You Go Girl. Grill.

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Grandma D going on a walk, apparently leaving their Schnauzer, Rocky, behind.  Love those bell bottom pants.

Seeing this photo has Andy thinking about dogs – and 1950s radio programs.  The photo makes me think of Andy’s mom.

“You go girl!”  I heard that often from my mother-in-law, Grandma D.  In addition to be about as kind and gentle as anyone could be, Grandma D was in there rooting for her girls when we needed it.   Adjusting to motherhood?  “You go girl!” Starting a new job?  “You go girl!”  Preparing for the empty nest?  “You go girl!” Tackling a complex recipe?  “You go girl!”  I’m sort of smug in thinking there wasn’t a comparable expression she used for the guys in the family.

I need her little push right now.  Grilling has always been, is, and probably forever more shall be the province of the man in this household, Andy.  But I consider myself a feminist and think that I should be able to do most anything.  So I decided to see what it’s like to grill, rather than bake or roast or saute.

Of course, first I had to try to figure out WHY Andy and I clearly agreed on this division of labor – years ago.  An article from Forbes offered up some plausible theories.  Especially interesting is the idea that 1950s suburbanization caused it: all of a sudden, after a move to the suburbs, men had to figure out what to do with their spare time and in their backyards.  So they started to mow the lawns and grill.  Mind you, I don’t believe my dad, a father in the 1950s, ever grilled, but we didn’t live in suburbia either; plus he was more than happy to have me mow our enormous lawn.

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According to Michael Pollan, in a 2009 NYTimes article, the only kind of cooking that is on the rise in the U.S. is grilling, and it’s being treated as a weekend sport, not as something that puts home-cooked food on our tables every day.  And, as weekend sport, it still tends to be men who grill, though the invention of the gas grill has apparently encouraged more women to find grilling approachable.    Mmmmmm.  Sounds chauvinistic to me.  My I-can-do-anything side makes me want to go build a big hunky wood fire and grill a huge bloody slab of meat, defying any stereotype.

But I’m scaling back (or chickening out?? :).  Andy showed me how to turn on our relatively-new petite gas grill.  And he showed me how to turn it off.  And how to hold my hand over the grill to see if it is hot enough (which, I might add,  I already knew!).  I’m not interested in learning how to clean it.  Or how to do a huge bloody slab of meat on it.  But I am willing to try some simple little grilled appetizers.

You go girl.  Grill.

Snacks from the Grill with Simple Sauces

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Clockwise from top: Soy Sesame Sauce, Romesco Sauce, Mustard Horseradish Sauce, Yogurt Dill Sauce

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My first grilling attempt: mushrooms.  How approachable!

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Grilled Mushrooms with Soy Sesame Sauce


Grilled Mushrooms with Soy Sesame Sauce

  • Servings: 8-10 large mushrooms should serve 4-6
  • Print

You might need to pop this sauce in the microwave for a couple of seconds, if the butter has started to congeal.  Adding cooked soba noodles and arugula to the grilled mushrooms and warmed sauce will make a lovely asian-inspired salad.

Sauce for the mushrooms:

  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1T toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp mirin

8-10 large mushrooms (we used cremini), cut in half

Thread the mushrooms tightly onto the skewers.  Sprinkle with salt, then grill over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.
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Lamb Riblets with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Lamb Riblets with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Sauce for lamb riblets:

  • 1/3 c yogurt
  • 1 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

2 lbs lamb riblets (figure 1-2 ribs per person as an appetizer)

Sprinkle the riblets with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp kosher salt per pound of meat); grill over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes, meat side down; turn, reduce the heat to low, cover, and grill, bone side down, for another 3-5 minutes.  Serve with a big spoonful of yogurt dill sauce on the side.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.
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Grill Bratwurst with Mustard Horseradish Sauce

Grilled Bratwurst with Mustard Horseradish Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6 as an appetizer
  • Print

Sauce for the Brats:

  • 2 1/2 T dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp  mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp horseradish

2 Brats (or about 1 lb)

Grill the brats over medium low heat, turning frequently – with tongs, not a fork – for around 20-25 minutes.  Be careful not to prick the skin so the tasty juices aren’t released.  Cut into 1/2″ slices and serve with the sauce.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.
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Grilled Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

Grilled Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6 as an appetizer
  • Print

Note: we’re using almonds to thicken – and omitting the typical bread in the sauce.  If just 1 or 2 of you are having shrimp, you can do half or a quarter of the Romesco sauce recipe – but it’s fun to have extra for dipping veggies, putting on sandwiches, serving with roast chicken or on top of steamed broccoli, and it will keep for a week in the fridge – or can be frozen.  Wild shrimp should be used.  Buying frozen shrimp which has been peeled, deveined and the tail left on, is an easy option.

Sauce for the Grilled Shrimp

  • 1/2 c roasted, chopped red bell pepper (I used peppers from a jar – but you could roast your own)
  • 1/2 c canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 c almonds (I used sliced); if you’re ambitious, toast them first
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or any kind you’ve got)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 T sherry vinegar – or red wine vinegar – to taste
  • 2 T olive oil

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, tail left on if you’d like
  • kosher salt
  • 2 T lime juice

Lace the shrimp onto skewers, placing them so they touch each other – in order to keep them juicier.  Lightly salt (less than 1 tsp per pound). Grill over medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill,  sprinkle with 2 T lime juice and serve with the Romesco sauce.

Use the Romesco sauce with chicken, fish, vegetables, and chips – as well as shrimp.  I like it on a leaf of Baby Gem lettuce – with a bit of salt – as a snack.  Brought to you by and Andy and Ann.




  1. Beth says:

    Lamb rib let’s are my favorite. Didn’t think anyone else but the Records cooked them. Sauces all sound delicious. Will try them. Thank you!


  2. Jackie Niles says:

    I hear ya…my guy has never been into BBQing. I recently bought him super BBQ thinking that may spark an interest. Our son-in-law uses it more…hahaha. Well I recently decided to tackle an appetizer of dates with blue cheese inside wrapped with bacon and grilled. Had to call hubby and find out why it wasn’t turning on. Had to turn the gas tank on under BBQ. Lesson #1…so funny! Oh by the way, they were delicious! jackie


      • Jackie Niles says:

        Oh Boy…well Andy better late than never.

        I used Unprocessed nitrate free bacon. One package. Cut strips in half.
        One container of dates
        Blue cheese

        Take pit from dates and fill with blue cheese. Then wrap with bacon. I started with putting on a skewer to BBQ. That didn’t work well. Putting them on grill individually allowed better control when turning to brown. Seam side down. Medium heat on BBQ till crispy.

        Notes: Maybe next time I’d put skewer cross ways not long ways to keep bacon flap from unraveling…Hmmm. A work in progress. Yummy though.


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