Monday, September 28, 2009

What’s on the Grill #151

Grilled Salmon in Cork Husks!  OK, first things first.  Fennel.  You know, the magic herb which looks like the offspring of sister dill and brother onion.  You know, the primary ingredient in absinthe.  Well, in case you didn’t know, it’s great grilled.  In fact, it’s not just great, it’s amazing.  I thank my friend Gregg who turned me on to this deliciously grilled treat.

Grilled Fennel

Cut the the bulb in half and rub with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Grill direct for 10 minutes (flipping half way through) and the another 15 indirect.  You will not be disappointed, promise.

Sorry for the detour, back to the main course.  This is actually the second time I have tried this.  The first time it turned out great, but the picture sucked.  This time it turned out great, and the pictures were…meh.  I find there is something incredibly difficult about photographing this dish while making it look…appetizing.  I’m not sure how much better I faired this time, but it will work.

Chopping PepperChopping Green Onion

I turn, once again, to Fish & Shellfish, Grilled & Smoked, for the recipe.  It’s easy, but the prep takes a little bit of time. 

Salmon Boat

Take four ears of corn, peel the husks and remove the corn.  Cut the kernels off of two of the ears of corn, and place in a bowl.  Add 1/2 diced red pepper, 3 tsp of capers, and 4 diced green onions.  Mix.  Take 4, roughly 6 ounce, salmon filets and place them inside the peeled husks.  Then add the corn mixture, evenly, to the inside of each of the 4 husks.  Top each corn pile with 1 tbls of butter and then tie the husks shut.

Salmon in husks, on the grill

Grill the husks for approximately 10 minutes direct and 10 minutes indirect.  The printed recipe called for less time, but I found mine over charcoal needed longer.  Once done, peel back the husks and eat.

Salmon in Husks, after the cookThe vault of goods

The corn mixture cooked inside the husks was amazing.  In fact, the whole thing was.  You could easily make a double batch of these for guests and do all of the prep in the morning.  They are easy, but look difficult and fortunately, they look good and taste good.

A full grill

One side note.  Yes, I had to use farm raised salmon.  I know, the color gives it away.  I was lazy on Sunday and couldn’t bring myself to drive any further than Meijer, which as usual let me down in spades.  I promise, it will never happen again.  Also, thanks to the following dinnertime supporting players: sweet potato, zucchini, and traditional grilled salmon.  It could not have been a meal without you.

Brew Day come and Brew Day go

Hoses & Coolers

We lost count, not surprisingly, but I think this is our 5th month of brewing since Spring.  We are getting our processes down and having a blast…quite a blast.  As I indicated before, we held this meeting of The Backyard Brewing Society at Dayton’s premiere spot for craft beer, Boston’s Bistro


One of the aims of this session, unfortunately timed at the same time as Oktoberfest, was to meet up with other homebrewers.  Fortunately, we fulfilled our mission as we hooked up (in the meeting sense) with several local brewers, as well as my fellow Twitter friend, Mike.

The Setup

We discussed bringing the Trojan horses with us, but Dave & Drew decided on using Drew’s truck, which worked quite well.  I think Drew only rightfully threatened me once about melting the paint on his tailgate with my burner.

Collecting the run-offChecking the Temp

Today was deemed even more special for us because it was Eric’s birthday and Dave’s maiden all-grain brew.  Eric brewed a double IPA, which he plans to cellar for a year in order to wait and open it next year on his 40th birthday.  I think know I would have a hard time with his timeline.  Dave brewed an IPA, I brewed an Oatmeal Stout, and Drew brewed “ManNight Ale”…which reminds me, we need to schedule a new ManNight!


One of the benefits of Boston’s was good beer.  Not that our typical homebrew is good, but here we were dealing with a known quantity.  On tap was Founder’s Breakfast Stout, Southern Tier’s Harvest Ale, Flying Dog’s Imperial Gonzo Stout, and of course, Stone’s Arrogant Bastard.

