Can you believe I never owned a grill until Memorial Day weekend?

I’m serious. It was just one more thing to clean, and the idea stressed me out. Lance convinced me it was time, and family was coming over so we booked it to Home Depot that Friday.

It was a complete zoo, of course, and my anxiety went through the roof. But we got the grill and accompanying charcoal, ecologically friendly starter to balance out the dang charcoal, lighters, utensils and grill cover.

And guess what? I’m a bloody idiot. Grilling is genius, delicious, simple and doesn’t heat up my kitchen. Done and done.

You, dear readers, are super-skilled on the grill, but I hope you enjoy the following recipes. The kabob marinade is to die for, and the lettuce (yes, lettuce) is life-changing.

I tasted a similar recipe this year at Toast in Pittsburg, Kansas. It was a side but could easily be chopped up, topped with some of the steak and be a main course. Lance loves the romaine with grilled corn in the same bite. He says they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Hmm, grilled PB&J.

Cheers to grilling.

Grilled romaine

2 romaine hearts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar or lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic minced

Pinch each salt and pepper

Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise. Brush all sides with olive oil. Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside. Preheat grill to medium-high. Place romaine cut side down on the grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until charred in spots. Flip and cook for 1 more minute.

Serve romaine hearts whole or chopped, topping with feta, dressing and fresh cracked black pepper.

Steak kabobs

1 1/2 to 2 pounds top sirloin steak

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Any of the following:

2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange) cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

2 small or 1 large zucchini cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices

1 large red onion cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

A dozen small button mushrooms, stalks removed

A dozen grape tomatoes

Half of a fresh pineapple cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

Marinade:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder, garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, dried rosemary, ground coriander

1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl or large freezer bag (whatever dish you are going to use to marinate your steak). Remove 1/2 cup (to use later for vegetables and basting). Add steak to remaining marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate 2 to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Put all other grilling ingredients in a large bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of reserved marinade, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate.

When ready to cook, thread steak and veggies onto metal skewers in desired order. When threading red onions, keep 2 to 3 slices together so they don’t burn.

Grease and preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill skewers until lightly charred all over, approximately 2 minutes per side, basting with remaining marinade halfway through cooking. Steak should register 140 to 145 degrees for medium doneness (recommended). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Josie Mai is a culinary artist and in-home chef. See her on Facebook and Instagram as Josie Mai Personal Chef or at josiemai.com.

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Josie Mai is a culinary artist and in-home chef. See her on Facebook and Instagram as Josie Mai Personal Chef or at josiemai.com.