Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grilled Greek Rice

Yesterday, I decided to give rice a try on the grill. And it all fell through the grates! Just kidding. I read on a random question/answer board that real greek restaurants cook their rice in the oven, and it got me thinking, "Hey, I want to make this rice am not going to turn on the oven when we're grilling!" And thus, I thought, why not barbecue it?

Doug loves rice, but I'm not the hugest fan, mainly because I never make it taste as good as it tastes in a restaurant. But I'll be honest--even the best rice doesn't give me a big thrill. Until yesterday! I made a "Doug fave": steak kabobs and rice. It was one of the best meals we've had in a while.

It's such a nice way to fix rice because it doesn't mess up a good pan on the stovetop or require precooking the rice with some butter for better flavor or texture. All in all, a great one dish side you can throw in a pan and forget about. You know, until you need to not forget about it and actually eat.

Here's what you'll need.

Grilled Greek Rice

Nonstick spray
2 c. chicken broth or 2 c. water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes, heated to almost hot
2 t. wooster sauce (Worchestershire?!)
1 1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1 t. dried parsley
1 1/2 t. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 c. rice (if you're using brown, add a little more broth or water than I call for)

Spray a 11 3/4 x 7 12" glass casserole (or similar--whatever you have) with nonstick spray. Add broth, wooster, spices, oil, and rice. Give it a gentle stir to combine well and cover tightly with foil--you don't want to release the moisture. Reserve your lemon juice for a bit later in the cooking process.

Meanwhile, get your grill nice and hot. We use charcoal, so I let the coals warm up for about 30 minutes before putting this on. (Note: I have no idea how this would work on a gas grill, so proceed cautiously unless this sounds like a good idea for a gas grill! :)) Place covered pan on grill rack. Set timer for about 25 minutes, and then check the rice.

At this point, depending on how tightly you covered it and how hot your fire is, it may be done, or it may still be al dente. Add your lemon juice now, and a little extra water if your rice still seems too hard. Cover tightly again. Check in another 10-15 minutes.

When your rice is done, fluff it with a spoon or fork and take it off the heat. You could toss a little feta in to serve it if that sounds good. We didn't this time but want to try it next time. This rice is so easy, delicious, and lemony, and while it sits to rest, you can grill your chicken, steak, shrimp, or whatever else you want to grill along with it. We both thought this was the best rice we've had...period! And no starchy, messy pan scrubbing like we'd have after stove cooking.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Grilled Mango!

Last summer, Doug and I bought a crap grill at a hardware store. While the grill probably would have worked fine if someone else put it together, unfortunately, we put it together. Keep in mind that it takes us two hours to change a bike tire, and that's putting our heads together. While we had fantasies of grilled pizzas, steaks, fish, and fruits, the grill didn't hold up to our ambitions and ended up on the curb for some other starry eyed couple with a little charcoal in their back pockets.

Fortunately, my dad recently came to our rescue. He let us pluck the old Weber family grill from behind his garage. It's over 30 years old, which means it will actually last, and even better, we didn't have to put anything together. Plus, it will be again impressed into service, which I like to think is what all grills really want, isn't it? We just had to clean it, which is, luckily, something we can do. We have this theory that things made a while ago were actually built to last, while today's appliances are built to serve you well for maybe six months. Perhaps one day I will have Doug guest blog about the 1950s toaster he's lugged across the US three times.

So it began today...our grilling season.

We had the usual meal...steaks, grilled potatoes in a foil pouch (what could sound more appetizing!?), grilled veggies. But out of desperation to use our aging mangoes, we decided to throw them on the grill and see what happens for dessert. What a great idea!

The heat intensifies the mango's flavor and really brightens it, waking it up, if you will. We just cut around the pit, left the skin on, scored the fruit, and grilled until it was slightly mushy but not fully mushy (about 7 mins on our grill).

At the same time, I threw a few tablespoons of butter, brown sugar, strawberry jam, and a splash of balsamic in a glass dish and carmelized it over the coals. When it was all done, we topped the grilled mango with a scoop of Haagen Dazs pistachio ice cream, which we had due to a miscommunication before Doug went to the store. :) And then the carmelized syrup. Yummy!

Mango sure adds a burst of flavor to the end of the meal. Hope you get to try this soon.