Grilling Archive

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

grilled shrimp cocktail

shrimp cocktail

My friend Alexis smartly concluded this weekend that our new goals in life should be to cultivate as many friends as possible with a) vacation homes, b) access to family vacation homes and c) a strong interest in making elaborate home-cooked meals in their free time. And you know, I think she’s onto something. We spent the holiday weekend back in Highlands, North Carolina, guests of my friend Molly’s parents who were themselves out of town, allowing even more of my friends to pile in. (Remember when having parents out of town meant “kegger!”? Ah, you know you’re in your thirties when it means “mocktails” and “let’s make our own remoulade!”.) It was fantastic.

seedy watermelonwatermelon seeds

The weather didn’t much cooperate, so we didn’t get any hiking in which was a bummer, as I suspect I’m wearing every one of those meals around my midsection right now, trying to pass it off as “it’s the baby, swear” because, frankly, it’s never too soon to blame it for everything, right? But the ick weather just left us more time in one of those kitchens with more than one counter and enough cabinets that when you can’t find something, it takes a good few minutes to find where it is hiding. I tried not to get used to it.

We cooked up a storm. Ang fried green tomatoes and okra:

okra was fried

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

grilled eggplant with caponata salsa

grilled eggplant with caponata salsa

I spend a good lot of my spring, summer and fall weekends on my friend Jocelyn’s roof. Not only do we get to catch up with friends, drink an unthinkable amount of pink wine and/or Pimm’s cups, shoot awesome pictures of sunsets, Joc has a consummately awesome grill, allowing us all of the summer deliciousness we’re deprived of in our Manhattan apartment. It’s a good deal if there ever was one.

However, some weekends Jocelyn goes out of town. And occasionally, Alex and I have family or other friends to go see. And sometimes, we go a whole two or three weeks without making it onto Joc’s roof, and it makes us very sad. Because we miss the grill.

caponata salsa

Which brings me up to the purchase that broke the Smitten Kitchen’s back: our new grill pan. The history of this is that pretty much any time I ever say to Alex, “ooh, look at this [kitchen item]! We should get it!” his standard response is “That’s great, honey. But where will we put it?” To which I respond, “Blah, blah, blah… We’ll FIND a place.” And you know what? We usually do. (Please don’t ask about the wedding cake pans in Alex’s closet. It’s a best-not-touched-on subject.)

eggplant

But this grill pan doesn’t fit anywhere. And it weighs a metric ton. And it might literally be the first time in Smitten Kitchen history that I will admit that Alex was right: maybe we should have figured out where it went before I bought it. Right now it lives on the floor under the single cart/counter with god-knows-what and its good friend, I’d-rather-not-think-about-it. This is not an ideal long-term solution.

Continued after the jump »

Friday, July 25, 2008

garlic-mustard glazed skewers

garlic-mustard glazed skewers

Growing up, I couldn’t stand mustard. Hated it. It was spicy and gloppy and it usually looked like a bucket of yellow paint. Even a smidgen on a sandwich, burger or hot dog was enough to make me reject the whole meal. Er, you might have guessed I didn’t just learn how to be “difficult” yesterday!

maille whole grain
smoky hot paprika, my favorite spice

I still don’t like the yellow shellac in a squeeze bottle, ubiquitous in the U.S. from street carts to beach burger huts. (A Google search points me to a Mustard Museum in Wisconsin, by the way. You’re welcome!) But Dijon and I have struck a perfect harmony in the last couple years as I have realized it has nothing to do with that jaundiced stuff, and everything to do with two of my favorite things on earth: France and wine.

rosemary
Continued after the jump »

Friday, May 30, 2008

molly’s dry-rubbed ribs

molly's dry-rubbed ribs

[My friend Molly made the most amazing ribs on Memorial Day. Prior to Monday, I thought I liked mopped, or barbecue sauced-up ribs. I am now officially a dry rub convert, and begged her to let us know how she did it. Thanks Molly!–Deb]

I started making these ribs last summer. I got inspired by an amazing BBQ I attended in Bed-Stuy at my friend Antoine’s friend Pete’s house. Pete has six jumbo grills with attached smokers or something ridiculous like that. At that BBQ, I think he smoked so much meat in his backyard that he probably violated some kind of zoning ordinance. The buffet table in the backyard groaned under the weight of at least half a dozen BBQ competition trophies. Pete is a serious BBQ chef. It was the first truly delicious BBQ pork I’d eaten since I had moved to NYC after living in North Carolina for two years.

hard-working tongs

Now I must provide the obligatory rant on my BBQ predilections/prejudices: I enjoy a tangy red sauce as much as anyone else. I especially love Ina Garten’s Barbecue Sauce that Deb introduced me to: brushed on a chicken thigh over a charcoal fire, it’s wonderful. But in my opinion, tomato-containing sauce of any kind does not belong on pork BBQ. It took just two years in Orange County, NC, home of the Tar Heels and the inimitable Allen & Sons Barbecue, to convince me of this.

the smoker

There is only one way to do right by pork: cover it with a simple, spicy-sweet dry rub. Let it sit for a while. Slowly cook it in smoky, indirect heat, using a wood fire or natural charcoal, until the meat is tender enough to melt in your mouth. Then go hawg wild. It’s best to enjoy the meat without any sauce, at least at first. Sometimes, if I am in the mood, I will add a hot pepper vinegar to my pulled pork, but only after I eat some of it unsauced. I never add any sauce to ribs.

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

hoisin barbecue sauce

hoisin brushed chicken skewers

If there are any structural flaws to the standard backyard barbecue event (or as we do it in NYC, the standard rooftop barbecue event) it is that plates, forks and standing don’t go well together, especially if you are carrying a beer, or say, a Pimm’s cup, and let’s be honest–when am I not?

Continued after the jump »