As temperatures rise, we go outdoors. The days are longer and that affords us more time to spend with our friends and family enjoying all the things that summer offers us. At my house, it's grilling. It's so damn hot outside, I have no desire to heat up my house even more by cooking inside.
I'm pretty partial, and quite snobbish, when it comes to grilling. We are a charcoal house. ONLY charcoal. We own two Weber grills: a Smoky Joe and an 18" Kettle. We are soon buying one of their Smokey Mountain Cooker smoker, but that's another blog. I know there are devoted and dedicated propane grillers out there and that's fine. Stick with your heat-in-a-can and I'll still with my charcoal.
It DOES taste better! (insert your arguments here)
Who doesn't love a cheeseburger from the grill? Thick, fat and really juicy. Like dripping down your arms as you eat it kind of juicy.
I'm partial to adding sauteed mushrooms and onions to my burgers. But not raw onions. Those are too bitter and sharp for me. I love the flavor of caramelized onions. Slice and caramelize several onions and you can save them in the fridge for other dishes later in the week.
For the pescetarian, your grill loves shrimp. And you will too. Simply skewer them along with your favorite fruit or vegetable and you're in business. One thing of note, shrimp cook incredibly fast on the grill. 2-3 minutes per side at most. When they turn an opaque pink, they are done. If you overcook shrimp, you're chewing rubber. And I opt for the smaller shrimp vs. the super jumbos. Larger shrimp may be prettier on the plate, but they are often tougher.
Cooking tip: If you use wooden skewers be sure to soak them in water for at least an hour. If not, your skewers and your shrimp will go up in flames.
Flank steak is a favorite at my house. It's an inexpensive cut of meat but when prepared correctly, it's quite delicious. It's easy to marinate, quick on the grill, quick on the stove (I use my cast iron skillet) and perfect in stir-fry.
We did a simple seasoning of kosher salt, cracked black pepper and garlic powder. Simple is best. The same seasoning went on the tomatoes. To me, flank steak is best cooked at rare to medium rare and sliced extra thin. If overcooked and sliced too thick, you're chewing on shoe leather.
if you have any flank steak leftovers, they are perfect atop a mixed green salad. This is great use for leftovers for a light lunch or even dinner.
Peaches on the grill is one of my favorite summer desserts. It's an easy dish to prepare and a great use for peaches that are a bit mealy and a little overripe. I don't season my peaches with anything before I grill them. I put them on plain and let their natural sugars caramelize the top and lock in the flavor. Topped with vanilla ice cream, brown sugar sprinkles and a drizzle of caramel, you've got dessert. This is simple and fast enough for a weeknight dinner and fancy enough for guests.
Now go fire up your grill and see what's for dinner.