Friday, July 7, 2006

Grill! - Another Cookbook & Summer All Year Long

One of the best things about summer at our home is that we don't have to grill huddled on the back porch with our coats on. I say that because, like the mail, grilling happens here rain or shine, sleet or snow! Okay, I do own a grill pan that I can use indoors when it's really too nasty to venture out, even if it is within 2 feet from the back door, but my preference is the BBQ.

So I'm always on the lookout for magazines and cookbooks with new BBQing recipes I can try out and my latest acquisition is called Grill! by Pippa Cuthbert & Lindsay Cameron Wilson. It has 80 or so recipes for everything from starters to desserts and most of them involve the grill, like this Smoked Vegetarian Caesar Salad. You can't see the gorgeous grill marks on the romaine because they're hidden by the rich, creamy dressing. Sshh - don't tell anyone, it's made with silken tofu for the vegans out there, but even those who think they don't like tofu will be impressed. Just don't tell them until after their first bite. Oh - and I didn't mention the crispy capers, which are awesome!!! My cousin, after much prompting, because she doesn't like capers gave them a try and she agreed that somehow the frying makes them wonderful. It's a great alternative to crispy bacon as a garnish and one I'll use often. Don't get me wrong - I love bacon, I just don't like to cook it. I know, I know, you can microwave it, but it's just not the same.

One thing I like about this book, before I even get to the recipes, is the section in front that has all kinds of tips on grilling for everyone from the experienced griller to someone who just got their first BBQ. Another great feature is that it provides indoor grilling options for those who live in apartments where BBQs are not allowed. But the recipes, of course are what makes the book worth buying. I've already bookmarked the Blackened Halibut, Spicy Masala Drumsticks (although I'll probably use wings or breasts), peaches wrapped in prosciutto (local peaches should be ripe within a couple of weeks), tea-smoked chicken salad, grilled zucchini & mint salad (although I'll probably make some eggplant as well). My Honey oohed and ahhed at the sound of the grilled banana split and the grilled s'mores sandwiches. He'll have to wait for me to lose a few more pounds on South Beach first. But I decided the first dish I had to make was the jumbo shrimp with chilli and cilantro.

The observant out there will notice two things - 1) No grill marks and 2) these shrimp do not look very "jumbo". A third thing to note...although not as easy to spot...the cilantro looks an awful lot like basil. Hmmmm....

I usually stock bags of jumbo shrimp (my favorite oxymoron) in the freezer. However, I was out and only had some medium sized ones (great for salads and pastas and fritattas) so grilling on the BBQ was out of the question. The shrimps would fall through the grate. So I decided to do the cooking in the kitchen. Of course I have a grill pan, but the marinade looked and tasted so delicious that I decided to saute them instead. And for the third difference...I ran out of cilantro - my second favorite herb and was too lazy to go buy more so I substituted the cilantro with my first favorite fresh herb - basil. (Either of which means I can submit this post to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging Event, this week hosted by Gabriella at My Life as a Reluctant Housewife.)

The shrimp and Caesar salad were delicious and if the shrimps had indeed been jumbo, it would have been enough for dinner, but really, the way I prepared the shrimp, I should have made some rice to go with it and sop up the wonderful sauce. Good thing I invited my cousin for dinner because she brought this wonderful looking dessert - Key Lime Pie, but more about that tomorrow.


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1 comment:

Mahek said...

Ruth as i always say
i really appreciate the way you cook from the books you buy great!!!
i liked your post and feel like grilling myself i only do toast grill sandwiches as i have a sandwich toaster and a griller too.
but i do not have a grill pan for indoor grilling can you show it in your post and how it looks , you can show it when you do your next grill recipe ok
thanks bye