Don’t heat up the kitchen, fire up the grill

Published 11:27 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weather wise nothing has changed since I wrote my column last week. I don’t know about everyone else, but I am going to have soon choose between my water bill and my potted plants.

And like most of you, I don’t want to heat up the inside of my house anymore than I have to, so let’s go to our dependable grills to keep the heat outside. First thing to remember is that I cook on a gas grill, yes, I know, charcoal is better. I love charcoal; I think it makes the best hamburgers and steaks in the world. I have a natural gas grill and that means no hauling charcoal or gas canisters and for the convenience it is worth it to me to miss charcoal.

But you might have to make adjustments in your cooking times for charcoal. Keep in mind when you are preparing to grill to have the ingredients on hand for more than one meal, this way on another night you will have something ready to go when everyone is hungry.

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If you are looking for a cookbook about grilling here are my two favorites, “Good Times, Good Grilling,” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison and “Let the Flames Begin” by Schlesinger and Willoughby. Let the Flames begin is my favorite of the two, it has plenty of recipes and tons of information about grilling and smoking.

Parsley and garlic rubbed skirt steak with sweet and red onions

Sweet and sour onions

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced thin

1 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons white vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly cracked coriander seeds


3 tablespoons minced garlic

1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

4 pieces of skirt steak, 8 to 10 ounces each

In a large bowl, combine the onions, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, and mix well. Let stand for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. Drain the onions, discarding the marinade. Add the white vinegar, oil and coriander seeds to the onions and stir well. Cover and set aside. (I buy my coriander seeds whole and when I need them I put them in a plastic bag and crack them with a rolling pin)

Prepare your grill. I spray my grates with Pam for grilling to make things a little easier. And I let my grill grates get hot before I place my meat on them so I get good sear marks. Combine the garlic, parsley, pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Rub this mixture onto both sides of each piece of steak. When your grill is ready, place the steaks on and cook until your liking. It takes this piece of meat about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.

When it is ready, remove the meat and let it sit uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure you slice skirt steak on the bias, across the grain so it will be tender. Arrange the steak on a platter and serve with onions.

Any leftovers you have of this steak make a wonderful salad the next day.

Recipes are from Let the Flames Begin.

For dessert the easiest thing in the world is grilled fruit with ice cream on top. Take pineapple slices, (fresh is best, but canned works too) and halved peaches (pits removed), sprinkle them with a little brown sugar and put on the grill. Watch them carefully — the sugar content will caramelize quickly and they can burn. Flip and cook on both sides. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a quick and delicious dessert.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.cmo