Ok, I’m a bit unusual, especially knowing that I live in Minnetonka, MN now, but I grill all year round. I grew up in California and we had an actual charcoal grill, made of brick with a giant copper hood, and it was inside our kitchen. Not a gas grill; a real grill, with a rotisserie spit to turn a gorgeous prime rib. Or induldge in the simple act of placing deliciously seasoned pork chops on the grill for an easy supper.

While I do grill in the winter in Minnesota, at the first signs of Spring, when the robins are back, I absolutely must grill. It’s my salute to nicer weather and a form of early evening meditation: Pour the briquettes, light them, and clean the grill with my brush. Next my meat: a flat iron steak is relaxing at room temperature, prior to its massage. A rub of garlic infused olive oil starts the anointing followed by the addition of spices. Try a coffee, brown sugar and Worchester sauce anointment. But let’s not stop here. It’s Spring, and some of my favorite veggies are at peak in spring. So tonight’s menu: garlic and coffee-rubbed hanger steak, grilled asparagus, and basmati rice (on the stove.)

This is not a recipe for food, but a recipe for balance. It’s about the bliss and the process. The fire is grill-ready when the coals are mostly grey with small flames. While I am waiting, I see, hear and smell my neighborhood. Kids on bikes, people walking their dogs, neighbors arriving home after a day of good work. I take in peace and let out my exhaled version as an offering to the neighborhood.

Spread the coals out with a long grilling fork, making an even bed of coals, with one area being very hot, and another warm and one cool for staging. The steak goes on the hot spot, with a sizzle and an aroma that catches my neighbor’s attention, but that’s not uncommon at my house. The difference between a novice grill chef and one with experience is patience. Don’t move the steak around. Allow one side to caramelize over the hot flame. Most steak grills with the lid up. We want those charred grill marks and the juices staying inside. My hanger steak is about ¾ of an inch thick, so for medium rare I leave it about four minutes on the first side. I think about my blessings, or just drift with my thoughts, and the smells bring me back to present.

Turn the steak, and I defy anyone not to feel their drool reflex kick in. This side just gets 2 minutes, and them it is moved to the warm section to rest.

Asparagus, you’re up! Lightly rubbed with olive oil, onto the grill they roll, lying crosswise on the grate. I drop a little sea salt on those bad boys and leave them one minute on the hottest section of coals. When that is done, I move the steak to the staging area of the grill – cool. The asparagus is moved to the warm portion of the grill, turned to reveal lovely grill marks. Now is the time to close your grill lid. You have enough time to pour drinks and bring out a platter. Remove your perfectly grilled meal. Slice the steak across the grain in 1/3 inch thick slices. Plate the steak with the asparagus and some basmati rice. Shave some lemon rind on the asparagus and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Light a candle at your table and give thanks for spring, the food on your plate and the company you keep. Food is a celebration of life!

…don’t like to cook? I’m a personal chef for hire, so call me, Linda: 952.201.7111 GuestStar!