Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Grillin'

Ah, summer. Nothing beats an evening spent out on the deck, grilling something delicious, sipping a beverage, and spending time with loved ones. The hubs and I are somewhat novices at the grill, having spent the last 3 summers in a third-floor walk up apartment with hardly any outdoor space. We did once have a tiny hibachi that we kept on the balcony of his Lincoln Park high-rise apartment. We had two plastic chairs and would sit out there, looking out over a lovely...parking lot. Needless to say, we've upgraded our view a bit:
Last week we bought an inexpensive charcoal grill at Home Depot and have been grillin' fools ever since. I'm coming to the realization that you can grill just about anything - last night we did these colorful veggies:
Simply brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and grill until they reach your desired doneness, turning every so often. I like mine a little on the charred side). The asparagus and pepper will cook rather quickly, while the onion takes a bit more time (be sure to leave the skin on the onion to keep it from falling apart on the grill - and don't slice it too thin). Asparagus would benefit from a grill basket, (we lost one in the charcoal), but we haven't found one we like yet.
I found a great website that shows you exactly how to grill corn (it's so easy). Click here.

And then there's meat, of course. My favorite thing to do is just go to the butcher shop and see what looks good that day, then bring it home and grill it! Last week I got a lovely flank steak, then came home and found this great marinade recipe online. We already had all the ingredients in our pantry, and I'm guessing you might too!
I served it with some oven-roasted sweet potato fries. Such a tasty meal, and so simple. Make this tonight!

Yesterday we had an All-American suburban day - we bought a lawn mower, mowed the grass, and then grilled burgers. I guess it's official now, we're suburbanites!
Perfect Hamburgers
from America's Test Kitchen
Note: ATK says that it is imperative you do not push down on the hamburgers as you grill them - this will squeeze out their juices and they will be dry and nasty. (My wording, not theirs).

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Vegetable oil

Place the ground beef on a large plate, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, then work it into the meat with your hands. Form into 4 balls, rolling the meat around in you hands, then patting flat into a patty (approx 1 inch tall). With your thumb, make a little indentation in the center of top of the patty. Coat each patty with 1 tsp of vegetable oil.

Grill over high heat (a single layer of charcoal) for about 5 minutes per side or until they reach your desired doneness. My husband insisted we cook them to well done (it was Sunday and the good butcher shop was closed, so we had to get supermarket meat) so we used the instant read thermometer to check for doneness (170 degrees). They were still quite juicy and delicious.

Do share your favorite grilling recipe in the comments! I've got endless summer nights ahead, need more things to grill!