Sunday, September 6, 2009

Time to Light the Barbie

As the Dog Days of Summer come to an end, we are cherishing this holiday weekend by relishing in each other’s company(wine helps), languishing in the backyard, and feasting on BBQ. Like most days, the hot topic always seems to revolve around food. We usually start with a theme, and then build from there. This weekend’s theme was all about lighting the grill, and enjoying barbecue. In hindsight, I should’ve documented our scrumptious meals and posted photos, but our stomachs took charge, and all that was left before us were empty plates. Success!

It’s not too late to squeeze in a couple more weekends filled with barbecue. Here are a few ideas for your next grill fest, and of course, tea suggestions to start your day off right!

Friday- Started our day with Huang Jin Gui Oolong

Homemade Pizzas on the Grill
We made a basic pizza dough in our bread maker. However, store bought pizza dough works fine, too. We like the Trader Joe’s brand. The best part of planning a pizza party is choosing the toppings. We like to make two pizzas, each choosing a pie, and taking it from ingredients to grill. The Tea Drinker made our favorite ‘order-in’ stand by, a traditional cheese pizza with black olives and onions. I took a stab at creating Pizza Azzurro’s spinach, garlic, red chilies, and ricotta pizza pie.

Our number one advice is not to be afraid! Grilling pizza can be fun.
· Heat Grill- either brush grill lightly with oil or coat with a non-stick oil spray
· Roll out dough right before it goes on the grill- Don’t worry if it’s not round- the shape does not matter.
· Brush dough with olive oil, and place the oiled side down on grill. Sometimes it’s easier to just flip the dough from the sheet pan right onto the grill. Grill for 5-7 minutes until crusty. Oil the other side, flip, and repeat!
· Remove dough from the grill and decorate with ingredients. Place back on grill, turn down the heat, close lid and grill until cheese or ingredients meld together.
· Slice, and serve with a crisp salad. Butter lettuce wedges topped with creamy blue cheese dressing worked perfectly for us.

Saturday- Started our day with House Ceylon
Barbeque-braised Thai Chicken Legs
with a lemongrass glaze consisting of green curry paste, lots of scallions and ginger, served with side of spicy Thai noodles, and sweet and sour cucumber salad.

This recipe is compliments of Fine Cooking magazine. I am totally convinced this is how to grill chicken. It’s a bit of project, but well worth it. Just pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy the outdoors while grilling. You can basically use this technique with any type of meat. The steps involve starting a dry rub base, then searing the meat quickly on a hot grill. Next, braising the meat in liquid which also can be done on the grill, then finishing back on the grill for final cooking while basting with a glaze. The chicken was so moist and layered with flavors. We found that a gas grill works best, since you can control the temperature. I can’t wait to make this again. Try it, you will not be disappointed. Total cooking time about an hour, after marinade.

Sunday- Started our day with White Peony
Baby Back Ribs- slow cooked on a charcoal grill, served with Mac-n-Cheese, baked beans, and corn on the cob. Holy cow, what a feast! The Tea Drinker has been experimenting with ribs all summer long. He is attempting to perfect the ultimate Drink the Leaf house style. The key is in the rub and cooking the ribs over low heat for a lengthy period of time. Read here: have lots of cold beer on hand. Today, he chose Gary Wiviott’s rub- an aromatic mixture of dried ingredients- garlic, cayenne, paprika, thyme, chipolte, ancho and guajillo chili powders. Dash of salt and pepper, too. We made ours from scratch, but if in a pinch order on line at Baste the ribs with a high quality barbecue sauce towards the end of cooking. Also, serve some of the sauce on the side. Fall off the bone, finger licking good…

And for inquiring minds, I enjoyed a grilled Portobello mushroom "burger", and had extra helpings of mac-n-cheese.

Monday- Labor Day- Start day with Kawane Sencha
What to barbecue? Heck, forget that, we are going out to dinner, we're exhausted!


Anonymous said...

T- You didn't have RIBS? I like a portobello as much as the next person - but to pass on ribs? You crazy, girl! That's the reason we go to boot camp, no? :)

Esan Man said...

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Tree said...

Esan Man- Thank you for your comments. I look forward to posting each Sunday, keep on reading! Best, Wife of A Tea Drinker

Anonymous said...

I could go for most of the side dishes here but not the main ones. I've been vegetarian for long enough that I might not be able to easily eat meat anymore. I'll have to pass on the wine too. Grilled pizza sounds like an occasional treat that would be quite enjoyable. I can just imagine its smoky flavor. --Spirituality of Tea