Multi-tasking grillers unite!

October 7, 2009

shrimp to grillIt might be autumn but I’m still grilling as often as I can. The only downside I’ve found to grilling, though, is that I find it difficult to be both in the house making a salad and side dishes and outside turning and moving little bits of food such as shrimp or scallops around.

My solution: throw ‘em on skewers! Not only will small foods not fall through the grating when they’re held together on a skewer, but turning four skewers takes much less time than turning 24 individual shrimp.

Got any multitasking tips you’d like to share? I’m always looking for ways to turn two hands into four.

Grilled honey-spiced eggplant

August 27, 2009


When Monica Bhide’s book Modern Spice came out earlier this year bloggers and food editors went ga-ga. Despite how appealing every recipe looked, it was this one for eggplant that I just couldn’t quit thinking about.

So, when I found myself alone in the kitchen with an eggplant, I gave it a try. But, instead of using Bhide’s skillet method, I cooked my eggplant on the grill and glazed it with her pomegranate, honey and ginger sauce as it was becoming soft and pillowy.  The result:  one full lady alone in the kitchen without an eggplant. Seriously. It was my entire meal.

Since it’s eggplant season, tell me about your favourite way to enjoy this wonderful vegetable?

Hot weather comfort food

August 21, 2009


At long last, the heat and humidity has come to Toronto. We’ve had an amazingly summery week and I’ve loved every single minute of it. Seriously. You don’t hear me complaining about the heat – I even cycled to work and played tennis. I just love it!

The only downside to the hot weather is having to cook in a steamy kitchen. No fun. So, I took my dinner prep outdoors.

Pictured above is a yummy cauliflower curry that we sopped up with grilled naan bread. Once the curry was done I threw in some extra charcoal and grilled a few  lamb chops, too. It was a fantastic dinner if I do say so myself.

How do you beat the heat?  Do you order in, subsist on salads or what?

Curried Cauliflower over Charcoal:

Combine a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes with two tablespoons of mild, medium or hot curry paste and a tablespoon of minced ginger. Add a little extra cumin if you like. Cut up a small head of cauliflower and stir the florets and a handful of golden raisins into the mixture. (If you don’t live with Martin who is allergic to legumes, add some drained, rinsed chickpeas, too). Cook, stirring often, on the hot barbecue until the juices are thickened and the cauliflower is fork tender. Stir in chopped fresh mint or coriander and season, if necessary, with salt and pepper.

Spun gold – a collection of rotisserie chicken tips

August 7, 2009


When I posted my glossary of barbecue links here last week, I realized how long it’s been since I spun a chicken on my barbecue rotisserie. How could I have fallen out of such a good habit? I mean, what’s yummier than a juicy, crispy-skinned, smoky flavoured rotisserie chicken?

I spared no time remedying the situation and made these yummy chickens last Sunday when my sister-in-law and her granddaughter came to visit. The next day I shredded the leftover meat and made soft tacos – two fantastic meals!

If you haven’t used a barbecue rotisserie before, here are a few tips you might want to consider before tossing birds onto the spit:

• Choose a rotisserie spit that not only fits your barbecue, but that is made of durable, good quality metal like stainless steel. I had one a few years ago that was chrome plated and as soon as it got very hot, the shiny plating started to flake off onto the food. Yuck!
Line the area directly under the chickens with a piece of foil or an old baking sheet so that as the juices flow from the meat, flare-ups don’t occur. (I had forgotten this step during the first few minutes that these birds were on the spit; that’s why the wing and leg tips are scorched).
Turn off all but the front or back burner on the grill. I like to leave the back one on so that when I reach over the front of the grill to baste the chickens my hand doesn’t get singed.
• Adjust the temperature on the burner so that you can maintain a constant temperature of 300°F (160°C) to 350°F (180°C) when the lid of the barbecue is closed.
• Add a couple of smoking pucks over the ignited burner to augment the smoky flavour if you like.
• The chickens will need about 90 minutes to cook. If you’re going to use a glaze like the chili-lemon one below, brush it over just during the last 15 minutes or so of cooking.
Let the chickens rest for 15 minutes on the spit before removing it and carving the birds.

