Tag Archives: grilling

Rabbit Food: Grilled Carrots with Cumin and Clementine

Gentle readers, I do apologize for my absence. Work has taken me abroad to eat new and different things (along with doing my actual job!). More on that in future epistles. For today I’m determined that spring will be in the air. Even if that air looks like this.


Yes, that’s snow. No, I don’t appreciate it in late March. 

But I digress. This weekend the weather became springlike for a hot second, and baby carrot bunches were on sale and looking so tempting, it was time to grill. Another pro tip, wear gloves when moving your grill around the deck. Or you will look down and wonder what happened.


First blood of the season. 

If you have been primarily a meat griller to date, let me encourage you to try any and all vegetables on the grill. I’ve got a grill basket for those things that won’t stay put on top of a grate, but carrots go so nicely lengthwise, and they’re so forgiving, they are a great starter.

The Practical Cook admits that this batch got, ahem, particularly caramelized shall we say, as TPC attempted to do too much at once and the grill needed a bit of adjustment. However, still delicious.

Grilled Carrots with Cumin and Clementine


2 batches fresh baby carrots, the kind with the green tops on, as close to being in the ground as you can get them (carrots lose water, and the longer they sit on the shelf or your fridge, the less wonderful they are on the grill)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
juice of 1 clementine
olive oil
salt and pepper


  1. Fire up the grill, preheat to medium-high. Scrub and oil grates so you’re ready for slightly sticky carrots.
  2. Meanwhile, clean and peel carrots. Remove all but a 1/2 inch of green carrot top.  (If you don’t own the OXO vegetable peeler, now is the time. It will change your life.)
  3. In a medium bowl, toss peeled carrots with olive oil and salt and pepper. Sprinkle cumin and clementine juice on evenly and toss again as necessary.
  4. Grill the carrots, about 8-10 minutes, or to preferred doneness. Cooking lower and slower will be softer carrots. Higher heat and faster = impatient family and more al dente.


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Filed under Kitchen Tool Talk, Recipes

How to Throw and Impromptu Cookout and Why You Should

Gentle Readers, there is nothing better than cooking out in the summer, unless it’s someone else doing the cooking. If you need an excuse to have a party or gathering, and really, who doesn’t, light a fire in the grill, and start dialing out. It’s a potluck on a grill, what could be easier?

Let there be fire! Chicken on the barbie.

Let there be fire! Chicken on the barbie. (As stated by an actual Australian.)

This past week, I had some truly delicious grilled chicken, consumed outside after the blazing heat had died down. Food tastes better outside. Food cooked over fire, better still. And if you supply the main and distribute the sides, it’s an easy occasion.

Outdoor dinner, summer style.

Outdoor dinner, summer style.

Here was the menu:

Grilled Chicken: Marinated overnight in a top-secret blend of flavorings and spices (top-secret because I could not read all of the labels of the myriad Asian chili sauces my hostess with the mostest used).

Grilled Chicken in Spicy Asian Marinade. Burnt skin was at a premium.

Grilled Chicken in Spicy Asian Marinade. Burnt skin was at a premium.

Corn on the Cob: Need I say more? Boiled, with butter and salt. Yum.

Corn on the Cob for the Win!

Corn on the Cob for the Win!

Watermelon: Again, I could eat my weight in this stuff, and it’s designed to be consumed outside.

Summer happiness = watermelon

Summer happiness = watermelon

Random Whole Foods Side Salads: I’ll confess, this was me. I was working up until the cookout, and my hostess graciously let me off the hook. I brought quinoa and some firecracker slaw. I am back to my quinoa addiction, a perfect summer food.

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

Watermelon Semifreddo: Days later, I’m still dreaming about this dessert. Courtesy of my friend over at The Professor’s Table, this is a happy marriage of something like an ice-box pie top with a boozy watermelon granita bottom. I am seeking the recipe, or will direct you to her site if she posts it there. I didn’t think I could love or crave watermelon more. I was wrong.

Watermelon Semifreddo: I Think I Love You

Watermelon Semifreddo: I Think I Love You

We all brought things to drink, everyone did work to make the meal happen, and we ate outside. It was relaxing, delicious, and memorable. All that a summer meal should be. So go, create a moment outside of your kitchen! Thank me later. (Or invite me now. :))

Outdoor wine table.

Outdoor wine table.

Special thanks to the Friday night crew. It was awesome: you continue to remind me why I love food.

What’s your favorite thing to cook on the grill? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way. I am on vacation, but listening.

Send your invitations, spare watermelon, and actual questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Friday: Not Quite Carbonara Recipe (or Vegetarians Welcome)!


Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, Punt!

