Column: Not much beats a good summertime grill session

Summertime, and the grillin’ is easy. Steaks are cooking and the spirits are high.

Summertime, and the grillin’ is easy. Steaks are cooking and the spirits are high.

Those are not quite the words to an old blues song, but they will work.

Summertime is the best time of the year for people who enjoy cooking and eating  because there are so many fresh fruits, vegetables and  tasty herbs that are available from the grocery stores, farmer’s market and our own gardens.

It is so easy to eat tasty and healthy foods in the summer, yet with so much happening, like weddings, family picnics, neighborhood barbecues, camping and travelling, a healthy eating regime can go astray pretty quickly.

Good summer cooking on a barbecue or over a campfire, and producing palate pleasing results is what the crazy hazy days of summer are all about.

To many people, food just tastes a little nicer outdoors. Even a quickly roasted hot dog, put on a bun that has been slathered with a little onion, ketchup or mustard tastes pretty good after a long  day outdoors.

Recently, I used briquets and an alder starter to cook my steak, covered with garlic and herbs, along with a little olive oil. The wood produced a nice smoke that added to the taste of the steak.

I also cooked a sliced up sweet potato that had been lightly oiled and salted with spiced sea salt. I placed the potato on some tinfoil about 10 minutes before the steak was done.

This, along with a nice spinach and tomato salad, finished off a lovely dinner on the lake shore.

Planning ahead and doing a little cooking prior to the barbecue, cook-out or campfire will make a big difference in the end.

On one fishing trip I packed along some tinfoil, lemon zest, lemon, a tiny amount of butter and oil mixture.  This preparation allowed me the opportunity to enjoy a riverside meal on the Bella Coola River. It took only 15 minutes to cook a cutthroat trout after the fire got started.

Here’s a summertime recipe that can be prepared ahead of time and finished on the barbecue at home, or over a campfire using a grate.

Summertime Pork Loin

• 1 cup sliced green onions

• 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and cut up

• 1 habanero pepper, seeded and cut into small pieces

• 1/3 cup of cider vinegar

• 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

• 2 tbsp Olive oil

• 2 tsp coriander

• 2 tsp dried thyme

• 2 tsp allspice

• 1 tsp seasoned sea salt

• 1 tsp ground pepper

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• 2 pound pork loin

Put onions, habanero pepper, vinegar, brown sugar, oil, allspice, thyme, coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper into a food processor.

Pour the mixture into a large sealable plastic bag. Put in pork and turn the bag to coat the meat. Put in the fridge for up to 24 hours. It doesn’t take long to make the marinade. So you take it out before supper the next day and place it to the cool side of the grill.

Whether using charcoal or gas, make sure only one side of the grill is only on and that heats up to 500 degrees. Same, of course, on a camp fire grill.

Put the pork on the unheated side of the barbecue, close the lid and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Turn the pork over and continue roasting, for maybe 20 minutes more.  Let stand before cutting.

There are so many summertime vegetables and fruit that can go with this delicious pork dish.  Easy to cook and versatile.

Summertime cooking — gotta love it !

Bye for now and Gooood Cooking.

Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.

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