Friday, May 22, 2015

Free Range Friday ~ Bring on the Barbie!

We were driving down the street one day (in the very merry month of May) and saw what I at first thought was horse manure in the road, being of the Culebra mind set that I am. Then I realized it was charcoal briquets, about the same time Sloane was saying, look, a grill! It had leapt out of someone's vehicle and still hadn't been run over.

We looked at each other and quickly agreed to turn back. No one else was coming to look for it, we checked. Honestly. With Sloane in the getaway driver positon  I jumped out, grabbed the grill and grates scattered on the road and had them back in the car in half a minute. Grill. Steak in the fridge. Waste Not Want Not. Done deal.

Salad goodies
Michelle and I had gone food shopping and had the makings for salad. We had scored some beautiful mushrooms and radishes. Now the steak called for them. The mushrooms, not the radishes. Sauteed in butter and minced garlic. And mint, because it was there. And wine (red, it's what I had on hand). Slow slow slowly.

I marinaded the steak in a condiment we'd bought - I couldn't help but buy a few bottled concoctions, Indian curry type, just because they were there and I could, so I did. This one was a tikki masala that is conventionally used with chicken. But I'd already done chicken, so steak it was. In fact convention to this dish had very little to do with what I made, I just like the flavors in tikka masala (which you can make yourself, easily if you have all the ingredients - for that recipe, including the chicken, go here, to The Kitchn blog.

The steak marinaded for a few hours, soaking up all the complex goodness. 

Yes, I had to buy these radishes too. Who could leave them?

Cleaned and sliced in half, the mushrooms, garlic, butter, dash of wine and some chopped mint from the mint patch were cooking on low and slow.
After a LOT of scrubbing the cooking grate, freeing it of someone's bad habits in not cleaning it after grilling, it was time to begin. There was charcoal but no charcoal lighter fluid. No problem, thought I. I can usually start a fire with whatever is around, but in a regular American neighborhood, there are no fallen branches or dead grass (it's a little scary, really) so I was not starting a fire very well. Or at all. One kid sent to the neighbor for lighter fluid resulted in the guy coming over with a plastic jerry of gasoline. Weird but...Ok. It still didn't work, maybe since I hardly used any, leery of actually using gasoline.

Across the way, a man had started his exact same sort of grill earlier, probably having a bit of a laugh watching my struggles (why can an errantly tossed cigarette start a forest fire and I can't start a fire on purpose?). He finally came out again and I walk/ran over to ask if I could use his lighter fluid. He offered me that but also his coals. No, I said, thank you but I'm on a mission now. Will. Make. Fire. And I did.

Then it had to burn down, taking maybe an hour or so. There was plenty of time to play with the rest of the meal, which was simply making a salad and some yellow rice (a United Nations of a dinner).

The kids like steak medium rare but loved this rare version too. For this thickness of steak (about one inch) 6 minutes or so a side was good enough for me. If you don't like your meat really rare, then obviously longer is your method.

By now the mushrooms were tender without being mushy, the salad was dressed and the rice was...oh no! The rice, still on high, had started to scorch while I was outside watching the steak and got sidetracked, reading an article about Wisconsin politicians sticking it to the poor. My untimely outrage created a burning sacrifice on the stove. No harm no foul, enough rice could be rescued to still be used and it didn't taste burned at all, which was amazing. Miraculous in fact. Cleaning the pot, not so easy. 

(Boil water in the pot with alum in it to get the burn off, by the way. It works, though I've read that vinegar and baking soda also will do the trick.)

This photo, taken hurriedly in horrible light,
should have been left on the cutting floor
but it was the only one I got. So there.
Grayson, my grandson who, ever so politely, let me know he 'doesn't like' mushrooms, loved the sautéed mushrooms. Then he ate them in the salad, raw. He swears it's only because I prepared them, music to a Grandma's (or anyone who cooks) ears. Lalalalala.

Now if I can just find a lid for that grill. Which will probably cost more than buying a new grill but for rebels without a cause, it is a worthy search. Whoever lost their grill? It is being put to good use.

Buen provecho!

Have a finder's keeper's Friday. Do something fresh.

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