|Perfect! Grill marks and all!|
But sadly for me, there is one summer passion that just won't be doable for the first time in my adult life. My condo association does not allow grilling on the balconies of second floor units And while it depresses a little me, I won't let it defeat me. Or stop me!
Now, I know I'm not alone in not being able to light up a grill. Millions of people live in apartments, high rises and condo units and most likely never even think about it. But for me, summer starts by walking out on the deck and placing the first hot dog on the hot grates, slightly toasting the bun over the embers, and adding a little yellow mustard. A 7" piece of heaven. Gone.
|The perfect indoor "grill"!|
First, a cast iron pan with ridges goes a long way in slightly sizzling the fat away from the meat while searing those "grill" marks needed for the ascetics . Quality cast iron pans are not cheap. But, since I won't be filling propane tanks this year, I'm way ahead of the game. Also, (and this is so important), remember to "season" the pan before using for the first time. It's easy, completely wipe the inside of pan with vegetable oil, than place in 350 degree oven for two hours. That's it! The process makes the frying pan non-stick and it just gets better with use.
Secondly, I have discovered an ingredient that makes any steak or burger taste like it just came off of glowing charcoal briquettes - Williams Sonoma's Hickory Smoked Sea Salt. It is amazing. Flavored sea salts have become increasingly popular among both professional chefs and home cooks, myself included. At first, many believed it had less sodium than table salt, but actually, it does not. Ounce for ounce the sodium content is the same. However, (and this is a big 'however') you usually use less because of the large size, crunchy crystals. It's kind of like butter vs. whipped butter. The fat content in whipped butter is 45% less because it contains more air created by the whipping process. A teaspoon of small granular table salt has more density that a teaspoon of sea salt.
|Hickory Smoked Sea Salt|
|This will take some thought...|
It was a brutal winter that lasted too far into spring. May is the unofficial start to summer so find a way to enjoy everyday and all that it has to offer! Make time on the way home from the grocery store to support local farmers and their fabulously fresh produce. Most towns now have Saturday farm markets that make a great weekend outing. Plan a picnic on a grass covered field, or on the shores of a tea-colored, cedar lake. Fry some chicken and enjoy it on a sandy beach next to the spray of the sea. Summer calls for us all to come outside and play! Breath it all in...because in one short exhale, I'll be writing "nothing like the first cool day of autumn!"
Photos by ImageGoggle & Jo Ann Phelps