How I Learned to Stop Chasing Zucchini and Love my Grill
I love to grill things. First of all food tastes great on the grill. But more importantly for me, it's really easy. I'm not only NOT Martha Stewart, I'm not even Sue Ann Niven. And living in California, even when we're in the midst of the brutal San Jose winter, it's still about 50 degrees out at dinner time so running out to throw something on the grill is not unreasonable.
What is unreasonable is the time it takes to make skewered things. I know it's supposed to be simple. But it isn't. If you use single skewers things flop all over when you try to turn them. If you use the cute double skewers but you don't keep them absolutely parallel you end up with the two prongs 4" apart by the time you get to your last cherry tomato. So it was with these thoughts that I approached my idea of making skewered shrimp tonight. And then I remembered (my memory isn't all that great these days) I had asked for a Weber grill basket for Christmas.
Actually it's called the Weber Professional-Grade Vegetable Basket, but luckily I didn't remember that, because I wanted to make shrimp in it.
This is a terrific invention. I tossed my shrimp in a baggie with some olive oil and Tabasco sauce while I cut up some miniature yellow and orange peppers. I sprayed them with some olive oil spray and sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper. Having cleverly read the amazon reviews, I knew to pre-heat the grill basket when I heated up the grill. I put some slices of sweet Maui onions and on at that time too.
Then, without so much as stabbing myself once with a skewer, or dropping a pepper between the grill grate and burning myself chasing it as if we would be financially destitute if I lost a vegetable, I opened the grill, threw the shrimp and peppers into the grill basket, put two avocado halves* on the grill, closed the lid, waiting about 4 minutes, tossed the stuff in the basket, turned my onions and 4 minutes after that dinner was ready. Well that and some microwaved rice.
So how did the grill basket work. I'm in love. I'm leaving my husband and running off with the grill basket. Not buying it? OK, it worked great. First, nothing stuck. Second, the shrimp and peppers had that yummy grilled taste. I was afraid they would just taste ... cooked. Third, there were cute little blackened areas on the food that made it look like I had actually grilled something. Fourth I didn't lose a single shrimp or piece of pepper. And according to the Amazon comments, although the bright stainless turns dark, it cleaned up right quick after you let it cool on the grill, as I'm doing now. Note I am not avoiding cleaning up, I'm letting the grill cool down.
Product: Weber Professional-Grade Vegetable Basket (not only for vegetables, honest)
Pros: Works exactly as it should, easy to use, cheap, heavy duty, small enough so that it will fit on a small grill or only take up part of a larger one
Cons: They have a Grill pan too, which I should have asked Santa Claus for at the same time as the basket. What can be wrong with something that costs under $20 and makes life yummy and easy?
*If you've never had grilled avocado, try this: Sprinkle or brush avocado halves with lime juice. Grill cut side down for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, turn cut side up and fill the hole with your favorite salsa, top with a dollop of sour cream if you wish.