Saturday, July 25, 2009
My First Successful BBQ All By Myself
I'm what you might call....grill challenged. I don't know what it is about grilling (and I'm talking about charcoal grilling, here) but I have a very hard time doing it. I think the first time I grilled steaks, I did exactly what my husband told me to do (then he left) and poof....those suckers were up in flames. I considered adding them to the bag of coals for next time.
I guess I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the whole thing. Its about as different from kitchen cooking as the stove is from the microwave. I dunno...I'll find a mental box to put it in someday.
Anyways....the other night my husband wasn't going to be home but I had my heart set on bbq steaks and stuffed zucchini. So Sir Sportsalot got the grill all ready and alls I had to do was light the chimney starter thingy and go from there.
Wait, wait wait wait....First things first.....a happy cook makes for a happy meal, no?
That day I got something new! Don't you just love all the fun things they have at Costco? Now if I had gone by myself, I would've looked, wished, pined...and walked away. But because Sir Sportsalot was with me, he decided it was something I really needed and hey, it was only $29.99.....And now I have my very own really cool Margarita Pitcher with 6 awesome matching margarita glasses!!! Wooo hooooo
Of course Sir Sportsalot broke that baby open the minute we got in the door and proceeded to mix up a fresh homemade batch of margaritas (another recipe from his co-workers). No marg mix, just tequila, fresh lime juice, cointreau and fine sugar. Holy cow, I don't know what these co-workers were trying to do, but that shit is strong and seriously kicked my butt!
Hmm...maybe thats why I had my first ever successful BBQ, I was too lit up to care.
Omg....light bulb moment!!! Now I totally get it! Its all about the happy cook!! Thats why these guys start popping the beer open as soon as the charcoal is dragged out. DOH!!!
Ok....before I even thought about lighting the grill, I had to tackle the stuffed zucchini. Now I got this recipe from another foodie blogger that I follow, Ciao Chow Linda. As soon as I saw her stuffed zucchini, I just knew I had to try them.....YUM! I pretty much did as she instructed. I only made a couple of slight ingredient changes, both by choice and by availability, and of course cooked them on the grill instead of the oven...(except for the very end but thats for later).
6 medium to small zucchini (I used the mediterranean zucchini this time)
2 tablespoons chopped onions, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 sliced roma tomatoes
1 cup of cooked rice
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
First I trimmed the stems from the zucchini and parboiled them for about 5 minutes. The outside of the zucchini is slightly cooked and the inside is still hard.
I cut the zucchini in half, length wise so they were like little canoes....
Then took a small paring knife and cut around the edge, leaving a small amount of the zucchini along the skin. I cut the the middle into chunk sized pieces and scooped the chunks out with a small spoon.
I only used the insides of 4 of the zucchini. I saved the insides of the other 2 for something later....soup or something. I dunno...its in the freezer. Once I had finished making the stuffing I had too much for only 4 zucchini as the recipe had originally called for. Does that make sense? So basically I boiled 6 zucchini, scooped all of them, used the insides of 4 of them and stuffed all 6. K....lets continue......
Heat up some olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion, garlic, mushroom and zucchini chunks until cooked through. (I guess I forgot to take a picture at this point, or I figured you knew how to saute, or we could just blame it on the margs....take your pick).
Once cooked through, season with salt and pepper. Don't do it before hand, cuz the salt will release too much moisture. Remove from heat.
Add the tomatoes, rice, egg, parsley, 1/2 of the parmesan cheese and all of the mozzarella cheese.
Mix well and then start stuffing away....
I lined an old casserole dish with tin foil...lined up my stuffed zucchini then topped them with the remaining parmesan cheese. Depending on how heavy handed you are with cheese, you might find yourself shredding more.
Now for those coals....
I lit that little bit of newspaper sticking out the bottom...and waited
hmmm....where there's smoke, there's fire so I must be doing something right....
Wooo hooo....its up in flames.....I'm off to a good start. YAY!!!
I think I waited for about 12 minutes (thats what Sir Sportsalot told me to do) then I dumped the coals out
I think that red glow is a good sign....time to put the grate in place, let it heat up a bit so's I can scrape it (more Sir Sportsalot instructions) and then get the zucchini pan
I put the lid on and let it sit in there for about 45 minutes.
Mean while, back in the kitchen, it was time to get the rib-eye steaks ready
I rubbed in some fresh ground pepper and a bit of creole seasoning.....drizzled a small amount of olive oil, rubbed some more and repeated on the other side. Those babies were ready for the Q....
At that point, I saw that the zucchini weren't cooking the way I thought. I think I had made a mistake by partially closing the vent in the bbq lid (didn't know at the time that it would decrease the cooking heat)...so I ran in the house and cranked up the oven to broil. I had a plan and a mission.....these zucchinis needed some top heat to get that cheese all nice and brown. It only took a couple of minutes to achieve my purpose
Flip the steaks....
Wait a few more minutes......and those babies were looking mmmm mmmmmm good!!!
Move over Sir Sportsalot....I think you've created a monster!! (que evil laugh) muuuaaahh hhhaaaa haaa haaaa