Posts tagged grill

Grilled pineapple fried rice

Around my house, we’re grilling more in the fall than we did this summer. And anytime Mr. Squid starts up the grill, I go through the veggie drawer for ideas  (I raid the fruit bowl too). That’s how I came up with grilled pineapple fried rice. You don’t have to grill the vegetables, but the flavor is so much better when the pineapple spends a little time in the flames.

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (leftover takeout rice is perfect)

1 green pepper, diced

1/3 cup white onion, diced

3 Tablespoons canola oil

2 eggs (whisked)

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

6 pineapple rings (canned or fresh)

3/4 cup pineapple juice (drained from can or fresh)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (opt.)

Directions:

  1. Grill the green peppers, onions, and pineapple (optional).
  2. If you’re not grilling, bring the oil to medium-high heat in a wok or large saute pan. Add the diced vegetables and garlic and cook until heated but still crisp.
  3. Place the whisked eggs into the wok, break apart as they cook.
  4. Once cooked, push the eggs and vegetables to the sides of the pan and then add in the rice.
  5. Saute until the rice is heated through.
  6. Stir in the fish and soy sauces, the pineapple juice, and spices. Adjust the seasonings.
  7. Dice the pineapple (grilled or at room temperature) and add into the cooked rice.

Grilling in the fall

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The secrets to great grilled pizza

I’m above average. Yup. Turns out that most Americans eat 46 slices of pizza a year. My guess is I average a few more. (One last fun pizza fact: in Japan, they top pizza with squid. We haven’t tried that yet.)

I’ve tried naan pizzas, rocky road pizzas, margarita pizzas, savory apple pizzas, you get the idea. For National Pizza Month–yes October is it!–I wanted to try something new. If you haven’t tried grilled pizza, now’s the time.

Here are a few secrets to turn out brick-oven style pies right in your backyard:

Bring the dough to room temperature. If you’ve made your dough from scratch, this shouldn’t be a problem. But I often buy pre-made refrigerated dough from our local Italian deli. I let it sit out for at least an hour so it’s easier to roll out.

Keep the dough a little thicker. I like my pizza crust fairly thin, but it’s hard to get it onto the grill grate when it’s too thin.

Use cornmeal. Lots of it. Once you’ve rolled out the pizza dough generously spread cornmeal under it. Use the cornmeal to slide the pizza onto a cutting board or a cookie sheet (I’ve got a flat one so the pizza slides right onto the grill).

Pre-grill the dough. To fully cook the crust–and to keep the topping from falling off–bake it on the grill for a few minutes, just until it gets stiff and then add your fixins.

Kids’ reactions: I let each of my kids make their own pizza. My teen made the favorite pie–fresh tomato slices, chopped olives, baby spinach, feta cheese, slivers of red onion, and a little drizzle of olive oil. Yum!

Who’s ready to start grilling?

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Kiwi peach salsa

Whew! It’s been awhile since I posted–more on that later. For now, I wanted to pass along this recipe for a quick, fresh kiwi salsa I paired the other day with grilled pork loin.

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings : About 1 1/4 cups


Ingredients:

2 kiwis

2 peaches

1 small tomato

1/2 green pepper

1/2 small white onion

1 lime

1/8 cup cilantro leaves

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 serrano chile pepper (opt.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Wash and dice into small pieces the peaches (I leave the skin on), kiwis (I take the skin off), tomatoes, green pepper, and onion.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lime into the diced pieces.
  • Remove the seeds and mince the serrano chile pepper (if using).
  • Mix in the garlic and minced cilantro leaves. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and cumin.
  • Serve over grilled chicken, pork, fish, or rice.

Kids’ reactions: My middle child asked for seconds of the salsa to finish off with tortilla chips. My other two kids both requested kiwi-peach salsa again.

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Portobello basil burgers

That's not beef--that's mushrooms!

