Summer View: Will’s Bench &Grilling Tips

Grilled Steak

juicy grilled steak

Will’s Bench at Lake Elise in Middlebury, CT  is a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by. Peaceful and filled with wildlife, the area is perfect for bird watching or fishing for large mouth bass. Dogs sniff the banks and often dive in for a cool swim. I especially love sitting on the bench on a summer morning having coffee with old friends. The kind of friends that are tried and true, have been around through thick and thin and after all these years are still willing to sit in silence and shed a few a tears or laughs recalling the antics of our kids. The morning mist rises off the clear water flecked with lily pads as the warmth of the sun breaks through.

BFF's Bev & Carol

BFF’s Bev & Carol

Friends like Bev and Carol are priceless. Every griever needs at least one Bev or one Carol in their life, but preferably both. They are the kind of selfless people who know how to step outside themselves for the good of another. It comes natural to them. Their simple presence creates a safe and comforting atmosphere that invites the sharing of feelings and healing. So much healing has taken place on this now weathered wooden bench on the edge of a lake–even on the day that bird pooped on my hand.

summer view from the bench

summer view from the bench

Another summer view


IMG_0211Let me know if you ever get to Lake Elise, but until then let’s get grilling. We all love a good steak, so it being summer let’s share a few grilling tips plus a delicious recipe that also includes grilled watermelon. That’s right-grilled watermelon.

  1. Take the chill off your steak by removing it from the fridge 30 minutes before grill time. It will cook more evenly.
  2. Pat the steak dry with paper towels to avoid steaming the meat.
  3. Crank your grill up to HIGH. Lightly grease the grate.
  4. For gorgeous grill marks and delicious caramelized flavor follow the 10-2 rule of grilling (see recipe for explanation).
  5. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


Grilled Steakhouse Rib-Eye & Watermelon Wedge

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup blue cheese dressing

4 (1-inch thick) ribeye steaks

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 small, seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into thick wedges

¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

2 green onions, thinly sliced on bias

8 fresh mint or basil leaves, thinly sliced plus additional sprigs for garnish

Heat grill to high. In small saucepan, over high heat, combine, wine, honey and Worcestershire sauce. Bring sauce mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency; set aside. Season steaks on both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place steaks on hot, lightly greased grill rack pointing one edge towards 10:00. Grill 2 to 3 minutes creating well-browned grill marks. Rotate steak so that same edge now points toward 2:00. Grill 2 minutes. Now repeat process on other side of steak. Reduce heat to medium. Grill steaks, 3 to 4 minutes more or until medium-rare (125 degrees on an instant read thermometer). Transfer steaks to plate; cover with foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, season watermelon with salt and pepper; place on lightly greased grill rack for 2 minutes per side or until charred grill marks begin to form. Arrange steaks and watermelon on serving plates. Drizzle dressing over watermelon. Drizzle wine sauce over steaks. Sprinkle with green onions, herbs and blue cheese. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs.

perfect grill marks following the 10-2 rule

perfect grill marks following the 10-2 rule

13 thoughts on “Summer View: Will’s Bench &Grilling Tips

  1. “They are the kind of selfless people who know how to step outside themselves for the good of another. It comes natural to them. Their simple presence creates a safe and comforting atmosphere that invites the sharing of feelings and healing. ”

    Probably without realizing it, you’ve described yourself. ❤

  2. I have followed your advice many times regarding the grill marks. It works very well to make an attractive steak, but I like my watermelon uncooked from a farmer’s market, as nature intended.
    You are lucky to have such supportive friends. Sitting on that bench is quite peaceful, and It is a beautiful memorial.

  3. I am honored to sit beside you on this bench and sit beside you anywhere. It was a thrill for my son Brian to happen upon Will fishing at Lake Elise whenever he stopped by. He goes there every time he comes home to sit and commune with Will, the person he called “one of the greatest people on the face of this Earth.” We love you all. Bev

    Sent from Windows Mail

  4. Great grilling tips. Sadly my entire family likes their steak like shoe leather. I agree medium rare is the way to go. I have heard of grilled watermelon but still haven’t tried it.

  5. The bird pooping on your had was William saying, “Hello Mom”. He wanted you to laugh and laugh we did! I love our moments on that bench, and feel so close to your boy when I’m there. I’m so glad it brings you peace…through “thick and thin” mama!!

  6. I came upon this blog Saturday completely by accident, but definitely for a reason. I lost my 12 year old son very suddenly in July. Aidan was an aspiring chef and some of our most cherished memories are the “chopped” contests we had. We must have seen your win. He challenged me, his older brother and sister and neighbors. On the Sunday before he died, we spent the afternoon making grilled pizzas, not knowing this would be our last meal with him.
    Every time I looked in the fridge I cried. Every ingredient was a reminder of something we cooked together. Although so many people have offered to cook for us, I kept saying I wanted to start cooking again. On Sunday, I finally was brave enough to try again. I made a lobster risotto that he made last year. (except I made him use shrimp in case he messed it up!) I have tried something each day this week. I cry most of the time, but his hand is stirring the pot with me because the food has been really good. It’s still hard to open the fridge and I want him at the table, but I know he is happy that I’m trying. Thank you for inspiring me.

    • oh, my dear, Krista…I am so sorry you have lost your Aidan. You have every right to cry when you open that fridge. My tears come out of no where every time I see something that reminds me of my son–it is normal and you will feel this way for a long time. I love that you cook and feel Aiden stirring the pot. I know my son was with me on CHOPPED–I could feel him hugging me as I finished off my dessert and your Aiden will be with you, too. It is all we have. I am so glad you found me and hope you will visit often.

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