Tuesday, September 08, 2009

a few notes and a brief cooking note

First, the notes.

Note 1: I began using a chimney this summer to start my grill. I love it, but I haven't gauged the fires properly yet. Between the chimney and the hardwood charcoal (not briquettes!) that I've been using, I get amazingly hot fires. Too hot, really. I've had a devil of a time figuring out timing and heat, as a result.

Note 2: I need to branch out while at the farmers market. I bring home a nice harvest and prepare it well (usually!), but I don't change up my game nearly enough. I don't buy many new ingredients. I don't challenge myself to stretch my wings beyond some of my tried and true preparations. If all goes well, we will take part in a winter CSA, and I will expand my cooking repertoire.

Now a cooking note:

In midsummer, I found myself with locally raised lamb steaks, corn, and peaches. I'd also snagged a loaf of parmaggiano and red pepper bread. The lamb went in with a chili-, sage-, and rosemary-spiked rub. The peaches were drizzled with a good balsamic. The corn was soaked (in husks) in salt water. The bread was sliced and drizzled with good olive oil. We were using my neighbor's gas grill. The corn went on first. It roasted for close to half an hour on the upper rack with a low convection fire. The fire was brought up and the lamb and peaches went on the grill. The peaches were to the side and the lamb spent 4 minutes on either side. The bread went on for the second half. The ingredients were stacked — bread first, lamb second, peach on top. We pulled an arugula salad with shaved parmaggiano on the side and called it dinner.

The flavors mixed beautifully. The lamb was perfectly medium rare and its juices infused the bread. The sweet and caramel of the balsamic-drizzled peaches countered the chili and spice of the other ingredients. With the salad and the corn, the meal was a damn-near perfect explosion of local, summer flavors.