Friday, January 05, 2007

 

A Drinking Man’s/Woman’s Bar-B-Q Recipes.

I’ve always liked to cook on the grill. It has always been a sign that the cold hard days of winter are ending and the warm days of spring, summer and fall are upon us, bringing all the pleasures of outdoor living. To me, those pleasures do not include risking one’s life or limb in the deep forests where bears, cougars, coyotes and other predators live. Nor do they mean pitching a tent, building a campfire and digging a latrine.

To best enjoy the great outdoors, mankind need keep some simple rules in mind. Your fire should be in a barb-b-q grill, not in a pit in the woods. Your site should be within twenty feet of a plumbed toilet and be equipped with an electrical outlet. Your food preparation area should be the kitchen, not a folding table amidst a bunch of bugs. And, finally, a fully stocked bar should be between your food prep area and the grill (that way you can get a refill going in or out of the house).

I understand that psychologists may tell us that man’s desire to cook outdoors may be a throwback to more primitive times when there was no indoors. The days of the caveman! That’s when Ugg and Ogg and Ahgg gathered around the newly discovered fire, dropped a mastodon shank into the fire and grunted about the day’s hunt to each other while drinking that berry juice the little cavewoman made last month and is just now starting to kick like a North American Musk Ox. Those were the days.

We’ve come a long way since then and we’ve learned how to enjoy ourselves to the fullest without putting ourselves in harms way. And so it is with this goal in mind that I write thisarticle, perhaps with more to follow. My mission is to attempt to pass along suggestions for cooking that maximize pleasure and minimize work. I’ve seen cookbooks about grilling that call for and advanced math degree and seen television programs that equate barb-b-q to bootcamp. These are not for me. I shall attempt to present recipes that are flexible in their make up, allowing for the cook to be creative. Many recipes use the phrase “add (seasoning) to taste.” Duh! Of course it’s “to taste.” If it doesn’t taste good to YOU, then it doesn’t matter how many tablespoons of such-and-such the recipe calls for. Make it work for you!

To really enjoy the process, get some friends together to help you destroy your liquor collection. This is especially fun after a round of golf. I recommend tuning in your radio, cassette player or iPod (or other MP3 player, if you must) for grilling provides a great opportunity to enjoy music or great radio shows like CarTalk, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, or A Prairie Home Companion.

So, get your grill ready, mix your favorite drink, and prepare to hit the grill with some tasty recipes.



#1. Pop’s Glop (named by my kids).

This is my premier recipe. It is clearly my favorite and is the most versatile. It can be a side dish or an entrée. In fact, here’s an analogy for you middle aged jocks out there. It shares a trait from the Boston Celtics teams under coach Red Aurebach. In his day, the Celtics had only a handful of set offensive plays. Their best was the #6 play. Now, everybody in the league knew what it was when they set it up on the court but they still couldn’t stop it. That was because it had a gazillion variations. That’s the key to Pop’s Glop.

Key ingredients:
1-2 onions
Vegetable oil
Box of pre-sliced mushrooms
Dash of garlic salt (make that a long dash)
Healthy sprinkle of oregano
Tomatoes
Wine or whiskey.

Process.
Use an aluminum baking pan big enough for all your ingredients (probably a 2-3 inch deep pan). Coat it with vegetable oil. Dice your onions and dump them into the pan along with the mushrooms. Now, it’s decision time about your options. In order to help you make your decision, I recommend using the wine or whiskey at this time. Pour a glass of wine (or shot of whiskey – I like bourbon) and sip it slowly. This greatly aids the decision making process. Your options include adding a squash, bell peppers, carrots, celery, eggplant and/or tomatoes. Use some or all. I strongly recommend the tomatoes . I use cherry tomatoes cut in half. This allows them to bleed their juice into the mix. Yum! Next, shake the seasoning over the top. Stir it in as you cook.

Cover the pan with a sheet of foil and put on the grill. Using direct heat is OK since the food is in a pan and won’t burn. Cooking on high heat will take about thirty minutes. If you want to cook more slowly (to allow for coordination with other cooking or to get more drinks in before serving), use a lower temperature or use indirect heat (the pan is not directly over the heat source). You will need to stir the mix about two or three times, maximum). Keep the foil cover open a tad on one side to allow the aroma to seep out while cooking. It smells great! Now, fix yourself a fresh drink, sit back on your deck or patio and enjoy some sounds.

Bonus.

Pop’s Glop is a great side dish and you can use a wide variety of ingredients. Here is a way to transform this wonderful concoction into a great entrée. Add some sweet Italian sausage. Suasage needs to be thoroughly cooked so I just put it into the mix right from the start. I prefer to cut it up into sections. It doesn’t add to the cooking time and is especially good if you have green peppers in the mix. Wow!

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