July 18, 2004
IMBB? 6 - I Know How Much Smoke My Apartment Holds

In the run-up to Is My Blog Burning? - Griller's Delight, I decided to grill an entire meal for four. My mother-in-law Rosalind McFall, her friend Susan Self (names added at RM's request), my wife, and I dined on the products of the grillpan. The dessert wasn't grilled, but fits in with the summery/grill/barbecue theme. Any of these dishes could be done on a standard grill.

The three items grilled for today's IMBB? were Grilled Tarragon and Thyme Flatbread, Asparagus with Sesame Seeds, and Seared Tuna with Mango and Red Onions.

About halfway through the asparagus, I realized the disadvantage of grilling in a room with no ventilation and a window recently painted shut.

My wife (whose heroic feet are seen kneeling on the butcherblock table in the photo above as she works on opening the window) shooed asthmatic me out of the room right after I'd come back in for the second air filter and started coughing. Her efforts chipped open our window and got the room ventilated and filtered.

Heroic air filter

Chastised, I turned the heat down to medium and continued the grilling.

Grilled Tarragon and Thyme Flatbread
½ cup warm water
½ teaspoon yeast
pinch of sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon mix of fresh tarragon and thyme, chopped

Proof your yeast by dissolving a pinch of sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Wait ten minutes. If mix is not foamy and there is no evidence of yeast activity, discard and try again with different yeast.

Combine live water/yeast/sugar mix with flour, oil, salt, dried thyme, and dried tarragon. Mix together until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and springy. Place ball of dough ina lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise.

Reflour surface lightly, turn dough out, and divide dough in four equal parts. Roll out four parts into flat oblongs. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with fresh thyme/tarragon mix. Grill each oblong 1 minute. Turn oblong 90 degrees and grill 1 minute more. Flip and repeat.

As flatbread comes off grill, salt to taste.

Asparagus with Sesame Seeds
1 lb. thin Asparagus spears
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame seeds.

Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, and sesame seeds. Place asparagus in small loaf pan or other handy marinating vessel. Pour marinade over asparagus. Marinate at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally to make sure all asparagus gets marinated.

Put the asparagus on the grill perpendicular to the grate. Grill until tender, turning occasionally to get all sides of the spears. Serve with marinade on side as a sauce.

Click for enormous smoky asparagus spears

Seared Tuna With Mango and Red Onions
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 12 oz. sushi-grade tuna filet.
2 large red onions, sliced very thin (I use a kitchen mandolin)
2 large mangos, peeled and cut to ½" dice
12 cups baby greens

Whisk marinade ingredients together and divide into two bowls. Marinate tuna in one bowl, onions in the other for 30 minutes or more.

Get grill pan or grill nice and hot. Place tuna filets on the grill pan carefully. Discard marinade from tuna bowl. Sear filets for 45 seconds, turn 90 degrees, sear 15 seconds longer. Turn filets over, sear 45 seconds, turn 90 degrees, sear 15 seconds longer. Set filets aside to rest at least 2 minutes.

Toss mango, greens, and 2-3 tbsp marinade from onions in a big bowl.

Slice tuna filets against the grain into 1/2" strips.

Spread greens/mango evenly over platter. Place tuna on top of greens, put red onions on top of that. Serve immediately.

And so we did...

From the yummy noises that ensued ("Didn't you just make a yummy noise?") I think the meal was a hit. The stuff on the left in that picture is the flatbread, by the way. The tuna slices are buried in the middle of the enormous salad platter.

Our dessert was a delicious strawberry/rhubarb thing poured over vanilla ice cream that my mother-in-law put together. It was the perfect dish to finish an eventful meal.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at July 18, 2004 1:04 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

A heroic efffot indeed Barrett. Way to finish the meal!

Posted by Dave on July 18, 2004 at 6:05 AM

Hey Barrett!

Nice dish there. Looks very yummy! I'll be making my dish and forwarding the link over to you! Hope you enjoy it.

Posted by Reid on July 18, 2004 at 6:11 AM

Hi Barrett. I'm glad noone was hurt and that you were able to enjoy the meal after all that excitement! The grilled tarragon anf tyhme bread looks very tasty.

I wanted to let you know that I posted my contribution to todays IMBB? and the permanlink for it is here:



Posted by deb on July 18, 2004 at 7:18 AM

G'day Barrett, the photo reminds me of the kitchen in our previous house. The smoke alarm is installed too near the kitchen. Whenever we use the griller, we know when the food is cooked (the alarm will set off!)..

BTW, here's my contribution to this month's IMBB...

Posted by Mik on July 18, 2004 at 8:48 AM

that was an eventful as well as tasty dinner! : )

here's the link to my entry....

thanks so much for hosting IMBB this time around : )

Posted by Renee on July 18, 2004 at 9:54 AM

methinks your wife and your air filter both deserve a medal each for saving your lungs!! :)

anyway here's my entry for IMBB. hope it qualifies ...


