Thinking outside the grill - FamilyEducation

Thinking outside the grill

June 02,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

How was your Memorial Day weekend? We have a tradition of getting together with SPH’s side of the family to kick off our summer. And while I am certainly aware of the greater significance of Memorial Day, and actually lost an immediate family member to military service, Memorial Day to many means the start of summertime activities. G’s preschool ended a couple weeks ago and R has a mere week and a half left of his kindergarten year, so combined with our Memorial Day family festivities, summer feels truly imminent. With summer, many begin to grill with gusto. Sure, there are some grilling aficionados that will grill year-round, but usually, summer on the calendar means cooking on the grill. Burgers, bratwurst, steaks, hot dogs and chicken are frequent grill occupants. But what if you are ready for a new approach to grilling? I have a few ideas to share for you and your family for this grilling season. I call them the Sweet Pea’s new P’s of grilling: Portabellas, pizzas, potatoes and peaches. First, portabella mushrooms are probably the most well-known of alternative grilling options, gaining popularity on more and more restaurant menus and used in many a home kitchen. We love a good portabella burger in the Sweet Pea family, even R and G. The trick for us though, is to not call them mushroom burgers, especially the first time you try them. Even R, who knows that he likes “portabellas” doesn’t like to be reminded that he is, in fact, eating a mushroom. In other words, use your best parenting discretion in figuring out how to sell these burgers to your family. I know a few kids who actually love mushrooms, but for most, this may be a stretch. Need an easy primer on grilling portabellas? Click here. Not sure if your kiddos will swallow a mushroom burger? Then try the next novel grilling idea, which for most kids, will be a huge hit: grilled pizza. We’re avid pizza grillers in our family, and the smokey, brick-oven pizza type flavor cannot be beat. At first I believed that a particular dough was necessary for a good grilled pizza, but we have since learned that any ole’ pizza dough will do the trick on the grill. Speaking of tricks, here are a few tricks to make your pizza grilling successful: 1. Prepare everything, and I mean everything, ahead of time. A hot piece of dough on the grill is not the time to realize you left an ingredient in your kitchen. The difference between a perfectly grilled pizza and a burnt pizza is a mere minute or two. 2. Place the dough on the grill, flip once bubbly and *quickly* and I mean QUICKLY place your toppings on top of the dough. Cover the grill and let the cheese melt. 3. Use indirect heat. Don’t place the dough over a high flame. Rather, let the heat of the whole grill cook your pizza. The last two ideas for unique summer grilling? Potatoes and peaches. Both are great candidates for direct grilling. Click here for how to grill up a great potato and here for yummy grilled peaches . Break outside the traditional grilling “box” and try these new Ps of grilling! SPC
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