We finally had our All-Amurrican BBQ and it was a success! First though, we had to try and grocery shop for American meals at an Australian supermarket. Katie and I went on the longest grocery shopping spree of my life. Turns out, Australians don't know what the hell black beans are. Together we spent about $200 bucks. Which, if you're keeping up with the financial Joneses you'll know our dollar is rapidly becoming toilet paper, so it was a lot of money to feed these mouths.
Anyway, I did without black beans for the time being and we packed up the car and headed home. I wish we had a camera to document our exasperation on the ride home. It looked like someone had kicked our dog, run away, came back for another swift kick, egged us, then ran away again. If I ever brave the supermarket again I'll be sure to avoid shopping from 3-6pm, also known as rush hour, also known as the time when everyone in New South Wales decides to shop for food. We got home, unloaded the car, and started putting things away. We had a shit ton of work to do, so we decided to start cooking the night before.
Much to my dismay, I realized I still didn't have any black beans. I needed these precious protein nuggets so I could attempt to make black bean burgers for myself since I'm still vegan. My uncle, the mob boss that he is, said he's "got a mate that can give us some black beans", so long as I give him an hour's time. Katie and I plotted what he was doing and who he was killing to get those beans for the hour he was gone.
But alas! He came back with black beans and clean hands.
Allrecipes.com told me I needed to soak my beans, so I did (later I will realize that the recipe called for canned black beans and this 9 hour Tour de Beans was a waste of time). After I dumped them in a pot of water, Katie started boiling some water to make hard-boiled eggs for the Deviled Eggs and for my potato salad. Which! I was simultaneously preparing by boiling my potatoes. My family has a huge, powerful professional oven. Probably because my uncle is a mob boss and had a "mate" who "set him up" with a legit fan-forced oven and open-flame stove. He totally killed someone on Iron Chef and stole their oven/stovetop combo.
I'm chopping all the things needed for my potato salad whilst whirring batter for the Amurrica cake and I'm beginning to feel like Martha Stewart pre-prison. The night goes on and as things are boiling/simmering/soaking, we watched The Road. Nothing like a little post-apocalyptic thriller to get you in the mood to celebrate America.
The next morning it was straight to the kitchen! Katie made the Deviled Eggs, the Bumble Bee Brownies (per Micah Merril-Johnson's delicious recipe), seasoned and molded the burger patties, made some onion dip with mass amounts of cream cheese that I tried and unfortunately liked, concocted a watermelon basket full of scrumptious fruit and made some homemade macaroni & cheese.
She was sweaty.
I continued to monitor my beans, finished the Amurrica cake, finished the potato salad, made pasta salad, made my kickass guacamole, made really good cookies with a retarded amount of butter, and finally made it to my black bean burger recipe.
I was even sweatier.
First attempt: fail. Why? Because you can't assume a blender is interchangeable with a food processor. And when you realize that, you can't just "add water" to your recipe to make it work in the blender. Instead, you send your mob boss uncle to acquire a food processor. And when he comes back with one, you pray for the family of the father he just slain because he "owed him". It's a criminal world, this Australia.
Anyway, the second time was a success. And lucky for me, I soaked way too many black beans, so I didn't lose much with the blender fiasco. I made the patties and put them in the oven to bake. People had already arrived so I went out and mingled with all of my family's friends. Most I had previously met from a gourmet barbecue we attended a couple weeks ago. Seriously, they had lamb, chicken kabobs, fried fancy cheese, chorizo sausages, and a slew of salads and breads. That was what sparked us having this barbecue. Because that food belonged in the same 5 star restaurant that the Iron Chef owned before my uncle "took care of him" and swiped his oven/stove. So, we decided to introduce how barbecue food should really taste.
Like refined sugar and saturated fat!
In other news, we wanted to deck the halls with boughs of red, white and blue - except we didn't find the time between preparing dishes. But we did dress appropriately, as did my uncle with his Dallas Cowboys t-shirt, jorts, flops and a red hat. And we even had guests who wanted to chime in on the fun. So much so, that he managed to find imported Budweiser. Classy.
Forgive his flag confusion, he was going for color combo.
Despite our sweaty trials, everyone ate way too much, drank way too much and attempted to speak in American accents all night. Which I found to be quite hilarious. They were marveling over the food as they ate each course. I told them it was the butter and cheese. Amurrica!