Grilled Middle Eastern Vegetable Flatbread/Finch’s Beer Co. Fascist Pig Ale/The Hellacopters “Grande Rock”
We went back to one of our tried and true weeknight meals. Grilled flatbread using store bought naan. This time we went with grilled Middle Eastern Vegetable as our topping. Thinly sliced zucchini, squash and red onion are grilled then placed upon grilled naan that has been slathered with middle eastern hot sauce. The finishing touch is a liberal ribbon of hummus that gets swirled on top. Another beer from Chicago’s Finch’s Beer Co. gets sampled, their new Fascist Pig Ale. For the tunes, a classic album from The Hellacopters, “Grande Rock” was on the stereo.
Grilled Middle Eastern Vegetable Flatbread – This recipe is super easy and only consists of a few ingredients. The base is the middle eastern hot sauce that we refer to as Pita Inn’s hot sauce (recipe here). Once you have that made, we can move on to the veggies. We are using 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash and 1 red onion. Using the thinnest setting on the mandolin slicer we basically shave the vegetables. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
Get a grill going to a medium/hot fire and place a grill pan directly over the flame.
Add the sliced vegetables to the pan and stir with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook over the open flame, stirring consistently until veggies are softened and charred in spots. Remove from heat.
Place the naan bread top side down on the grill and let toast for 30 seconds then flip and move to the cool side of the grill. Cover the bread with the hot sauce.
Next layer on the grilled vegetable mixture to cover the bread. Cover the grill and let cook for a couple of minutes.
Remove the flatbreads from the grill and drizzle on hummus that has been thinned out with a little lemon juice and tahini paste.
These get sliced into wedges and served. It’s been a while since we did a vegetarian dish, so these were a welcome (and tasty) change of pace. The firm veggies take on a meaty texture and smoky flavor when grilled, so this is our kind of vegetarian.
Finch’s Beer Company Fascist Pig Ale – Chicago’s Finch Beer Co. is slowly growing their canned line-up (now up to five offerings) which is a great thing. One of their latest is the curiously named Fascist Pig Ale. It is described as a red ale, which is way too non-descript for what is actually in the can. First off the color on the pour was closer to burnt caramel than red. It was murky as swamp water, so in other words, it’s a beautiful looking beer. The light tan head resembles marshmallow fluff that doesn’t so much disappear as it just slowly melts into the beer. The aroma has notes of apricot and sour citrus rounded out by some honey-like sweetness. There is a lot going on with the flavors. In one corner you have the fairly heavy mouthfeel, earthy malt sweetness and a good amount of booziness. In the other corner you have the liberal hopping bringing forth sweet but bitter apricot and passion fruit flavors. At 8% ABV, we’d peg this just a shade below a typical Imperial IPA. With all of the heavy hitting flavors, the beer is still pretty drinkable. It did not completely overwhelm the flatbread, but may have been a tad too much beer for the light fare.
The Hellacopters “Grande Rock” – Here’s a funny story about this album. One of our buddies had just bought it when it came out and was cranking it in his car when he came by to pick us up for a night of drinking. When we asked what band it was, he told us he got his hands on some early Kiss demos that were just released. (Side note: This was 1999, so Kiss had just reunited for the first time with all four members just a couple of years before, so Kiss fever was running high. Nowadays after their 15th reunion with only 1/2 the original band, not so much.) Anyway, we listened to the catchy guitar hooks, the helium-voiced vocals and thought at least on a couple of songs, “Hmmm, that could be Ace and Paul…” The opener “Action De Grace” has that trademark Space Ace guitar tone but the song itself is faster-paced than any Kiss song, sounding more like The Datsuns. The solo is downright blistering on this track. “Alright Already Now” puts on another guitar clinic. Add a little honky tonk piano and a catchy call and response chorus and you’ve got the blueprint of this band’s sound. With “Move Right Out of Here” you hear the band’s progression into the more boogie-oriented twin guitar attack that came increasingly more prominent on subsequent albums. The mid-tempo “Welcome To Hell” is a nice slice of retro sounding 70’s rock. “The Electric Index Eel” blurs the line between punk and 80’s speed metal all done with a pop catchiness. Perhaps the most Kiss sounding track on the album is, um, “Paul Stanley”. A mixture of “Mr. Speed”, “Calling Dr. Love” and “C’mon and Love Me”. “Venus In Force” has an almost early Dire Straits blues rock sound. It’s heavier, fuzzier and faster paced, so it may just be the Knopfler-esque guitar work and the organ. A huge riff kicks off “5 Vs. 7” which is one of the best on the album. The best track on the album goes to “Lonely”. The lick is equal parts Chuck Berry and Skynryd. Great catchy chorus as well. The closing track is “Renvoyer”, which is also the albums heaviest despite the harmonica at the beginning. The guitars sound as thick as ever, the drums are played at a breakneck pace on this instrumental. Grande Rock was our first introduction to The Hellacopters way back when. The albums that followed may be a little better start to finish, but this one will always have a soft spot with us.