Everyone’s a Grillmaster: The Social Grill


Are you ready for a totally different spin on the backyard grilling experience?

This is it: Well Done Social Grill by Unikia. It’s a charcoal tabletop grill that lets you be your own grillmaster.

Well Done's The Social Grill- Mama's High Strung

If you’ve ever eaten at a Korean barbecue restaurant where the grill is built right into the table, it’s a little like that. Meat and veggies are roasted right in front of you… except now you’re the chef!

Well Done's The Social Grill- Mama's High Strung

I grill all the time, but I have to tell you, it’s so much more fun when everyone gets in on the act. GP used it when he had a few friends over and it was perfect, because each one of them fancies himself an “expert” at grilling. The Social BBQ Grill enables everyone to cook things to their own taste—and have a lot of laughs doing it.

Well Done's The Social Grill- Mama's High Strung

Here’s how it works: you place the streamlined grill on a table and fill up the charcoal basket. When the coals a glowing ashen gray color, let everyone have a go at grilling the food.

It’s not complicated—that’s the beauty of it! And it’s nearly impossible NOT to talk with everyone as you’re grilling! This is interactive cooking at its best.

The Social Grill is made of carbon steel with a high heat resistant powder coating so it is perfectly safe for a wooden table. Unikia doesn’t recommend using it on a plastic table, but if you do, make sure you protect the surface with something heat proof underneath the grill.

The Social Grill is 35”x 8”x 11”, so you know it’s plenty big for 6 people to grill at the same time. It’s kind of heavy, though, so you might need someone to help you put it on the table (I did).

The Social Grill-Mama's High Strung

I’m so happy my pals at Unikia sent me this grill to try out because it’s  going to be a great addition to our outdoor party traditions. We’re having a house full of people for Lollapalooza this weekend, so I’m going to set it up and let everyone make their own s’mores and grilled fruit!

I can’t wait!
Here’s a video of the Social Grill in Action! Buy the Social Grill here!

posted under Gadget Tree | 5 Comments »

Seafood Cioppino


Seafood Cioppino a rich tomato-based stew made with whatever seafood is fresh that day.

Something delicious for this weekend: a rich Seafood Cioppino.

This recipe is Italian Chef Fabio Viviani’s take on cioppino, a tomato based stew made with whatever seafood is fresh that day. I pulled this recipe out of his fabulous new cookbook, Fabio’s Italian Kitchen. He finishes the stew with heavy cream, which beautifully balances the acidity of the tomatoes.

The recipes in his cookbook really work. In Chef’s own words: “My food is not complicated. My food is meant to be made and eaten. I just want to make sure that when you’re done cooking, every person you know will say, ‘That’s a great freaking dish.’”

And, really, isn’t that the exact reaction we all want?

Fabio's Italian Kitchen-Seafood Cioppino

Fabio’s Italian Kitchen Cookbook


Chef Fabio and Me


Gadget Tree: What in the Heck is This?


Maureen asks: My son has been chasing his sister around the kitchen with this thing. I don’t even know where it came from. What is it and will I ever use it?

Kudos to your son for being so inventive! My kids were never that clever (but they also knew Mama wouldn’t take too kindly to them “playing” with her kitchen tools).

You’ve got a butter curler, Maureen. It’s used to carve butter into curls and other fancy-do shapes, especially for elegant dinner parties.

Back in the day, a big newlywed gift was a set of “garnishing” tools: a butter curler, lemon zester, melon baller, apple corer and peeler. Carved butter garnishes at the table can add an elegant look, and many restaurants use butter curlers for just that purpose.Butter Curls

Butter curlers were easier to use when butter came in 1-pound blocks, instead of ¼-pound sticks, but if you follow a couple of steps, you can still put one to good use:
1. Make sure the butter is chilled… but not TOO cold or frozen. If it is too cold, the curls will flake or break.
2. Slowly drag the blade across the top of the butter with a little pressure until it curls. By varying the pressure you can get thick or thin curls, balls and other designs.

Maureen, your curler is made of stainless steel with a plastic handle, so you can put it in the dishwasher.

This weekend, surprise the fam and create enchantment with little butter curls for their pancakes.

And tell Captain Hook to quit playing with the curler… he’ll put his eye out!


posted under Gadget Tree | 4 Comments »

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com