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Mary's Modern Homemaking
It's Always Barbecue Season!
Sometime ago at work I was asked, "Is it barbecue season already?"
My response was, "Anytime is perfect for grilling!"
"That was a very good answer," replied another associate.
I love my grill much more than my stove or oven. Food just seems to taste better over open coals than an open flame. Everything from apples to zucchini can be grilled.
Not to mention that when it is hot outside, who wants to heat up the house any more?
So I could not wait to get home and ready my grill for the rest of the year. But as I brought it out from its winter storage, I discovered something. Something yucky! It seems it was put away before it was cleaned. Greasy, dirty, sticky racks had to be degreased before I could ever start dinner.
Clean the grill
It seemed like gathering up the cleaning supplies took longer than the whole project. A bucket for very hot water. Two really good scrub brushes: one for the racks and one for the surface. Sponges. And an environmentally safe degreaser such as Simple Green.
Because you will be cleaning outside, probably on the lawn, you should be mindful of the degreaser you use. I try to always be aware of the wildlife around my property. I really want to protect the grass, flowers, bees, bugs, and frogs.
Simple Green has been around since 1975 and has been tested over time as a safe, environmentally friendly cleaner. It comes in an original scent or in lemon. While both smell good and fresh, I prefer the lemony smell. The best part is the cost at about ten cents a gallon. It will last you a long, long time. Only a little bitty ounce to a gallon of water is all it takes.
OK, let the cleaning begin!
First fill a bathtub with hot water and 1/2 cup of Simple Green. Soak the racks until the stuck-on food and grease begin to soften and loosen. Using a brush, scrape off the racks.
For the outside of the grill use your surface scrubber, like the ones for floors or carpet. Scrub using a circular motion, getting off all the dirt and grime. Scrub and rinse till it sparkles.
If you start to notice some rust and spots where the paint is flaking off, no need to fear! Spray paint is here. Simply use a high-heat spray paint, and your grill is good as new without the expense of a buying new one.
Wait a few days for the paint to thoroughly dry, and you're ready to fire it up.
Use the grill
Vegetables: Wash and dry vegetables of your choice. Get the aluminum foil ready by measuring two sheets the same length, big enough to enclose your vegetables. Place the back (dull) sides together. Fold one edge together to make a seam. Open and lay flat. Shiny side should be up (inside). Place veggies on top in a single layer and season as desired. Place a pat of butter on top. Fold over the top and pinch the sides together.
Potatoes: I like to cut each potato into fourths. Because they are heavier than other veggies, I layer the foil differently. Cut four sheets the same length. When using foil, the shiny side should always be up, or inside. This helps the foods cook better by drawing more heat. Place one sheet vertically, then one horizontally, and then repeat with the other two sheets. This creates a heavy bottom for the potatoes to cook on. Place the chunks of potatoes in the middle, season with salt, pepper, or your choice of seasoning. Fold the sides together, then the top and bottom. Secure. Cook.
For meat eaters, cook anything you like, from beef to fish!
Make it the way you like it
For a simple barbecue sauce try this.
1 cup tomato puree (I use all-natural California Healthy Harvest; or better yet, make some of your own from your garden tomatoes!)
Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The joy of making your own is that you can adjust ingredients to your taste. This is a somewhat sweet sauce, but adjust the sugar to make it yours.
Besides making it to your taste, you know what is in it. Ever try to read the label on a jar of commercial sauce? Forget it.
So have some fun and grill!
Mary Frances lives in Ravensdale, Washington, and loves finding healthy ways to keep her castle clean. She believes that what we clean with can be just as important to our health as what we eat. When she's not cleaning, Mary Frances battles the blackberry vines in her yard. Also enjoy Mary Frances's blog, All American Gal.
Mary's Modern Homemaking copyright 2014.