Sunday, August 20, 2006

New purchase: Grill

I'm on a roll, aren't I? I think I finally lost my entire readership by slacking off and suddenly I'm pumping lots of prose onto the Internets. Perhaps this proves how insular blogging is.

Anyway, we bought a new grill a few weeks ago and I'm pretty happy with it. Here it is; available only at Lowe's.

The point is not the grill, however, the point is the cooking! For a while, I've been thinking about posting more about food and cooking, especially easy/fast/healthy meals that children will eat in the hopes of encouraging my meager readership to send their own meal ideas.

Here are my meal priorities: Balanced (protein, carb, vegetable), trying to eat more fish and less meat (not for any particular reason, just that meat is easiest and thus if I don't plan vegetarian or fish meals ahead, it becomes all meat), not super expensive, relatively quick cooking time (although sometimes longer prep time if done the night before).

So, to inaugurate my cooking posts, here're some of the things I've cooked on the new grill:

A terrific salmon recipe that I got from Jeff (he got it from the Black Dog Cookbook). The key is the marinade and getting one (or two) of those 2-3lb boneless slabs of salmon from Costco:

Marinade for a big ol’ slab of salmon, marinate from 4 to 48 hours (overnight is good). Makes enough for two slabs. Can use plastic bags for the marinating and then put on the grill.

1 cup olive oil
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped parsley
¼ cup basil
¼ cup fresh rosemary
8 garlic cloves
1 tbsp salt
2 tsps pepper

Jeff grills it over fire, i.e. top open. I kept opening and closing the top as I cooked. You'll have to flip the fish at least once and two spatulas are recommended. You can see it's done when the flesh is opaque and don't worry if the slab falls apart -- your guests will eat it so quickly no one will have noticed.

A great end of summer dish especially if you've been growing parsley, basil and rosemary in your garden. Serve with carbs (Julie made Near East couscous -- five minutes) and a salad.

Our kids love it.

I also did a beer can chicken. There are recipes for it all over the web. Read these two and you'll have the basic idea. This one takes longer and is a weekend meal -- a little over an hour on the grill. But the kids love it and it's a spectacle.

Serve it with bread and roasted peppers: quarter them (throw out the seeds, stems and ribs), toss them in olive oil and salt and then set them on the higher shelf for ten minutes and then turn them over for another ten (or just leave them).

Here's the hamburger recipe that I'm slowly refining. Measurements are approximate:

for 5-6 burgers
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
half a well chopped onion
three tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

I read somewhere to jam your thumb into the middle of each patty so that it looks like a red blood platelet (it didn't mention platelets, that's my helpful and anti-appetizing addition!); then, when the burger shrinks a bit, it still looks like a patty and not a spheroid.

And to end (for now), I tried grilled pizza the other night. Again, read over a few recipes for the basic idea, which I'll now repeat.

Let your dough rise and then roll it out (I've been buying dough from Bertucci's lately). Brush (or dribble) olive oil on one side of the dough and put it on the hot grill, oiled side down. I did this once by putting the dough on a baking sheet and just flipping it out of the sheet; the other time, I tried to drape it down on the grill which stretched it out a bit but turned out fine.

Let the dough cook a few minutes, until the bottom is cooked and stiff. Then (got those two spatulas ready?), flip the dough back onto the baking sheet, cooked side down. On the "uncooked" top, lay down your ingredients -- sauce, previously cooked veggies, meats and cheese. My kids love carmelized onions, broccoli, mushroom and pepperoni (and I use spaghetti sauce from a jar and slice up mozzarella cheese -- not the super fresh kind, but the ones that come in solid balls).

Be prepared: it's not pizza as you know it, but a variation. A yummy variation!

Send meal ideas and recipes!

1 comment:

Pauline said...

Since you mention mozzarella, I was listening to Good Food on KCRW this weekend, and they had a guy explain how to make mozzarella in 5 minutes. Now, this guy (Nathan Donahoe) uses raw, whole organic milk because 1) raw milk still contains the enzymes to digest lactose and he is lactose intolerant, 2) the fats in grass fed whole milk contain Omega 3s. He heated the milk to 104 deg (int. temp of cows, so as not to breakdown the enzymes), then added 1/2 cup of lemon juice (or other acid: vinegar, lime juice) for every quart of milk. Apparently it curdles before your eyes. Strain the thing and you're done. I imagine this works with pasteurized whole milk and since the mozza is creamier if you boil the milk first, this is probably the way to go if lactose is not a major concern. Seems like a fun thing for kids to help with.