I’m convinced that global warming is really caused by everyone cranking up their Weber’s stoked with charcoal and mesquite. I love Summer and all the grilling I get to do. I have no hesitation about grilling year round, but it is the season when 3 out of 4 dinners at friend’s houses are prepared on a grill. There is something both primal and elegant about the BBQ. It’s a ritual enjoyed by a multitude of back yard cooks and foodies around the globe. Beef, fish, seafood, poultry and veggies are all subject to delectable grill marks and that savory smokey flavor obtained only by an open flame and glowing coals.
Here are some of my favorite grilling recipes, cooling side dishes, refreshing beverages and delicious desserts:
For all the grilling tequiniques: Pre-heat gas grill or if you’re using charcoal, the coals should have a nice coating of white ash over all the briquettes and perhaps glowing a bit. Make sure the grate is clean. With a paper towel and tongs, oil the grate so whatever you are cooking releases nicely.
2 Cuts Free Range / Grass Fed / Organic Steaks (1/2” thick – Room Temperature)
(make sure they have nice marbling)
To Taste Fresh Ground Pepper and Kosher or Sea Salt
To Taste Worcestershire Sauce, A-1, or Steak Sauce
(you won’t need much if any with quality beef)
Pre-heat grill to medium heat.
Season room temperature steaks with fresh ground pepper and a little sea salt. Place on grill for about
2 – 2 1/2 minutes on the first side and about 1 1/2to 2 min. on the other side for rare (for 1/2” thick steaks). Time and temperature will very from grill to grill, so get to know your grill. It’s better to take the steak off too soon than too late. You can always put something back on the grill, but you can’t un-cook something.
Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
2 Fillets Fresh Colorado Trout
To coat Olive Oil
To taste Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Rinse the fillets, pat dry with a paper towel and coat with a thin emulsion of olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper the trout fillets. Place on grill skin side down with 3 or so lemon wheels on top of the flesh. Grill just until the fillets release easily (about 2 – 3 min. depending on the temp. of your grill) and have nice grill marks on them. Reserve lemon wheels for garnish if desired. Turn over the trout and grill for about 1 min more or until the flesh flakes with a fork and you can see that it is lighter in color and cooked all the way through. This is critical as not to overcook the fish.
This is some of the most tender, juicy, flavorful fish I have ever tasted!
Margarita Pizza on the Grill
Makes two 12” pizzas
1 cup Warm water
1 package Active dry yeast
1 tsp Sugar
2 1/2 to 3 cups All-purpose flour
2 TBS Olive oil (then some to brush on dough)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Jar Marinara sauce (or preferred is home made)
3 Cups Grated Mozzarella Cheese
2 Large Vine Ripened Tomatoes (sliced into wheels)
1 Pkg. Fresh Basil Leaves
Combine the water, yeast, sugar in a large stainless steel or glass bowl. When yeast sugar mixture gets frothy add the 1 1/2 cups of the flour and mix well. Add the oil, salt, and remaining flour. With large wooden spoon or your hands mix the ingredients together until the dough holds its shape. You may need a bit less flour, so add the last half gradually. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough becomes sticky, sprinkle a bit more flour over it.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 2-quart bowl and cover with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rest until it has doubled in size, (about 1 hour). When the dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured surface, divide it into two or more parts and roll them into balls. Cover them with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes. The dough is ready to be rolled out and ready to grill.
Pre-heat grill to medium-high. Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/4” thick circle. Brush on some olive oil and with a pizza peel or a couple of large spatulas, flip the dough olive oil brushed side down on the grill for about 3 – 5 min or until bottom is brown and has nice grill marks on it but not burnt. Remove from grill and place back on floured surface uncooked side down and place toppings on the cooked side in this order: sauce, cheese, basil then tomatoes. Remember that this recipe is for two pizzas so only put half of the toppings on each pizza. Place back on grill and cook until cheese is melted. Let pizza cool for a minute or two then serve! Yum Yum!
Cucumber, Watermelon and Jicima Salad
(Small dice the following 3 ingredients for 1 1/2 cups each of):
1 English Cucumber (peeled)
1 sm Watermelon
1 sm Jicima
(Fine chop each of the following 3):
1 TBS ea. Mint / Cilantro / Basil
1/2 Cup Fine diced Red Onion
1/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Minced Fennel
to taste Sea Salt and &Fresh Ground Pepper
Place all cut ingredients in bowl. Add lime juice and S&P and mix well. Chill. Serve over a bed of fresh tender Arugula.
Grilled Potato Salad
1 1/2 LBS New Potatoes
1/2 LBS Green Beans
1 sm Red Onion (about 1 cup small dice)
to coat Olive Oil
2 pinches Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
6 Oz. Plain Greek Yogurt
2 1/2 Oz. Blue Cheese Crumbles
1/2 teas. Dried Dill
1/2 teas. Fresh Ground Pepper
to taste Sea Salt (if needed)
Wash and pat dry the potatoes. Cut potatoes in half, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place potatoes on pre-heated grill until substantial grill marks appear. Turn potatoes over and cook on opposite side. (about 10 min. total or till tender) Remove from grill and reserve.
Cut or break off ends and cut into 1-inch diagonal pieces. Blanch the green beans in salted boiling water for about 3 – 4 min. (until al dente’) then place in ice bath to cool. Drain and pat dry.
Cut the potatoes again in half, or nice bite size pieces and add in bowl with green beans and red onion. Mix dressing ingredients in separate bowl then fold into potatoes, beans and onion. Refrigerate and serve.
Makes 1 quart
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
4 TBS Lavender Buds
Zest of the 4 lemons
4 LG Juiced Lemons – about 1 cup (Meyers if available)
3 Cups Sparkling Mineral Water (see: note of interest after the recipes)
1 Lemon for wheels
3 TBS Agave nectar (or to taste)
Steep the Agave, Lavender and Lemon Zest under very low heat for 25 – 30 min. Let cool.
In a pitcher, add the steeped mixture to the squeezed lemon juice and mineral water. Add more Agave nectar to sweeten to taste. Stir well and enjoy. Serve over ice and garnish with a mint leave and lemon wheel.
Maks 3 cups
2 Ripe Bananas
2 Cups Spring Water (or non-chlorinated)
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
2 – 3 TBS Agave Nectar (or to taste)
Blend above ingredients in blender and serve over ice.
Serves: 8 – 10
1 Fresh Pineapple
1 Qt. Macadamia Nut Ice Cream (or Vanilla Bean)
8 Oz. Warm Caramel Sauce
Pre-heat grill to med-high and get out the ice cream so it will be soft and not rock hard frozen. Trim the pineapple making sure there are no “eyes” left. Do not core yet. Slice into 1/2” to 3/4” thick slices (wheels). Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Grill on each side till grill marks appear (about 5 min).
When pineapple wheels have nice grill marks and are soft, tender and juicy, take them off the grill. Remove the core if desired, sprinkle with cayenne pepper and top with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with some warm caramel sauce.
Note of Interest:
If you’re lucky enough to live close to Manitou Springs, Colorado (or a natural mineral springs) use the spring water. It makes an incredible lemonade. The Twin Spring (in Manitou) is naturally effervescent, has a slight trace of lithium and is very refreshing. Locals refer to it as: “Happy Water!”