Friday, May 27, 2011

grilling season

it's that time of year at last! time for meals on the grill. time for laughter and a whimsical summer rosé and for lingering in the garden 'til dusk (which is how we learned we have a hedgehog).

because of the reality of our weather (evenings can be cool, even in summer), we had a grill table made by a blacksmith - then husband repurposed some old palettes as the actual table bits. it has a grill down the middle of it, which both means people can grill their own food and keep warm, as the metal boxes holding the charcoal warm under the table. even the cats have noticed and come and flop down under there as the evening starts to get chilly.

we find ourselves grilling most anything we have at hand and even learned that grilling mussels works very nicely!  you just pop them on the grill and they open right up when they're done (if they don't, throw them away!). i stirred up a homemade aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) to go with them.

aïoli (garlic mayonnaise)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt
1 tsp. vinegar
1 egg yolk
1 T warm water
canola oil (at the beginning)
a good fragrant olive oil

whirr this all together in a food processor until it's frothy and bubbly, then, while the processor is running, begin to VERY slowly (i cannot stress the very enough) drizzle in oil - i almost always use a combination of a good quality rapeseed (canola) oil (i owe you all a post on how the danes have made canola oil posh) and a fruity extra virgin olive oil. i start with the lighter canola, as it helps the mayonnaise come together (it can be temperamental and i have had many failures) before adding the heavier olive oil, once it has begun to look like mayo. i'm not really sure how much oil i add, but somewhere around a 1/2 cup makes a good batch.

this pork tenderlion, i browned on the stove, then wrapped in ramsløg (those wild garlic you get in the spring) and bacon, then wrapped it in foil and we finished it off on the grill. once the wild garlic season is past, you could use any other herbs...sage would be lovely, as would spinach or even just coating it in a nice pesto before wrapping in bacon.

a standard part of virtually any grilled meal at our house includes sliced eggplant (aubergine), zucchini (corgette), sweet red peppers, onions (small ones, leave the skin on and slice them in half), asparagus - whatever is tasty and in season. we even grilled some small artichokes (cut in half). i make a bowl of olive oil filled with minced garlic, salt, pepper and chopped, fresh herbs to brush over them while they're on the grill. we eat them as soon as they're ready.  sometimes, i bake some small potatoes on the grill - scrubbing them well and wrapping them in foil.

but the very best thing we've been making on the grill is homemade tortillas. the recipe comes from the river cottage bread book and has me so convinced that i will never buy store-bought tortillas again. they are easy and outstandingly delicious.


2 cups flour
1/3 cup of water (you may need a little more or a little less, so don't add it all once)
1 T salt

mix well, using the dough hook on your mixer. if it's too dry, add a bit more water (flour can behave differently depending on the grind and frankly, the weather). put it aside in a bowl and let it rest for at least half an hour. then form into golf ball size balls and roll them out with a rolling pin. then put them in a hot pan - i use a bit of olive oil, tho' the original recipe doesn't - we find it makes them a bit more pliable. we usually flip them and then put them directly on the grill at the end, where they puff up wonderfully. we also make quesadillas right on the grill, by filling with cheese and pesto and other yummy things and folding them over as they cook.

as an accompaniment, i nearly always make a big bowl of creamy tzaziki


1 C (250 grams) greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a cucumber, grated
salt and pepper to taste
a few leaves of chopped, fresh mint if you have it

grate the cucumber, salt it and put it in a sieve to let some of the moisture drain out. squeeze it well and add it to the yogurt and garlic, stir it well.

now if the sun would just shine this weekend...because writing this made me quite hungry.


Lost Star said...

Wow. Just wow. Can I come for dinner? That whole post has me pretty much drooling. I love the idea of grilling mussels too!

I adore your grill! It is just simply awesome! You can use a pan on it! :D Yeah. That's cool!

I'll stop gushing over your garden cooking now.


Cally said...

Yum, you're not the only one (that your post has made hungry)!

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Julie

Grilled mussels sounds good to me!

Have a great weeks end.

Tracy :)

Nimble said...

And a hedgehog. Hurrah!

Charlene said...

That table with grille is brilliant!

Magpie said...

That grill is awesome. Want!

kristina - no penny for them said...

wow, you know how to live the good live, don't you?! beautiful and yummy.

also love the changed header...
hope you'll get some sunshine in jutland soon!

Lisa-Marie said...

Yum. Also, your grilling table thing is amazing!

Molly said...

We've been making our own tortilla for about a year now and will never go back to store bought!
Happy grilling!

Bee said...

Everything about this post is heavenly. All of the food looks delicious and I love the look of the summer evening sunshine.

Your grill/table is truly ingenious! I wish that "husband" would market that idea. Sadly, even the warmest summer day chills off enough to warrant a fire. And today? Definitely not barbeque weather; soup weather, for sure.


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