Archive: Flames

Will the Real Grilled Cheese Please Stand Up?

Grilled cheese. Those two words conjure up melty, gooey images of gustatory comfort. A homey salve, the ultimate rainy day lunch, a perfect companion to a bowl of hot soup. But why is it "grilled" cheese and not "fried" or "toasted?" Halloumi: the real grilled cheese. (Kim O'Donnel) The interesting use of the word didn't occur to me until this week, when I set out to grill cheese - on a grill. I had long heard about the uniquely cook-able qualities of halloumi, a cheese from Cyprus. Made from a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk (and sometimes cow's milk), halloumi is made in similar fashion to mozzarella, in which curds are soaked in water. When eaten out of the package, it has the mouth feel of Armenian string cheese (remember that as a kid?) -- slightly salty, a little chewy and a fibrous/ropy texture. The flavor is mild but...

By Kim ODonnel | July 21, 2006; 01:03 PM ET | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Naked Chicken and Other Rub-Downs

My mother (bless her heart) loves overcooked chicken - and believes everyone else does, too. I remember her valiant attempts at grilling chicken during the first few summers after my father's death in 1982. As always, she was stalwart, determined to be strong in her new role as single parent. Unfortunately, in her efforts to continue some of my father's culinary traditions, she failed miserably as grill mistress. For starters, she would use only breasts. Any veteran chicken griller will tell you that of all chicken parts, the breast is the leanest and one of the easiest to turn into unrecognizable fossils (if there is such a thing). Of course, grilled boneless breasts are a low-carb counters dream, but that's if you know what you're doing. Lean meat needs little time on the grill, a concept that was (and still is) foreign to my Mom. She'd plop big bone-in breasts...

By Kim ODonnel | July 14, 2006; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Grill That Pizza Pie

The weather here has thankfully gone from wet to dry and feels like a champagne cocktail -- crisp, sparkly and invigoratingly cool. With the Fourth of July weekend now behind us, is anyone else just a wee bit tired of smelling ribs and brontosaurus burgers charring in the backyard? I'm thinking of changing up the grill repertoire this weekend and I'm asking you to consider joining me in a slab-o-meat-free weekend. Come on, it'll be fun! And if any of you lunkheads are rolling your eyes in anticipation of vegetarian proselytizing, check the attitude as there will be no such thing happening. Shake things up and grill a pizza this weekend. (Kim O'Donnel) Given predicted slightly cooler temperatures, I'm proposing a weekend of dough. This is perfect pizza-making weather, and in particular, a great opportunity to experiment cooking it on the grill. Instead of turning the kitchen into a 500-degree...

By Kim ODonnel | July 7, 2006; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

The United States of 'Cue

Of all the weekends to celebrate being a 'Murrican, this is the one. If you want to celebrate this country's 230 years of independence by waving a flag, go right ahead. But all you really need to do to pledge your allegiance is to fire up the grill. As I confessed earlier this week, I'm from up North, which means our Fourth of July "cookouts" were a hamburger-and-hot dog affair cooked on the "barbecue." Thirty-five years later, I've learned that we Yanks have been terribly confused. What we had been doing all this time is grilling - cooking over direct heat for a relatively short period of time - NOT barbecue-ing. This clarification is old hat to southern folks, who grew up understanding that "barbecue" is a noun and nothing else. So, if "barbecue" is a noun, then what is it, exactly? In contrast to the high, direct heat used...

By Kim ODonnel | June 30, 2006; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

BBQ: What's the Secret to Your Sauce?

I am a Yankee girl. My family is from up North, too. When Fourth of July would come 'round, we'd eat burgers and dogs, corn on the cob and potato salad. And if we were good, we'd have "Wooder ice" for dessert. The word for such a feast was a "cook out, " which was also used as a verb, as in "We're going to cook out tonight." The word "barbecue" was not part of the vernacular, with one exception - when my Dad was feeling adventurous and bought a bottle of Kraft barbecue sauce to brush on chicken breasts. I'm not complaining, really. But coming from up North, we got the short end of the stick when it came to matters of the grill. In this case, I suppose ignorance is bliss as I had no idea what I was missing. Wasn't chicken on the grill supposed to charred...

