In honor of Father’s Day yesterday, and in honor of Caroline’s fantastic (and apparently inspirational) grill basket/pan-for-veggies discovery at Goodwill, we decided that last night was the perfect night for me to tackle something I have never done (successfully) before….grill!
Yes, yes, I know it might come as a shock, but my dad was always such a grillmeister,* wielding great power over the charcoal briquettes and coaxing them to flame-filled life, that I was actually quite intimidated. Because he was such a charcoal devotee [I’m pretty sure he actually felt pain the first time he used a gas grill at our beach house], and he always grilled to perfection, I was hesitant to even attempt to measure up.
*And yes, I mean meister, as my earliest memories of him at the grill involve wursts of the brat variety, and thus there are overtones of our German heritage…although, if you want to be much less fun, you can call him a grillmaster.
The only time I had truly attempted to grill was when, acting as House Mom for my sorority (that’s officially a fraternity) while completing my Masters of Teaching at UVA, I tried to grill pizzas for our “Welcome Back BBQ.” I had gotten the idea from my father, who was way ahead of the trend curve on grilled pizza obsession…needless to say, whereas his crusts were, and still are, smoky-grilled, crisp-yet-simultaneously-chewy goodness, my pizzas ended up being baked in the oven (although my actual crust-making skill is top-notch, my ability to maintain a hot charcoal grill was not quite up to par).
But…new town=new life=new risks=new skills (?)*…or at least new apartment=new grill of the gas variety which were supposedly easy to use, especially for someone who has as much cooking experience as I do. It should have been like baking, but outside, right?
*Because apparently in my mind, moving across the country means I have magically been infused with abilities I never had before…right, Sarah, that makes perfect sense…
It was time for me to tackle my fear and grill, baby, grill!
So what did I make? To christen the new grill basket-that’s-more-of-a-pan-with-holes, I chopped up a plethora of vegetables and coated them with just a wee bit of olive oil, a splash or two of balsamic vinegar, a generous amount of black pepper, some dried basil, and a few shakes of garlic powder.
There was half of a leftover red onion, some yellow and green bell peppers (on sale, thus purchased), some mushrooms (Who doesn’t love a grilled mushroom? OK, probably a lot of people. Hush.), and yes, tomatoes. (My dad is known for grilling everything…turkeys, potatoes, you name it. So, why not tomatoes?)
I also defrosted some frozen chicken breasts I found in the freezer (My new roommates love to share, and although I would have preferred fresh…taking advantage of free food means more money to spend later!).
I just sprayed those with cooking spray and put on a generous helping of black peppercorn/ground black pepper (the grinder was broken, so the whole peppercorns were an accidental punch of peppery joy!), a little garlic powder, and a bunch dried oregano…I didn’t have any lemon juice, but I would have added that as well. [As I have mentioned before, my go-to ‘rub’ for chicken is just that: pepper, garlic, oregano, and lemon. It’s sort of Greek, but can go with Italian and Mexican cuisines as well.]
Corn was on sale, so in the vein of throwing caution to the wind, with the devil-may-care attitude in the kitchen (or at the grill) of my father, I thought I might as well grill that too!
I did nothing to the corn except pull out most of the “strings” and peel off the outermost layers.
Then I got to work!
Once the grill had heated to about 400-425 degrees, I turned down the burners to medium and cooked for about 15-30 minutes, trying to maintain the temperature between 350 and 425 at all times. Remember that I had no idea what I was doing, so who knows if this was the best tactic.
Since I kept opening up the grill in what I can only assume is a classic rookie maneuver induced by nerves, and I let the grill stay open in what I can only assume is a classic food blogger temptation for photography, it might have taken longer than it needed to.
I did keep the corn on the top rack the whole time, turning occasionally…and man alive, that was good corn!
When I was at the store purchasing the veggies, I noticed that this organicgirl baby spring mix was on supersale, since it would be reaching it’s “Use By” date today. Well, since I am a Sultana of Salads, I knew I’d be able to use it up within it really turning sad, so I bought it (three cheers for saving money!)…
…and turned the grill-fest-for-father into a sisterly salad supper.
Hooray for me and my grilling (psuedo)greatness!