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The Unnatural Cook

a chronicle of weekly meal plans from someone who can't just throw a meal together

Tag Archives: Grill

We spent the whole day on the soccer fields because it was so beautiful on Sunday and then decided to stay outdoors for dinner too. Bought sausage at the local butchers and made some quick sausage sandwiches with grilled onions and peppers. The sausage was a bit strange – so ground the consistency was off – a bit sawdusty is the only word I can come up with to describe it. So this is a case where the photos are a bit deceiving – it didn’t taste as good as it looks!


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A dinner party last night where we almost made three items with walnuts for a guest allergic to nuts. Something in the back of my brain said, “check the email from when you planned this months ago….”

We enjoyed our bruschetta dinner so much Friday night that we made more for appetizers. Did not serve the walnut parmesan or pesto as planned as they both contain nuts! Instead substituted fresh mozzarella with olives, sopresatta, and more tomato onion & parsley mix. Also fried up our leftover arancini balls which were a big hit.

For a main course we had rosemary grilled pork loin from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen. The loin is filled with a garlic rosemary paste and cooked slow, long and indirect on the grill. Ridiculous good. I experimented with the salad: shaved fennel & parmesan salad with lemon dressing. It was delicious but it also included shaved artichoke hearts which were difficult to prepare, wasteful and added little in terms of flavor. Another unsuccessful brush with recipes from famous chefs, this time Alice Waters, who have full staffs when they suggest these things. I’ve included the recipe (sans artichokes) and next time we’re going to try other vegetables. I’ve heard of shaving Brussels sprouts and John suggested jicama.

For dessert I made lemon squares (my sister’s recipe).

It was fun to go fancy for a change. It’s been a while since we made a three course meal. I have a feeling that’s a direct result of having some very un-fancy creatures living with us for the past nine years. But recently they’ve become so civilized it’s opening up a variety of possibilities food and company-wise. Looking forward to the next dinner party…..

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A last minute change in the dinner plan. My husband decided to grill burgers in this unseasonably warm, March weather. We ate outside for the second time this week (ridiculous!) and benefited from the first day of extended daylight hours.

I wasn’t in the mood for what was on the meal plan (couchiflower pasta) which is a remarkably rare occurrence. Many people ask how I could know what I want to eat a week in advance, and of course, I don’t. Usually just the fact that a plan is in place and the food had been purchased is enough to ‘put me in the mood’ so to speak. Not tonight. Maybe its spring fever. In March.

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There are certain meals that become my husband John’s domain and I have a tendency to keep them that way for as long as possible. I think every married person does this to some extent – consciously doesn’t learn how to do something so they won’t be required to do it in the future. Tonight was only the second time we’ve made Pasanda Kebabs but I have already filed them under the category of things that John does, not me. The rice pilaf he made used to be filed there too but I eventually learned to make that and now take a perverse pleasure in the fact that I can. The kebab recipe is from Pakistan (via Saveur Magazine) and the marinade is a fascinating concoction of spices, yogurt, oil, lemon, and both cooked and raw onions. It’s delicious. I’m not sure how long I can fob my kebab responsibilities off on John, but one thing is for sure, it’s going to require that I learn how to use the grill – a task I’ve successfully avoided for twenty years. We even got a gas grill at the end of summer so I could learn but I managed to let the fall slip by and now it seems wrong to learn to grill in the snow. Maybe spring has the power to make me turn a leaf.

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