Tag Archives: grilling

Carne Asada

I found this awesome Mole Salt by Amola at where else, Salt and Sundry, and have used it to season avocado toast and punch up my hot coca.  I realized that since it already has some spices like coca and cinnamon in it that I could throw it into a spice blend and skip some steps.  This spice rub would be great on pork as well but my man was asking for steak so for Fiesta Friday we went with Carne Asada.

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For carne asada what you really want is a nice crust on the outside so I made sure to include some brown sugar in the spice rub to help caramelize the meat.  I used a flat iron steak which I like because it has a good amount of fat but isn’t too thick so it cooks quickly.  I also like skirt steak for this – flank, which is usually my go to steak is a little too lean for me but is certainly traditional for carne asada.  This would be great with my tex mex quinoa salad on the side or Mexican beans and greens.  Carne asada is also perfect for steak tacos – make sure to serve them up with my HOT habanero sauce and some sour cream.

Carne Asada (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Mole Salt
Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used pasilla chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mole salt (or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus a pinch of coca powder and a pinch of cinnamon)
  • 1 pound flat iron or skirt steak

Mix the spices together in a small bowl.  Pat the meat dry and rub all over both sides with the spice mixture.

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Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.  Light your grill on high and grill 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your meat and how you like your steak done.

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Cover with tin foil and rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

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Carne Asada

  • Servings: 3-4
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Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mole salt (or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus a pinch of coca powder and a pinch of cinnamon)
  • 1 pound flat iron or skirt steak

Mix the spices together in a small bowl.  Pat the meat dry and rub all over both sides with the spice mixture.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.  Light your grill on high and grill 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your meat and how you like your steak done.  Cover with tin foil and rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

 

 

Asian Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions

As the weather heats up I start looking to the grill more and more for quick and easy dinners.  The thought of turning on an oven just makes me sad and there is nothing better than grilling dinner on the deck, drinking a beer and watching the sun set.  This steak is so stupid simple and comes together really quickly.  Marinate it the night before and all you have to do it throw it on the grill with some scallions.  Pair with some rice (I like to make big batches and then freeze individual portions in plastic baggies to make my own instant rice).  If you want to amp up the veggies maybe throw some peppers on the grill as well or even green beans or snap peas (as long as you have a grill basket).  Leftovers are also delicious tossed on a salad or some cold udon noodles.  Fire up that grill!

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Asian Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  beef teriyaki
Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger root, chopped
  • 1 to 2 skirt steaks depending on size
  • 6-8 scallions

In a large plastic baggie combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, chili paste, garlic and ginger.  Add the skirt steaks and let marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

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Heat your grill to high and grill the steaks for 4 minutes.  Flip the steak and add the scallions to the grill diagonally so they don’t fall through the grates.

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Let the steak cook for another 4 minutes or so, flipping the scallions once so they get grilled on both sides.  Let the steak rest under some tinfoil for 5 to 10 minutes then slice thinly across the grain and serve with the grilled scallions.

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Asian Skirt Steak

  • Servings: 4
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Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger root, chopped
  • 1 to 2 skirt steaks depending on size
  • 6-8 scallions

In a large plastic baggie combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, chili paste, garlic and ginger.  Add the skirt steaks and let marinate for at least an hour or overnight.  Heat your grill to high and grill the steaks for 4 minutes.  Flip the steak and add the scallions to the grill diagonally so they don’t fall through the grates.  Let the steak cook for another 4 minutes or so, flipping the scallions once so they get grilled on both sides.  Let the steak rest under some tinfoil for 5 to 10 minutes then slice thinly across the grain and serve with the grilled scallions.

Grilled Chicken Wings

Sports and chicken wings are like peanut butter and jelly.  Some of my happiest memories from college is sitting at Cornerstone with my friends drinking cheap beer, watching the Maryland Terrapins and downing baskets and baskets of wings.  Now that I watch from the comfort of my own home I usually turn to my buffalo chicken dip but sometimes they just don’t quite cut it.  Since I don’t have a deep frier, or the metabolism of a 19 year old any more, grilling wings as opposed to frying them has become my go to.  It adds a nice char to the outside and then you can mix them with any sauce you like.  For buffalo wings I suggest Franks Red Hot alongside blue cheese dressing and celery and carrot sticks.  Other favorites are using thai chili sauce with scallions or a drizzle of Bees Knees Honey which you can get locally at Salt and Sundry or online.  Make a double batch this football Sunday and do a variety of sauces or just leave some plain.  They will all be delicious.

