This week we welcomed a new addition into our home.
Our new bundle of joy comes in at 41cm in length and 6.1 kg in weight.
Ricky the Raclette Grill.
What is a Raclette Grill I hear you ask?
Well I had NFI either until earlier this week when I prepared and marinated Beef Satays for dinner and was then faced with the dilemma “how I was going to actually cook them without a BBQ”.
Our Condo building has a no BBQ on the balcony policy. It’s such a shame because we have an incredibly large (by downtown Toronto Condo standards) balcony that we currently use when the sun is out, exclusively for working on our Donald Trump tans and day drinking.
We do have access to a BBQ area with two BBQ’s near the swimming pool but you are unable to just head on down and throw a snag (sausage for the Non Aussies) on the grill. They are available for use in 3 hour blocks but you need to book with the building concierge. It’s a bit of a pain in the butt because the minute the temperatures started to rise in Toronto all the pretty young things in the building started booking out the BBQ’s and hosting parties. A quick look at our buildings website reveals those things even get booked out in the 9.30 until 11.30 pm time slot. Oh to be young again, just as I’m making myself a sleepy time tea and getting ready for bed the youngsters are heading down to start Bee Bee Q’ing.
When we lived in Brisbane if I needed to grill things for just The Canadian and myself, rather than use the BBQ I would sometimes use my Le Creuset cast iron grill plate on top of our gas cooktop. I still have the Le Creuset but we no longer have a gas cooktop and geez I miss cooking with gas. I have always been a fan of an electric oven and gas cooktop because I find I have better control over the heat with a gas cooktop. When we came to look at the apartment I didn’t pay much attention to the appliances other than they are all Miele, a brand I know is great, I didn’t notice that the oven despite looking full size is more like an oven inside a doll house and is specially designed for small apartment kitchens. Dreams of cooking a turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving or Christmas day are goneski!
The oven also doubles as a microwave but you have to remember to remove all of the metal racking before using it so you don’t blow it and yourself up from the metal.
The electric cooktop is horrible, it takes forever to heat up a pan and even then I can’t get it hot enough sometimes, it’s also really hard to control. I’m paranoid about damaging the glass. With my beef skewers marinating away in the fridge and our pensioner hour dinner time fast approaching I suddenly came up with the idea of purchasing a table top electric grill.
I googled electric grills and I was surprised to find something called a Raclette Grill kept popping up. It turns out Raclette is a Swiss cheese that can be melted either by the fire or by a special machine. The Raclette Grill kills two birds with one machine so to speak because you can melt your cheese under the grill in a special dish and at the same time grill things on the top at the same time.
After some quick research The Canadian was dispensed to the shops for a Swissmar brand Raclette Grill.
Instructions quickly read, a wash and plugged in, it only took about 10 to 15 minutes to heat up and then it was ready to grill. (Lost track of time because it was cocktail hour)
Nervous about how much smoke it might produce and with gale force winds outside we thought it was best to trial it in the kitchen, near an open door and with the range hood on full blast. Our super sensitive smoke detector didn’t go off and the Raclette cooked the beef skewers perfectly. I served them up with a homemade peanut sauce and a cold sesame soba noodle salad.
I was so excited about the Raclette after dinner I started planning what I could do on it for dinner the next night.
One of the things I love about the Raclette is it can be used in the middle of the dining table and everyone can cook/eat what they like. This is great for kids and because it’s fun they want to cook their own food, they will then to cook and eat vegetables they may usually bitch and moan about. Without getting all Kumbayah it also encouraged everyone to chat around the dinner table instead of wolfing down or meals and leaving the table to get back to what ever it was we were each doing pre-dinner.
The following night I wrapped some asparagus in prosciutto and put them on the grill. I also chopped up onions, mushrooms, capsicum (peppers in North America), ham, prosciutto, Raclette and Emmentaler cheeses and some fresh basil and thyme and put them in dishes on the table. We grilled the onions, mushrooms and capsicum on the top of the grill along with pieces of rosemary bread. When the bread was lightly grilled we then placed them under the grill in the Raclette trays, toped with some cheese and some of the grilled vegetables and pieces of ham or prosciutto and melted them, topped with some herbs and you have Mini Raclette Pizzas.
I didn’t stop there, determined to make sure it didn’t end up as yet another appliance I purchase that ends up in the cupboard never to be removed again we used it last night. That’s right, we Racletted (my new made up word) three nights in a row.
Having been to Asia on Monday night, Italy on Tuesday night, last night we headed to Mexico for Taco night. I had a whole chicken in the fridge so roasted it in the oven and shredded the juicy meat for Chicken Tacos. With the usual taco toppings I made a sauce using my favourite chilli sauce Sriracha. I mixed the Sriracha with Sour Cream, Whole Egg Mayo, Lime Juice and a smidge of Soy Sauce. The cast iron grill is reversible and has ridges on one side and is flat on the other. We grilled the Tortillas on top of the flat grill and melted the cheese under the grill, once the tortilla was heated through we pilled them high with toppings and then the melted cheese. So, so good! I love how easy it is to find real corn tortilla’s in North America. The taste is amazing and I don’t think I can go back to the preservative filled Old El Paso wraps and tortillas again.
A traditional Swiss Raclette meal is not dissimilar to a fondue. I loveeeee a fondue, actually I love anything with cheese so I’m already planning a traditional Raclette for next week. The 9-year-old is begging for crepes on it over the weekend and a quick pinterest search for Raclette ideas reveals it can also be used for S’more’s.
I’m also dreaming about a Japanese Teppanyaki night and a Korean BBQ night. How have I lived all of these years without a Raclette??????
Does anyone else have a Raclette? Are they more a North American and European thing? I don’t recall ever seeing one before in Australia.
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