Grill to the Last Drop
It seems that more and more as I sit down to write my blog this hot summer, the first thing I think about is food related to the grill. I guess it is because in the summer time it is one of the primary tools in our cooking arsenal. (And also because I willingly delegate the main course to my husband and his sublime grillmaster skills.)
We were making Almost-As-Good-As-Pork-Fest Pork Chops++ on the grill last weekend for our Sunday lunch and once the chops were done, we had all of these lovely still viable coals left over. Do you ever find yourself scrambling to defrost a few brats from the freezer or some other protein so as to not waste the charcoal that has a lot of life yet? Pork chops are a prime example, they don’t take up much room on the grill and only take a total of 10-12 mins to cook. So here was an entire Weber with all these gorgeously glowing coals still dressed up and no place to go.
Of course, I never remember this until there is food cooking away on the grill, and thus was poking through the fridge looking for something else to throw on the coals. Aha! I hit upon a couple of sad red peppers lingering in the crisper drawer. I had been planning on using them for fajitas earlier in the week, but as often happens, I spontaneously changed my meal plan when I came across another recipe. (Tarragon chicken, using fresh herbs from my garden. Yum)
So when my husband pulled the chops off the grill, I tossed on the peppers. It did pose a very minor interruption to our lunch as I needed to run outside every 10 minutes or so to turn them, but it was worth it. By the time we were done eating and the dishwasher loaded, I had two lovely blackened red peppers. I sealed them into a ziplock bag to let them steam so I could remove the skins easier.
The next thing was to figure out what to do with them. (Why is it that I always come across recipes that call for roasted red peppers, but never have them to hand when I need them?) I finally decided to experiment and make a pasta salad with red pepper dressing for our Sunday supper that night. It was perfect light fare for a very hot summer evening.
This Sunday lunch we are grilling again, but this time I’m going to have my husband throw on some extra chicken so we have sandwich meat for the week. Waste not, want not…
Do you feel as I do that you are wasting your charcoal if you don’t use them to their last gasp? What are you eating for dinner on these HOT summer evenings?
++A good and clever friend shared with me a large portion of the spice mix she bought at Pork Fest this year. (For the record, we did attend and bought the cooked chops-Yum.) So I did a dry rub of the chops about an hour before grilling. Next time, I’m going to do them overnight. They needed a bit more seasoning and more time for the brine to absorb.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce
1 pound whole wheat pasta shape of choice
2 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped shallot
1 tsp salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs of choice (e.g parsley, mint, lemon thyme)
½ cup goat cheese or feta, chopped in smallish pieces
Cook the pasta to package directions. If serving as a cold salad, rinse in a colander under cold water and set aside to drain. If serving warm, prepare next steps while pasta is cooking.
Puree the red bell pepper in a food processor or blender as much as possible, then add the remaining ingredients (except the cheese) and blend until the sauce is smooth.
Adjust the vinegar level and seasonings to taste. Toss with the pasta and add the cheese.
Serve with crusty French bread.
Lisa Parsley is a Janesville native writes about food and cooking for Gazettextra.com. Lisa is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.