Sunday, July 06, 2003
At the Cottage with George
posted by Julie |
Well, we're not normal. I never said we were.
We have this porch. We call it "the cottage." It's attached to the house, the house we call, "the monestary."
The monestary is the piece of property to which we give everything. That is, we're house-poor, living beyond our means. But we love this house, and so we're willing to give our work and our earnings, every bit of labor and every waking moment over to the care and upkeep of its grounds and livestock (two dogs, two cats).
Because the monestary requires as much as it does of us, we can't afford the cottage on a little lake up north that we've always dreamed of. Can't afford the little RV that will take us to greener pastures. Can't afford new socks.
But there's a porch attached to the monestary. A little porch. The cottage. On the weekends, in the summer, we move into the cottage, and we don't leave. We eat there, sleep there. Sometimes we turn out all the lights on the property and light the cottage with gas lanterns. It confuses the heck out of the dogs. But it entertains us. Because we're pathetic.
So, that's where I am right now. I'm writing to you, unplugged, sitting in the cottage, watching a soft rain fall, and feeling sullen that this lovely long weekend is drawing to a close.
But I'm also feeling full and satisfied, too, because the cottage has a new appliance.
We finally got a grill.
If you've been following along, you may have figured out that I like to cook. I do. I also like having great equipment. Not nice equipment. Not good equipment. I like great equipment. I tend to use it hard, and want it to last, so I'll go professional-grade and professional size on most things. Having worked in a few kitchens and learned things from a few chefs, I have developed a terrific snobbery about original goods vs. the imitations. Older brands, hand-forged things. I have all the patience in the world for digging, researching, quizzing, finding the right tool.
And so we have been without a grill for years and years and years. I just keep looking at these things, almost making up my mind, backing off, interviewing chefs, reading grilling books, nearly buying, nearly buying again, deciding I will build a proper Australian-style Barbie, and not doing that either. Gas? Charcoal? A combo grill? Stainless, built-in, free-standing? Electricity? Electric starters are good. What sort of lighting? Where should it be located? How many extra burners for boiling up corn on the cob?
All this time I've been using my brother's old Weber and charcoal when it is time to cook outdoors.
I finally figured out why I haven't made up my mind:
I don't LIKE grilling.
I really don't. The smoke gives me asthma, makes me feel smelly and wretched. I can't taste the food after I've smoked my face to cook it. My husband isn't interested in grilling in the least. Why am I tempted to pour a couple of thousand dollars I don't have into a system I'll use half the year and really not enjoy when it's all installed and paid for?
I got an electric griddle instead. One of those silly little George Foreman deals that plugs in, dials up, is ready in a couple of minutes, and works… perfectly. No mesquite chips, it's true. No spits. No flame. Very little smoke. Just a cute little non-stick griddle with grill ridges and a drainage hole to drain away the extra fats from your lamb chops. This one has a domed cover so I can grill up a small bird. And a small bird is about as big a beast as I ever cook.
So far, we've done our brats and chicken breasts and veggies galore. I've cooked these things out in the cottage, without needing my inhaler, and they've tasted wonderful. Just wonderful. I'm looking forward to pork tenderloin and fishes, shrimp and kebabs. I've got a big date with some portobellos coming up.
When the frost hits the pumpkins, this little grill will come right inside the house, and keep doing its job on my stovetop, if I want it to. It's that clever of a device. Simple, easily cleaned, useful all year long for cooking light and fast meals.
I love investing in toys that renew my interest in cooking and eating well. Say no to the deep fryer, yes to the grill. No to the toaster, yes to the blender. No to the ice cream maker, and yes to the mandoline. Don't be afraid of the kitchen, lovies. Or the picnic. Make it over to work with your new lifestyle.
The cottage is getting more livable every day. Now we need running water. And a cooler. And wireless Internet access. Oh. Rats. I have to go inside the house to post this.
Uh, well, this post is going to be late.
Grilled Veggies at Epicurious
Get good and enter the Grilling Recipe contest
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