Monday, September 07, 2009

Burning Stuff with Author Norm Cowie

I met the fun and fabulous Norm Cowie when we both had stories in The Heat of the Moment. Then we both had stories in the Missing anthology and we have enjoyed many signings together. Now Norm has a YA book, Fang Face, which carries his trademark humor. I know he is also a fabulous cook, so I couldn't resist asking him to blog for Labor Day! -Amy

I’m a guy … at least last time I checked … fortunately these things don’t change much without some kind of advance notice, so I’m not going to check right now.

( I lied. I checked. Still a guy – whew)

It’s Labor Day, so I’m doing what most guys are doing on Labor Day … not laboring. That’s not to say I’m doing nothing, because grilling is doing something. It’s just that guys don’t consider it labor.

That’s because grilling includes a few things guys really like - fire, combustion and dead meat.

It all starts with the Weber Grill. Real manly, macho, uber-men use a Weber instead of a gas grill. But for those who use a gas grill, it’s okay, you just won’t get the Man Badge for courageous behavior. Extra points if you kill your own meat.

The cool thing about a Weber is you get to fire it up, using real fire, not a knob or a button. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, use something really combustible, like hairspray, or elephant dung. Just don’t tell the paramedics you read it here, okay.

The other cool thing is a Weber will cook just about anything, depending on your creativity. And since one of the side benefits of grilling is you won’t get pans or pots dirty, there’s good reason to be creative. That’s assuming you were going to do the dishes in the first place, which you probably weren’t … since you’re a guy. But be kind, it’s Labor Day.

Anyway, you can cook whole turkeys on the grill, flat meats like cut up chicken or hamburgers .. or tubular meats, like brats and hotdogs. But the thing a lot of people don’t consider is they can cook other stuff on the grill, like veggies, fish and pseudo-fish (crustaceans and other shellfish).

It just requires a bit more technique.

When I grill, it’s not unusual for the grill to be packed with chicken, shrimp, zucchini, mushrooms, potatoes and the occasional book (I really shouldn’t read while I’m grilling).

But we don’t room to discuss all of these, so I’ll just give you one example for today.

Bay scallops.

You probably don’t know what a scallop looks like in the wild, but trust me, you don’t want to. But if you wouldn’t consider grilling them, you’d be missing a treat.

Now I’m talking specifically about bay scallops as opposed to ocean scallops, because an ocean scallop is big enough to just grill like a hamburger. But the bay scallops are little, and you run the risk they’ll slip between the bars of the grill.

So here’s how you do it: Spray something non-stick, like olive oil, WD-40 or hair conditioner, on a sheet of tin foil. I recommend the olive oil. Put your scallops on the tin foil, and add garlic salt, garlic flakes, onion flakes and a bunch of pats of butter. Entirely close up the scallops in the tin foil.

Put it on a cooler part of the grill (towards the edge) and forget about them for a bit. After about fifteen minutes, carefully open the tin foil. You’ll see a lot of water has collected. To drain the water, either suck it out with a straw (if you don’t mind burning your innards) or just punch some holes in the bottom of the tin foil.

Now get another sheet of tin foil, and put it under the foil with the scallops. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of lemon juice over the scallops and let them brown for another five to eight minutes or until they catch fire.

Then you’re done. They come out with a nice chewy consistency, not mushy the way some restaurants seem to think they should be.

I’m really good at grilling and …er …

(cough, cough)


(where’s that fire extinguisher?)


Norm Cowie’s new Young Adult vampire/humorbook Fang Face can be purchased at . Visit Norm at

1 comment:

Maryann Mercer said...

Geez Norm...make me hungry why don't you??? I'm assuming a mere woman might be able to do this in the oven were not there a manly man available to light that fire (the flames look lovely from a distance by the way). I'm having a leftover chimichanga :o) Happy Labors!