I have a long-standing love of kitchen gadgetry. Marriage, in addition to uniting me for all eternity with a really swell husband, also provided me with the opportunity to register for an entire kitchensworth (yes, this is a unit of measurement. I just invented it.) of gadgetry, from austere German cutlery to useful whimsies like truffle shavers and ice-cream machines, all of which I have put through their paces over the years. The grill in my backyard has historically not been one of these gizmos. Maybe because grilling is such a male-associated skill, I've taken a hands-off attitude towards the whole thing, hoping in vain that the aforementioned swell husband might someday take up apron and tongs in order to supply me with tasty charred meats during the brief Wisconsin summers.
That has not happened. Thus, I've decided that this is the Summer I Learn To Grill. We have a gas grill, which has the benefit of ease but lacks a quality I'll call keeping-it-realness. I learned how to change the tank of gas on the fly over Memorial Day weekend, and the episode emboldened me, grillwise. The above shots represent my first attempt at grilling this year, a compromise between the forces of Eating Healthy and Grilltasticness, an ineffable quality that my health-conscious better half believes to be highly carcinogenic. The tasty blackened bits on grilled food, he contents, will make us all rotten with cancer, as crispy and delectable as they are. In a concession to ever-present health concerns, I decided to troll the produce section for anything vegetal that I thought might be grillworthy: corn, Vidalia onion slices, red peppers, portobello mushroom caps and asparagus. The mushrooms were, by my lights, the most delicious. I read somewhere that affixing the asparagus spears to bamboo skewers raft-style, as you can see I did above, would help avoid losing precious green shoots into the fires of Mordor and also make for ease of flipping.
I refrained from brushing these veggies with olive oil until the end, at which point there was some drizzling (I picked this tip up from the Mario Batali/Gwyneth Paltrow "Made In Spain" series, about which my beloved Anthony Bourdain has asked the pertinent question: "Why did you [Mario Batali] go to Spain with the only bitch who doesn't eat ham?"). The kids thought this was a pretty poor excuse for a grilled meal, as no pigs or cows were sacrificed, chopped into bits and either formed into patties or crammed into casings in the process. Caleb and I thought it was just dandy.
I'm a little behind in my posts, to the point where I have pictures of food that I have only vague memories of cooking. This is a good weeding-editing method, as it turns out, and remaining Summer Cooking posts will contain only Highly Memorable Meals. Including - wait for it - The Night I Served My Family Liver and Onions. Coming soon to an obscure, seldom-read blog near you.