I can be the worst when it comes to making a major purchase. I guess you could say I definitely learned the importance of comparison shopping, but the problem is that I tend to take it to the far extreme. There always seems to be one more place I need to check before I make my decision…oh wait, perhaps I should ask “so & so” about their grill? In the end I usually end up saving money, not because I made the right decision or found a sale, but because either the item is no longer available, the season has passed, or I simply put it off for so long I just come to the conclusion I simply don’t need it!
It’s been a year since I finally broke down and bought a new grill. Years ago I had a Weber charcoal grill that had been frugally acquired through friends that were deciding to get a gas grill and no longer wanted to keep their charcoal model. It performed well until I moved to Orlando and found the humid environment made it nearly impossible to light charcoal in the first place, much less let it cook down to ashy white coals. Ok, so I probably should have kept the charcoal in the garage vs. the back patio but “trekking” to the garage made it even more of a hassle. Lo and behold, for Christmas one year mom and dad gave me a great small “tailgate” style grill that worked off of small cans of propane…perfect! Convenience and control of heat! That seemed to serve my purposes quite well until I went to move it while having the house painted and found myself holding the handles, perimeter of the grill, and not much more. There, sitting on the ground where the grill had formerly been seated, was a pile of rusty particles which had previously made up the bottom of the grill. The important lesson there is…When using a grill that has a 6-inch clearance from the ground, do not leave it sitting on the ground, under the eaves, 365 days a year! The Florida humidity had once again foiled my attempts at grilling!
For years I’d look longingly as the home centers would set up their annual grill displays. As usual, I’d comparison shop until they no longer had the model I wanted or the display was removed to make way for blow up pumpkins and waving Santa Claus yard figurines. Finally, last year my patience was rewarded when I bought a grill mid-season as they were being marked down for eventual clearance. Finally I could once again enjoy the “thrill of the grill” and a quick and delicious weeknight meal was once again at my fingertips with minimal effort and cleanup!
Grilling is a quick and healthy method of cooking. Do your whole meal on the grill by including vegetables that are cut into planks, tossed with oil and seasonings and then grilled until tender. No unnecessary pans and you’re not running between the kitchen and patio to keep an eye on things in two different places. While you’ve got the grill going, use it to grill additional items for future meals like Spanish Romesco Sauce which can be used for a number of different purposes. If you’ve got a smoker box in your grill try Smoked Tomato Bisque, or for something different, try my new favorite side: Grilled Okra & Tomatoes.
Grilled fruit makes a delicious and easy dessert but leftovers can also be easily transformed into a relish or condiment to be served with grilled meats and poultry.
[print_this]Grilled Peach & Vidalia Onion Relish
Grilling peaches and other fruit causes their natural sugars to caramelize and develop delicious flavor. Grilling the onions along with the peaches provides a slightly charred, almost smoky flavor that helps keep this from being too sweet. This is delicious with pork, chicken, or even as an accompaniment to toasted bread and goat cheese. If Vidalia onions aren’t available, simply substitute a red or yellow onion.
Yield: About 3 cups
4 ripe peaches, cut in half
1 Vidalia onion, sliced cross-wise into planks
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Finely chopped zest and juice of 1 lemon
Preheat grill. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the center of a large plate and tilt to coat the surface. Season the oil with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dip the cut side of each peach into the oil to lightly coat. Keeping onion slices together, rub onions across plate to coat with remaining oil. Place peaches on the grill cut-side down and grill with the onion slices until both are tender and slightly charred on each side. Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Once peaches are cooled, the skins should slip right off. Dice peaches and onions into ¼-inch up to ½-inch chunks (depending on how chunky you want your relish). Place diced peaches and onions into a mixing bowl and combine with remaining olive oil and the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm. [/print_this]