Since my crazy summer schedule leaves very little time for daily meal planning, I've had to get crackin' and come up with a new way to have our meals prepared in advance. We live in New Mexico where it's hot and dry. Really hot and dry. Luckily, we live in northern New Mexico and in the mountains where it's not as bad as where I used to live in southern New Mexico. Still, no one--especially a dozen cats--wants me using the oven to cook because the heat lingers for days. They're having a hard enough time keeping cool.
So my method of choice is the outdoor grill. On the weekends. When it's not windy. Or rainy.
Grilling outside is preferred because I can cook a whole bunch of food at one whack. For example, today I grilled...well look at the pictures and see!
I try to plan this well but sometimes I get ahead or behind myself. Today it was a bit of both. I wanted to grill D's potato and his corn, along with my eggplant and zucchini first since they usually take longer. And normally I don't crowd the grill this badly. Missing from this picture are D's button mushrooms. I don't use a marinade or rub or sauce because I count on the mesquite wood smoke to flavor everything. Mesquite is just my personal preference, but hickory or other aromatic smoking woods could be used. I also cover the grill to let the smoke do its magic, but I can't take a picture of the magic.
What I have on the grill today are zucchini, eggplant, red bell peppers, an ear of corn, yellow squash, one baking potato, purple and yellow onions. When the veggies are all done, I add meat. Kathy--you may wanna scroll past this bit.
I added fruit tonight to the grill because it adds a nice dessert. Stone fruits, like peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums grill up deliciously. I found that pineapple works well as one of those fruits I can grill. The trick is not to over-cook your fruits. A tip I learned (the hard way!) was to use ripe but not soft fruits.
Tomorrow, I'm going to cook green beans and asparagus on the grill. I'll use foil or my cast iron skillets for that and see how they turn out. I'm also thinking of trying to grill carrots and see how that works. Alright--you can call me a grillin' nut if you want. But if it works, you'll wanna try it!
My favorite marinade for meats is simply beer. I personally can't stand the taste of any beer in the liquid form, but it does tenderize and adds a delicious flavor to grilled meats. I have chicken soaking in D's Moosehead beer, using a covered casserole dish. I've used his Negro Modello, Shiner Bock, and Corona beers for various meats. I prefer the darker beers for beef, pork, and chicken; and I like the lighter beers for chicken and fish.
Because the grill usually stays hot long enough to cook several meals, I can get plenty made for the upcoming week. It's simple to store in ziplocks or covered containers. What doesn't get eaten within a couple of days is relegated to the freezer in case of rainy or windy days. It also makes it nice since D and I are on different schedules--he's coming home from the lab when I'm beginning a class. It means we both get a nice meal despite the conflicting working hours. But I have to confess, the fruits are usually eaten for breakfast.
So do you grill? What are you favorite ways to do it up?