Friday, September 5, 2014

Cook It Up: Weber's Real Grilling


Summers are short in central New York, so we take advantage of every moment - boating on the lake, relaxing on the patio, grilling, and eating outdoors. That made choosing an August project for Trish's Cook It Up! cookbook challenge a cinch. Weber's Real Grilling has been on my shelf for years. I bought it to go with a Father's Day grill so long ago that the grill is history. The cookbook, however, remains on the shelf, woefully underutilized.


Now it's decision time. Should I keep it or donate it to the library book sale? The first think I did was look through the book for comments on recipes we've already tried. I found just two:

  • Halibut with Grill-Roasted Lemon and Caper Dressing - very good! try with swordfish, too
  • Bottle o' Beer Chicken Thighs - pretty good

I would have sworn there were others. Since I almost always make some sort of notation, perhaps they weren't worth a comment?

Anyway, the book is printed on very high-quality paper and each recipe is accompanied by a color photograph. There is an introduction to grilling, tips on choosing a grill, and a discussion of basic techniques and handy tools. Chapters include starters, red meat, pork, poultry, fish, veggies and sides, and even desserts. Each chapter offers additional information specific to the category - for example, cuts of meat, what to look for in purchasing beef, how to tell if its done, etc. There are even post-it flags in the back so you can mark your favorite recipes.

Armed with my own supply of post-it flags, I marked nearly 20 recipes to try. In the end, one fish, one red meat, and one chicken recipe made the cut.


Halibut a la Tunisia

Halibut is one of my favorite types of fish. This recipe calls for making a paste of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic, kosher salt and pepper. It is spread on the fish, refrigerated for an hour or so, and then grilled. The recipe was okay, but there are so many tastier ways to prepare halibut I doubt I will make it again.


New York Steaks with Corn and Avocado Salsa

We used a filet and a strip steak, and rubbed them with the mixture of chile powder, paprika, garlic, kosher salt, oregano, and pepper as directed. After the steaks were grilled, they were topped with the corn and avocado salsa, made according to the recipe. The result...meh. I prefer the spice mixture my husband has perfected over the years, and the salsa wasn't that great either.


Tandoori Chicken Kebobs

After seeing The Hundred Foot Journey, we were craving Indian food and this marinade of plain yogurt, fresh ginger, and several spices including turmeric and cumin sounded perfect. It was good, but not great. I wouldn't make it again.

My final verdict:
Three mediocre recipes. There are still several more I want to try but, given the track record, I think this one goes to the library. Besides, I need to make room for Ina Garten's new cookbook!


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44 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you didn't have more luck with the recipes. But then again, I bet it feels good to have given it a shot and realized it isn't worth the space it's taking up. And it always feels good donating books for the library sale, doesn't it? Better luck on the next cookbook venture!

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  2. Oh, I love the idea of writing comments by the recipes you've tried. I want to do that now.

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    1. Kathy - I've been doing that for years! It's fun to look back through old cookbooks and see which one of the girls liked certain things as little kids. Also, I can never remember which recipes I've tried and don't want to cook the bad ones twice.

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  3. We rarely use grill recipes. We tend to just slap some meat and veggies on there, a little salt and pepper and we're good to go.

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    1. Carol - When I'm short on time, Wegmans has some very good marinades we love. Last year I even brought a couple of bottles to Florida!

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  4. I've been sending some mediocre cookbooks to the library too. Poor library. :) Looking forward to the new Ina - there's a Dorie Greenspan and a Rose Levy Beranbaum on my wish list, too!

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    1. Audrey - I've never really culled my cookbook collection. Some have sentimental value, but there are others I bought from the B&N bargain table and never used. And so many new books on my wish list!

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  5. Could you just cook for us all soon before you get snowed in:) LOL

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    1. Diane - Wouldn't that be fun... a book bloggers banquet!!

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  6. Ina Garten yes! This one no. Ugh.

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    1. Beth F - So disappointing, but now I have from for Ina!

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  7. Interesting. As I started to read each one I thought sounds good but then you were disappointed so I would give this book a miss.

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    1. Jackie - I thought all of these would be winners. None were bad, but they weren't really good enough to make again either. Sigh.

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  8. That's disappointing. They're all very pretty but it's too bad they didn't live up to their looks. You can't go wrong with Ina!