Chili-Lemon rotisserie grilled chicken glaze

1/4 cup (50 mL) each honey and lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) chipotle pepper sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) each chili powder and chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper

Whisk the lemon juice with the barbecue sauce, chipotle pepper sauce, onion, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper until well combined. Baste the chicken with this glaze during the last 15 minutes of cooking on the rotisserie.

PS: Just to prove that I can learn from my mistakes, here are two Cornish game hens I made to ensure my instructions would work perfectly at your house:


Grilling glossary

July 29, 2009

grilling glossary

Label me lazy or christen me clever, but today’s post recycles some of my past links so that you (and truthfully me, too) have a glossary of all my grilling and barbecuing recipes and tips:

Buying and using grills and barbecues
Budget grilling
Grill master quiz
How to buy a grill
Lighting briquette
Winter grilling guide

Smoking and smokers
How to use cedar smoking sheets
How to use smoking briquettes
Matching meats with woods
How to turn your grill into a smoker

Cooking on the grill
Best rib recipe (2008)
Perfectly sticky gooey ribs (2009)
Burgers: basic and beyond
How to grill a steak
Chimichurri steak
Gourmet brie burger & cheeseburger tips

Grill safety
How to calibrate an instant read thermometer
How to use an instant read thermometer

Do you have a great grilling tip or a fabulous, hot-off-the-coals recipe you’d like to share? If so, please post it below. Links are welcome!

The miraculous $3.49 BBQ

June 26, 2009


Some days words just flow out of my fingertips and onto the computer screen in an effortless cascade. Today, not so much. In fact, as I sit here trying to form a few coherent sentences, it’s as excruciating as if every word is a hair being plucked from my skin with tweezers. Not fun.

But, since I am very dedicated to this blog, I am here trying to tell you about my new favourite grill.

My son and I spotted this disposable grill at Shopper’s Drug Mart the other day. We couldn’t believe that the regular price was just $3.49 so we bought one immediately. We were sure that once we tried it out that we’d be able to reveal to the world that this device was a piece of crap.

Well, guess what? We were 100% wrong. This grill that costs less than the grande latte I bought on the way home from the drug store worked like a charm. It had lots of heat: I started it at 11:50 am and at 2:45 pm it was still warm enough to melt chocolate or keep a cheese dip molten and ready for tortilla chips to be dunked.

Will you buy one of these grills? If so, what will you make on it?

Getting ready to grill

March 2, 2009

cedarwrapped-troutAh, my precious grill. How I miss thee. Sigh.

As the winter starts to wind down, I’m more than a little excited about getting out into the backyard so that I can have regular dinner dates with an open flame once again. Last week I ducked out for a clandestine quickie to try out a new grilling technique. While I’ll certainly be using my tried and true recipes when the weather warms up, I’m also excited to have discovered the Cedar Smoking Sheets pictured above.

I don’t know much about the origins of this concept (one package I read said they were Japanese-style but none of my Japanese friends seem to have used them before), but the idea is clever: you soak these supple sheets in water, wine, tea, etc. and then wrap them around raw pieces of fish, chicken, cheese and such before trussing them closed and placing the bundles on the hot grill.

The result: smoky flavour and no scorched or torn pieces of food.

Have you tried these sheets? If so, how would you rate your attraction to them? Do you love ‘em, like ‘em or think they’re just not all that?

FYI: I bought my first pack online but I know that Sobeys will be carrying these sheets in their stores this summer.

Links to other grilling related posts:
Smoke Chips
International Grilling Atlas
Best Rib Recipe
Instant Read Thermometers
Burger Tips
Spring Grilling
Cold Weather Grilling
Cheeseburger Tips