My 3rd wort chillerDave aka Bill Nye, the Brew GuyPizza & The Bastard

We realized, although the summer weather is nice, winter will really be our brewing time.  Without the distractions of “outside” work that so occupies our weekends, brewing can take central stage…in the garage, of course!

The Backyard Brewing Society

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Backyard Brewing Society

Well, our rag-tag bunch of homebrewers have a name.  It’s not a great name, but it’s certainly better than the team name of “Butterflies” Eric suggested.  We are assembling today for a homebrew “demonstration” at Boston’s Bistro.  We kick off around noon, so if you are in the North Dayton area and want to watch our less-than-polished-hopefully-it-turns-out brewing process, stop by. 

I think we are a little apprehensive brewing “off site”, but as I am often known to say, “If monks brewed in caves hundreds of years ago, we can brew in a parking lot”.


In the end, hopefully today turns out better than when I dropped the wrong sized stopper into my starter flask the other night.  Hopefully…

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What’s on the Grill #150

Bourbon & Honey Glazed Planked Salmon!  Harmonic convergence must be setting in, because for once in my life I have planned two dinners for two consecutive nights.  This never happens.  Tonight’s dinner was especially fun because it involved not only a trip to the grocer, but a trip to The Home Depot!  Normally I am just excited to buy food, but when you include a trip to the hardware store too, I travel with the aid of Angel’s wings (After all, they are quiet AND energy efficient!).

Making Planks

I love to plank things (on the grill).  However, I do not believe in buying prepackaged cedar planks for $9.  In 12 inch sections, this breaks down to about $4.5 a liner foot.  To make my money go further, I buy an 8 foot section of UNTREATED cedar plank for $12.  This breaks down to about…hold on, let me get the calculator…$1.50 a linear foot.  Quite a deal.  Now I say “untreated” because the last thing you want to do is accidentally pick up some pressure treated lumber and throw some fish on it.  Outside of the strange green smoke your grill will put off, come morning you may discover you’ve grown a third arm.  Not good.  Also, I can cut my planks to fit my grill.  In my case I make them 18 inches long which allows me to place them either on the 22 or 26 inch kettles and perpendicular on the Summit. 

I buy my cedar from the “hobby” wood area.  Although a piece of cedar fencing may be untreated, I feel more comfortable buying a 3/4 inch piece of cedar destined for inside use.  I also like the thickness of my plank compared to the fencing because I can really crank the heat up on the grill and not fear this.

Tonight’s salmon was wild sockeye.  I make it a point to only buy wild salmon.  One look at the deep red color of wild salmon versus the light pink of farm raised is all it takes.  Buy the wild. 

Planked salmon is incredibly easy to make. First, soak your plank in water.  With my thick plank (OK, not to delve into toilet humor, but I was just proofing this post and that last unintentional sentence really made me laugh out loud…anyway), I let it soak for an hour.  Pre-heat the grill to direct medium high.

Brushing the Glaze

Ready your glaze.  It seems to be a booze and grill weekend.  Friday it was gin, tonight it’s bourbon.  Take one ounce of bourbon and mix it with 1/3 cup of honey.  Get a little more gin if you plan on sipping any on the way to the kitchen.

With your plank soaked and your grill heated, place your salmon filet on the plank skin side down.  Brush a generous portion of glaze across the salmon and then place the planked salmon on the grill, over the flames.

Apparently sugar & booze burns...

Your total cook time will be around 20 minutes depending on the thickness of your plank and the size of your salmon.  Feel free to brush on more glaze about halfway through the cook.  The salmon is done when it flakes and before the board catches fire (seriously).

Honey & Bourbon Glazed Planked Salmon

As a side, I used a mixture of 1 cup sour cream, 1/3 chopped fresh dill, 1/2 cup goat cheese, and 1 minced garlic glove.  It is a nice fresh sauce which nicely balances the sweet and sassiness of the salmon.

