Tag Archives: grilling

Grill-Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes

30 Aug

I seem to have started something I am currently unable to quit. Remember when I made this chicken? And then this dessert? And how, before that, my husband made this? And even farther before that, I made this? I know it’s summer and all, but, man, I just can’t seem to stop grilling everything in sight.

As I may have mentioned a million or more times in the past year or so, Portland is not known for its particularly hot weather. On the rare occasion the temperature rises towards the upper-90s, it seems as though everyone in the city leaves their kitchens and heads outdoors to do their cooking. I am guilty of the same, but now, having grilled my fair share of meals so far this summer, I can’t seem to walk away from the grill. It’s not even that hot outside anymore. I just like grilling.

As my summer of grilling rolls along, I am reminded of things that I have eaten over the years, all lovingly prepared on a grill. Untold numbers of grilled vegetables, a foray into beer can chicken, and this, a dish I seem to throw together several times a summer, yet never really bothered to write down, such is its simplicity and limitless propensity for adaptation and transformation. You start with a large piece of foil, add some sort of root vegetable—potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, what have you—then throw on some sliced onions or shallots, toss on some cloves of smashed garlic, nestle in some fresh herbs, then dab on a bit of butter or oil (or both), perhaps some lemon slices, maybe something spicy, sprinkle on salt and pepper, then wrap it up, leave it on the grill, and walk away. 30 or 40 minutes later, after doing virtually nothing, you’ve got this: a pouch of steaming, slightly crisp vegetables, caramelized onions and garlic, and a pool of juices meant to be poured over whatever else you’ve got going on your grill. It’s a dead simple dish, and one that I consider a summer standard. I invite you to make it one of yours as well.

Grill-Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes Recipe

Like I said, this dish is great at being adapted. Sometimes I start with potatoes, onions, and garlic, then add turmeric, cumin, and coriander instead of fresh herbs. Sometimes I use fresh fennel instead of onions. Sometimes I use sweet potatoes, sometimes I use Yukon Gold potatoes. Whatever you can dream up, I swear this dish can only shine brighter.

1 pound red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into uniform size

1 large shallot, sliced into rings

4 or 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 rosemary stem, about 4 inches long

½ large lemon, sliced into thin rounds

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high.

Lay out a large piece of heavy aluminum foil. Add potatoes, shallot slices, garlic, rosemary, and lemon slices. Pinch off pieces of the butter and place on top. Drizzle over the olive oil. Add salt and pepper.  Tightly fold and close the foil over the mixture, adding a second layer of foil if your first one does not quite close all the way.

Grill the potatoes, grill lid down, over direct, medium-high heat. Turn once or twice to aid in even cooking (although, to be perfectly honest, I have, on more than one occasion, forgotten to do this and the potatoes turned out just fine). Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and the shallots are meltingly soft and sweet.

Be exceptionally careful when opening the foil pouch to check your potatoes, as the escaping steam is dangerously hot. Discard lemon slices and rosemary stem, then serve.

Fruit Crisp Made on the Grill

27 Aug

The wait for hot summer weather in Portland can sometimes be interminable, but then, when the hot weather does finally hit, people seem to forget all the grousing and moaning that they previously took part in when it wasn’t hot enough for their liking, taking part instead in a great deal of grousing and moaning about how unbearably hot it is. When it comes to grousing and moaning, I take part, as most people do, in my fair share (though I generally reserve my woeful moaning for talk of baseball), but you will never, ever find me complaining that it is too hot in Portland. It rains nine months of the year here, and I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t forced to wear a sweater throughout the month of June. More than ¾ of my life is spent waiting for hot weather to arrive.

In addition to having an excuse to lay around in a hammock and read, hot weather also gives me a great excuse to try out the many, many things I’d like to attempt to cook on a grill. The standards of meat and vegetables are always a pleasure, but, as is my way, I have always wanted to try out a number of desserts on the grill. In the past, I have grilled fruit, sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar and drizzled with dots of vanilla, but I’ve always known that I wanted to do more with a grilled dessert.

This crisp is the perfect gateway for those of you who would like to audition a grilled dessert. I say this, because I am a person who wants to tackle more dessert-making on the grill, and the success of this crisp has made me only more eager to do so. The fruit, bubbling away contentedly, took on a deep and luscious flavor when contained in the grill for the better part of an hour, and the buttery oat topping seemed to almost melt into the fruit in parts, resulting in a crisp that was not so much actually crisp, but something even better. When slowly grilled, the fruit and the topping joined forces, settling into one another like a perfectly formed puzzle. It was a delightful discovery, and a wonderful introduction to what I hope will be a new world of desserts.

Last Year: Mimi’s Ginger Lemon Tea–good as a cool summer drink, a warm winter tonic, and a catch-all healer for anything and everything that ails you.