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  9. Sorry about the disappointing recipes. We'll look forward to your review of Ina's new book. :)

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    1. Jama - The best part of this little experiment is that I now have room for Ina's book on my shelf!

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  10. My family are huge fans of the Weber charcoal grill....sorry your recipes didn't turn out like you hoped. The Indian marinade sounds yummy....on paper.

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    1. Sarah - The Indian marinade wasn't bad, jut didn't have as much flavor as I was expecting.

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  11. I rely on the library to vet cookbooks - so many have only a handful of interesting recipes. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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    1. Carole - I never borrowed cookbooks from the library until Weekend Cooking had me adding several to my wish list every week. Now I could never survive without my library.

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  12. Sounds like a wise decision. I have so many cookbooks that I have a rule: when I bring in a new one, I get rid of an old one. Not always easy. I have a shelf in my pantry where I keep the ones I can't part with. So excited about a new book from Ina!

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    1. Sunday - I finally had to begin enforcing that same rule. No more room on my shelves, lol!

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  13. Sorry the recipes weren't ones you'd want to make again. It is neat though that the book has post-it flags included!

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    1. Vicki - I've never seen a cookbook equipped with post-it flags before! That's really a good idea.

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  14. I really miss grilling! And the chicken kebabs look wonderful.

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    1. Diane - At least you have your week upstate on the lake! It wouldn't seem like summer without all the grilled dinners.

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  15. I believe the quality of a cookbook is inversely proportional to the quality of the pictures and packaging it contains. Sure, it's nice to have a good picture of the finished dish, but if the recipe alone doesn' make you want to eat it, then it's probably not a very good recipe. I say, donate!

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    1. James - I prefer to have pictures, but some of the cookbooks I use most often don't have them. You may be on to something here! This one is already in my donation box.

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  16. This sounds like a lot fun. I am one of those people who almost always needs a photo to be enticed into trying a recipe. I think that is why I cook more from magazines like the late great Gourmet than I do from cookbooks. Our temp kitchen is better in many ways than the one at the house that has been demolished, but the apartment kitchen has no ventilation or window so my interest in cooking this summer is non-existent.

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    1. Thomas - Gorgeous food photography gets me every time. It's not unusual for me to spend hours trying to duplicate a recipe with a pretty picture. I miss Gourmet, too.

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  17. It's a shame the results from this cookbook were so luck lustre, hopefully you will have more success this month

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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    1. Shelleyrae - And if I don't, that means I have permission for another new cookbook ;-)

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  18. Glad you tried out the book before donating or you might have had regrets. Perhaps because this book was made by the company that made the grill it has middle of the road tastes, and no signature stand outs.
    Hope your new cookbook adventure goes better!

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    1. Rita - I think you're right about buying a cookbook from a grill company. What was I thinking?!

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  19. the corn and avocado salsa sounds and looks good! Too bad it wasn't a winner. I'm taking the same approach with the challenge--what can I get rid of so that I can make room for the books I have already. ;) Maybe you can copy out some of the other recipes that look good before ditching it?

    Bring on soup/crockpot weather!! (ok, maybe not so soon...)

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    1. Trish - The salsa wasn't bad, but just didn't seem to work with the spice rub on the steak. I'll save the one recipe we liked, but probably will not even attempt any others.

      I am getting anxious to use my crockpot. Found a new recipe for potato soup last week, but it was nearly 90 so that was out of the question!

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  20. I've done the same with a grilling cookbook (title escapes me at the moment and I'm too lazy to go downstairs and jot it down). I've got over a dozen recipes flagged to sample before the snow flies. We'll see how I do. If the first 3-4 are mediocre, I'll add it to my stack to take to HalfPrice Books. Who knows, though. They may be awesome. Tomorrow night we try the first. It's an Asian Flank Steak Salad. Wish me luck!

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    1. Les - Asian flank steak sounds amazing! You'll have to let me know if it's a winner. Good luck :)

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  21. I do the same thing these days. We are trying to clear out the house and if a book has only 2 or 3 recipes I would use, out it goes!

    We love grilling and this is a book I would check out of the library.

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    1. Tina - There are quite a few cookbooks on my wish list and no room on the shelf. This challenge is helping ms make room ;-)

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  22. The pictures of your food look great though!

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    1. Olduvaireads - Thanks... wished they tasted as good as they look ;-)

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