Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More grilling

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled tuna steaks
  • grilled asparagus
  • giant green salad
Dudes! It did not rain AT ALL today! Not even while I was grilling! Yay!

Okay, the tuna steaks were brushed with EVOO, sprinkled with Jane's Krazy Salt and garlic pepper, and grilled for about 4 minutes per side. They were really thick so they came out nice and pink in the center. Yum!

Asparagus was trimmed and then grilled on one of those grill overlay thingies with the holes in it. I drizzled it with EVOO and then sprinkled it with salt and pepper halfway through the cooking time. I wasn't really timing it -- I sat outside and drank a glass of wine while babysitting the grill -- but it didn't take long to cook at all. Maybe five minutes? Six? Ten? It was like my third glass of wine. I can't really tell you.

Easy dinner, though!

Monday, July 30, 2007


It FINALLY didn't rain tonight (although actually? it rained for like five minutes while the meat was grilling) so I made fajitas in the usual manner. SO yummy.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's what's for dinner

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled thin-cut NY strip steaks
  • chuffed potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
Not much to say about this one. The steaks were done indoors, on the grill pan. Potatoes were the usual. Broccoli was steamed in the microwave. Easy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Indoor pork

Tonight's Menu

  • spiced pork tenderloin
  • quinoa
  • green salad w/cherry tomatoes from the garden
I was going to make this pork tenderloin, but it rained at dinnertime again (some more), so I made this one instead.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Comfort food

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled fresh pork sausages
  • fried potatoes, onions and cabbage
  • sliced tomatoes from the garden
I've felt pretty puny all weekend and have been craving the comfort food of my childhood. I mostly hail from hardy European peasant stock, and sausages, potatoes and cabbage are about as comforting as it gets. This is the kind of stuff that my mom would make when I was a kid, and there are times when I miss it desperately.

The sausages were simmered in water for about 15 minutes before being browned/crisped on the grill.

The potatoes, onions and cabbage weren't really fried per se, but that's what we always called it when I was a kid. I cut some red potatoes into fairly thick slices and parboiled them until they were just barely tender, then stuck them in a deep skillet with some olive oil and chopped onion. Once the onions and potatoes had a bit of color, I added some chopped green cabbage. After the cabbage had wilted a bit and gone shiny, I crumbled in some dried rosemary and thyme, along with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Then I turned off the heat and covered it, just letting it sit until the potatoes had softened a bit. (Alternatively, you could fry off some lardons of bacon and cook everything in the grease from that instead of olive oil, cutting back on the salt a bit.)

The tomato was a nice cool antidote to the spicy sausage.

Normally I would wash all this down with beer, but I have SUCH a headache.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Tonight's Menu

  • grilled chicken drumsticks & thighs
  • leftover big-ass green salad
Is there anything yummier than grilled chicken? I think not.

Tonight's dinner was dead easy. All I did was bash up some dried rosemary with the mortar and pestle, add some Jane's Krazy Salt and garlic pepper, then sprinkle that liberally over several chicken drumsticks and thighs. I started them on the grill over medium-high heat to get the skin nice and crispy (I don't mind a bit of black on the skin, but if you do you'll want to watch them closely during this phase), turning every couple of minutes for a total of maybe ten, then turned them down to low and cooked for another 20 minutes, turning once during that time.

My crappy gas grill doesn't do indirect heat well, so I'm stuck turning both burners down as low as they will go for stuff like this. How long YOU cook them will depend on how big the pieces of meat are and how hot your grill is, so for God's sake use this as a GENERAL guideline and, er, watch your meat.

Anyhoo, with this particular meat on my particular grill, this technique worked a treat and it was delicious. Crisp, nicely seasoned skin and delicious tender smoky meat that didn't dry out. DH worked late (he is allergic to poultry, so whenever I serve it you can assume he isn't here) and the Badger children and I absolutely gorged ourselves until we nearly dozed off in our plates!

Yum, indeed!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cooking disasters: haste makes waste

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled tilapia fillets
  • citrus salsa
  • big-ass green salad
Oh dudes. When will I ever learn?

Tonight's dinner went wrong in a number of ways, not the least of which had to do with timing. Like I realized at 6:00, when I was just beginning dinner prep, that we were getting together with our neighbors at 7:00. Which did not allow a lot of time for sectioning citrus fruits (two Rio Grande grapefruits, two Valencia oranges, and one ill-advised lime). I ended up just tossing the sections with some sliced green onion and chopped cilantro, doing absolutely NOTHING to cut the acidity of the citrus, and it was, shall we say, VERY TANGY. Ugh.

And also, I don't know why I keep trying to grill stuff like tilapia. I have never managed to grill skinless, lean (i.e. non-oily) fish fillets with any degree of competency whatsoever, so why do I keep trying? Give me some tuna steaks or skin-on snapper fillets and I'm fine, but tilapia? Um, no. It turns to mush. I'm a moron.

Everything TASTED okay, except for the overly acidic salsa, but still. Bleh. That's what I get for rushing, I guess.

DON'T try this at home!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Indoor barbecue

Tonight's Menu

  • slow-cooker barbecued pork
  • potato salad
  • steamed corn on the cob
  • mixed tomato salad
Hey! Hello there! I have not been posting! Sorry about that. We've been eating really boring crap, like hamburgers and tacos and ... leftover hamburgers and tacos. And stuff. This weather has me ALL MESSED UP. I like to grill all summer long, you know that, but it's been really rainy. So I went and planned some meals that did not require grilling, and since then it's been sunny. WHATEVER, Ma Nature. I think you're just trying to piss me off now.