Reader Questions: Your Kitchen Dilemmas, Solved

Gentle Readers, hopefully you’re busily slathering on SPF and not actually reading this, or at the very least you’re joining me after a day full of red, white, and blue food. Regardless, we shall endeavor to answer 3 reader questions. Here we go, in no particular order.

July 4th Cupcakes (not made by me, definitely from a box)

July 4th Cupcakes (not made by me, definitely from a box)

1. Can you cook a large batch of grits in advance?

Yes, but only as baked grits. Unfortunately, grits change texture as they sit, so large or small batch, if you’re looking for the traditional grits texture we all know and love (sorry, moment of personal reverie there), you have to make them and serve them in fairly short order. The good people of Waffle House can keep the pot going, but they have magical powers.

Baked grits, particularly baked cheese grits, are a great alternative. They can be made in advance, portioned evenly to serve a crowd, and reheated with ease. I don’t have a favorite recipe for this, so I’m heading into the test kitchen to work on one. Great question, thank you for asking!

Breakfast for Dinner: I almost forgot, I bought more grits too.

Breakfast for Dinner: Featuring grits!

2. Are brownies from a box delicious?

This one’s easy: Yes. Admittedly, if I can only choose a handful of desserts to eat forever, brownies would be on the short list. Brownie box mixes are easily doctored (buy the plainest one, and add your own mix-ins). Ideas include: chopped up leftover candy (there’s always some around the house), toasted nuts, a spoonful or so of strong brewed coffee, a teaspoon of cocoa powder, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, coconut and toasted almonds, melted peanut butter swirled in, and I digress. I’m in a bit of a dream state right now.

Can these brownies be saved?

Can these brownies be saved? (Yes, but not for long!)

3. Should I get a new grill?

I’m wrestling with this one myself. I have had a gas grill for years, but I find the maintenance and upkeep to be painful. The ease of use is great, but I’m thinking it may be time to jump to the less expensive and simpler piece of equipment, the charcoal grill. In my former life, I had the benefit of assisting with a grilling community site, and when I purchase, it will be a simple Weber kettle grill.

Signs you need a new grill: yours is sputtering or otherwise shooting off more fireworks than a professional display, there are holes in it, chunks of your grill drop into your food while grilling.

Pork Barbecue (as if there's more than one in NC) Sandwich from Pik-N-Pig, Winner!

Pork Barbecue (as if there’s more than one in NC) Sandwich from Pik-N-Pig, Winner!

What are you cooking up for the 4th? Post a comment below! And as always, please feel free to email, Tweet, or post a comment with any and all questions.

Send your red, white, and blue foods to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up on Friday, Mayo Controversy: Duke’s vs Hellmann’s (Miracle Whip need not apply).


Filed under Kitchen Philosophy

How to Cook Without Power

This is a timely, but difficult post to write. All kidding aside, when a disaster strikes, like the recent tornadoes in the southeastern U.S., it is best to be prepared. Access to good, healthy food is a deeply important issue to the Practical Cook in all circumstances, and it takes on heightened importance in trying times. Having made it through a number of hurricanes, ice storms, and the random tree limb, I’ve picked up a few tips on the way.

Snow Bears

Snow Bears

My thoughts are with all of those who suffered losses during the recent storms. My eldest daughter asked me why some people were unable to make it to safety during the tornado. That’s a hard question to answer, but I did, and used some advice given by Mr. Rogers during 9/11. Look for the helpers. In any bad situation, there are helpers. Providing good food can be one way to be a helper.

The Practical Cook’s Guide to Cooking Without Power

1. Keep your grill in good working condition, year-round. For a great resource on grilling most anything, visit BarbecueBible.com (full disclosure, I used to work for the publisher). You can boil water on a grill, bringing coffee and ramen onto the menu.

2. Never be without some shelf-stable food and water. Most parents would rather go pantsless than snackless to even dressy occasions. Bring that mantra into your home life, too: granola bars, dried fruit, peanut butter, crackers, soup, water, juice.

3. Share your resources. If you have food that’s getting ready to spoil, especially meat, cook it on the grill and have a block party.

4. Own a cooler. Power outage + deep freezer full of stored pumped milk. Need I say more? Do not be without a cooler for extreme circumstances.

5. Eat out! Sometimes you have to accept that food may spoil and you’ve gone through everything that resembles a meal. Be kind to yourself and eat out. Food around the table with family and friends lifts spirits, and is especially important in times of crisis.

Winning the contest for extreme calm while filming a tornado, Steve Hoag:

How do you manage a meal without the usual kitchen comforts? Drop your thoughts, questions, or food pictures to practical cook at gmail dot com.

Coming up tomorrow, Braised Moroccan Chicken Recipe.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy