Archive for September, 2014

Grilled Apricots

Apricots function well either as a side dish with pork or beef, as part of a salad, or as a stand-alone dessert. Grilling them imparts an added layer of flavor as the fruit caramelizes. If you’ve never tried apricots on the grill, you’re in for a delectable treat.

Getting Started with Grilled Apricots

It doesn’t take long on the grill for an apricot to develop that delicious grilled flavor and texture. Choosing slightly less ripe fruit will help them hold up better and not turn mushy during grilling. Cut the apricots in half and remove the pit. Brush with oil and then place the fruit on the grill cut side down for about 3-5 minutes, or until you see grill marks.

grilled apricotsGrilled Apricot Recipes

Wondering how to serve those luscious grilled apricots you just took off the grill? Try some of these taste bud tantalizing recipes:

  • Grilled apricots with yogurt and toasted pecans–Fill the divot in each apricot with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and top with toasted pecans and cinnamon. Add a drizzle of honey if you want a sweeter option. Serve chilled for dessert or a delicious breakfast addition.
  • Apricot and feta cheese salad–Chop grilled apricots and toss with spinach or arugula, walnuts, and feta cheese.
  • Apricot hors d’oeurves–Transfer grilled apricot halves to a platter and fill with goat cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with a sprig of rosemary or parsley.
  • Pork Loin with Apricots–Grill pork loin according to recipe. Serve with grilled apricots and scallions. Drizzle with maple honey glaze to complete the dish. 
  • Chocolate Apricot Dessert–Drizzle grilled apricots with melted chocolate and sprinkle with sliced, toasted almonds for a delectable dessert.

Of course, there are many other ways to prepare grilled apricots. Their diversity offers a wide array of recipe options encompassing side dishes, main courses, salads, breakfasts, and desserts.

 Perfecting Your Grilled Apricots

If your apricots seem over- or under done, use these indicators for perfectly grilled fruit. You should be able to remove the fruit from the grill easily, with no sticking. Watch for the skin to begin separating from the fruit. The fruit should be soft to the touch, but not mushy.

Leaving apricots on the grill too long will result in a charred, mushy mess. Some chefs prefer to cook over indirect heat in order to lessen the possibility of overcooking. Either direct or indirect heat will produce good results, however, as long as you keep a close eye on the fruit during the cooking process.

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Grilled Apples

Potatoes and vegetables are generally the go-to sides for most meats, but one often-overlooked option is the grilled apple. Grilled apples pair well with pork, fish, and poultry, bringing a sweet flavor to an otherwise savory meal. Who says the sweets have to wait for dessert?

Grilled Apple Basicsgrilled apples

The secret to a great grilled apple is to choose a variety that has both good flavor and firm texture so that it will hold up well on the grill. Favorites include Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady. These varieties have a strong, tart flavor to balance out any sweet glaze you might want to add, as well as a crisp texture that won’t turn mealy during the cooking process.

Ready to try some apples on the grill? Follow this basic recipe:

  • Remove core from apples. If you use an apple corer rather than slicing the apple into pieces, you’ll have nice pretty rings for a delicious display. Remove apple skins if desired.
  • Slice  apples into 1/2 inch thick pieces or rings. Thicker slices will require longer cooking time.
  • Brush both sides of apple with oil or butter to prevent sticking.
  • Place on grill for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear.
  • Drizzle with glaze if desired; cook for an additional minute per side. Alternatively, you can drizzle with honey and sprinkle with desired seasonings.

Grilled Apple Recipes

There are several ways you can dress up a basic grilled apple. Try one of these options for a delicious side dish your guests can’t stop talking about:

  • After grilling, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Make a glaze with maple syrup, brown sugar, apple cider, and cinnamon. Brush glaze onto apples during the last few minutes of grilling.
  • Slice apples into wedges and place in aluminum foil packet. Drizzle with caramel and grill for 8-9 minutes, or until you can easily pierce with a fork.
  • Create a guilt-free side dish by marinating apples instead of using calorie-laden toppings. Combine orange juice, honey, and fresh herbs (try mint for a refreshing complement to the apple flavor); place apples in marinade for a couple of hours before grilling.

Secrets to Perfect Grilled Fruit

Fruit on the grill is a new concept for a lot of backyard chefs, but keep these pointers in mind and you’ll have perfect fruit dishes every time. Keep a close eye on the fruit while it’s cooking. It only takes a couple of minutes. Brush fruit with oil, or you’ll be scraping it off the grill with a spatula. Try grilling fruit over indirect heat until you perfect your technique. It will be less likely to char that way.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try something new! Grilled fruit may become a new family favorite!

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Fruit Kebab

Looking for something new to change up your grilling repertoire? How about trying something you may not have considered before: fruit kebabs! Grilled fruit offers new and exciting taste possibilities, so get ready to expand your knowledge and impress your friends.

How to Grill a Fruit Kebabfruit kebab

Grilling a piece of fruit caramelizes it, allowing the sweet juices to bubble to the surface and enhancing the flavor. You can also bring out the flavor of fruit with a basting sauce or seasoning. Follow these steps for perfectly grilled fruit kebabs, every time:

  • Choose which fruits you want to include on your kebab. Fruit with high water content (like citrus) and very delicate fruits (like raspberries and blackberries) usually don’t grill well. Try to include a variety of textures and flavors for variety.
  • Remove skin and seeds. Chop into chunks no thicker than half an inch. This will allow the fruit to cook evenly.
  • Soak fruit pieces in water for about 15 minutes before grilling. The excess water helps keep the fruit from burning while on the grill.
  • Skewer each piece of fruit, alternating varieties like you would for a vegetable or meat kabob.
  • Brush with vegetable oil or a basting sauce to prevent sticking.
  • Grill the fruit kebab over medium to high heat for 3-5 minutes, turning often. Firm fruits like apples or pears may need longer cooking time, while soft fruits such as strawberries will just need a couple of minutes.

Fruit Kebab Basting Recipes

Basting your fruit kebab with a sweet sauce can add a little extra pizazz to an already unique taste experience. Try some of these glazes and sauces for a truly delicious dessert:

  • Maple, cinnamon, and ground cumin. Mix well and coat fruit pieces before skewering.
  • Brown sugar, pineapple juice, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla–Stir until sugar dissolves; then brush onto fruit skewers before grilling.
  • Chocolate sauce–Use a store-bought sauce or make your own!
  • Caramel sauce–Bring brown sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla extract to a boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes while whisking gently; then drizzle over fruit. After grilling, top fruit kebabs with shredded coconut

Other Flavor Ideas

In addition to glazes or sauces, you can also try including a marshmallow or two on your fruit skewer. As it melts, it will drip down over the fruit. Alternatively, try sprinkling cinnamon and nutmeg over the fruit before grilling.

Next time you need a dessert that will wow the crowd, consider adding fruit kebabs to your summer grilling menu. Grilling fruit may sound unusual, but it will result in a dessert every bit as delicious as your favorite fruit pie–only with much less work!

 

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Zucchini

Zucchini makes a perfect complement to any summer meal, either as a stand-alone side dish or as part of a mixed vegetable dish. This delicious, nutritious summer squash is super easy to grill. Mix it with yellow squash and carrots or serve it solo alongside chicken, fish, or pork.Grilled_zucchini

Choosing Fresh Zucchini

The best zucchini comes straight out of your garden. Just wash, slice, and grill. If you don’t have a garden, your next best option is a local farmer’s market. Vegetables always have better flavor when they haven’t been sitting around in cold storage. Even if you’re buying from the grocery store, though, you can still get delicious grilled zucchini if you know how to pick the right ones. Don’t choose the biggest zucchini in the bin; smaller zucchini will be more tender and flavorful. Feel for soft spots and avoid zucchini that look wrinkled around the stem, as this means they’ve been sitting around a while.

Delicious Zucchini on the Grill

Ready to start grilling? Wash the zucchini and pat dry; then slice either in quarters lengthwise or in round slices. Coat the zucchini slices in oil and add salt, garlic, and a little lemon zest. If you want the zucchini to really soak up some flavor, you can let it marinate for about 20 minutes. Once the seasonings have been added, place the zucchini slices on the grill over medium-low heat. Cook until zucchini can be easily pierced with a fork. Be sure to turn the slices so you get those nice grill marks on each side. Sprinkle with some additional sea salt and lemon zest or parmesan cheese before serving.

More Recipe Ideas

If you have a lot of zucchini from the garden or you just want some additional seasoning options, try some of these ideas to give your zucchini a different flavor:

  • Italian–Marinate zucchini in Italian dressing and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  • Herb vinaigrette–Brush with a mixture of your favorite vinaigrette, some garlic, and a pinch of basil, oregano, and rosemary.
  • Lemon Butter–Make a lemon butter sauce of melted butter, lemon zest or lemon-butter seasoning, garlic, and oregano. Brush onto zucchini before grilling.
  • Mixed Grill–Mix zucchini with yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and peppers for a satisfying side dish. Place vegetables in an aluminum foil pouch, and then toss with oil-based salad dressing or olive oil and your choice of seasonings. Seal pouch and place on grill over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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Green Beans

Everything tastes better on the grill, and green beans are no exception. Forget the mushy, flat texture that happens when you let beans boil or sautee too long. Try grilling your beans for dinner tonight and savor that crisp-tender, slightly charred flavor you can’t get any other way.green beans2

The Secret to Great Grilled Green Beans

In order to produce the perfect grilled beans, you’re going to need an extra piece of equipment–the grill pan or grill basket. A grill basket keeps small vegetables like green beans contained so you don’t lose them in the grill (or over the edge). You don’t need anything fancy–just a simple, inexpensive basket will do the trick. Be sure to spray the basket with oil so your beans don’t stick and keep a spray bottle full of water handy to tamp down grill flare-ups if the oil drips.

Grilled Green Beans Recipe

With your grill basket in hand, your ready to toss those beans on the grill. Here’s what to do: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place grill basket over grill so that it preheats as well. Trim the ends off the green beans and rinse under cold water. Toss beans with one tablespoon of olive oil, plus any seasonings you’d like to add. Try minced garlic, sea salt, and parmesan cheese for an easy, tasty result. You can also add lemon juice if you like a bit of a citrus flavor. Transfer beans into grill basket and close grill lid. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t get overdone. You want a small bit of browning or charring, but don’t let them turn black and crispy! Beans will be finished in about 10-15 minutes.

Another Way to Grill Green Beans

If you don’t have a grill basket and you impulsively decide to grill beans for dinner, what’s your next option? Try steaming them in a foil pouch. Prepare beans as described above. Make an aluminum foil pouch by folding a sheet of foil in half and crimping the edges. Place beans in pouch and toss onto the grill for about 15 minutes. Voila! Perfectly steamed green beans!

Green beans make a perfect complement to just about any meat. Fish, chicken, beef, and pork all pair well with seasoned, grilled green beans. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better the beans taste when you cook them on the grill. If you grill them alongside your meat, they’ll not only pick up that deliciously smoky flavor from the grill itself, but also the flavor of whatever meat you’re having for dinner.

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