The mercury is rising, the birds are chirping and the sun is out. It’s time to dust off the old grill and do some therapeutic grilling.
How is grilling therapeutic? Think about it; you’re outdoors breathing in fresh, non-recirculated air. The sun is turning your skin into a Vitamin D-producing laboratory. The burst of flame that shoots up toward your face while you’re peering into the grill, wondering why it won’t light — that’s exfoliating your skin! The charred bits of flavor left over from your previous fiery feasts — they make you stronger, because according to the old adage, they haven’t killed you. And if that isn’t enough, your grill will actually burn the fat dripping off your food, so your body doesn’t have to. See? Therapeutic.
Most people look at a grill as just a grill. But did you realize that it’s also an oven (if it has a lid) and a stovetop? Your grill is basically a full outdoor kitchen, which you can do a lot more with than just grill burgers and steaks.
Grill your lettuce
You have no idea how much flavor is hidden inside of a lettuce leaf until you put fire to it!
Cut the head of romaine lettuce in half, drizzle the cut side with high-quality olive oil, and sear for one to three minutes on a really hot grill (cut side down), until it begins to wilt and grill marks form. Chop it up, mix it with a garlic-anchovy dressing, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese, black pepper and key lime juice for a flavorful Caesar salad with a twist.
Is it steak or pizza?
My friend Jorge made this Steak Pizzaiola for us in Argentina, and it’s one of my fondest food memories of that trip. It was insanely good.
A large grass-fed sirloin steak rubbed with kosher salt and black pepper sizzles on the smoky charcoal grill. When the steak is a few minutes away from perfection, top it with a simple sauce made of tomato, oregano, oily sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red pepper strips and sliced Buffalo mozzarella. Let the cheese bubble and melt, move the steak onto a wooden board, slice and serve this sublime dish. Fresh bread to sop up the remaining juices on the board? I will cut anyone who gets in my way…
You make your paella in the oven?
Paella is a traditional dish in Spain. Rice is cooked in a saffron-infused broth with seafood or meat and vegetables — the most popular variation being seafood, onions, peppers, capers and peas — over a coal fire in a cast-iron pan called a Paellera.
Most home cooks in North America use a stovetop or an oven for this dish, but for authentic Spanish paella, cook your ingredients in a cast-iron skillet over a smoky charcoal grill, or a gas grill with some wet wood chips inside. Add the rice and saffron, then slowly add the stock. Trust me, the smoke and cast-iron make a big difference.
Have some hot chocolate
It could be that I’m a caveman at heart, but I love to make chocolate cake on the grill. I suppose it could be an acquired taste for some, so start off by using a gas grill, which should only impart a hint of smoke (as compared to a very smoky charcoal grill). This adds a rustic undertone that makes me feel happy.
Grilled Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups flourv
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
16 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together, put in a cake pan and stick it in the grill. If you can turn the burner off underneath the cake, good. If not, turn it down to low and close the lid. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with a big scoop of chocolate or coconut ice cream!
If you have your own creative recipes for the grill, I would love to hear about them! You can email me at email@example.com. Happy grilling, everyone!
Agree, Saigon Deli, the real one, not the other one across the street.
We ate there and the food was excellent. You need to go back and have…
lets not forget the old elephant foot IPA in the 16 oz cans from Tampa…