That’s it for tonight.  Tomorrow, Thai…     

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What’s on the Grill #149


Martini marinated filets with grilled carrots and cheese & spinach soufflé!  After what seems like an abnormally long time away from the grill, I finally returned to what I enjoy best: grilling meat (and drinking IS Octoberfest season!).  To make this meal even better, we prepared it for our 10th wedding anniversary.  For our celebration, we made dinner and I gave Zoe a medal because frankly, she deserves it.

Armed with two pounds of center cut tenderloin filets and the Weber Charcoal grilling cookbook, I placed the filets in a marinade of gin, olive oil, and lemon zest.  While they were happily marinating away, Zoe worked on the soufflés and I prepped the grill and carrots.  As I said on Twitter, any marinade that starts with a trip to the bar is a good marinade.

Grilled Carrots

It seems as of late, I have been solely grilling steaks on the Summit.  Partly because it is quicker and second, I just love the grill marks I get on the Summit’s grates.  Tonight I decided to grill everything on the kettle.  The heat output in the two zone fire was great.  However, the grill marks are just not the same.  Also, I realized I really need to buy both a new top grate and a charcoal grate.  Hello, Amazon…

The filets were marinated for an hour.  The carrots were prepped with melted butter with nutmeg and red wine vinegar.  With the filets about done, I placed the carrots on the grill. They were parboiled, so I only grilled them to add some marks, flavor, and heat.  With everything finished, the meat took a brief rest and the carrots were mopped with more butter.  Did I mention I also like butter?

A Martini Filet

To plate, the filets were topped with blue cheese crumbles and speared olives.  The carrots were topped with some fresh Italian parsley from the herb garden.  Zoe worked her magic on the soufflés and voila…dinner.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What’s on the Grill #148

Grilled Stuffed Peppers with Bison & Blue Cheese!  Although I have been grilling a lot, it seems nothing I have done has been blog worthy.  Coupled with the fact the “real world” is keeping me incredibly busy as of late, I almost decided not to blog about these.  (Also, just because I was in Chicago with Eric last night catching U2 at Soldier Field has nothing to do with my lack of energy tonight.) The real problem?  The peppers were good, but not great.

Stacks 'o Peppers

With an abundance of peppers growing in the garden, I knew at some point I would revisit grilled stuffed peppers.  In order to change things up, I used ground bison and blue cheese as my cheese.  I cut back on the tomatoes by just adding some chopped grape tomatoes instead of a can of diced.  Although I am not a huge fan of tomatoes, the grape toms just weren’t enough.  I added in some chipotle puree, Worcestershire sauce, sautéed onions, jalapeno, rice, salt, and pepper.

Grilled Stuffed Peppers

The end result was a  good meal, but lacking.  Fortunately it is relatively easy (I love to stuff and grill things), so I am sure I will pull it out again soon to re-tool.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The Winner!

Thanks for everyone who voted for my Instructable’s entry, I am happy to report I am one of the 10 runner-ups.  As a prize, I get an autographed BBQ cookbook from Gary Wiviott!  Thanks to Steve who tipped me off about the contest to begin with.  Although I am thrilled with the book, Steve thinks I was robbed! 

It was a blast to participate with all of the other entries and thanks for all of your kind words and help in securing a new cookbook for my shelf.  When it arrives, I will take a poll as to what recipe I will try first!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

Roto w/Basil, Lime & Curry

Since I worked today, the weather sucks, and my grills are dormant, I thought I would do the next best thing other than host a cookout: post a picture of something grilled from earlier in the week!  On Tuesday, I threw a roto bird on the kettle.  It was stuffed with lime and basil and rubbed with lime zest, curry powder, salt, & pepper.  An easy and satisfying feast.  Bypass those roto birds at the store and grill your own.  You will be glad you did.

From my backyard to yours, I wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day!