Forget the beef, earthy portobello mushrooms taste even better. And when you top them with pesto mayo, fresh basil and thick-cut bacon? Tasty. My meat-loving brother-in-law even asked for a bite–having never had a portobello mushroom before–and liked it! In fact, I think I even saw a hint of envy…

Recipe

Servings: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes + grilling

Ingredients

4 large Portobello mushrooms

¼ cup olive oil

Grill seasoning mix

Garlic powder (optional)

Onion powder (optional)

Salt and pepper

Hamburger buns

Fresh basil leaves

Sliced tomato

Bacon (if desired, you know you want it!)

1/4 cup mayo (or reduced fat cream cheese if you’re trying to go light)

1 Tablespoon prepared pesto

Directions

  1. Wash and dry the mushrooms. Remove the stems.
  2. Bring the grill to high heat.
  3. Brush the olive oil on one side of the mushroom. Sprinkle with seasonings as you would hamburgers. I use a mesquite grilling mix along with garlic and onion powders and then salt and pepper.
  4. Place the mushrooms on the grill with the oiled side down. Grill until the mushroom starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Brush the non-oiled side and then flip the mushroom. Grill 5 more minutes or until browned and tender.
  6. Mix the mayo and the pesto (I added a few sun-dried tomatoes too).
  7. Slather the hamburger bun top with pesto mayo. On the bottom part layer the mushroom, tomato and basil.
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Thai grilled corn lollipops

Forget grilling a whole corn on the cob when it’s so much easier–and fun–to make corn lollipops. And with corn in season right now it tastes so sweet it could almost be candy! You don’t have to add much to it to make a tasty dinner side dish. But you know me, I had to do a few tweaks. We were making Thai chicken satay. So to meld the Asian flavors, I soaked the corn ‘pops’ in coconut milk spiked with fresh lime juice, soy and honey. Yes, coconut + corn + lime = tasty.

I have to thank Bobby Flay’s Throwdown for this one. I finally got around to watching the ‘rematch on the grill‘ episode that’s been sitting on my DVD for weeks. He gave me the idea for the ‘pops’ and his competition the idea to soak the corn in milk. But the coconut milk is all my idea. Wait, back up, actually Mr. Squid may have come up with it while I was piecing off kernels and eating them raw (seriously sweet corn right now).

Ready for the recipe?

Thai grilled corn lollipops

Ingredients

1 corn cobs (the fresher, the better)

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 juice from a lime

1/2 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

10-12 bamboo skewers

Directions

  1. Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes so they won’t burn on the grill.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the corn into disks about 1-1/2″ thick. Add them to a mixing bowl with the coconut milk, lime juice, honey and soy sauce. Marinate for around 20-30 minutes.
  3. Using the sharp end of the bamboo skewer carefully poke it into the side of the corn pop.
  4. Heat your outdoor grill to medium high. Mr. Squid also places a band of heavy duty aluminum foil where the ends of the sticks will be so  they don’t burn.
  5. Place the corn pops on the grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Warning: some of the kernels will pop.
  6. FYI: The leftover corn kernels are great in salads and fried rice. Remove the kernels with a sharp kitchen knife.

Check back in tomorrow I have a contest ready for those of you sending kiddos back to school!

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3 secrets to better shish kabobs

Food + stick = bliss. Yeah, I’m talking shish kabobs one of my favorite reasons to fire up the grill. But kabobs are deceptively tricky–the meat/veggie combo means you have to balance getting your meat cooked just right while not burning the veggies past recognition.

Here’s a few ideas for better kabobs:

Keep ‘em separate. I don’t grill the meat and the veggies together anymore. Nope. I make skewers with all one item to make sure I can grill it just right (confession: hubby mans the bbq). Chicken. Sausage. Peppers. Onions. They all get their own skewer.

