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The Cookstr 10: Ten Simple Recipes for the Grill

August 13, 2010

It is precisely this moment every year, this mid-August swath of time, that makes us all collectively want to shout, “WAIT! Slow down! We’re not ready to have summer end! Too fast, too fast!

Oh, oh, what happened to the time? The unforgivable affront of walking into stores and seeing backpacks and notebooks for back-to-school; wool sweaters piled up; shiny leaf blowers on sale. Stop the music, we’re not ready.

Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh's Grilled Pizza with Pancetta, Porcini, and Fontina

So, we’re going to nurse the last weeks of summer, wringing out every drop of outdoor cooking and eating and, most of all, grilling. There’s no law that says you can’t grill in October or December or February, but for most of us the pain outweighs the pleasure after a certain point. Not now, though. Now is when every meal, if possible, should have grill marks involved somewhere. Now is when everything that can be heated should be heated on that miraculous fire-breathing apparatus, the grill. It looks good, it tastes good, and, if you have guests over, it allows the griller to stay with the party–in fact, it even provides the entertainment (and sometimes the narrative: “Hank, you going to flip those burgers?” “You may want to turn down that heat a bit, Sally!”).

Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner's Grilled Eggplant with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

We’re excited for apple picking and pumpkin carving…but we’re more than content to milk the last weeks of full-on grilling season for all that they are worth.

1. Peggy Knickerbocker’s Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops. Juicy lamb chops cooked on the grill feel very sumptuous, while being a super quick entree. People just go bonkers for them. Rosemary has always been one of the go-to herbs for seasoning lamb, and with just the right amount of garlic and olive oil, the marinade is done. You can use loin or rib chops.

2. Ellie Krieger’s Grilled Garlic Bread. When heat meets bread…well, it becomes toast, we all know that. But when you brush the bread with olive oil, and vigorously rub the toasted bread with a clove of garlic, it becomes grilled garlic bread, and possibly the most delicious part of any meal.

3. Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner’s Grilled Eggplant with Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Pomegranate molasses has become a quite popular ingredient, with its balance of intense tartness and sweetness. It’s a Middle Eastern syrup made of pomegranate juice and sugar, and it turns eggplant into an exotic side dish faster than you can say, “Hey, Persephone, try this!”

4. Michael Schlow’s Grilled Vegetables That Make Sense. Timing grilled vegetables, getting them to stay on the grill and not plunge through the grate to a fiery demise, cooking them without burning…we know, we know, it can be hard. A simple herb marinade and nice big slabs of vegetables help solve those grilled veggie challenges.

5. Marie Simmons’ Grilled Fresh Figs on Rosemary Skewers. This isn’t just a recipe in and of itself; this is the creation of a building block that will become an inspiration for a host of warm evening dishes. Nibble them with cheese to accompany cocktails or after a meal, top a salad of lightly dressed greens with a couple of skewers, serve them alongside grilled or roasted meats…let the lightly sweetened figs be your muse.

6. Martha and Linda Greenlaw’s Grilled Marinated Scallops with Ginger and Sesame. Fresh scallops are a gift to be treated with gentle respect, both in the preparation and in the cooking, so that their clean sweetness shines through. A marinade of pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, lime and sesame is flavorful but not too overpowering.

7. Sally Sampson’s Classic Burgers with Homemade Tomato Ketchup. The patties are very straightforward; it’s the condiment that is the hero of this burger. You get to choose the texture–purée for smooth, pulse for chunky–and enjoy the sassy pleasure of making your very own ketchup.

8. Christopher Schlesinger and John Willoughby’s Grilled Spicy New Potato Salad. This is the embodiment of why grilling is so transformative–a straightforward potato salad gets a makeover when the potatoes are cooked on the grill first. It almost makes you look at fire as actually an ingredient, not just a heat source.

9. Sheila Lukins’ Grilled Corn with Chipotle Butter and Parmesan Cheese. A few final moments on the grill elevate the sweetest of summer veggies into something bordering on decadent. Speaking of borders, a slathering of chipotle-infused butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheerfully skip across a couple of culinary borders. People will be talking about this one.

10. Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh’s Grilled Pizza with Pancetta, Porcini, and Fontina. Pizza on the grill is sexy, it’s unexpected, it’s crowd-pleasing, it’s irresistible, it’s versatile, it’s fun, and it’s gorgeous. In short, we’re obsessed.

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