The Thrill of the Grill

I just got an email from the management company of my building reminding us that it is illegal to have a propane or charcoal grill on your terrace or in your apartment.  While having an open flame grill inside your apartment sounds crazy having one outside isn’t so crazy.  But rules are rules and when we renovated our apartment we tried really hard to get the building to allow us to have a legal gas line barbecue but, in the end, didn’t succeed.  So we have our indoor grill on top of our range and it does a pretty good job.  The email got me thinking about why grilling has such an appeal that people are breaking these rules to have grilled food.

Grilling outside is a social way to cook. The stereotype is mostly true that men love to grill. I think a big part of that is the fact that they can stand around with a drink in their hand while ‘manning’ the grill.  There are obviously varying ways to ‘man’ the grill. I have memories of grilling with my grandfather where he would set a timer on his watch so we would know when to turn the steaks so they were evenly cooked and also had perfect cross marks on them.  On the other end of the spectrum is the set it and almost forget method where you simply watch for a lot of smoke or flames and then check in on what is cooking.   Both ways are satisfying for the grill master and also produce delicious food.

Cooking over an open flame also provides sense of adventure.  A gas grill is pretty easy to turn off and on, but you still have to watch out for flames firing up onto your meal.  Lighting a charcoal grill or even cooking over wood is something that requires skill and should be rewarded with a delicious meal.  The charcoal chimney is an amazing invention but there is still an amount of skill and luck to getting that fire going.  Unless you grew up as part of the boy scouts or girl scouts, starting a wood fire is tough.  Having the challenge of starting the fire and creating the environment to cook is one of the appeals of grilling.

Finally, there are the health benefits of having your food cooked over an open flame.  First off, you actually eat less fat because the fat is dripping off of the meat through the grates on the grill.  Foods retain more of their nutrients when cooked over an open flame.  This includes vegetables and proteins and happens because of low water content in the food.  You also eat less fat because you only need a little oil to keep the food from sticking to the grill but otherwise most of your flavor comes from the smoke of the grill and not from adding fats to your food. 

With summer in full swing, grilling season is also in full swing. I hope you are able to enjoy the social and health benefits from grilling. Most importantly be safe when you grill and certainly don’t have an open flame grill inside the house!  

Happy Friday,

Juliie

Summer time is for peaches!

Summer is a time for lots of gatherings with friends and family. I often feel compelled to bring something delicious to the celebration. It is an excuse for me to cook something different and who doesn’t love getting tons of compliments on the dish they prepared.  One of my go-to summer desserts is peach cobbler.  Peaches are in peak season and this cobbler is so easy to make for 8, 18 or even 28!  Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream and you’ll have a dessert everyone is going to remember.

Happy Friday,

Julie

Peach Cobbler

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar, divided

1 tablespoon baking powder

A pinch of salt

1 cup milk

4 cups fresh peaches slices

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

-Melt butter in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish while preheating your oven to 375°F.

-Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt with milk.  Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter but do not stir.

-Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peaches and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Pour over batter(do not stir).

-Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.  Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere! Strawberry Moscow Mule with Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead

Who doesn’t love a cocktail on a hot summer day or night… or even better, BOTH?! Not only do I enjoy drinking a delicious cocktail, I also equally enjoy crafting the perfect cocktail, and playing around with and experimenting with different flavor combinations. Variation is limited only to your imagination, so let your creativity run wild…. I certainly do! In the summer, I love using seasonal produce paired with fresh herbs, like blackberries or strawberries and mint, or cucumber and basil, or raspberries and thyme…. so on and so forth, the list goes on and on. A combination of nostalgia, the ocean breeze, and the warm hug of a summer evening pairs so perfectly with a cocktail. I relish the nights set underneath a star painted sky sipping something cool, light, and refreshing. A lovely craft cocktail also elevates your summer outing, picnic, or party to the next level, so plan accordingly 🙂

Since it’s almost strawberry season, how does a Strawberry Mule with Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead sound?! Pretty amazing, right? I think so too! Fresh strawberries, ginger beer, maybe some fresh mint for good measure, vodka, and Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead Jam for a little spicy-sweetness, how could you go wrong with this combination?! Get your friends together and enjoy a beautiful summer moment outdoors with this delicious cocktail. Enjoy!

Strawberry Moscow Mule with Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead Jam

Ingredients:
⅓ c sugar
⅓ c water
⅓ c Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead Jam
1 c fresh strawberries, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedge for garnish
3 oz chilled vodka (yes, this is a double! You can thank me later!)
Ginger beer

Method:
– Make simple syrup by combining sugar, water, and Gus & Grey Sassy Redhead in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until all of the sugar is dissolved. Add the chopped strawberries and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes. Now would also be the perfect time to add some fresh mint leaves, gently mashed beforehand to release their oils. After steeping, strain into a pitcher.
– To an ice filled cocktail shaker, add a few tablespoons of simple syrup, vodka, and lime juice. Shake until chilled.
– Muddle a few fresh strawberries and a few mint leaves in the bottom of a copper mug, add ice, and top with the vodka mixture, making sure to leave room for the ginger beer. Top with ginger beer and a wedge of lime and ENJOY!

Happy summer, everyone!

Payton