Thursday, May 9, 2013

And so it begins... Grilling Season!

Good morning crushers!

What a crazy week, huh? Things are really gearing up at work for our big conference in Australia. I can't believe that in about a month, we'll be heading down under for work. Steve is able to fly out and meet me for some fun vacation time. In addition to training for the half marathon, I want to stay fit so that I can be my best self in Australia for work and play. You need to be prepared for anything when you sign up for activities in Sydney (walking tours and other adventures), the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns, the rainforest, etc. I'm So. Incredibly. Excited!!! It's a trip of a lifetime!

Besides prepping for this big trip, we are still trying to sell our house. We had an open house last weekend, and bummer time, we only got to show off our house to one person. And it wasn't even during the open house!

Steve and I are big fans of cooking on the grill. There are so many foods and techniques that you can use. While we had fired up the grill (and we have differing opinions on how to stack the coals), we were preparing for two types of grilling: direct contact and aluminum foil packets.

Grilling can be done over coals, an open fire or on a gas grill surface. I'm sure there are more, but these are the types that I'm most familiar with. There's tons of fun gear too (I've got my eye on this baby), but really, all you need is a long-handled flipper and tongs. You should probably have some sort of wire bristle brush for cleaning the grate too.

While we had the food on the grill, I had started to make chocolate chip cookies following the recipe that I used here, but this time I added two teaspoons of cocoa powder since I didn't have quite the amount needed of chocolate chips. So tasty... Then all of a sudden, Steve goes, "Hey honey, do you mind if someone sees our house?" At this point I have a stain on my shirt, a cold beverage in my hand and I haven't cleaned up the cooking/grilling mess I had made. "Sure," I replied, "As long as he doesn't mind that we're making dinner!"

We show a very nice man our house (he was checking out properties for his daughter), all while trying to remember to flip the pork chops and check the veggie packets. One of the pork chops got a little "crispy".

Here is what we made:

Grilled Rosemary and Lemon Pork Chops
4 boneless pork chops
1 Tbsp Lemon Rosemary Blend from Wildtree
1 Tbsp Natural Grapeseed Oil from Wildtree

Veggie packets:
3 large baking potatoes, diced into 1" pieces
1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 lb of brussel sprouts, washed and trimmed
1-2 Tbsp butter per pack (3-6 total) OR 2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped parsley, or to taste
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp pepper

Gear you need: 1 big zipper plastic bag or other large container, 2-3 sheets of aluminum foil (about the size of a baking sheet), knife for dicing, peeler for peeling carrots, large bowl, clean dish/tray for the finished food.

The night before, or at least an hour before you start the grill, put the thawed pork chops in a big plastic zipper bag or other sealed container with the oil and seasoning. Feel free to add a little pepper or real lemon juice. Seal the container or bag and shake it up! Make sure that everything is coated and then set aside in the fridge.

Get the grill going. If you don't know how, I'll explain this in another post. You may have different ways of doing this, but I do it how my dad taught me. If you don't want to know how to do this, invite someone who does over for dinner! Just kidding...

While you are waiting for the coals to get all ashy and white/gray, it's time to make the veggie packs. Since I needed the last of our butter to make the cookies, I used olive oil instead. In a large bowl, mix the oil, parsley, dill, salt and pepper so it looks like salad dressing. Chop up all of your veggies, except the brussel sprouts. Those you just want to trip and leave looking like the mini cabbages they mimic. Toss everything together so it's well-coated. Divide the veggies among the foil by placing two-three large spoonfuls of the veggies in the center of a sheet of foil.

Steps for folding these packets:

  1. Pour filling/veggies in the middle of the packet
  2. Grab the ends of the foil (the long way) and bring them together so it looks like a little foil tent.
  3. Fold them over and over until you reach the veggies.
  4. Take the short sides and fold them up over the edges so you don't see any of the veggies. 
  5. Poke a few small holes in the top to let the steam out.

By now, the coals should be ready. Using the long handled tongs or the back of the flipper, spread the coals out so you have a nice large cooking surface. Put the top grate back on the grill and place the packets of veggies (steam holes side up) in the center of the grill where it's the hottest. When you've got those on for about 10 minutes, Take the pork chops out of the marinade and put them on the grill on the outer edges so they get more of the radiant heat. You only want to have to turn the meat once, so grill for about 8-10 minutes on each side. You may want to move the veggie packs away from the center if they are getting black on the bottom. You don't want to grill through the aluminum foil (although I've never actually seen this happen).

We were chatting with the prospective home buyer while all this was going on, so unfortunately some of the pork chops got a little burned as I said before. What are you going to do?

How about you? What do you love to grill?

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