Joni Woolf — It’s lovely out: Light up the grill

Published 3:08 pm Monday, April 9, 2018

Now that the weather is decidedly warmer, and we know that the cool days are gone (and the really hot ones are right around the corner), it is the perfect time to cook outdoors on the grill. Friends or family may stand around on the deck, watching, talking about the weather, or worse, advising you on how you’re doing it, but, it is spring. Be patient. Offer them a cool glass of tea, or a bit of chardonnay, and let them tell you a better way to turn that tenderloin. Smile, and ignore them. The recipes for grilled shrimp and tenderloin are classics that I have returned to on several occasions; the brown rice is a new recipe I plan to prepare soon. My good friend Lynn Cass gave the shrimp recipe at least 12 years ago; Terry Holland offered the tenderloin recipe when he was a Celebrity Chef in a Macon Arts fund-raiser. And the rice recipe comes from that new book given me by Beth Alston — “Fresh Tastes From a Well Seasoned Kitchen,” a cookbook every serious and enthusiastic cook should own. It is simply splendid. So, clean the grill. Light up the fire. And prepare a meal that will please not only in springtime, but throughout the year.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup light olive oil
5 tablespoons Cajun seasoning mix
¼ cup Oriental sesame oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons dried mustard
2 teaspoons Tabasco
32 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail intact.
Whisk together first 8 ingredients in bowl. Add shrimp; stir to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes. Grill about 2 minutes per side on medium high heat.

Spicy Beef Tenderloin
1 cup port wine
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse grind black pepper
1 teaspoon dried whole thyme
2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce
5 cloves crushed garlic
2 bay leaves
1 whole beef tenderloin (5 to 6 pounds)
Trim any surface fat from meat. Marinate for a minimum of 24 hours in the refrigerator, turning every 4 to 6 hours. Cook whole on a medium-to-hot grill for 8 to 10 minutes on each side. Apply remainder of the liquid generously while meat is on the grill. Preferred with a medium rare center and a medium outside.

Indonesian Brown Rice Salad
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
4 oz. snow peas
1 green apple, cored and chopped
1 (8-oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled completely
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 cup chopped red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped roasted cashews
½ cup raisins
3 green onions, chopped (white, light green and some dark green parts)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
In a glass jar with fitted lid, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, oil, ginger, soy sauce and garlic. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. In a steamer basket over boiling water, steam snow peas for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and plunge into ice water. Drain and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine snow peas, apple, water chestnuts, rice, celery, bell pepper, grapes, cilantro, cashews, raisins and green onion. Add dressing, tossing to coat. Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss again just before serving. (Salad and dressing can be made up to 24 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated separately. Bring to room temperature before tossing and serving.)

Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at