Skewer savvy. Hey, but what about that lovely photo that has them combined?, you ask. I put them together post-grill. Yes, this takes more work but everything is cooked perfectly that way. Since I’m doing just one ingredient per skewer, I use larger skewers for the grill, then when I re-skewer I put the pieces on smaller ones. You can use the hole that’s already there or make a new one. If it’s just my family, I don’t even bother to re-skewer, I just put the cooked pieces in the middle of the table on a large platter. When I make these to take to a picnic, I’ll re-skewer then leave them in a just-warm oven until it’s time to go.

Photo credit: Goya

Mojo. Why go through all the trouble of creating your own marinade when you can use Mojo sauce? Goya has several varieties. I like criollo (basic) or chipotle. If your meat is frozen, let it sit overnight in the fridge to thaw in the marinade.

Your turn–kabob fan? Any tricks you want to share?

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Grilled Chicken Rollups

My husband will grill no matter what the temperature or weather. In a downpour a few days ago, he was out there flipping chicken and trying to check the grill without lifting the lid more than an inch or so. Still, we both like when the weather becomes just a little nippy to heat up the grill—not too hot, not too cold outside. The kids can play while we sit and talk together. Welcome to October.

And since we’ve been grilling all summer long—and the temperatures are beginning to dip—the same recipes just won’t do. Forget the shish kabobs and the teriyaki chicken, I want something heartier. Instead of grilled chicken breast, we add a twist by rolling and stuffing the chicken breast—the technique adds some ‘umph’ to the chicken, infuses it with flavor and also just turns out really cool. (You’ll notice I’m using ‘we’ here—I’m the idea, prep person when it comes to grilling, my hubby is the master griller.)

You can stuff your chicken with just about anything. We’ve done ham and swiss cheese for a grilled chicken cordon bleu, peppers and onions, but our favorite combo is simply sausage (like the fully cooked link variety) and some sharp cheddar cheese. Before you stuff the chicken, you’ll need to pound it out thin. Then you can roll up your stuffing ingredients—and here’s the tricky part—secure the roll with either a long toothpick or even a metal skewer. (Just don’t forget to remove these before serving!)

The rolled chicken may need a little more time to cook on the grill then a flatter piece of meat, but if you have an instant read thermometer where you can just pull the chicken off the grill and do a quick reading, that will make checking for doneness a snap. So don’t put the grill away just yet!

Recipe

Servings: 4

Prep time: 25 minutes + grilling time

Ingredients:

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 package sausage links (such as Hillshire Farm)

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

On hand:

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Salt

Pepper

2 Tablespoons melted butter

½ Tablespoon soy sauce

long toothpicks

Directions:

Using two pieces of doubled plastic wrap, place one chicken breast in between and onto a sturdy cutting board. Pound the chicken gently with a hammer until it’s about ¼” thick. Set aside. Repeat with each chicken breast.

Cut up the sausage into several 2-inch long pieces, do the same with the cheddar cheese. Placing 3-4 pieces each of sausage and cheese at the end of one piece of chicken, roll the chicken, starting with the filling end, toward the other end. Make sure you are rolling on the short end of the chicken, not the wider side. Secure the roll by poking a long toothpick into the meat and thread it through once. Repeat with each chicken breast. Generously sprinkle seasonings on each chicken breast. Use garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Prepare a finishing sauce for the meat by whisking the soy sauce into the butter. Place the chicken seam side up onto the hot grill. Cook for 15-25 minutes. Remember to baste the chicken frequently with the finishing sauce and flip once. When you think the meat is done, remove one chicken breast and check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer—it should read 165 degrees. Alternatively, cut into one chicken breast and check that the meat is no longer pink.

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Dinner on a Stick: Thai Chicken Satay & Cucumber Relish

Photo credit: chooyutshing

Slightly sweet with a kick of spice and savory flavors—that’s what comes to mind when I think of putting together a Thai dish. We came up with this satay recipe after visiting a local favorite restaurant, The Thai Bistro. While I enjoyed the coconut soup—and the entree, Drunken noodles—my favorite part of the meal was the appetizer, satay. These strips of turmeric-laced chicken skewers are more often given to start out the meal, but around our house, they make the meal.

