06 May, 2012

Just Your Average Men's Group Martini Meeting

Even though we've sworn oaths that 'what goes on at the meetings, stays at the meetings', there's some things that are worth sharing with the outer world. The Men's Group having a 'Martini Meeting' is probably one such thing.

It started off, actually, with the last Men's Group meeting at Bill's house, where someone made the suggestion that we should have a 'martini meeting'. At first, it seemed just a funny idea, but quickly coalesced to some semi-serious planning and eventually, actual preparations.

I'd already gotten a load of veggies from the market (thanks in no small part to the doggies for their help in carrying everything back home - including a nice pineapple. I had gotten some boneless chicken breasts from Caribbean Chicken, Craig had also stopped there and had gotten some nice, mildly spicy chicken sausage.

Since it was nominally titled a 'Martini Meeting', we had to have the appropriate alcohol. I rounded up my bottle of Bombay Sapphire, some Martini and Rossi vermouth (although my favorite is Noilly Pratt, a nice French vermouth), a bottle of scotch (Johnny Walker Red), not my favorite, but adequate for dirty martunis.

Doug, even though he wasn't physically here, was here in spirit, having had his wife Twyla deliver a bottle Old Master gin, which we used to good effect. Bill even brought a bottle of gin to the soiree. I had a couple bottles of large martini olives, Craig brought another jar of olives and a can of black olives, and Bill brought a bottle of cheese-stuffed olives and a can of anchovie-stuffed olives. I didn't even know you could get those sorts of things.

In order to make this event fly, that is, for it to be a success, we had to start preparations early. Thankfully, offered to help with some of the preparations. We'd probably have gone off half-cocked without her able assistance. She and I started bringing stuff out to the pool house in the morning. Craig was going to join us around 11:30 AM, to help get veggies sliced and to help skewer the kebabs.

Dianna helped immensely to get Craig and me organized in the kitchen. First, we had to cut up all the veggies, then the chicken breasts. She reminded me to soak the skewers, so they wouldn't just simply burn up on the grill.
Dianna Organizing the Work Area
Here's a shot of Craig cutting up the pineapple. Fresh pineapple is one of the great pleasures down here. They're usually plentiful at the market and folks even grow their own - which is something we're going to try. I took the top, after Craig lopped it off, and planted it in the patio garden. A simple process, you bury the top about an inch into the dirt, leaving the leaves exposed to the air, and then wait till it starts to grow a new pineapple. Easy peasy.
Craig Slicing Up Fresh Pineapple
After Dianna's help getting the kitchen work table organized, Craig and I got busy skewering the kebabs. We alternated with cubes of onion, green pepper, chicken, black olives, sausage, and pineapple. Each skewer held about two iterations of the ingredients.

Naturally, we made sure that Dianna went away before the arrival of the majority of the members, to pursue her own devices, and so not witness any of the secret mysteries of the Men's Group.
We've Got a Regular Assembly Line
Of course, there were times, it being hard work, where one just had to sample a bit of pineapple or olive as Craig ably demonstrates here.
Craig Sampling the Goodies
It's really starting to look quite colorful. We also mixed up some nice barbecue sauce. We took bottles of hot BBQ sauce and traditional BBQ sauce and mixed them. We added a liberal dose of vegetable oil and there we had a great sauce to baste the kebabs.
Preparing the Kebabs for the Grill
I think it took us a little over an hour or so to get the food preparations done. Well worth it, I must say.
Dave and Craig Almost Done
I ask you, is that yummy looking or what? It actually didn't look like that much all stacked on the table. But once we began cooking and serving, there was a lot of chow for the boys.
Looks Like It's Out of a Cookbook
Along with the food preparations, it was necessary to prepare the sacred martini juice. Craig made an initial batch of martini juice that was quite good and sufficed for the two of us. Craig comes from a long line of bartenders. His father and his grandfather were bartenders and Craig upholds that family tradition.

Bill arrived just in the nick of time to help with the drink prep. He brought a bottle of martini juice all ready to go as well as the cheese and anchovie-stuffed olives.
Bill and Craig Conducting the Martini Ritual
As the whole crew arrived, sampling became the order of the day. In fact we almost got side-tracked and nearly forgot to put the kebabs on the grill, but thankfully, clear minds prevailed and we did manage to get the stuff on the grill without incident.
Sampling the First Martini Batch
I'd fired up the grill a good hour before, so by the time we put the kebabs on, it was plenty hot. Basted with the sauce/oil concoction, it took no time for everything to heat up to perfection. We served it up and everyone promptly started devouring the offerings.
Bill, Roger, and Craig Under the Palapa
Naturally, there was a lot of conversation regarding the arcane art of barbecue, martinis, music, the weather, sunshine, etc., etc.
Eat and Talk, Eat and Talk
Speaking of music, I had the old iPod fired up with an appropriate selection of classic jazz, including a liberal dosage of music featuring the Rat Pack, Frank, Dino, Sammy, and others - the perfect accompaniment to martinis and barbecue.
Come On Guys, There's More to Eat
After we had all eaten our fill and being fairly well lubricated with martini juice, we once again gravitated to the pool where we pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon.
One of Our Mysterious Rituals
There, we practiced some of the arcane rituals of the group. Some might call it hi-jinks, skylarking, grab-ass, and other frivolities, but it is all serious activity, conducted in the most solemn manner as befitting the occasion.
Mysterious Ritual Nearing Completion
What an afternoon. It was a shame to call a halt to the solemnity and serious nature of the task at hand. But, eventually the brothers had to consider still being able to get home, and as the day was drawing to a close, so must this glimpse into the inner workings of the Corozal Men's Group.


JRinSC said...

I guess this post explains mainly why you have done all the projects along the way. You really have a great place to entertain and more power to you! Have fun...


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

You're right. Everything worked well and we all ate our fill and had a lot of fun. It was worth all the work.