Grilled Fruit Crisp Recipe

Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect cooking (more on how to do that here). With the lid down, heat one side on high until the internal temperature of the grill reaches about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans or almonds, or a mix of the two

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces


6 cups fruit, sliced into roughly ½-inch pieces (I used strawberries, peaches, and blueberries which, obviously, I did not have to slice)

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

pinch of cinnamon

To make the topping, in a medium bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together, then add the butter pieces and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the topping resembles coarse crumbs with a few smallish pea-sized bits of butter throughout. Refrigerate the topping while you prep the fruit.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the fruit filling and toss to combine. Transfer fruit to a heavy cast iron skillet (mine was a 12-inch skillet, but a 10-inch one would also work), spreading it out evenly. Spoon the topping mixture over the fruit as evenly as possible.

Cook the crisp on the unheated side of the grill, lid down, for 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the edges of the crisp topping have just started to turn golden. Be very careful when remove the skillet from the grill, as it will be incredibly hot. Allow the crisp to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serve plain or with ice cream.

Smoked Spatchcocked Chicken

26 Jul

Sometimes I do not, in fact, do all of the cooking around here. Occasionally, when he is blessed with the time and inclination, my husband will tackle a dish, and I could not be more pleased to watch him do so. Because that is what I do: I watch. Or, if I am feeling unencumbered in other areas of my life and I don’t need to catch up on work or mundane house-related tasks, I sit and read. What I don’t do is intervene. My husband is not a frequent cook, but he is an enthusiastic one, and I would never want to rob him of that quality. If I hovered around him and poked at things while he toiled away in semi-unfamiliar territory, I am sure that the only thing I would accomplish would be the act of making him super nervous and more than a little annoyed. If he has a question for me I answer it, but that’s about the extent of my involvement.

It only seems fitting, then, that the story of this recipe be told purely in pictures. I had a great time snapping process shots of this dish, in no small part because I was not the one making the dish, so I never had to stop what I was doing, rinse off my hands, position the camera, take a shot, and then go back to cooking. I just did what I always do when I am not the person cooking: I watched. And when the chicken was done, I did my most favorite thing of all: I ate the meal and I enjoyed it immensely. With the smoky flavor of the tender, herb-scented chicken, lightly glazed with a garlicky and sweet sauce, it was certainly the easiest part of the entire process.

Last Year: No Bake Fresh Peach Pie

Other adventures in smoking things include this foray into making smoked salmon at home and this experiment making smoked ribs, Indian-style.

Smoked Spatchcocked Chicken Recipe

Adapted only slightly from BBQ25 by Adam Perry Lang

Two 3 ½-4 pound chickens, spatchcocked (butterflied), thighs and legs slashed. To spatchcock a whole chicken, cut out both the entire backbone and the breastbone, then splay the chicken out flat and trim off any excess fat and tissue. Here is a good video tutorial on how to do so, though for this recipe you won’t need to cut the entire chicken in half as is done at the end of the video.

Ingredients for Brine:

¼ cup sea salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

10 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried

6 cups cold water

2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil

Ingredients for Baste/Glaze

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 garlic cloves, crushed

juice of 1 lemon

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon water

For Smoking:

2 cups of wood chips, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, then drained. We used apple wood chips, but alder wood or another mild wood would also work well.

Brine Chicken:

Combine all the brine ingredients in a large bowl or a large sealable plastic bag. Mix and crush the ingredients with your hands, directly or through the bag, squeezing them to release the maximum flavor. Transfer half the brine to another bowl or bag.

Put the chickens in the brine, transfer to the refrigerator, and brine for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.

Smoking the Chickens:

Set up your grill for indirect grilling.  If you have a two burner gas grill, this will mean setting one burner on medium high heat and leaving the other burner off.  If you have a three burner gas grill, it will mean setting the two outermost burners on medium high heat and leaving the middle burner off.  If you have a charcoal grill, you will be raking your hot coals into two piles on opposite sides of the grill, leaving an empty space in between.  After preparing whichever grill you have, place a drip pan under the grates in the portion of the grill that is not lit or covered with hot coals. The temperature should be around 300 degrees.

Drain the chickens and dry with paper towels. Lightly rub the chickens all over with the canola oil.

Toss the pre-soaked wood chips onto hot coals (if using a charcoal grill), or, if using a gas grill, place wood chips in a smoker box made specifically for gas grills (such as this one), or wrap your wood chips in a tight pouch of aluminum foil with holes punched in the top (as demonstrated here), then place the box or pouch of wood chips under the grill grate, directly on top of a burner.

Put the chickens skin side up on the well-oiled preheated grill and cook, covered, for 45 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, combine all the baste/glaze ingredients in a small bowl.

Baste the chickens and continue to cook, covered, basting every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is done: the juices should run clear when a thigh is pierced, and the thickest part of the thigh should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer the chickens to a cutting board, skin side up, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting each chicken into 6 pieces (from each chicken there will be 2 breasts, 2 thighs, and two drumsticks).

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