Grilling in the Northeast: Q&A with Food Blogger Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Marnely_Rodriguez-MurrayFood blogger Marnely Rodriguez-Murray, the voice behind the food blog Cooking with Books, shares her story about how she fell in love with food writing and her thoughts on grilling.

COR: What’s your mission behind your blog? How did you get started?

MRM: Cooking with Book started in February of 2010, after a week-long trip with my boyfriend (now husband) to Las Vegas, NV. The sheer amount of food we had and the photos I wanted to share made me realize – I need to start a food blog! The mission behind it is a little bit of everything; I want my readers to feel connected to the blog, whether you’re a professional chef or home cook. My current mission for 2013 is to stay on top of trends, so you’ll be seeing new trend posts coming up!

COR: Tell me a little about your recipe? What was your inspiration?

IMG_7356-1024x768MRM: The recipe for Grilled Olive Oil Stuffed Quahogs is completely inspired by my husband, who was born and raised on Cape Cod. I’ve adapted his recipe to infuse the olive oil flavors into the stuffing, while it still being a classic stuffing. The addition of linguica sausage, a Portuguese spicy sausage common throughout the Cape and Islands, adds great flavor and spice to the dish.

COR: What’s the best aspect of grilling in the Northeast? Any special rubs? Olive-oil based marinades?

MRM: I’ve only lived in the Northeast for the past 4-5 years and now currently living on Martha’s Vineyard, my mind instantly goes to clambakes, even if they aren’t directly on the grill; it the Northeastern way to come around a fire and cook. I’ve also made some barbecue rubs using Chilmark Coffee Company, a local coffee roaster here on island.

COR: How old were you when you first learned how to grill? What was the first recipe you prepared?

MRM: Do you want the truth and nothing but the truth? I’m still learning how to grill! Controlling the fire is one of my biggest issues!

COR: Do you have any notable grilling disasters you’re willing to share?

MRM: Oh, one that I’m hoping everyone has had happened to them: not soaking the wooden skewers and having them consumed in flames while grilling your kebabs.

COR: What do you love most about grilling—the flavor, the tradition…

MRM: The thing I love the most about grilling is the experience. Grilling out means that the weather is gorgeous, you’ve got the day off from work, and you’re surrounded by friends and family around this heat source. But of course, nothing beats the smoky flavor of a good burger right of the grill!

COR: How do you think olive oil enhances the flavor of grilled recipes?

MRM: Olive oil is fantastic when grilling since it balances out the nuances of the typical grilled flavors.It delicately works to create harmony between tangy marinades and sweet sauces.

COR: What’s your favorite thing about Northeast grilling? What do you think makes it so iconic?

MRM: The fresh seafood. Nothing tops from sweet scallops a neighbor has just harvested or a few filets of striped bass that your Dad brings over to grill. Grilling brings out the best in seafood and fish, only to be surpassed by finishing the items with a light drizzle of olive oil.

COR: Any special grilling tips?

MRM: Don’t forget to grill dessert! Grilling tends to be a lot of food, so end the event with a light dessert that’s grilled. Maybe a few slices of poundcake and fresh pineapples, grilled over a fire and then topped with ice cream. Nothing wrong with that!