Grillin’ in the rain, just grillin’ in the rain!

grill rain

I want to take the rest of the Labor Day weekend off (and go to the Southern Decadence Parade on Sunday), so I decided to do my grilling today. Of course, the skies opened up and began to rain so hard and fast that my back yard flooded.

Only my dog was watching as I danced in it a la Don Lockwood:

I’m grillin’ in the rain
Just grillin’ in the rain
What a glorious feelin’
I’m grilling again
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The meat’s on the coals
And it’s a labor of love!

And how I love my Weber kettle grill!

Anyhoo, onto the recipe. This was a two parter – I brined the meat yesterday and put it in a marinade this morning. It came out juicy and tender and very flavorful.

grilled chicken

Sweet tea brine

1 lemon
1 quart very strong tea (I used Orange Pekoe)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
10 lbs chicken leg quarters

Zest, then quarter the lemon. Put the lemon zest and quarters in a saucepan. Add the tea, sugar, and salt. Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 1 quart of ice water and stir to cool the brine before adding the chicken. Brine the chicken in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours and as long as 24. Drain the chicken and blot dry.

Rosemary Lemon and Garlic Marinade

1 cup fresh rosemary leaves
2 large lemons (zested and juiced), about 2 tablespoons zest and ½ cup juice
10 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Add rosemary, lemon juice and zest, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to a food processor. Process until smooth. Pour over chicken and marinade for at least an hour, three is better. Be sure to turn the chicken every thirty minutes to ensure it is well coated.

Grilling

Set your grill for indirect cooking. I usually put a layer of coals on the bottom grate and then fill a chimney with charcoal. Once those coals are hot and white, pour over the unlit layer, put down a drip pan and go get the chicken. Place skin side down and grill for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken slightly and continue to grill for another 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over and rotate pieces from front to back to make sure everything is cooking evenly and grill for 60 minutes, checking at least once to move any pieces out of hot spots. Check chicken for doneness and remove when cooked.

 

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Pina Colada Smoothie

The pineapple was on sale and the bananas were developing spots, so we decided to make Pina Colada smoothies. Good and good for you!

pina colado smoothie

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup coconut milk 
1 banana
1/4 cup ice cubes
Pineapple wedges, for garnish

In a blender, combine the pineapple chunks, coconut milk, banana and ice. Puree until smooth. Pour into 2 large glasses. Garnish each serving with a pineapple wedge.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

Michelle has been craving cinnamon and so I altered my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe to accommodate her using some cinnamon chips. Also, in place of the usual raisins, I put in dried cranberries.

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2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups uncooked oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 10 oz bag Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips

Preheat oven to 350

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix into butter mixture. Stir in oats and cranberries, mix well. Stir in the cinnamon chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, rotating pans halfway through cooking.

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack.

Buff your “Girlfriend of the Month” statue.

Eat Your Heart Out Panel: My Recipe

Here is RG Emanuelle’s excellent use of tempeh, kale, and gummie bears!

R.G. Emanuelle

IMG_3188At GCLS, I sat on a panel called “Eat Your Heart Out,” which was about writing about food in fiction. The panel included Karin Kallmaker, Georgia Beers, and Mary Griggs, and was moderated by Lynn Ames.

Lynn asked for suggestions on how ot make the panel interesting and fun for the audience. I suggested that we make it a truly audience participation session and have everyone write down ingredient ideas.

Prior to the session, I asked the concierge at the front desk of the hotel to acquire 3 bowls and some paper for me. This was an ordeal in and of itself. Bless their hearts, they were trying to be helpful and accommodating and I give them props for that. But all I wanted was 3 bowls and paper and it was like a game of Pictionary trying to explain what I wanted. It went from scratch paper to white-boards…

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Eat Your Heart Out Panel – Mary’s Recipes

At the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon I was on a panel called Eat Your Heart Out – Writing about Food that was moderated by the funny and fabulous Lynn Ames. My fellow panelists were  Karin Kallmaker, Georgia Beers and R.G. Emanuelle, all of whom write deliciously about food. Our panel was quite fun, even though I was bracketed by two vegetarians!

eat your heart panel long

Photo credit – Ann de Mooij

The audience had an opportunity to write down a protein, a vegetable and an ‘other’ for the panelists to draw from and then to make a meal after returning home. I choose lamb, eggplant and peanut butter. Much, much better than RG’s gummi bears or Karin’s herring and asparagus!

I decided to go for Moussaka Burgers with Peanut Butter Ice Cream for dessert. Classic Greek moussaka layers eggplant with a spiced mixed meat mixture, topped with a sauce and baked. Instead, I sautéed eggplant, onions and spices and combined that with ground lamb.

Eggplant and Lamb Burgers

eggplant and onions2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced fine
2 cups diced eggplant (remove skin first)
pinch of salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of dried oregano
1 pound ground lamb

Soft hamburger rolls, toasted
tomato slices

Sauté the onion and eggplant, with a big pinch of salt, in the olive oil over medium heat until the eggplant and onions have turned translucent, and started to breakdown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ketchup, black pepper, salt, cinnamon, and dried oregano; cook for 1 minute more. Remove and let cool to room temp.

Combine the eggplant mixture with the lamb until well mixed. Wet your hands and form 6  burgers. Cover in plastic and let sit in the refrigerator until ready to cook so that all the flavors can come together.

uncooked patties

Heat up a grill pan to medium high. Season both sides of the burgers with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Grill burgers to desired degree of doneness (about 5 minutes per side for medium) and serve on toasted rolls with tomato slices.

lamb burger

For dessert, I visited an old faithful – peanut butter ice cream.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

peanut butter ice cream1 cup peanut butter – I use crunchy because I like the texture of the final product
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 – 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the peanut butter and sugar in a blender until smooth. Add the milk. Blend on low speed until smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and the vanilla (don’t stir too much, just a few strokes until it’s well mixed).

Place in your ice cream maker and follow the directions until desired consistency, then scrape it into a container. If you let it sit in a freezer for a few hours or overnight, it’ll harden up and have the standard ice cream consistency you’ve come to know and love.

I’m very grateful for Charlotte and Thomas for being my guinea pigs for the meal. They definitely seemed to enjoy it.

I’ll add links to the other panelists meals as I get them.