If anyone has been (obsessively) watching the Food Network (ahem!), they would notice that this week's focus has been on the grill (or the "BBQ" if you're not a yankee).
And what a delight grilling can be. Tonight Stephen and I made the 30-minute trip to my parents' place where my mother (who will henceworth be termed "the master") planned a menu of grilled chicken & prawns with sides of szechuan noodle salad (mmmm...peanut sauce...), Caesar salad, mixed berries, and a really incredible rosemary/salt bread. Oh, and lemon drops, but if you've been to my parents' recently, that goes without saying.
My key contribution to the evening's menu seemed to be (in Stephen's words) over-seasoning the prawns. And drinking lots of the aforementioned lemon drops. Obviously.
Everything was delicious--the chicken was tender, the prawns were tasty (the perfect amount of spice, thankyouverymuch), and the noodle salad had peanut sauce, so how bad could it be?
Mom chose to go with the old school charcoal grill in lieu of the gas grill tonight so that she could use some wood chips for smokiness and flavor. And, like most decisions she makes in the kitchen, it was a good one.
Stephen says: I'm stuffed. But in, you know, the good way.
Stephen's rating: 9.5 (a half point taken for my too-liberal hand with the cayenne)
Chicken & Prawn Rub
4 TB brown sugar
3 tsp cayenne
4 TB paprika
2 TB ground black pepper
1 dash salt
Notes: the chicken was brined prior to grilling. Add more salt if you do not brine your meat.
The rub may be applied to any meat or shellfish prior to grilling. BBQ sauce (top secret recipe!) was added to the chicken during the cooking process. Grill chicken to 170 degrees (for breast meat) or 180 degrees (thighs & wings).
Courtesy Ina Garten
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup good soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 scallions, sliced diagonally (white and green parts)
Place the garlic and ginger in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the vegetable oil, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sherry, sherry vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil, and ground peppers. Puree the sauce.
Add a splash of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook the spaghetti al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with 3/4 of the sauce. Add the red and yellow bell peppers and scallions; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The remaining sauce may be added, as needed, to moisten the pasta.