Grillin’ With Gordon and Brodie at Home, Mackenzie’s Birthday

Grillin’ With Gordon and Brodie at Home, Mackenzie’s Birthday






Welcome to our Backyard Lanai

This is where we spend a lot of our time in the spring, summer, and autumn.  It is a nice big area where we can spread out and entertain, even if it is just for us.  

Our Table

Sparky Doodle Dandy 🙂


This particular feast is for our son’s girlfriend, Mackenzie.  It’s her birthday and we get the honor of her celebrating it with us this year while we are in lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

Mackenzie’s birthday is April 19th.  She kind of looks like Marsha Brady, doesn’t she?  🙂

We all set about planning a menu that she would like to eat for her birthday, and that we could cook out on the grill.  Also, her parents were very generous in sending us all a nice meaty care package.  It included various steaks and twice baked potatoes.


Here is Mackenzie’s Birthday Menu

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

Grilled Lemons

Blackened Salmon

Grilled Seasoned Salmon with Dill Butter

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

Twice Baked Potatoes

(Compliments of Mackenzie’s Parents)

Ribeye Steaks

(Compliments of Mackenzie’s Parents)


Happy Birthday, Mackenzie

Gordon and Brodie Ready to do Some Serious Grillin’

Sparky and Spooky with their boy, Brodie


Gordon Creating Mackenzie a Birthday Cocktail

2 shots Dragon Berry Rum

1 shot Blood Orange Margarita Mix

1 shot Aperol

1 Tbsp. Grenadine Syrup

2 shots Welche’s Sparkling Rose’ Grape Juice


Makes 1 drink

We decided to have an all red cocktail with some fruit flavors.  These flavors of orange, blood orange, dragon berry and grenadine all tasted very well together.


In a medium sized shaker, add at least 4-5 ice cubes. 

Now, add your Dragon Berry Bacardi and then the Blood Orange mix.

Add your Aperol and the Grenadine.


Shake!  Shake!  Shake! until its too cold to hold!

Now, add your Sparkling Rose (Not Pictured), because you don’t want the carbonation to escape from the drink.  It might also make a huge mess as it explodes out of your shaker.

Mackenzie’s Birthday Cocktail

Now, Anyone up for a game of IT CLUE?  🙂


Making Dill Butter

Start by using a good butter brand and set out to soften.

Remove the fragile thin dill sprig ends from thicker stems and add them to your butter. 

Add as much as you like!

Using a fork, mix the dill sprigs with the softened butter. 

Place the dill butter back into the refrigerator to become firm.


Grilled Seasoned Salmon with Dill Butter



2 Lbs. Salmon Fillets – skin on

3 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning

4 Tbsp. Dill Butter – (See recipe above)

We purchased about 2 Lbs. of Salmon which came to us in various thicknesses and cuts. 

During these Coronavirus times, (2020) you get what the delivery person brings you and you make due with what you have.

I cut the fillets according to their thickness.  I blackened the thinner pieces of fillet, and grill the thicker fillets.  Brodie used some of the really thin cuts for breakfast the next morning.


During the cooking process, the fillets uneven thicknesses would cook the fish too much or too little, if I left them as is.  Having the fillets all the same thickness makes for even cooking which ultimately makes them taste better!

Here are the fillet cuts I started with.

Pictured are the thicker cuts, which I cooked on the grill.


Salmon Ready for Grillin’

Pictured is our Dill Butter!

I turned the gill on High to get the heat started in order to make slight grill marks on the fillets.

Because fish gets flaky once cooked, I placed the fillets into this metal basket which carefully holds them in place, while allowing them to be seasoned and cooked.

Our Fish Basket


I seasoned both sides of the salmon fillets with some Old Bay Seasoning.  I am grilling the skin side down first, so it will become a little crispy.   As you can see, I also grilled some lemon pepper seasoned Asparagus!  Using some thick gloves or tongs, hold the basket ends together and flip it over to cook the other side.  You hold the basket on the sides, so the clip holding it together won’t come loose.

Grill some lemon halves to put onto the salmon fillets.  If you look on the side of the salmon, you can see it change color as it cooks.  Fish cooks on the grill at about 10 min. per inch thickness or which you would grill your fish 5 min. per each side.  Correct/adjust the time with the thickness of your fillet.


Grilled lemons are Especially Juicy


Here, I unhinged the top of the basket to reveal the grilled fillets.

Grilling the skin side first, makes the fish easy to remove from the basket grating as it is crispy.

Dill Butter

We placed the salmon fillets on a bed of dill sprigs then immediately topped them with some dill butter!

Beautiful Presentation

We Think So  🙂


The Twice Baked Potatoes

These, and the Steaks, were gifts from Mackenzie’s parents to all of us as a lovely thank you for taking care of Mackenzie during our lockdown.  Which has been no trouble because she is wonderful!

Although I do not eat red meat, and neither does Gordon, he did make an exception as the cow’s were grass fed.  I, however, love these potatoes!  I didn’t eat any steak but I did gobble up a potato!


Brodie and Mackenzie Manning the Grill



For our table setting, Gordon and I set up one of our portable tables, and I just got out a few table clothes and several of our platters to hold this lovely spring, birthday feast.  And we did feast!  Celebrating a birthday in lockdown is just as important as celebrating a birthday any other time.  If you can, that is.


The Food Was Delicious

It was very nice that we 4 were together on this very special day.