Posted by jun on July 18, 2004 at 11:18 AM

One of the first things I did when I moved into my apartment was disconnect the smoke detectors :)

Here's my IMBB.6 entry: Barbecue Shrimp Toast.

Posted by Bill on July 18, 2004 at 11:56 AM

I feel your pain! Not only do I have lousy ventilation (read:window) in my apartment kitchen but there is no door to the kitchen so if things get smoky in there the whole apartment gets smoky too. Still the meal lookks like it turned out great.

Posted by Amy on July 18, 2004 at 12:42 PM

Oh, that looks amazing. Albacore is $2.99/lb around here (whole fish), and I might have to pick one up just to try that. By the way, my entry of grilled oysters is up and posted now:


Posted by redbeard on July 18, 2004 at 2:19 PM

What a heroic effort, Barrett. I seared salmon once in my kitchen (with ventilation and an opening window, although the vent is not good and it was winter) and smelled it for four days. Never again, although I really should try tuna because I like it.

I think I'll stick to roasting my asparagus in the oven, though (grin).

My entry, with beaucoup recipes (Central Coast Tri-tip, Vinaigrette, Bread Salad, and Lamb on a Stick) and some pictures, is at (link may wrap):

Posted by Charlotte on July 18, 2004 at 4:26 PM

Rats, for some reason the link did not display.

let's try it without the brackets:


Posted by Charlotte on July 18, 2004 at 4:27 PM

Hi guys

My computer has just crashed and I have lost over an hour's work on my IMBB post - and I actually cannot face doing it over again right now - it's after midnight and I am absolutely exhausted. Aaaaarrrrrgh!!!

So please please, can I submit it tomorrow?

Posted by Jeanne on July 18, 2004 at 6:07 PM

this may seem as a bit of a dug-out, but it is 47 minutes past midnight here in london and i have only just realised that it is IMBB day! way too late to bring out the bbq, so i hope you'll accept a recent post on my site as a valid entry. there are actually two: http://thepassionatecook.typepad.com/thepassionatecook/2004/05/bbq_bonanza_lem.html featuring a brilliant vegetarian option for a bbq and http://thepassionatecook.typepad.com/thepassionatecook/2004/05/bbq_bonanza_ii_.html for a bit of fish and ethnicity...
i also want to say that i feel with you on the smoke issue, until recently we lived in a house with an open plan kitchen/dining/living room and the smoke detector would go off every time i as much as tried to heat up the wok, wouldn't have dreamt to attempt grilling under those circumstances...

Posted by johanna on July 18, 2004 at 6:57 PM

We, too, used to have smoke. Then we installed a real vent hood with a real vent right out the roof and everything. Now no more constantly ringing smoke alarms when all I'm doing is frying an egg!

My IMBB entry is all about burgers


Posted by Owen on July 19, 2004 at 12:46 AM

Hi Barrett,

I was going to post my entry and forward the link, however, I believe that typepad is down...again. I just lost my entire post and have to start over. ARGH! They don't really warn us about these sorts of things. In any case, if I have a chance, I'll be posting my entry up tomorrow...if not, it'll be posted on Tuesday...so sorry for the delay!

Posted by Reid on July 19, 2004 at 5:13 AM

All - thanks for the links and the comments. I'll be adding those links that are posted to our summary today. For those of you who are runnning a little late, you have my deepest sympathy as that is also my natural state. Just send a quick message to toomanychefs@gmail.com and we'll update our summary accordingly when you are ready!

Posted by Meg in Paris on July 19, 2004 at 6:08 AM

Barrett --- Great photos! Great meal! We had much the same event at my parents' house this weekend, when my mother grilled sausages in her stovetop grill pan. Dinner was delicious, though --- and all that excitement is good for the appetite.

Posted by Elsa on July 19, 2004 at 11:46 AM

Hey! Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one trying to turn my apartment into fine southern barbecue.

My wife's still mad at me for posting her feet on the Internet...

Thanks also to everyone for the entries. These are all creative and delicious ideas I'll be leaning on at every barbecue I go to for the next year.

Posted by Barrett on July 19, 2004 at 9:12 PM

Mother-in law would appreciate her name used; it will google more.

Posted by Rosalind on August 6, 2004 at 11:26 AM

You have only to ask and it is done. Added your name and Susan's.

Still liked that desert a lot...

Posted by Barrett on August 6, 2004 at 11:54 AM

I would love to sit down for a meal.

Posted by Chefjeffkaufman on November 28, 2006 at 11:25 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please be sure you read and agree with our ADVERTISING POLICY before posting.