Grilled Chicken Wings (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  halftime
Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • olive oil and salt
  • any hot sauce, marinade or honey you want

Heat your grill to medium high.  In a large bowl toss the wings with a couple glugs of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and toss together.  Carefully lay the wings on the grill and grill them covered for about 15 minutes.  Lift the lid, flip the wings over and then close the lid and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until done.

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Once you have taken them off the grill you can toss them with any sauce you like.

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Grilled Chicken Wings

  • Servings: 4
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Special Equipment:  grill

  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • olive oil and salt
  • any hot sauce, marinade or honey you want

Heat your grill to medium high.  In a large bowl toss the wings with a couple glugs of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and toss together.  Carefully lay the wings on the grill and grill them covered for about 15 minutes.  Lift the lid, flip the wings over and then close the lid and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until done.  Once you have taken them off the grill you can toss them with any sauce you like.

Grilled Pizza

When we were in Italy earlier this year there were multiple days where we had pizza for lunch and dinner (and maybe for a snack).  Why not???  The pizza was so fresh, there were endless topping variations and it was so much better than anything we can get in DC that it seemed a waste not to!  After years of living in a pizza desert there are finally a couple decent places  in DC (looking at you Ghibellina and Pizza Paradisio).  However, there is something really satisfying about making it yourself – you get to play with dough and also control the quality of your ingredients.  Best of all you can pile on all the cheese you want with no judgement.  Baking pizza in the oven works, and perhaps I will do a post on that later, but grilling is where it’s at.  The open flame creates some good char and the heat of the grill acts as a pizza oven when you close the lid.  It won’t quite reach the epic 700 degrees or so those Italian wood fired ovens get, but it’s close enough.  This go around I decided to make my own dough but you can easily buy dough from most supermarkets or your local pizza place.  The key to working with pizza dough is letting it come to room temperature before you try to roll it out.  It’s very elastic and even more so when chilled, so instead of fighting with it for an hour you should let it sit out for about that long before you want to use it.  Just make sure to cover it with a towel or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.

my dough just hanging out having a beer before becoming a pizza

Warning: if you are a perfectionist then grilling pizza is not for you.  You are not going to get a perfect circle pizza and it is not going to cook 100% evenly.  That’s part of the charm for me.  Here I make our house specialty – the Nustello pizza (Nustello was our celebrity name before we got married, like Tomkat but with pizza).  When Patrick and I were first dating we went out for pizza a lot and came up with this pie.  It had the required meat for him (prosciutto), cheese for me (mozzarella) and green (arugula) to cancel out the cheese and the meat!  Use any toppings you would like, this is really just a methodology.  Would love to see your pizzas on instagram, just tag @acapitolcontessa.

Grilled Pizza (printable version at the end of the post)
Inspiration: pizza, pizza, pizza!
Special Equipment:  grill, stand mixer (if you make your own dough)

  • pizza dough (I made Ina Garten’s version but feel free to use your own recipe or buy dough)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (I used my own)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 6-8 slices prosciutto
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • a couple of handfuls of arugula

Since I made my dough I just let it rise on the counter and hang out until I was ready to use it.  If it has risen again all you have to do is punch it down.  If you bought your dough just make sure it is nice and room temp.  Flour your surface so it doesn’t stick and just start working the dough into a flat circle with your hands.  There is no real trick to this, you just stretch your dough until its thin and in the shape you want.  I would suggest starting with smaller pizzas for your first try as its easier to control.  Don’t worry if some parts are thinner than other, again this is part of the charm.  Once you have gotten it to a good place, drizzle it with olive oil so it easily goes on to the grill and won’t stick to it (added benefit is more flavor).

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Before you light your grill make sure to get all of your ingredients ready so once the dough is ready you can immediately put them on (wine optional but makes pizza mistakes go down much smoother).

