Saturday, July 12, 2008

The thrill of the grill

In the summer, food magazines always run articles about grilling: the best ways to grill, what's trendy to put on the grill this year, and what's trendy to grill on this year, plus marinades, rubs, sauces, and sides! All this talk of grilling assumes that everyone owns a grill — though I guess perhaps this is true, since I read somewhere that 80% of Americans have a barbecue at some point during the summer. Well, what about those of us with no patio, balcony, garden, or outdoor area in general? There are those of us who live in apartments in urban areas who do not have access to a space in which to grill — or who do not have a grill to begin with.

I also heard somewhere that the favorite scent of West coast residents is grilling meat. (What about other regions of the country? Frankly, I don't remember.) I have to say that it's definitely one of my favorite scents — next to crayons, pool water, and freshly-cut grass. And when I can smell the scent of someone grilling their dinner as it comes through the open windows, I definitely get jealous that I don't have the capability to go outdoors and grill up my meal, too.

So what's an apartment-dwelling girl to do? Well, while it doesn't create the same great scent, a grill pan does the job in a pinch. I "grilled" up garlic-rubbed shrimp and skinny asparagus, and they both turned out really well. Instead of having the characteristic charred flavor, it was more as though they had been roasted, but the shrimp definitely had grill marks, which was nice for presentation. This method does not solve my problem of what to do when it's so hot in the kitchen that cooking is not appealing, but it works for when I really want to enjoy some semblance of barbecued food.

Do you barbecue? What are your favorite things to put on the grill?

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