Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Art of Inadequate Grilling Conditions

Our grilling setup is far from ideal. Very far. However, after five years without access to any kind of grill whatsoever it is a luxury that we still take advantage of with a great relish. There are many problems with our grilling setup. It requires rolling the grill out of the garage each time we wish to use it, it requires walking all the way around our building carrying plates of raw meats and other accompaniments.

With limited space it means that I often have to set things on the ground until I am ready to grill them.

And often times I have to call Jen from my phone to ask her to run me out a plate that I inevitably forget.

But in the end it is all worth it for the simple fact that I do not have to heat up our house by running an oven when the temperatures get into the 90's. After some pouring rain this afternoon, however, the temperature inexplicably dove into the 70's which was a refreshing treat. Now we could do something other than melt into our couch with fans pointed directly on us as Jen begins to get me addicted to watching Doctor Who.

I started off by making some nice steamers from the fabulous oceans of Connecticut. I learned how to make steamers in the first restaurant I worked at in Rhode Island when I was seventeen years old. This is one of the few recipes that a tour of duty in culinary school and fifteen years of additional cooking experience has not changed in the least. Enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, some roughly chopped onion, and a cover. Bring to a boil covered for two or three minutes until they open. A little of the broth in one dish, some melted butter in another. Done.

While in Maine last month we had some steamers at one of the restaurants. They were good. I think they put in some bacon and herbs. I appreciated the variation but in the end you don't need that much for a simple dish like this and simplicity wins out.

At today's farmer's market we picked up some zucchini, cranberry beans, and tomatoes all from Migliorelli Farm in Tivoli, New York. We grilled up the zucchini whole and the beans the same way before removing them from their shells and tossing them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Having never cooled cranberry beans before I'd recommend some additional steaming of some sort. They were edible but not exactly tender.

My local fishmonger mongered me up some local black sea bass from Connecticut which I treated again with my exotic blend of salt, pepper, and olive oil. I'm a true innovator.

The tomatoes we sliced up with a little lemon, salt, pepper, chive, parsley, basil, and olive oil.

To celebrate all these wonderful seasonal local foods Jen picked out a rose from a nice local vineyard in a nearby town called South Africa.

Last time we made S'mores I had nothing but a few tiny bamboo skewers which resulted in some extremely lightly toasted marshmallows and more-than-toasted fingers. In Maine we picked up these huge skewers specifically designed for S'mores and gave them their maiden voyage tonight.

They were spectacular.

Alas, today was the last day of the Tour de France. Each year when the tour ends we are saddened to see it go. Also, we are left wondering what we will do with this extra four or five hours a day that we will not spend watching the gangly figure of Andy Schleck climb up the Pyrenees.

Perhaps now we should finally begin watching Lost or 24 so that we can find out what all the fuss was about all these years. Or maybe we'll just stick to Doctor Who. Since I've just now watched my first episode of the show that's been on since 1963.

One episode down, 768 to go.

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