Roasted Curry Cauliflower


4-5 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4-5 Tbsp. Madras Curry Powder

Roasted to Perfection

First, slice away the leaves and core of the cauliflower using short diagonal cuts.

Carefully slice away some of the longer stems if wanted.

Now, slice the individual heads away from the main head.  Do NOT slice the small cauliflower heads totally in half.  Simply, slice the stem in half down to the flowerettes, then pull the stems apart revealing a natural halving of the head.  If you slice the head in two, you will have a lot of small flowerettes pieces causing a mess and waste.  Once the flowerettes are halved, place them into a large zip lock bag.


Here is the curry seasoning we used.  I love using the authentic spices.

Place just enough extra virgin olive oil in with the halved flowerettes to coat them.  Close the bag and toss lightly to evenly coat the flowerettes.

Now, add the curry powder to the bag of flowerettes, close the bag and toss again.

Here is what they looked like when seasoned properly.

Using an aluminum foil lined large baking sheet, place the cauliflower flowerettes cut side down evenly on the pan as shown.   Bake the cauliflower at 400’F for ~20-25 minutes until the cut side of the flowerettes are brown and caramelized.



Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto

Grilled Lemons


1/2 Lb. Prosciutto

2 Lbs. Asparagus

Olive Oil Spray

Wash your asparagus well and remove the tough woody end of the stalk using a sharp knife.

Tear the Prosciutto into strips as shown above and wrap the individual asparagus stalks with the Prosciutto.

Place the wrapped asparagus onto a grill basket and close to hold the asparagus in place.

Spray the asparagus with olive oil, and place the basket on a medium heated grill.

Once the Prosciutto starts to brown and become crispy, turn the basket over and cook the other side… about 8 minutes.  Watch for hot spots on your grill and move the basket accordingly to not overcook the asparagus.


Unclamp the grill basket and remove the wrapped asparagus.


Here, we made some asparagus that was dressed with olive oil and dusted with some lemon pepper seasoning.


Clamp the basket together and cook the same way you did the Prosciutto wrapped ones.

Spray with olive oil and re-season with more lemon pepper if needed.  Cut three lemons in half and place the cut side down on the grill.  Leave in place for about six minutes to obtain nice grill marks.  Remove and use the lemon cuts to decorate your fish or asparagus platter.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the salmon and asparagus for a great fresh citrus taste.


Brodie manning the grill!!! 

I am so proud of how well he is using his immense skills to cook very challenging foods.

TIP: If you don’t have a grilling basket, you can use a cookie drying rack instead.  The cookie racks wire mesh won’t allow the asparagus to fall through the grill grates.

Here are the grilled lemon halves with nice grill marks!


Blackened Salmon


1 Lb. of Salmon Fillets

8 Tbsp. butter- melted

3-4 Tbsp. Blackened Seasoning – We used both Old Bay’s and Cajun’s Choice brand of blackened seasoning.

I melted the butter in a large pan on the side burner on my grill.

Here are the thin salmon fillets, which work best when blackened.

Brodie is removing some scales he found.


Remove the butter to slightly cool before placing the fillets in it.  This is because you don’t want the butter to cook the salmon.


Place the meat side of the fillet in the just warm butter first, then flip the fillet over as shown.

Heavily season the fillet with the blackened seasoning and use a brush to push it onto the fillet.

Place an ungreased cast iron skillet onto your grill and turn on the flame all the way up on all burners and close the lid.  Let the grill heat to its highest temperature… about 10 minutes.  Place your salmon fillet meat side down onto the cast iron skillet for about 2 minutes.

Close the lid and let the burners, still set on high, cook the fillet.

Sprinkle the skin side of the fillet with your blackened seasoning.

After about two minutes, using tongs, turn the salmon fillet over onto a new hot spot of your skillet and close the lid.

Just look how great that seasons adhered to the fish!

After another minute or two, remove the fillet from the pan and repeat the butter and cooking steps with your other fillets.

The fillets look burnt, but that is really the seasoning cooking giving the salmon that great blackened taste!  Let the salmon rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to return to the center of the meat.  These fillets were better than any restaurant could make.


Ribeye Steaks

(Compliments of Mackenzie’s Parents)

Bring the steaks to room temperature before grilling. 

Following the steps below, cook the steaks to Medium Well!

Top the steaks with your favorite steak grilling seasoning.  We like to use McCormick’s Montreal  Seasoning, Weber’s Chicago Steak, and Weber’s Roasted Garlic and Herb.

Heat the grill to a very high heat and close the lid.  Let the grill sit for about 5 minutes.

Once the grill grates are highly heated, turn down the temperature slightly and place the steaks onto the grates.

After two minutes, turn the steaks at a 45 degree angle and place them on a new hot section of the grill.  This makes great grill marks.  After another two minutes turn the steaks over and place them onto a new section on the grill and let them cook for another two minutes.  You place the steaks on new sections of the grill grates, as they are very hot and will make those grill marks everybody likes.  After those two minutes are up, turn the steaks at a 45 degree angle and place them on another hot section of the grill.  Grill for another two minutes then remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for at least 10 minutes to let the juices return to the center of the meat.  This will make the steaks nice and juicy.

These steaks tuned out Medium Well and very tender as planned!

NOTE:  I told Gordon that I wish that he had grilled a bunch of grape tomatoes to place all around the meat and I believe that would have made a nice presentation and even added a nice flavor.


Mackenzie’s Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday!


Julie and Gordon and Brodie, of course.  🙂