Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Dust the Snow off that Grill - It is Time to Get Grilling!

Everyday Grilling
50 Recipes from Appetizers to Desserts

by Sur La Table
Hardcover, 144 pages

It's been a long and temperamental winter so far. Freeze/thaw/sun/wind/snow.. always keeping us on our toes. And indoors. But don't fret, spring is indeed on the horizon - sooner for some than others. Certain rodents have been coaxed out of their homes and interviewed extensively. They all agree on one thing: At some point winter will be over.

Can you feel it? I can. I am already looking at garden magazines (this time I will be better, I promise!) and I am really excited about grilling again. Yes, we Canadians can be found grilling in the depths of snow. But not often. We like to at least wait until just about now, just when the promises of spring tempt us from our homes, blinking and gasping in the sunlight. It's time.

Sur la Table has come out with the perfect little book to inspire you to dust that grill off and put it to good use. There's a little bit of everything in this book; Appetizers, Salads and Sandwiches, Vegetables, Main Dishes, and even Desserts! The portable size makes the book perfect for toting to the cottage and even makes for a great host or hostess gift.

I'm really looking forward to trying the Grilled Pattypan Squash with Chorizo and Cotija Cheese, the Wood-Grilled Brie Burgers wtih Grilled Onions and Fresh Tomato Relish, and even the Tropical Fruit Kebabs with Honeyed Crème Fraîche.

In our KitchenPuppy test...kitchen grill, we made the Stir-Grilled Chicken, Mushrooms, and Baby Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce - what a revelation, stir-grilling! We broke out the grill wok (perforated for the grill) that we got at an end-of season sale last year, and made this delicious dish. Amazing the depth of flavour cooking it on the grill gave.
And, speaking of depth of flavour - we whipped up the Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce. Wow, I have never thought to grill pound cake before - it really brings out the flavour! This became a new instant favourite with my husband.
All in all we found this book to be very inspiring, and very tasty!

Stir-Grilled Chicken, Mushrooms, and Baby Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce
Serves 4


Oyster Sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
½ fresh red chile, seeded and sliced
Steamed rice for serving

With steamed rice, this stir-grilled dish makes a wonderful meal. Stir-grilling involves marinating foods, then stirring them with wooden paddles or spoons as they cook in a grill wok to a caramelized finish.

1. To make the sauce, combine the garlic, ginger, chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, and peanut oil in a large bowl. Add the chicken, bok choy, mushrooms, and chile and toss to blend. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Prepare a very hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to high (450° to 500°F). Oil the inside of a grill wok.

3. Place the grill wok on the grill grate. Add the chicken mixture to the grill wok. Cover the grill and let cook for 2 minutes. Stir the mixture with wooden paddles or a long-handled wooden spoon, cover, and cook again for 2 minutes. At 2-minute intervals, stir, cover, and cook for 10 more minutes or until the chicken is opaque and firm.

4. Transfer the stir-grilled food to a serving bowl. Serve atop steamed rice.

As you can see, my fruit is a mixed bag of summer fruits that I froze last year. The rhubarb and strawberries aren't up here yet. But they will be soon! So much to look forward to. ☺
Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce
Serves 8


Pound Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for preparing the pan
2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing the pan
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce
1 pint strawberries, cored and quartered lengthwise
½ pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
6 to 8 tablespoons sugar

Vanilla ice cream

Many fans of pound cake know that toasting it heightens the cake’s buttery flavor. Grilling works the same magic, so when you have the grill going for a summer dinner, why not grill dessert, too? Be sure to brush the grill rack clean first.

1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. Coat the bottom and sides with flour and shake out the excess.

2. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, then beat in the lemon zest and poppy seeds. On low speed, add the dry ingredients gradually, beating just until blended. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.

4. Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 1¼ hours. A cake tester inserted in the middle should come out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack. Invert again so the top is up and finish cooling on the rack.

5. To make the strawberry-rhubarb sauce, put the berries, rhubarb, orange juice, and 6 tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan. Set over moderate heat and heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cover, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit softens and forms a sauce, about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the saucepan, reducing the heat if the mixture threatens to bubble over. Cool slightly, then taste and add more sugar if desired. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill thoroughly.

6. Prepare a moderately hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high (375° to 400°F). Cut the ends off the cake, then cut the cake into 8 equal slices. Grill directly over the coals or gas flame, turning once, until lightly toasted on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.

7. Put about 1/3 cup of the sauce on each dessert plate. Top with a slice of toasted cake and a scoop of ice cream. Serve immediately.