I have never owned a grill. My parents have always had one, first a avocado green charcoal beast, most likely squatting over our gravel driveway, later a shiny gas number, lovingly ensconced on a new back porch. The house where I lived senior year in college had one. I can't even remember what it looked like, I only remember the luxury of padding out onto the back porch and being handed a burger. There is nothing more magical in college than food that appears before you, already cooked, particularly if it didn't come from a dining hall. After college, my best friend set up house in Brookline, where her grandparents had lived. In the same backyard she grew up playing in, she'd throw the perfect summer party: tons of friends, floating around the pool and dragging yourself up to the deck for dinner off the grill. I tended to ignore the ubiquitous burgers and dogs for her steak tips. To this day, they are on my short list of ultimate summer grill foods and I beg for them each time I visit. The fact of the matter is, I am a grill mooch. I have not owned one, I cannot operate one, but sweet merciful heavens do I love what can come off one. This Fourth of July, my father-in-law manned the grill. I did the prep, but in the end, there was more than a little mooching. I'm also afraid that at least one recipe was largely improvisational. Sorry!
Take a loaf of day old bread, drizzle olive oil over it. Peel a garlic clove and rub it against the surface of the bread. Grill until it looks delicious (just like above.) Unsurprisingly, the garlic bread portion of this post is NOT gluten-free. The rest of the stuff is.
Have you made Mark Bittman's Spicy Shrimp? You really should. They are dead easy, really delicious and can be made inside if you don't have a grill. I made them in the oven just a few weeks ago, but they were even better on the grill. Oh, and did I mention fast? They're fast. Just 2-3 minutes a side.
AVOCADO, TOMATO AND CORN SALAD:
This was seriously delicious. But I didn't measure anything. I feel terrible. I promise to try it again with actual proportions because it was wonderful. If you want to attempt it yourself, here's what I did...
2 ears of corn
2 very small avocados
freshly squeezed lemon juice
red wine vinegar
less than a teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper
Sprinkle the ears of corn with salt and pepper. Rub them with a bit of butter. Wrap them in foil and grill (I think he did them for 20 minutes, but don't hold me to that). Remove and scrape the kernels off the corn into a large bowl. They will be hot as all get out, so you can let them cool a bit, or handle them using an oven mitt, whatever works for you. Also, if you don't have a grill, you could cook the corn however you usually do it (I usually bring a huge pot of water to a boil and toss them in for 5 minutes). Chop the tomato and avocado into nice little bite sized bits. Toss the tomato, avocado and corn together. In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon juice (I know I didn't use more than half a lemon), the red wine vinegar (no idea how much) and some olive oil. Add the cumin and some salt and pepper, then mix again. Pour this all over the salad. Taste and add more salt, lemon or cumin to taste. I added more salt (I didn't have access to Kosher, only table salt and had no idea how much I needed). While the lemon may save the avocado from browning for a little while, I probably wouldn't really make this ahead, because I can't promise it would keep the avocado pretty for long. Don't worry about leftovers, there were none.