It did rain a bit today, so the slow-cooker pork was a good call. All I did was slice a big sweet onion, separate it into rings, layer them in the bottom of the slow cooker, whomp a pork roast on top (I used sirloin but you could use loin or shoulder or whatever), then dump on a bottle of barbecue sauce (in this case Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle, which was FABULOUS) and cook on low for a good 8-10 hours. If you're using a long-grained cut of meat, like loin, you can shred this and serve it on buns, but I just chunked it up a bit and we ate it like that. Really yummy and summery, but I didn't have to light the grill!

I'm convinced my potato salad is the only reason we get invited to the neighborhood 4th of July potluck every year. I have been told not to bother showing up if I don't bring it. Okay, nobody actually SAID that, but I KNOW WHAT THEY'RE THINKING. Seriously, this stuff NEVER fails to draw compliments. I take no credit for it because I cribbed it from an old issue of Taste of Home magazine.

All you do is take a bag of those small red-skinned potatoes (about 2-3 pounds), cut them in quarters or eighths depending on how big they are, layer them on a foil-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, bake for about 45 minutes at 425 degrees F and let them cool. Then dump them in a bowl with some chopped hard-boiled eggs, a bunch of crumbled cooked bacon, chopped sweet onion, and shredded cheddar cheese. Mix three parts sour cream to two parts mayonnaise, squirt in just a bit of yellow mustard, and toss that with the potato mixture. You can serve this right away or make it a day ahead of time. It's SO GOOD, I am not kidding. Bring it to a party and you might get invited back, is all I'm saying.

Oh, I almost forgot the mixed tomato salad! That was just chopped (well, cubed really) red tomatoes from my garden along with yellow tomatoes from my dad's garden tossed in just a wee bit of EVOO and apple cider vinegar (whisk those together first to emulsify), salt and pepper. I've done this with balsamic before too and it's really good, but I thought the cider vinegar would better compliment the barbecue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our favorite flank steak

Tonight's Menu

  • garlicky grilled flank steak
  • grilled asparagus
  • steamed broccoli
  • prepared dinner rolls
Tonight I made our favorite grilled flank steak, slightly less garlicky than usual at the girl child's request, and then she didn't eat it anyway. Go figure.

The asparagus, which only I will eat, so more for me, was awesome! I just washed and snapped some nice fresh spears, put a piece of heavy-duty foil on the grill (after cooking the meat, while it was resting) and poked a bunch of holes in it with a big grill spatula, then slapped on the asparagus. I drizzled it with a bit of EVOO and sprinkled on some salt and pepper, then grilled it for about 5-6 minutes, stirring once. This is officially my new favorite way to eat asparagus!

Broccoli was just steamed in the microwave. Dinner rolls were already prepared, just warmed up in the oven.

This was a super easy dinner, and really fast to prepare. The hardest part was washing/trimming the asparagus! I love this flank steak recipe, not only because it's delicious, but because you can do it at the very last minute with no marinating or anything.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Grilling again, hooray!

Tonight's Menu
  • barbecued shrimp
  • grilled apricots with mint
  • a salad of new potatoes, cherry tomatoes (from the garden!), mozzarella, marinated artichoke hearts and basil
  • sliced tomatoes (from the garden!)
It FINALLY quit raining down here so I was able to grill again. Yay!

Okay, for the shrimp I just cleaned and shelled (down to the tails) a bunch of biggish shrimp and stuck them on bamboo skewers (which I soaked in water, but they burned anyway). Then I combined some bottled barbecue sauce with some apricot fruit spread and a wee tot of bourbon and brushed that mixture on the shrimp while they were grilling (about 6 minutes total over high heat). Yum!

The apricots were dead easy -- I just halved some fresh apricots, removed the pits, and grilled them cut-side down for about five minutes. Then I gave them a rough chop and tossed them with a bit of superfine sugar and some chopped fresh mint. Yum, again!

The salad was my usual favorite summer salad. Way yummy.

We are DROWNING in tomatoes but I am not complaining! Is there anything better than a tomato right off the vine, sliced and salted and wolfed down with abandon? I think not.

In other news, the sidecar is the official cocktail of Make Your Own Damn Dinner, Summer 2007! Sunshine in a glass, people!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rain rain go away

Tonight's Menu

  • sauteed tilapia fillets
  • grilled romaine salad
The neverending rain here in Central Texas (not West Texas! I don't live there, despite what the New York Times might think!) is putting a serious crimp in my summer grilling plans, y'all. So tonight's dinner was an indoor affair.

The tilapia was the usual deal, pan-sauteed in EVOO and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Dead easy.

For the salad, I took some romaine hearts (you can buy these already packaged up at the grocery store), cut them in half lengthwise, brushed them with EVOO and slapped them on the grill pan. When they were still crisp-tender with sexy little grill marks I removed them from the pan, gave them a rough chop, and tossed them in a bowl. Then I cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes (from the garden!) in half and put them cut-side down on the grill pan for about 30 seconds before chucking them in with the lettuce. Toss with a bit of EVOO and really good balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and hey presto, you've got a nice warm salad to go with the fish! I thought it was pretty damn tasty. I don't think DH was crazy about it, though. (More for me!)