Skewers take some work to put together—you have to cut the chicken into thin strips, marinate it, thread it onto sticks (and soak the sticks so they don’t burn), and then grill. Lacing 20 or so strips of chicken onto sticks can be tedious and a bit time-consuming, but the efforts are worth it. My kids love the tangy flavor of satay—and, of course, having a chance to eat off a stick. And the leftovers are tasty (that’s if you have any!). Yes, I have eaten them cold for breakfast.

Still aren’t convinced that chicken skewers are worth a few pokes when you’re putting them on the stick–and yellow fingers from the turmeric? What I like about satay is that the flavors are unique and fresh. Our friends put on an Iron Chef competition at their house (yes, it was modeled after the popular Food Network show). Each couple brought a dish using the “secret ingredient.” They told us the ingredient about a week before the get-together, limes. We brought these skewers, decorating a large serving dish with most of the skewers lying down and some poked into a half-cut orange (the oranges cut side are down on the platter and then the sticks are pushed into the round part; make sure to balance these carefully). Sure enough, the flavor-drenched chicken skewers won overall—and there was some steep competition—lime cheesecake, lime rice, pork roast in a lime marinade and more. Our prize? Bragging rights and a $10 gift certificate to Carvel’s.

Is your mouth watering yet? Time to make some satay.

Recipe
Inspired by a dish in Steven Raichlen’s The Barbecue Bible.
Prep time: 40 minutes + 1 hour marinating + 10-15 minutes grilling
Servings: 4
Ingredients
3 lbs. chicken breasts
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (regular or light)
6-8” Wooden skewers

Marinade
4 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 Tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
3 Tablespoons fish sauce (or 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce + 1 ½ tablespoons chicken broth)
4 Tablespoons honey
1 bunch Cilantro, wash and cut the stalks into ¼” pieces (save the leaves for garnish)
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional, but adds a kick)

Optional: Cucumber relish (see recipe below)

Whisk together all of the marinate ingredients. Test the flavors with your fingertip—you may want to add a little more honey for sweetness or a little more fish sauce for tartness.

Cut the chicken into thin, ¼” strips. (You can place fresh chicken in the freezer for 30 minutes or so to make for easier cutting.) Place the chicken strips into a large, heavy Ziploc bag. Place the chicken in the bag in a large bowl.

Add the marinade ingredients to the bag of chicken and marinate for at least one hour, up to 24 hours. Note: turmeric stains cooking dishes with a yellow color, so the bag helps protect your baking ware. Also, we use cilantro stalks as a substitute for the more traditional lemongrass. Cilantro is easier to find and we like the buzzy flavor.

While the chicken is marinating, fill a large dish with water and submerge the wooden skewers into the water. They should be covered completely. Soak for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning once they’re on the grill.

Thread the chicken strips onto the wooden skewers and place on a cookie sheet until all of the skewers are done and you’re ready to start grilling. Do not thread the chicken completely over the skewer—you should leave about 1½ inches at the end so that you have something to grab with tongs to turn and rotate the chicken on the grill.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Put 1/3 cup of coconut milk into a dish and get ready a long-handled basting brush. Place the skewers in the grill and cook on each side for 4 to 5 minutes. (Watch the skewers carefully, because they will cook fast!) Baste the skewers as the cook with coconut milk. The added fat will not only improve the grilling, but it will add great flavor.

Serve over steamed rice, butter lettuce, or eat plain.

Cucumber Relish
*Prepare at least an hour before grilling the chicken so that the relish has time to chill.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup white vinegar
½ scant cup white sugar
½ red onion
1 English (seedless) cucumber
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a small saucepan heat the sugar and water over medium-high heat until it just thickens. Add in the vinegar. Allow to cool. Toss in red pepper flakes. Cut the cucumber into thin, quartered pieces. Thinly slice the red onion either into rounds, or quarters, depending on your preference. Add into the thickened sauce. Chill in the refrigerator. Serve alongside the satay.

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