04 June 2008

Indoor Summer Grill

The past few weeks of early summer have warmed me inside and out; understandably at 100F. I think it must be a case of remnant reverence for summer left over from my childhood, but lately I have overlooked the discomfort of my constant perspiration and focused on the slow sunsets, precious breezes, enthusiasm for swimming and meals prepared and enjoyed outdoors.

Last night, I wanted to celebrate summer and I didn't let anything (the lack of a backyard, outdoor grill and at-ready party of friends) stand in my way. I made a dinner of indoor-grilled hamburgers, chipotle ketchup, zucchini, balsamic onions and roasted asparagus. I used a panini press (George Foreman-style), but you could definitely do all of this on the stove top with a grill pan.

ground beef (natural, hormone-free)
seasoned bread crumbs
Worchestire sauce
finely chopped garlic
salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together, taking caution not to overwork the meat and form into patties. A little tip: I coated my fingertips with olive oil before forming them into patties to keep the meat from sticking all over me. Grill until internal temp reaches 160F, or to personal liking and standard safety regulations. (Can't ever be too safe, these days.)

Chipotle Ketchup
chopped chipotle peppers and their adobo sauce
balsamic vinegar

Combine ingredients to your liking and enjoy with whatever you please.
(I enjoyed it with my hamburger meat and a squirt of dijon mustard.)

zucchini (um...duh)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
chopped garlic
salt and pepper

Cut zucchini lengthwise strips, each about 1/4-inch wide and coat with remaining ingredients. Let marinate at least as long as it takes to cook the hamburgers. Then grill, a handful of minutes on each side.

yellow or red onion
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Cut onion horizontally into rounds. Toss onion in remaining ingredients and allow to marinate. Add rings/clusters of onion to grill, cooking for a handful of minutes until slightly transparent, or to your liking.

Roasted Asparagus
olive oil
chopped garlic
salt and pepper

Trim asparagus of tough flesh from bottom of stalk by bending until they break (best part). Coat in remaining ingredients and cook in oven set to 350F for 8-15 minutes depending on the asparagus and your preference for bite.

I ate my dinner outside, behind the cozy, fenced-in walls of my back patio. My beer bottle was sweating, but - for once - I wasn't. The heat outside matched the heat of the spicy, satisfying meal I just prepared and my skin felt soothingly radiant. Summer's finest offerings can be found indoors and out, with a community and alone, in the city and the country.

1 comment:

LaLaLaLeah said...

Right after I made this indoor grill feast, my sister e-mailed me the following info/recipe from The Splendid Table's Web site. It was perfect timing because I have left-over chipotle from my chipotle-ketchup-making extravaganza. And it's too fine to go to waste...

These chicken breasts are excellent, but the recipe gives you lots of options.

You could take this marinade, which is the near magical combo of chipotle chiles and orange juice (a duo that always works), and toss it with vegetables for the grill, brush it on corn before having it hit the coals, or braise chickpeas in it.

Orange-and-Chipotle-Rubbed Chicken Breasts
Excerpted from Grill Every Day: 125 Fast-Track Recipes for Weeknights at the Grill by Diane Morgan. Used with permission of Chronicle Books LLC. Copyright 2007 by Diane Morgan./p>

Serves 4

A heady mix of chipotle chiles, orange juice, olive oil, garlic, and pepper adds a fruity-hot finish to grilled chicken breasts. Grill some slices of sweet onion, red bell pepper, and zucchini to serve with the chicken. A quick brush with extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper are all the vegetables need.

* 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
* 2 large cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 4 boneless, skin-on chicken breast halves

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on medium-high.

2. In a bowl or baking dish large enough to hold the chicken, combine the orange juice, olive oil, chiles, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to mix thoroughly. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat on both sides. Let the chicken marinate while the grill heats.

3. To create a cool zone, bank the coals to one side of the grill or turn off one of the burners. Oil the grill grate. Place the chicken breasts, skin side down, directly over the medium-hot fire and sear on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler part of the grill, cover, and grill until the juices run clear when the thickest part of a breast is pierced with a knife, or an instant-read thermometer registers 165 F, 6 to 8 minutes longer.

4. Divide the chicken breasts among warmed dinner plates. Serve immediately.


* Try substituting large shelled and deveined shrimp for the chicken. Thread them on skewers for easier turning on the grill.

* An opened can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for several weeks. Keep some on hand to add a smoky hit of heat to other grill mops and marinades.