What do you get when you cross a 26-year-old Weber grill frame with boards, leftover deck paint, galvanized screen, and rope?
A party on a bar cart! Just in time for the Labor Day weekend. We got the idea from daughter, Greta. She’s developing a line of bar carts to complement her Coleman (bar) stools. Richard and I share her love of repurposing, particularly when integrating industrial aesthetics into the design. We came up with our own, easy-to-make, bar cart.
Our new house came with a Weber gas grill, circa 1988. Although it still worked, we decided to update to a new Weber (natural gas) Spirit Grill, but decided to keep the original sturdy frame (pictured).
We sanded a few of the rusty areas, wiped them clean, and painted the base with a rust-resisitant spray.
To make trays for the cart, Richard inserted screws (with an electric screwdriver) into mitered corners of his prepared wood to secure them together.
He finished the sides of the trays with outdoor (deck) paint.
To make a bottom for the trays, he tacked two layers of heavy galvanized screening into the frame. Over this screen, for added stability, I placed two removable lucite trays.
For decoration, we glued rope around the top tray lid; made rope handles for bottom tray; and wrapped remaining rope around two-thirds of each handle.
The bar cart comes in handy when juggling several items to cook on our new Weber grill.
We placed lucite trays on the top and bottom of the galvanized screening and VOILA! Instant bar!
Our new, fixer-upper lake house came with a Weber gas grill, circa 1988. Even though the geriatric grill worked like a charm, we decided to upgrade to a natural gas grill, to complement our charcoal grill. The old frame was very sturdy, so we decided to keep it. It was easy navigate, and the base and wheels are in excellent shape. I’ve included a “recipe” below for making your own cart, if you’re lucky enough to have access to an old grill frame.
Side note: Here are favorite recipes for “repurposing” the plethora of fresh local produce that’s filling gardens and stands right now. In Michigan, we’ve got another 8-10 weeks to revel in the glory!
The Slider, especially, is suited to our national temperament and accommodates our multitasking lifestyle. It’s easily held in one hand while the other hand performs a variety of tasks. Be it holding a brew, tapping a screen, or guiding your steering wheel through traffic, The Slider understands the American temperment.
Rachel Ray, our own Slider Queen Miss USA, and her battalion of food marketing gurus must agree. About this time every year, and then again in Superbowl season, Sliders pelt us like BB’s. Why not? When properly executed, they’re delish.
My new obsession are Lamb Sliders – been fine-tuning the following recipe through the summer. For mass appeal, I cut the gaminess of lamb by mixing with a bit of beef. The sweetness of the beetroot relish is the perfect foil for the garlicky, dill creaminess of the yogurt sauce. At first try I was messing up a pan by sautéing the onions and beets. No need. Grated raw beets soaked into the vinegar are a lovely texture.
A word about the bread. Back in the day I turned my nose up to Hawaiian rolls, those pillow-puff sweet buns. I’d choose a crusty artisan bun or roll everytime. But the Hawaiian rolls are quite wonderful as a slider encasement. Save the artisan for everything else. My soon-to be daughter in law, Lucy Carnaghi, recently opened a diner – Rose’s Find Foods – with her cousin Molly in Detroit. All of their breads are scratch made, including the soft, subtly sweet, mashed potato dough bread. I’d like to see them, or some scratch-made similar, available in my local groceries.
I’ve fallen off the blogging grid. Not from lack of cooking – grilling/entertaining season is at its peak – but from taking the time for studious recipe notation and accompanying photographs. For instance, the Feta-stuffed Lamb Burgers with Tzadziki and Beet Relish I made last week were masterful. But the photograph I dashed off looked more like a UFO landing than a burger.
Edamame Cups with Wasabi Caviar
I did, however, manage to take a decent photograph of crostini with a black-eyed pea spread.
Always on the prowl for (reasonably) “healthyish” munchies, I’ve long been a fan of economical bean dips. Edamame dip spreads, stuffed into a cucumber cup or spread over rice crackers, Dal Makhani (Black Lentil Bean Dip) served with chapatis or flatbread, Fava Bean Spreads on bruschetta… (Since writing that blog, I’ve noticed frozen lava beans at Trader Joe’s; not as flavorful as fresh, but they save a good bit of time.) And of course there’s hummus. What’s not to love about hummus? Especially when it’s scratch-made, using fresh squeezed lemons, tahini, chick peas and garlic.
Coarsely smashing black-eyed peas to a spreadable consistency.
It’s hard to describe the flavor of a black-eyed pea. Maybe akin to a pinto bean? The meaty peas certainly have an affinity to bacon. They haven’t ventured far from the American South until recently; now I see them often, dotting a relish, in savory fried cakes, or as a simple side. The following recipe was inspired by a recipe I make for Hop ‘n John. Several months ago a friend made a black-eyed pea dip, as prelude to dinner, which she served warm. It was so good with the melted Jack cheese; I’ll beg that recipe soon.
I served the following recipe spread over basic crostini, which can be made well in advance. I followed the recipe, seasoning the crostini with thyme. The dip’s best served slightly warm, or at room temperature.
Food writer by trade, curious cook by design.
The past 30 years have witnessed a raucous race from my professional to
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Taste buds prickle; wanderlust triggered. An Argentine barbecue (asado)
enticed me to Patagonia. A friend gave me a vial of ground sumac berries--4 months later I was
waking at dawn to the "Call To Prayer" in Turkey. Porcini to Tuscany, and so on. Read more about my chronicles of
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