Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grilling Season & Bird Migration -best time of the year!

After over 35 years of cooking over charcoal in the summer, we bought a gas grill last summer in anticipation of a wedding party for our daughter in our back garden. Trying to have a fire going with 70 people milling about didn't seem like a good plan.
    I have to admit, I don't miss the charcoal. The fish husband never much liked building a fire, and now he doesn't have to. At some stage, I guess we'll have to get the gas tank refilled, but we'll cross that bridge when it runs out, hopefully not in the middle of a dinner party.
    For the back yard wedding party, we had Chef Jaime* come and grill a variety of seafood kebabs, shrimp, salmon, swordfish and tuna - and they ate it all. It was a great party item, because kebabs cook quickly on the grill, they look festive, and no one has to cut anything, they could just slide everything off the skewer and onto their plate and eat with a fork.
    Besides kebabs, one of my favorite fish for the grill is salmon - leave the skin on, and cook flesh side down first, then flip to the skin side. You can add pesto to the top for the last few minutes of cooking, then scoop the fish right off of the skin to serve. (When the grill has cooled, we take the fish skin off and give some of it to our dog, who thinks it's the best thing ever).
    Next favorite is tuna - instead of grinding up tuna for tuna burgers, I like to get  pieces about 1/2" thick, one per person, grill them quickly, just rubbed with olive oil and a little salt-free spice rub, then serve them on a fresh bun with some of our creamy coleslaw in the bun with the tuna. The tuna should be served rare, so about 1 to 2 minutes per side over a medium high flame will be just about right.  How many other kinds of burgers can you cook and serve in under 5 minutes!
     All of the meatier fish, like swordfish, halibut, marlin, mahi mahi, etc. are great for grilling - they can be marinated before grilling, rubbed with spices and oil, served with sauces or toppings added at the end of the cooking time or just before serving. Little or no mess in the kitchen, just make sure that someone periodically uses a metal brush on the grill to remove old food, especially if you grill a lot of meat as well.  We wipe our grate with olive oil after cleaning, to make it less likely for the fish to stick to it.
     If you have any grilling questions for us - please ask!
     Last but not least, the bird migration - it starts in March with the early water birds and sparrows, builds through April, and peaks in May, when the wood warblers, orioles, tanagers, thrushes and more come for summer nesting or just passing through on their way north. We love birds - we have several feeders in our garden, and a bird bath that we heat in the winter so there's always water for the birds to drink. We have traveled the world looking for birds, and find them more and more wonderful the more we learn.
     Birds are small, especially warblers, but so worth looking for - when you're outside in your garden enjoying a lovely seafood dinner, look around to see who else is eating dinner there - you may be lucky enough to see an oriole or a ruby throated hummingbird - we feed the orioles organic grape jelly, and they reward us by bringing their friends and family, a brilliant spectacle of orange and black. The hummingbirds love the salvia we plant in pots on our deck, and they come and eat right beside us.
     What could be better than sitting on your back deck or patio, enjoying a delicious seafood meal with your feathered friends?  

*Planning an outdoor party? We have staff members who can come and cook for you - contact us at Availability is limited, so contact us as soon as possible.

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