Archive for November, 2014

S’mores

What’s better after an outdoor meal in the backyard than rich, gooey s’mores? Nothing, that’s what! But there’s no need to build a campfire and sharpen sticks in order to enjoy some marshmallow and chocolatey goodness. Now you can make them right on the grill. Whether you’re having hamburgers and hot dogs or grilled salmon, s’mores will bring a smile to everybody’s face when dessert time rolls around.

Easy S’mores on the Grill

Traditional s’mores require just three ingredients: graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. We like the big jumbo marshmallows, because they’ll cover the entire cracker and squish out the sides–yum! Use your favorite chocolate (milk or dark); break into cracker-sized bars.

Heat the grill to medium (or just leave it on after you finish grilling dinner) and set it up for indirect heat. Break graham crackers in half, forming squares. Top half of the squares with marshmallows and the other half with chocolate. Place crackers on the cooler side of the grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes, or until the marshmallow and chocolate have melted. Sandwich and serve!

Fancy S’moressmores

You can tweak the basic s’more idea to create some truly delicious concoctions. Assemble your favorite meltable candy and use in place of the chocolate. Try these ideas to tantalize your tastebuds:

  • Peanut butter chips
  • M&Ms
  • Peppermint patties
  • Heath bars
  • White chocolate
  • Peppermint bark
  • Caramel squares
  • Strawberries or bananas
  • Reese’s Peanut butter cups
  • Raspberry-filled chocolate squares
  • Coconut
  • Lemon pie filling

Try these ideas on their own or along with a square of chocolate!

S’more Buffet

Try creating a s’more buffet for a fun and easy dessert that your guests will be talking about for weeks! Assemble the above ingredients and place in individual dishes. You can also add different graham cracker varieties (regular, chocolate, cinnamon), and different marshmallow flavors or colors.

Ask each guest to assemble his or her own s’mores and bring to the grill master for grilling! This is a fantastic idea for block parties, birthday parties, or other large gatherings.

You can also try savory s’mores for a twist on these classic favorites. Use herb or whole wheat crackers, a variety of cheeses, and deli meat, bacon, or pepperoni. Use them as appetizers or as a tasty side dish when serving a less filling entree.

No one can say no to a gooey, hot s’more filled with chocolatey favorites. To guarantee a popular grand finale to your outdoor dinner, add s’mores to the menu!

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Grilled Vegetable Marinade

Grilled vegetables make a delicious accompaniment to your favorite meat or chicken, but they can be downright magical when you take the time to marinate them before grilling. If you’ve never considered marinating your vegetables, you’re going to be thrilled with the delicious flavors you can create with just a little effort.

Preparing a Grilled Vegetable Marinadegrilled vegetable marinade

Like marinades intended for meat, your vegetable marinade will consist of an oil, an acid, and whatever flavorings and herbs you want to add. The acid (citrus juice or vinegar) serves to break down the vegetable fibers, allowing the flavor to be absorbed.

It’s easy to create your own marinade by deciding what flavor family you want and choosing herbs and spices that fit in that category. For instance, an Italian meal might use an herb-garlic vegetable marinade, while a Cajun theme might opt for something a little spicier.

Grilled Vegetable Marinade Ideas

Not everyone feels confident enough in their chef skills to throw together a marinade off the top of their head. For those of us who would rather work from a recipe, here are five delicious vegetable marinades to tantalize your tastebuds:

  1. Garlic Soy–1/2 c. olive oil, 1/2 c. lemon juice, 1/2 c. soy sauce, and 1 clove fresh minced garlic. Whisk together in a bowl and pour over vegetables in a zip top bag.
  2. Mojo–3/4 c. olive oil, 1 c. sour orange juice (or substitute 1/2 c. orange juice, 1/4 c. lemon juice, and 1/4 c. lime juice), 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 c. minced onion, 1 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. crushed peppercorns, and 1 tsp. salt.
  3. Asian–2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp fresh ginger, 1 tsp sesame oil.
  4. Garlic Lemon Basil–1/4 c.  olive oil, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil, 2 cloves minced garlic.
  5. Basalmic Honey–1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 c. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. honey, 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, 1 tsp black pepper.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Change up the ingredients, add your own, or try something completely different. It’s all part of the outdoor chef experience!

Grilling Tips

Pre-chop vegetables into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Once your marinade is prepared, let the vegetables steep in it for 30 minutes to an hour. Don’t leave any longer than this or your veggies will be mushy. Thread the pieces onto a skewer for veggie shish kabobs. Heat grill to medium-high (350 or 400 degrees) and place skewers on grill plate. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning once about halfway through. Veggies are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

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Grilled Steak Marinade

Unless you’re grilling filet mignon for your backyard barbecue crowd, you may find that the cut of meat you purchased needs a little help to make it tender. And since most of us won’t be buying top dollar cuts of meat on a regular basis, we need a reliable, delicious way to tenderize our grilled steak. Good news! Grilled steak marinade not only produces tender, flavorful steak every time, but it also gives you a chance to show off your culinary prowess and get creative with flavors.

How to Make a Great Grilled Steak Marinadegrilled steak marinade

The tenderizing process of a good marinade happens as the acidic element (usually citrus or vinegar) begins to break down the fibers of the meat. For the best results, leave the steak in the marinade for several hours or overnight before grilling.

Most marinades consist of oil, an acid like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and seasonings. You can easily create your own by determining what flavor family you’re aiming for (sweet, savory, Asian, spicy, etc.) and combining ingredients to produce the desired effect. Common ingredients include garlic, soy sauce, herbs, brown sugar, and shallots.

Place the steak in a zip top bag or glass dish and turn at least once to make sure all sides of the meat come into contact with the marinade. If you like, you can reserve some of the marinade to use for basting later. Discard any leftover marinade that has come into contact with the meat in order to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Delicious Grilled Steak Marinade Recipes

While a lot of chefs enjoy experimenting with flavors, some of us just need a recipe to follow. Here are some delicious ones to get you started.

  • Balsamic and Soy–1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 Tbsp. rosemary, 1 tsp. salt
  • Spicy Garlic Herb–1/2 c. olive oil, 1/3 c. lemon juice, 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 tsp. hot sauce, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 3 Tbsp fresh chopped basil, 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Maple Soy–Equal parts maple syrup, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves.

Finishing Well

When the steaks have finished marinating, remove them from the zip top bag and pat dry. Place on the grill over high heat and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally. This will result in a medium-cooked steak. Leave on the grill a minute or two longer for well-done, and a minute or two shorter for rare.

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