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Also make sure to not add too many elements.  Last thing you want is a soggy pizza.  Heat your grill to high (apologies to everyone but we have a gas grill so all instructions are for gas but its easy enough to modify to charcoal, just move your food away from the coals for indirect) and let it get as hot as it can with the lid closed.  Once it’s nice and hot, turn the burners to medium just where you are going to put the pizza and leave the rest on high.  Add the dough and close the top.

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Don’t peak for 3 minutes – after that lift up the cover.  The pizza should have nice char and lines on the bottom and good bubbles on top.

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Slide the pizza off and flip it so the grilled side is up on your pizza peal or cookie sheet.

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Add your toppings – for the Nustello pie add tomato sauce, cheese, prosciutto and onion.  Trust your gut – depending on the size of dough you rolled out you may need less toppings, so just make sure not to overload it.  Once all the toppings are on move the pizza back to the grill and turn off the burners immediately below the pizza.

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Since the cover has been closed the whole time the grill still should be nice and hot.  Close the cover again and let it cook for at least another 7 to 8 minutes.  Check and see if the cheese has melted – it can take up to 12 minutes so just peak when you need to.  Once its done take it off the grill and top with the arugula which will start to wilt on contact.  You want to wait a couple of minutes (tough I know!) before you cut into it.

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Grilled Pizza

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Print

Special Equipment:  grill, stand mixer (if you make your own dough)

  • pizza dough (I made Ina Garten’s version but feel free to use your own recipe or buy dough)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (I used my own)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 6-8 slices prosciutto
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • a couple of handfuls of arugula

Since I made my dough I just let it rise on the counter and hang out until I was ready to use it.  If it has risen again all you have to do is punch it down.  If you bought your dough just make sure it is nice and room temp.  Flour your surface so it doesn’t stick and just start working the dough into a flat circle with your hands.  There is no real trick to this, you just stretch your dough until its thin and in the shape you want.  I would suggest starting with smaller pizzas for your first try as its easier to control.  Don’t worry if some parts are thinner than other, again this is part of the charm.  Once you have gotten it to a good place, drizzle it with olive oil so it easily goes on to the grill and won’t stick to it.  Before you light your grill make sure to get all of your ingredients ready so once the dough is ready you can immediately put them on.

Heat your grill to high (apologies to everyone but we have a gas grill so all instructions are for gas but its easy enough to modify to charcoal, just move your food away from the coals for indirect) and let it get as hot as it can with the lid closed.  Once it’s nice and hot, turn the burners to medium just where you are going to put the pizza and leave the rest on high.  Add the dough and close the top.  Don’t peak for 3 minutes – after that lift up the cover.  The pizza should have nice char and lines on the bottom and good bubbles on top.  Slide the pizza off and flip it so the grilled side is up on your pizza peal or cookie sheet.

Add your toppings – for the Nustello pie add tomato sauce, cheese, prosciutto and onion.  Trust your gut – depending on the size of dough you rolled out you may need less toppings, so just make sure not to overload it.  Once all the toppings are on move the pizza back to the grill and turn off the burners immediately below the pizza.  Since the cover has been closed the whole time the grill still should be nice and hot.  Close the cover again and let it cook for at least another 7 to 8 minutes.  Check and see if the cheese has melted – it can take up to 12 minutes so just peak when you need to.  Once its done take it off the grill and top with the arugula which will start to wilt on contact.  You want to wait a couple of minutes (tough I know!) before you cut into it.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

It’s 1994 and every restaurant has a grilled chicken caesar salad on the menu.  People are eating it in droves (sometimes in a gloopy wrap) thinking it’s healthy.  Then one day everyone wakes up and realizes it’s boring and oh by the way, the dressing you are pouring on that lettuce is super high in calories and fat!!  Our sad salad is relegated to the pile of forgotten food fads.  I decided to bring it back.  This is sort of a deconstructed version of the old favorite and it’s certainly healthier.  I use a light hand with the dressing and use light mayo, no egg and no olive oil but trust me it has tons of flavor.  That comes courtesy of lots of garlic, lemon, and anchovy paste.  Yes anchovy paste – it’s not fishy at all and adds a certain something that you just can’t get without it.  I really like this one by Flott from Italy but you can really get whatever your local super market has, they usually stock it in the Italian section.  If you have whole anchovies and want to mince those instead, by all means, but the paste is really convenient and a good “gateway” for folks that are not crazy about cutting up whole little fishies.  I also grill the romaine which is a great technique that imparts a nice charred, smokey flavor to an admittedly boring lettuce.  Last but not least, I upgraded the sad little packaged crutons into grilled garlic bread.  This is a great weeknight dinner that is actually a no pot meal!  Go ahead and cut everything up and serve tossed together in a salad bowl or stick with the deconstructed route like it did and throw it all on a big platter.  Either way this will be one of the easiest meals you make all summer.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   bringing back an old friend
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 heads of romaine, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 slices of thick cut bread
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • grated parmesan for serving

