an Hawaiian Macaroni Salad that was unlike anything I have ever tasted. She explains the cooking method that adds depth and a unique texture to make this a Mac salad unlike anything I have ever had... I went back for plenty extra of this!
Chris from Nibble Me This also grilled (yes, GRILLED) some rice for the luau. I was watching as he pretty much whipped it all together on site, but no recipe. there were sauteed onions and peppers and coconut in the rice but hopefully at some point I will see the recipe on his blog. It was perfect for the plate.
My very favorite dish on the plate (although they were all perfect) was from Sam from My Carolina Kitchen. She made a sweet and spicy pineapple salsa! I first added this as a topping for the rice, then I went back and added some of this to a pulled pork slider... then just started nibbling! Sam really came through with a side dish that had beautiful colors, enough flavor to compliment the sandwiches perfectly. Note to Sam, I just got invited to make a couple of side dishes for a friend's birthday party. This will be on the list! and a note to the readers, if you follow the link, the dish originally had nectarines in place of the pineapple. I am now waiting for winter and planning to make this with Mandarin Oranges for a taste of summer in January.
I want to thank the East Tennessee Bloggers for making Jackie and myself feel so welcome. Only 51 weeks til next year!
Chris and Larry eyeing their creations (and our contributions)
Penny and my Jackie... Penny bright and smiling, Jackie too distracted by the food
After dinner we all solved the problems of the world.
Chris was more energetic and took Larry's jet ski for a spin
More problems of the world solved
And even more
And we close where we started as two non-bloggers try to understand the appeal of all this (although they did it all on full stomachs).