Sunday, July 12, 2009

Culinary Madness at Fort Myer Army Base


As I mentioned in a previous post, my friends and I like to get together to do a little thing we call "Culinary Madness". This food-focused extravaganza can take place anywhere at any time and involve any number of people. This time we had an unusual locale: Fort Myer, an army base located next to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just across the river from Washington DC and about a 3 mile walk from my apartment. Fort Myer is home to the Old Guard, a prestigious group of soldiers who perform the funerals, stand watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and participate in many other ceremonial duties at Arlington National Cemetery.

One of our close friends happens to be an Old Guard soldier who was not allowed off base on this lovely weekend in late June. What made this particularly frustrating for him is that his only sister was in town specifically to visit him, yet he could not leave Fort Myer to spend time with her. So instead we brought the fun to him in the form of a Culinary Madness BBQ!



That morning I had visited the Dupont Circle Farmers' Market, where I picked up new potatoes, cross cut lamb leg steaks, zucchini and sweet onions. The fruits at the market looked tempting and I bought the season's first peaches, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and the juiciest most delicious apricots I've ever eaten.

A stop by the grocery yielded the rest of our ingredients. Back at my apartment I cut the leg of lamb steaks (which are basically a cross section of the lamb leg) into kebab pieces and marinated them in garlic, fresh rosemary, olive oil and salt, a touch of cumin and a dash of smoked paprika. Then we loaded everything into my friend Sophia's car and drove across the river and through the security checkpoint up to our friend's barracks. There we found the bbq pit and set out to make the best grilling action that Delta Company had ever seen!

Our work space consisted of a wrought iron table next to the grill:




Check out the new potatoes, which we dressed simply with salt and olive oil and cooked in foil packets on the grill:



Yum!




This is our soldier friend's famous fruit salad which he concocted with the Farmers' market fruits. Macerated in a touch of sugar and topped and with whipped cream they made for a fantastic dessert.





Sophia's plate. Note the yogurt-mint-garlic sauce to complement the lamb, and our handy wine "glasses".






The siblings chowing down on some kebab with music from our barracks-blaster aka a blackberry perched above them:


Me dancing to techno and cutting veggies for the kebabs:



As we were cooking people from the company circled around and some ended up sampling our kebabs. Here our friend (to the far right) and some of his buddies pose with lamb.


It was a good day: we had great food and enjoyed the outdoors and our friend got to see his sister:



Enjoying good Food, Friends and Family, that's what Culinary Madness is all about!

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