By Kim ODonnel | June 28, 2006; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

Scared of Tofu? Grill It

There's something about bean curd that scares the bejeezus out of meat eaters. Even the most open-minded carnivores run for the hills at the sound of the word "tofu, " and to their defense, the squishy white stuff does require a bit of kitchen schooling as well as flavor-doctoring before becoming palatable. But scaredy-cats, I gotta tell you: Summer is the time to get over your tofu terror because the white stuff luvs the grill. A kicky marinade and a handful of skewers is all you need to bring tofu to life. Last weekend, I tried out the recipe below with delicious results. The hoisin sauce is key here, as it contains sugar that caramelizes on the edges like a good barbecue sauce does on pork or chicken. With the direct heat of the grill, the tofu cubes trade in their squishiness for a chewy (and dare I say it)...

By Kim ODonnel | June 23, 2006; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Take This Stick and Grill It

Sometimes, at the end of a long week, we just don't want to think, even at the slower pace that a weekend allows. I feel some of that brain sludge setting in myself, as I compose my weekend grocery list. What would be easy-breezy yet delicious? (Even those of us who cook and write about food for a living get weary.) The answer: Get on the stick. Literally. Pull out those skewers (wooden or metal, it doesn't matter) and thread 'em up with whatever you fancy: veggies, pineapple, chunks of tofu or fish, boneless chicken thighs, ground beef (for kubideh kebabs). The choices are endless! A marinade need not be complicated; sometimes all those veggies need is a good brush of olive oil and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper. Tofu likes to bathe in flavors overnight, even if it's simple soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil. Fish loves...

By Kim ODonnel | June 16, 2006; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Party on the Plank

I have a new favorite way to eat wild salmon - but it's far from a new technique. Borrowing an ancient page from the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, I've embarked upon plank cookery, which means cooking supper on slabs of wood over fire. Grill-planked salmon The idea is that aromatic wood, such as cedar, alder, oak (or maybe even hickory), when soaked and placed over lowish, indirect heat, infuses your food with the flavors of the wood and resulting smoke. Think of it like aromatherapy for dinner. So being a plank virgin, I dutifully followed the rules: Use untreated wood suitable for cooking, soak it for at least an hour, slap the fish skin side down onto the plank, season with salt and pepper (and a few sprigs of thyme for kicks) cook over low, indirect heat and cover....

By Kim ODonnel | June 9, 2006; 09:59 AM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Getting Fired Up for the Weekend

More than half of grilled America likes the same old stuff on those grates year after year, as Candy Sagon reported this week. It's all about dogs, burgers and steaks. My father, John O'Donnel, all decked out for grilling, circa 1968. I've got a proposition for you: Let's give some love to the jewels of the sea, which are simpler to prepare than you think. Here are three easy ways to approach seafood -- even at the last minute -- on the grill this weekend:...

By Kim ODonnel | June 2, 2006; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Steaks n' Burgers

I grew up watching my father grill everything from burgers to whole turkeys in the middle of July. I learned that as soon as Memorial Day weekend rolls around, Dad pulls out the grill and we start eating lots of charred stuff for dinner - at the beach, in the backyard, even when we go to Uncle George's for dinner. What is it about our culture that seduces us into a grilling frenzy? Memorial Day weekend is infamous for being rainy (and yes, this year is looking like no exception), but that doesn't stop any of us. We luvvvv our grills, and we'll grill anything - pizza, mussels, peaches - just to get a whiff of charcoal and a taste of smoke. Wanna see how much we love our grills? Grill guru Steven Raichlen, who's penned several grill-centric books, including "The Barbecue Bible" shows off his seven favorite grills in...

By Kim ODonnel | May 26, 2006; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

 

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