i received an e-mail from cristina, a spanish friend of astrophysicist laura. a doctor in spain, she was coming to boston to do a diabetes observership for two months starting in mid-august and was looking for a place to stay. i told her the guest bedroom was available. that means i'll need to get the door painted soon.

i left for belmont around 11am, to help my mother clean up the house and backyard in preparation for the barbecue that would happen later today. my saddle bags were heavy, filled with the other half of produce i bought from haymarket on saturday. after vacuuming the house, i went out back to put away the ladders into the garage, stack all the bamboo stalks into a single pile, and store some metal fencing to an inconspicuous area of the yard. i also scrubbed clean the picnic table and some plastic lawn chairs.

the new dish we were trying out was barbecued pineapples. we actually did make it 2 weeks ago during an earlier barbecue, but the pineapple was just too sour. we had the real thing when we ate brazilian barbecue on thursday; even though it wasn't a fresh pineapple, it was still deliciously sweet. that experience inspired us to give the recipe another shot. the secret apparently is to marinate the pineapple in some sugar beforehand. i went online searching for recipes. in the end we tried two approaches: my father marinated one pineapple with just honey, while i marinated the other pineapple with a honey and butter combination.

before guests started showing up at 5pm, it dawned on us that maybe we didn't have enough food. besides the blue cheese burgers, some sausages, some shrimp, and some corn, there wasn't that much else. i volunteered to ride down to star market to get more meats, but my mother said it wasn't necessary, since she was preparing some side dishes as well (asparagus, salad, pico de gallo).

we switched things around by cooking the corn first. after they were husked and coated with korean barbecue sauce on the upper rack, we started cooking the sausages on the main grill: italian sauce with fennel, kielbasa, apple & cinammon chicken sausage. the only thing that was actually raw was the italian sausages. on a side skillet we cooked some vegetables: zucchini and asparagus. the only things we forgot to cook were the long-horn hot peppers and the eggplant.

guests were complimenting how juicy the burgers were. i never paid much attention that, since i actually prefer my burgers on the well done side. apparently the secret is in the choice of beef; i typical use only 80-85% lean ground beef because it's cheaper than the leaner beef. somehow my cheapness had the unintended side effect of producing very juicy burgers. speaking of which, i didn't think the burgers came out all that well this time. cooking-wise it was perfect, but flavor-wise, i think it was a little bland. next time i have to remember to add more flavoring to it.

i also wasn't pleased with the barbecue corn, i thought it tasted a little sour. the only explanation is maybe the korean sauce i used to coat the corn has gone bad, but it was a brand new jar. maybe i need to shake the jar before using it.