Monday, November 27, 2006

Mixed grill

It was at least 75 degrees out yesterday and sunny, and I saw our neighbors grilling. In a fraction of an instant, poles reversed from probably not cooking to definitely cooking. Despite that we had just brought a ton of food home with us from our trip to New Jersey, despite that we were considering going to the delicious Los Hermanos for dinner, despite that I was still on the fence about even going to the grocery store that day, I had no choice: must grill out for dinner.

I cut two whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts into halves to make 4 breasts. I made a marinade of juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil, a ton of fresh black pepper (maybe 2 tablespoons? I didn't measure, just ground it for ages), 1 teaspoon salt, and 3 minced garlic cloves. I added the chicken and shook everything together in a secure tuppertype container. Actually, I shook it so hard that it sort of emulsified and I felt kind of faint. I left it to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes then put it in the fridge for another 30 minutes before grilling, shaking it up fairly often. Meanwhile, I sliced 2 large, red bell peppers into strips of at least 1" thick, and 1 red onion into thick rounds, separating the layers into rings. Cut 2 sweet potatoes in half widthwise, then sliced the halves into pieces about 1/4" - 1/3" thick. Steamed the sweet potato pieces until they were a bit more than halfway cooked through, then removed to the same plate as the rest of the vegetables. I had a tiny bit of red onion left so I shredded it very fine and sprinkled some on top of the sweet potatoes while they steamed. Splashed the veggies with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, a tiny bit of salt, at least 1 tablespoon fresh black pepper, a little worcestershire, and tossed so that they were covered. Somehow I managed to keep the different vegetables from mixing together, while yet mixing the marinade; don't know how I managed that. They marinated for about 30 minutes at room temperature, then I took chicken, veggies and a beer to the back porch and found that my coals were finally ready on the grill. I use an all-natural hardwood type of charcoal from Whole Foods that burns really hot (sorry Charles--it's not Kingsford. Send me some for free, then I'll use it. Maybe). I put the chicken breasts around the perimeter of the grill, turning them often to mind that they didn't burn up. The red peppers were grilled first in the center, flipped often and removed once they became soft and had some nice charring on the skin. Next laid out the onion rings, flipped often and removed once they were soft and had light marks. Then I added 2 teaspoons brown sugar to the remaining vegetable marinade and stirred the sweet potatoes up in that, and then let them grill, flipping once and making sure they got fully cooked and got some nice grill marks. Removed all the vegetables on same platter (but not mixed up) to the oven to keep warm and finished the chicken on the grill until it read 168-170 degrees on my previously lauded instant digital meat thermometer. Removed chicken to same big platter as vegetables.

Jeremy and Melanie came upstairs to hear tales of New Jersey and we ate fudgey cookies with espresso after dinner. They also brought the last of the wine from the pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving, and I'd totally recommend it except I've already forgotten what it was.

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