By Executive Chef Paul Marks
Summer is here, and you know what that means. It’s time to dust off the grill that has taken up the corner of the garage during the winter months. As a chef, I am repeatedly asked what I grill, how I grill and what I make with the item that I am grilling.
I splurged a few years ago and got myself a top-notch gas grill with a rotisserie and rotisserie burner on the back. I was in love. The first thing I did after buying it was pull a “Tim the Toolman” Taylor and take out the five-gallon propane tank to add a longer hose attached to a 20-gallon tank. I cook a lot on it.
Grilling is my favorite form of cooking at home. I have French doors off my kitchen to my deck, and when I get going the doors are flung wide open. Let the grilling begin.
I don’t have time every night to shop and make dinner from scratch, so my wife and I split up the duties. We come up with a menu for the following week on Friday nights. My wife then does the shopping on Saturdays (while I am doing the yard work), then she does part of the prepping on Sunday and I do the finish cooking.
Here is a sample five-day summer menu from my house:
Sunday: Rotisserie chicken with grilled veggies and red rice. On Sunday morning, I marinate a whole chicken in a two-gallon Ziplock bag with one lemon cut up, two stalks of chopped rosemary, a dash of salt and pepper and about one teaspoon smoked sweet paprika. With the veggies, mix in chopped cilantro and green onion (white part only), a small amount of butter and salt and pepper. Save extra chicken for Tuesday and Thursday.
Monday: Steak salad with grilled asparagus. We make a nice Romaine salad with cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion and radishes, add chopped grilled asparagus and sliced steak, toss with a balsamic vinaigrette and top with crumbled goat cheese.
Tuesday: Pulled-chicken soft tacos with grilled fajita veggies and coleslaw. Pull chicken off bones of rotisserie chicken cooked earlier in the week. Toss with small amount of enchilada sauce and place on a folded sheet of foil and heat on the grill. Heat veggies on another sheet of foil and warm tortillas on the grill. Toss cabbage with a light ranch dressing.
Wednesday: Grilled steak, salad, grilled sweet onion and baked potato. Start grill early. Pierce potatoes with fork after washing, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roll in foil. Place potatoes on top rack and bake 30 minutes. Make salad and use up any leftover veggies and goat cheese. Open lid and check potatoes. If still firm, close lid and cook another 10 minutes, then open lid and grill sweet onion and steak. (For sweet onions, peel and slice into about half-inch slices, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with some chopped rosemary.) Cook steak to preference then top with grilled onions, and top potato with butter (optional), cottage cheese and chopped green onion. Tip: Instead of sour cream on your baked potato, use cottage cheese and purée in a blender till smooth.
Thursday: Noodle bowl with pulled chicken. Use leftover rotisserie chicken.
Prep for the week: I marinate the chicken on Sunday morning, then marinade a flank or tri-tip steak in a plastic bag with one bottle of dark beer, chopped green onion (green part only), a half-cup of honey, and salt and pepper. Sometimes I like just rubbing them down with a little olive oil, smoked sea salt and black pepper. On Sunday night, I cut the steak in half and grill one half Sunday night for Monday and grill the other half on Wednesday for dinner.
As all the meat is cooking, I prep the veggies that will be grilled all week and place them in plastic bags. At the same time, I am making red rice in a pot on the side burner.
1 flank or tri-tip steak
1 whole chicken
1 bunch rosemary
1 basket cherry tomatoes
1 sweet onion
1 red onion
2 bunches green onions
1 bunch cilantro
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 large carrot
1 daikon radish
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch asparagus
1 head cabbage
2 small potatoes (russet or sweet potatoes work well)
1 package of goat cheese
1 small tub lowfat cottage cheese
1 package small soft flour tortillas (Central Market in North Seattle sells fresh tortillas)
Smoked sweet paprika
Executive Chef: Paul Marks | firstname.lastname@example.org