Saturday, May 8, 2010

Grilling is good for your hockey team

I haven't posted a single recipe during the semifinals, and we've already seen the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens play Game 4. (I'd prefer to just wipe that from my memory.) A lot of it is because nobody's really stood out yet. In some ways, this is a good thing. Versus had a cool statistic Thursday night--the 11 Penguins goals during this series so far were scored by 11 different Penguins players. This means we have some depth and most everyone on the ice is doing what they need to most of the time. In other ways...well, there are some issues that need to be worked on, including giving the Habs too damned much space. Also, Sidney Crosby has been as bottled up and frustrated as a teenage couple at a church youth group retreat.* As Penguins fans, we know that won't last forever. There's absolutely no reason why the Penguins can't take the Habs to school. Determination is a wonderful thing, but it can only go so far, and the Penguins have some, too.

My mother hasn't watched much hockey since she left Michigan for Florida in the early 1970s. Last year, she found it strange-sounding when I mentioned that I was grilling before a Penguins playoff game. Apparently hockey never used to be played when the weather called for grilling. Things have, of course, changed significantly since the 1970s. I decided then and there that a fan's grilling before a hockey game is a very good sign for their team. It means they're going deep into the playoffs and that much closer to the Cup. (Or else it means you're a Florida Panthers fan. Whatever.) The even better best thing is if your team keeps it going into June, so you wind up making salsa out of good fresh tomatoes and peppers before the game.

Anyway! Should the rain leave Brooklyn in time before Game 5, I'm grilling all kinds of yummy things this afternoon. The people who like to come to my house to watch games and races have varied tastes--meat eaters and vegetarians, those who love spicy things and those who can't stand them, Penguins fans and Red Wings fans. But everyone agrees on this recipe. It's not a cocktail, but it is sweet and involves a splash of rum. I hope to be making this before a few more Penguins games this postseason.

Grilled Pineapple Skewers

1 fresh pineapple
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
12 wooden or bamboo skewers

Cut the pineapple into 1 inch square chunks, or get it done for you where you buy it. (I try to do the latter whenever I can.)

Stir the rum, spices, lime juice, and maple syrup together. Lightly coat pineapple chunks with the syrup mixture. Wet the skewers some, then thread the pineapple chunks onto them. After you've licked and washed that yummy syrup off your fingers, brush the pineapple skewers with the syrup mixture one more time. Grill on a clean grill (or aluminum foil) for about five minutes, until it gets soft.

These are terrific on vanilla ice cream, or Greek yogurt if you're trying to healthify it a little. Spoon any leftover syrup mixture on top of that.

Ingredient notes: If you can't afford to use maple syrup that way, try a maple/agave mixture, mixing maple with honey, or just plain orange blossom honey. The honey will give it a different (but still very good) flavor. Whatever you do, please don't do like one of my friends and use that travesty sold as "breakfast" or "pancake" syrup!

*Yes, I used that simile on another forum. Like I'm gonna let it go to waste.

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