My step-father had some choice expressions for me when I was growing up: “You make a better door than a window” (when I was in the way); “Go play on the yellow dotted line” (when I was bored); “You’re like a bull in a china shop” (when I walked through the dining room and the dishes in the cabinet rattled); “You want to cry? I’ll give you something to cry about” (when I was upset); “If you want to do something right, you’ve got to do it yourself” (when he wasn’t thrilled with the way I’d done whatever job he’d asked me to do); and “DON’T TOUCH THE BARBECUE!” (‘tho this was more a command than an expression and probably out of concern for my safety). Needless to say, he didn’t exactly inspire confidence. (I haven’t seen him since he and my mother divorced when I was a teenager, so I’m pretty sure he isn’t reading this.) And while a part of me was afraid of my step-father, all of me was scared of the barbecue. So I never touched it.
At least not until a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago Ricardo Cuisine invited me to try a couple of barbecue recipes from their website and I thought maybe it was high time I learned my way around the grill. Turns out it isn’t that scary after all.
With a few pointers and some encouragement from my partner-in-crime, I’ve been feeling my way around and gaining more confidence each time I use it. (Huzzah!) The key is to keep my hubby busy and off doing something else since he can’t resist taking over at the first sniff of smoke (and oh we’ve had smoke!). Tonight he was across town putting in an air conditioner for someone so I had the grill all to myself. And since I don’t like to do things half-assed (always use your full ass!) I tried not one, not two, but three Ricardo recipes.
First up: grilled vegetable and garlic salad.
A bounty of fresh, nutrient-packed veggies brushed with just the tiniest bit of oil and grilled ’til tender, complimented by a light dressing flavoured with garlic, Dijon mustard and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Simple and straightforward for a newbie like me. And totally confidence-building.
Next, these scrumptious grilled pork chops with figs, from grill to plate in 17 minutes (including 5 minutes to rest the meat and oh! plus 2 hours to marinade before hand). But so tender you’d think they’d been slow-roasted all day.
Tell me those don’t make your mouth water. (Unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case I totally understand.)
And for dessert, easy and elegant grilled cherry and pound cake skewers, served with a simple custard sauce.
Here it’s the pound cake that’s grilled. And here’s where I had a bit of a fail. You’re supposed to dip the cake in an egg and milk mixture as you would French toast, then grill for a couple of minutes on each side. I tried it with four pieces of cake on another occasion and I don’t know if I soaked them too long or not enough or my grill just didn’t have enough oil but what cake didn’t stick to the grill fell apart. I salvaged some but it wasn’t near as pretty as I would have liked. So tonight I skipped the custard and grilled them as-is. I’m sure they’d be a heck of a lot tastier Ricardo’s way but these held together and lifted off the grill fairly easily so they did the trick. But I will try the recipe again. Heck, now that I’ve getting more confidence I’ll try just about any recipe!
What about you? Are you adventurous around the grill? If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll find plenty at Ricardo Cuisine and in the new special barbecue issue, now on stands. If you’re lucky, you might just find the magazine in your mail box! That’s right everybody, it’s time for
Thanks to Ricardo Cuisine, one lucky try small things reader will win a one-year subscription to Ricardo magazine PLUS a $100 gift card to spend in the Ricardo boutique! If you haven’t checked out the shop, you’ll find all kinds of goodies for cooking, baking and serving and of course a great selection of tools for the barbecue. (As well as a pretty nifty looking portable BBQ.) To enter, submit your name and email here on the Rafflecopter form, then come back here to the blog and tell me your favourite barbecue recipe from Ricardo Cuisine and/or one you’d like to try. You must complete these two steps in order to be eligible. The giveaway is open to Canadian residents aged 18+ and ends June 22, 2015.
Good luck everybody!
Updated June 23: Congratulations to Kelley Moore!
I received a subscription to Ricardo for review purposes. All opinions are my own.