It's simply too damn hot to use the standard kitchen appliances. When its 100 degrees outside, the last thing I want to do is crank up an oven to 400 degrees or fire up my blazing hot stove. I prefer my AC to actually do its job, thank you very much.
The solution: Keep the heat outside - grill everything.
And I do mean everything. In addition to the obvious meats, we prepare all of our veggies on the grill, including green beans, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, onions, lettuce, and even brussels sprouts. We'll even throw the starches on the grill; sweet potatoes, corn, and hamburger buns are all tastier with a little char on them in my opinion. Mix the veggies together with the grilled corn and top it off with a little olive oil, lemon juice and white wine and you have an unbelievable grilled succotash.
A week or so ago I grilled bacon, and it was absolutely, knock-your-socks-off amazing. I know, no real surprise there. Why I hadn't thought of that before is beyond me.
And it doesn't get much better than grilled pizza. Yum. Just yum.
Believe it or not, fruit is also phenomenal on the grill. When grilled, the sugars in the fruit caramelize, bringing out even more of the natural sweetness and juiciness of the fruit.
I stumbled upon several recipes around the 4th of July for watermelon, blueberry and feta salads (very patriotic), and I couldn't get the simple salad out of my head. It just looked so fresh, healthy and delicious. I was a little worried that Scott would turn his nose up at the unusual combination and simply skip over it if I served it as side dish, so, naturally, I converted it from a side salad into our main meal (i.e. unavoidable). By adding some greens and a few pounds of shrimp into the mix, I was able to sell it as a healthy dinner.
And because I already had the grill fired up for the shrimp, I decided to throw the watermelon on there as well. I am so glad I did, the extra sweetness from the grilled watermelon was the perfect balance to the spicy shrimp and arugula and the salty feta cheese.
The only thing that could have possibly made this salad better? Grilled bacon crumbled on top. You know I'll be trying that next time around.
Want to know the best part about closing the kitchen and firing up the grill? Line your prep pans with foil or parchment paper and the after dinner clean up doesn't get any easier.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small watermelon, halved, sliced, with rind removed
1 pint of blueberries
4 ounces of feta cheese
8 ounces of arugula
1 cup of balsamic vinegar (you want a pretty good one that is sweet; I use Kirkland Brand from Costco)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of Paul Prudhomme's Seafood Magic
Wood Skewers for shrimp, soaked in water for 1 hour or metal skewers
In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to boil and then reduce heat and simmer until it develops into a syrup consistency and coats the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes). Remove the balsamic from heat and set aside. In a bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil, salt, pepper and Seafood Magic. Skewer shrimp. Coast watermelon slices with olive oil. Heat grill to high heat. Add shrimp skewers and watermelon slices. Grill both shrimp and watermelon 2 minutes on each side (shrimp should be pink and opaque). To assemble salad, add a few handfuls of arugula to a plate, top with a few slices of grilled watermelon, a handful of blueberries and feta cheese, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar glaze.