The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

It’s about time to use those delux campus grills

There comes a time every semester when you realize that you just can’t take the dining hall anymore. Maybe you’re staring at your plate of pasta with white clam sauce when it hits you—Iowa is landlocked. Maybe your chicken cacciatore tastes more like cardboard cacciatore. Maybe your last ten meals have been Cinnamon Toast Crunch and French fries. Whatever the case, you need an escape, and you’ve already been to Chuong Garden and Lonnski’s enough.

One of the best parts about nice weather is the chance to grill food outside. If you’re a vegetarian, skip down a few paragraphs. If not: steak! As a college student, you probably can’t afford to buy a ribeye or tenderloin, but look for flank steak and top sirloin instead. Tougher cuts of meat, like flank and top sirloin, taste better if marinated first. To marinate steak, combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon garlic powder in a plastic Ziploc bag, then add the piece of steak and seal. Refrigerate for at least an hour before grilling.

When you’re ready to cook, load one of the super-high-tech grills around campus with charcoal and light the coals. The coals should be ashy and white before you start cooking. While the coals heat, oil the grate with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Lay the steaks on the grill. Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of your steak. If it’s an inch thick, you’ll want to cook it 4-5 minutes on each side for rare (9-10 minutes total) or 6-7 minutes on each side for medium (12-14 minutes total). If it’s 1 1/2 inches thick, cook it 5-7 minutes on each side for rare or 8-10 minutes on each side for medium. Do not cook your steaks to the point that they’re well done, unless you are some kind of barbarian.

Conventional wisdom says to check to see if steak is done by pressing down on it—rare should be soft, and medium should be firm but yield a bit. If, like most people, you don’t automatically know what “firm but yielding” means, you can always check by cutting partway into the steak. Once your steak is ready, let it rest for a few minutes before eating. A1 sauce helps if you’ve bought a really cheap cut of meat.

Vegetarians—and people who appreciate vegetables with their hunk of meat—can also take part in the grilling festivities. A grill pan, or a pan with a bunch of holes in the bottom, works best, but you can create your own by layering several sheets of tin foil and punching pencil-sized holes in the bottom. Vegetables should be cleaned, lightly oiled, and sprinkled with a little salt. Excellent choices for grilling: mushrooms, onion quarters or small onions, quartered bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, halved large tomatoes. Vegetables may be easier to handle if you skewer them so they don’t roll away. Mushrooms take the longest to cook, up to 20 minutes depending on the size, while cherry tomatoes can take as little as 10 minutes. Onions and peppers take closer to 14-15 minutes, but will be okay if you cook them for a little extra time.

Suggested desserts: ice cream or grilled peaches. Or both. Clean and oil the grill very well, and then place fresh peach halves (pitted) cut-side down and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, cook for another 3 minutes, and serve sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar.

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