Prince silently helped so many artists, expecting nothing in return. He was the music world's ultimate secret santa. Here's one of the few times you could see him give, in public.
This is a dish we normally cook indoors, using a huge 12-14" frying pan. The pan caramelizes the lamb chops, and then I deglaze the fond with wine and (beef, chicken, or lamb) stock. I use two frenched ribs per chop, and briefly cover the pan, so the inside is pink and juicy. With the new grill system, I figured I could do the entire operation outside, sparing the apartment the smells and heat. It worked perfectly, except that hot-air-to-cast-iron is a very inefficient way to reduce stocks/sauces. Next time, I'll reduce the lamb stock ahead of time. Here's how it went:
Our little Vivi doesn't have a fully formed immune system. She's only 3-months old, after all.
So, we all hide in the apartment, wash our hands dozens of times a day, and only I go out for grocery-shopping errands. That way we hope to minimize the chance of giving Vivi a flu before she is ready. Even with all those precautions, I went out one time to meet with a board member at a bar, and I came back with the flu! Vivi won't have much of an immune system until about 6.5 months old. Until then, we are hermits.
Normally, we go to our friend's house in Portland, for grilling. They have a huge deck, a huge grill, and a 200lb smoker-oven with bull horns for handles (see below). Their children are delightful, and it's a great excuse to hang out :) However, they were all fighting the flu for a month straight. :(
What to do for the 6 months? We have a couple balconies, and one is perfect for a gas or charcoal grill. In fact, we have a mini pizza oven out there. Let me digress for a minute about the amazing uuni-2 pizza oven.
uuni-2 Wood-pellet-fired Pizza Oven
When I was a little kid, my family lived in Manhattan. We were very poor, and lived in subsidized housing. Our modest apartment had a teeny-tiny balcony, just a few feet wide. My parents got a tiny hibachi grill, which looked like this:
I remember many evenings, huddled dangerously close to the little hibachi grill, with charcoal briquettes glowing. There are much more modern versions now, including high-tech ones from Japan. If you have any balcony space or outdoor parking space, there is no excuse for not bonding over some quality grilling time.
These days, we find we need a small grill for Japanese-style, sliced beef-tongue or Korean bulgogi. We use a little butane stove like some people use for hotpot. If we were grilling more different foods, then the next step up would be a hibachi grill. Instead, we plan our grilled meals for the weekend, marinate our meats, then drive everything over to our friend's house and do it there. The only grilling we do in our apartment are small, specialty foods. Which brings us to the amazing uuni-2 pizza oven we discovered.
This thing is very compact. We used to fold ours up and store it in a 12-inch space next to our washing machine. It gets hot. Insanely hot. 1250 degrees F hot. Our original version 2 has small thermal mass, so I incinerated a couple pizzas trying to time the spiky heat curve. Even with an IR-laser temperature gun, I needed to use notes and timers to get it right. The new version, the uuni-2S, has a pizza stone built in. If you are constrained for space, then this is $300 very well spent! Here are some pictures of the older version.
Life was good. We have a couple small specialty outdoor grills/ovens, and we drive for the big machinery. With little Vivi, I started researching gas grills, to do jerk chicken at home.
I usually use a smoker box, filled with wet wood chips, for smoking. We need a large enough grill surface for 2-dozen chicken thighs, since the meal reheats well. We need an upper grill deck for smoking and roasting. We need 3 burners, for high-heat and indirect smoking. A side burner is optional. I rarely use them. A cast iron grill surface is better than wire. Wire grills don't sear well and inevitably rust. A good brand name ensures spare parts and accessories are available. Ideally, we want the smallest grill which does all this. In my life, I've gone through over a dozen grills. I know what works. What I did not know is that the grill designers at Weber have re-invented the humble gas grill. You can even get it at Home Depot, assembled (for free), with bitcoins!
Behold, the Weber Spirit E-310 with Gourmet BBQ System!
The smallest Weber grills which meet our needs are the Spirit E-310 and Spirit E-330. The latter has a side burner while the former can be bought bundled with the "Gourmet BBQ System" (GBS). The GBS adds a third, round grill, which can be removed easily (smoker access, YAY!). There are different things which fit exactly into the round hole, for vegetables, pizza, griddle, wok, poultry-roasting, even Korean BBQ. Read a bit about the GBS here, and here. I even found the grill and integrated GBS, pre-assembled, at Home Depot.
This is not your father's grill. This is not your college grill. If you grill lots of different kinds of dishes, this will change your life. For less than 2 bitcoins, here's what we got:
This system sets up faster, cooks faster, adds more flavor, smokes and sears more, and cleans and stows faster. It replaces four or more different cooking systems, and keeps the smoke outside.
Here you can see jerk chicken we cooked for dinner tonight. We set some kind of speed record tonight. That's key, because little Vivi can wake at any minute! :)
Wow! Problem solved. Now we just have give away all of our old grilling gear.
Believe it or not, this houses a law firm. Watch that first step, it's a doosie!
There are so many cherry tree blossoms here, that it looks like Sakura season in Japan. This is only a block away from the Bad Idea above.
She stayed awake for about 10 minutes.
Vivi missed the puppies, but we didn't!
We returned for lunch, and some standy-time!
Then some mirror-playtime! Vivi tries to mimic brushing her teeth. Slight snag, no teeth yet.
I'm an applied-math-research Ph.D. and serial startup founder. I am a recognized computer security expert, fortunate to join the ranks of many, great CTO's. I've founded and seed-funded multiple, successful, VC-backed companies. I'm still at it!