Posts Tagged ‘grill’

A Difficult Decision

August 20, 2010

One of the hardest decision for me happens daily but is exasperated when going to a potluck dinner:

what should I cook?

The reason this decision is so difficult is because there are nearly endless possibilities. I’ve found the best tactic is to go to the market and pick out a starting ingredient. Most recently I went to the market only 3 hours before the potluck dinner. While this assured that the food would be fresh, it left me with very little time to actually cook. What I settled on was a medley of fresh vegetables grilled and chopped up into a salad. Luckily it turned out great and even prompted request for the recipe! Because really, how can you go wrong with fresh vegetables?

Summer Quinoa Salad

created on-the-fly by Sarah Johnson


  • ½ c quinoa
  • 3 ears corn
  • 2 poblano pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ c lime juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T chili powder
  1. Bring quinoa and 1 cup of water to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove silk from corn but leave the husks on.
  3. Soak corn for 10-15 minutes, drain, and broil or grill about 15 minutes turning to prevent burning.
  4. Remove kernels from cob.
  5. Dice pepper.
  6. Slice red onion into rings.
  7. Coat onion with olive oil then broil or grill for 5-10 minutes turning to prevent burning.
  8. Dice onion.
  9. Cut tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on size.
  10. Combine lime juice and olive oil.
  11. Combine all vegetables and quinoa and mix with chili powder.
  12. Cover mixture with juice and stir salad to combine.

Endless! The beauty of a simple salad such as this is that you can use any vegetables and any spices. Use different types of peppers, add roasted garlic, add fresh cilantro, use lemon juice instead of lime juice. Have fun and use your taste to make it delicious and your own.


1 fish, 2 fish, red fish, BLUE FISH!

September 14, 2009

I have not had the opportunity to go fishing this year, but fortunately the CSA box last week had a giant bluefish fillet! Unforunately it was raining for two days so I was unable to grill it, but I think I baked it to perfection.

Sometimes bluefish is not very fresh so the smell is strong. In those cases it is good to use a strong sauce to combat the fish smell and taste. Pesto is a good choice as is tartar sauce or some form of cream sauce. This fish was so fresh I kept things minimal and am glad that I did. It is very tasty!

fresh bluefish baked with red peppers, leeks, olive oil, salt, pepper

fresh bluefish baked with red peppers, leeks, olive oil, salt, pepper


created on-the-fly by Sarah Johnson


1 bluefish fillet
1/2 to 1 red pepper julienned
1/2 to 1 leek chopped
olive oil

  1. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Rinse the fish, keep the skin on, and place it in the baking pan.
  3. Cover fish with the red pepper, leek, and chopped herbs.
  4. Drizzle a bit of oil, salt, and pepper over the fish.
  5. Bake at 350F for 15 to 25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. The key is not to overcook the fish because it will become tough. Fish needs to be cooked to at least 145F according to the US FDA.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Almost too simple to write down, but it’s a staple bluefish recipe of mine and it just turned out so beautifully.

The fun always comes in the creative experimentation. Typically I will use this recipe with mayonnaise and lemon juice spread over the fish before the vegetables are added. It’s good with any kind of bell peppers as well as tomatoes and onions instead of leeks. The herbs and spices are, of course, open to taste preferences. Some paprika on top might be nice instead of black pepper. Have fun!

Barbecue Chicken

August 8, 2009

Classic, standard, and delicious. I think this is this fastest I have ever grilled anything. Middle of the week, I needed a fast meal, was uninspired, and low on groceries. I did what I could with the ingredients and time I had. What happened? Success! Delicious, satisfying success.

Barbecue chicken legs.

Barbecue chicken legs.

Barbecue Chicken

created on-the-fly by Sarah Johnson

chicken quarter legs
Williams-Sonoma spice rub *(see “Variations” below)
vegetable oil

BBQ Sauce
1 T canola oil
1/4 onion
1 garlic clove
1 t fennel seeds
1 T chili powder
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sriracha chili sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup worcestshire sauce
2 T brandy
1/4 cup brown sugar

    BBQ Sauce

  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic and sautee in the oil.
  2. Add the spices and cook for about a minute.
  3. Add the liquids and brown sugar and simmer until thick and flavors have blended, about 15 minutes.
  4. Chicken

  5. Rub the spices on the chicken underneath the skin.
  6. Brush the grill with oil and grill the chicken indirectly, turning and basting with BBQ sauce every 10 minutes for about 40 minutes.

Variations and Credits
I used two recipes as inspiration for this barbecue sauce: Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Grilling cookbook basic sauce list and Patio Daddy-O’s Whiskey Barbecue Sauce. I would recommend using whiskey, but brandy was all I had on hand. The sauce has a lot of sweetness with a delayed spicy sting which can be adjusted by the amount of chili sauce.

*The spice rub was one that I purchased at William’s Sonoma which they no longer carry. However, I just guessed on the proportion of the ingredients listed on the box which are listed below in the order they appeared on the box. These can be adjusted to suit your spicy tolerance.


  • salt
  • garlic
  • worcestershire sauce
  • white pepper
  • paprika
  • onion
  • mustard
  • beet
  • dry tabasco flavor
  • cayenne
  • thyme

I also think I will add some orange zest next time. Perhaps a little lime juice too?