In a small bowl whisk the mayo, anchovy paste, lemon juice, and grated garlic until combined.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside (this also can keep in the fridge for several days).  Light your grill to medium high and drizzle the romaine, chicken breasts and bread with olive oil on both sides and salt and pepper the chicken.  If your chicken breasts are really thick I suggest pounding them with a meat tenderizer or the bottom of a heavy pan between 2 pieces of saran wrap so that they cook evenly.  Throw the chicken on the grill and cook approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side until cooked through.  Transfer to a cutting board and cover with tin foil.  While the chicken rests grill the romaine and bread approximately, 2 to 3 minutes per side until you get good grill marks.  Remove from the grill and rub the bread with the cut side of the garlic clove.

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Slice the chicken and arrange on a platter with the garlic bread and grilled romaine hearts.  Drizzle with half the dressing and serve the rest on the side along with the grated parmesan.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

  • Servings: 4
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Special Equipment:  none

  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 heads of romaine, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 slices of thick cut bread
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • grated parmesan for serving

In a small bowl whisk the mayo, anchovy paste, lemon juice, and grated garlic until combined.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside (this also can keep in the fridge for several days).  Light your grill to medium high and drizzle the romaine, chicken breasts and bread with olive oil on both sides and salt and pepper the chicken. Throw the chicken on the grill and cook approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side until cooked through.  Transfer to a cutting board and cover with tin foil.  While the chicken rests grill the romaine and bread approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side until you get good grill marks.  Remove from the grill and rub the bread with the cut sides of the garlic clove.  Slice the chicken and arrange on a platter with the garlic bread and grilled romaine hearts.  Drizzle with half the dressing and serve the rest on the side along with the grated parmesan.

Lamb Kebobs

One of the first meals Patrick and I ever made together as a couple was grilled leg of lamb along with greek meeze at a bachelor pad he used to live in with some friends.  It was a lot of work and a TON of food but it has such sweet memories.  I like to keep special moments like this alive by making an easy version of the same food so you can have it all the time.  I mean sometimes the event calls for a huge leg of lamb you wake up early to butterfly and massage with garlic and rosemary – and sometimes you just want something you can throw on the grill and be done with 10 minutes later.  These lamb kebobs are just that – a simple week night dinner you can pair with super easy sides but they still feel classy enough to entertain friends with.  I made this feta dip to accompany the lamb.  Man I wish I could take credit for this dip.  Seriously, make it for any party and it will be the first thing gone and no one has to know how easy it is to make.  I served it with grilled bread alongside the lamb and a tomato salad.   If you want to make life even easier just grab some hummus and pita from the store and you will be all set for a lovely greek evening.  Don’t forget to serve that nice red wine you used in the marinade alongside the lamb.

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Lamb Kebobs (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  our first dinner party
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 1/2 pounds leg of lamb cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red onions, cut into small wedges

In a plastic bag combine the lamb with the wine, rosemary, vinegar, olive oil and garlic.  Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  Take the meat out 30 minutes before you want to grill it.  Heat your grill to medium high.  While the grill is heating, drizzle the onion with olive oil, thread the lamb and onion wedges on the skewers and then season them with salt and pepper (if you are going to use wooden skewers make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before you add the meat so they don’t burn up).  Grill, turning occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Lamb Kebobs

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 1/2 pounds leg of lamb cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red onions, cut into small wedges

In a plastic bag combine the lamb with the wine, rosemary, vinegar, olive oil and garlic.  Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  Take the meat out 30 minutes before you want to grill it.  Heat your grill to medium high.  While the grill is heating, drizzle the onion with olive oil, thread the lamb and onion wedges on the skewers and then season them with salt and pepper.  Grill, turning occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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