I have great affection for the disposable charcoal grills you can buy. The link is so that you can see the packaging and recognize them in the store. They usually cost about $5 and I think they are a really fun way to have a hot meal in a park. If you have 4 people or less, the prospect of cooking a quick dinner out in the fresh air with minimal preparation is very fun.
Dan and I love the charred tomato salsa that is made table-side a restaurant we frequent in Michigan, and lately I have been talking about trying my hand at it. A quiet evening in the park seemed the perfect time to do the prep work, so I brought along 8 roma tomatoes, a head of garlic and 2 jalapenos to grill next to our dinner.
I want to tell you what I brought along with us so that you too can have a successful and easy dinner on the grill.
Cooler Tote: 2 cans of sparkling water, 2 applesauce, a double-Ziploc bag with thin chicken breasts marinating in a sauce.
Paper towel roll, extra gallon Ziploc bags, tongs for grill, cutting board, knife, matches, disposable grill, plastic spoons, wooden skewers
Tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic (slice top off and roast mostly base down - allow the garlic to roast open end down for just a minute or it will dry out), marinated chicken breasts, 2 hamburger buns, marshmallows, chocolate bars, graham crackers
Random Tip:I brought a salad spinner with 4 inches of water in it from home. It was so handy to have! I used the water to wash the vegetables. I used the colander insert to keep the vegetables clean and off the picnic table and when we were through with it all, I used the remaining water to ensure that the grill was out.
We set our disposable grill onto the park's permanent grill and lit it with one match. When the flames died down and the coals were ashy, we placed our 2 chicken breasts on one side and the vegetables to grill on the other. We could see boats and water skiers on the lake. A few families picnicked nearby, but for the most part it was quiet.
We sat in the shade and ate our chicken in the bun without a plate, as we talked and relaxed in our 2 folding camp chairs. We let the vegetables cook a long time, set them on the cutting board to cool before we loaded them into one of the extra Ziploc bags.
We barely had enough heat to melt the marshmallows for s'mores, but we managed. It was quiet and gorgeous. If you were here, wouldn't you say that "Monday is the new Sunday?"
This swimming beach portion of this park (Sunset Beach) will be closed after the 4th of July for improvements (ugh - bad timing!) but the park area will remain open. FYI the park area near Sunset Beach has new bathrooms that are clean and very nice.
Okay, are you ready for my very successful charred salsa recipe? I made it the next day, after refrigerating the charred vegetables that night.
8 charred roma tomatoes (with charred skins)
2 charred jalapenos (seeds and stem removed)
4-5 cloves of the charred garlic
1/2 yellow onion (not charred)
1/4 - 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 - 1 whole lime juice, squeezed
many shakes of dry cumin
shakes of salt
I blitzed all of these ingredients in the food processor bowl. I stopped periodically and adjusted the lime/cumin/salt - you should too.
I stored it in my favorite type of jar by Weck and it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, though I think we may eat most of it tonight! Who's hungry?