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"Exceptional grilling starts with the grill itself, so the first step is making sure your grill is properly prepped," said
Once your grill is prepped, the
BUILD A BETTER BURGER
The way the burger meat is prepared can make or break the "perfect" burger. Follow these tips to ensure a juicy, delicious burger:
- The finer the grind of the meat, the denser the end product will be. Use a medium to coarse meat grind, but handle it gently, since a coarse ground burger tends to break apart if mishandled.
- Whether using beef, turkey or chicken, incorporate a pinch of sea salt into the burger meat before you form the patty, and add pepper to the outside before you put it on the grill.
- Chill burger patties for about 30 minutes prior to grilling. This allows the outside of the burger more time to cook, which adds flavor.
MAKE THE MOST OF SUMMER PRODUCE
Mushrooms, zucchini, onions, peppers, tomatoes and pineapple are wonderful when grilled on a skewer. Asparagus, eggplant and even red bliss potatoes are also popular on the grill. To add flavor use marinades with healthier ingredients, such as olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, garlic, dried mustard and other spices. For perfect grilled vegetables, remember to use medium heat and cook until tender crisp.
ADD SOME SPICE TO YOUR BACKYARD GRILL
Spices and herbs can wake up grilled meats, fish, vegetables, and even fruits. And many spices, like cinnamon, pepper and ginger are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients. Try saffron with chicken, cayenne or tarragon on fish, or one of these perfect for summer flavor combinations:
- Dilled Grilled Veggies: Add a little fresh dill to olive oil and coat your favorite veggies. Grill and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime.
- Chili Grilled Corn: Grill corn on the cob until lightly blackened and kernels are slightly tender. Squeeze fresh lime over corn and sprinkle with a little chili powder and just a dash of salt.
FIRE UP DESSERT
Fruits with a firm texture like pineapples, mangos, peaches and plums are more than just cool summer treats. Switch things up and try them as a delicious grilled dessert, with these steps:
- Clean fruit and remove any cores, stones, or seeds.
- Brush fruit with olive oil and place them on a medium hot grill.
- Sear fruit on both sides and watch for a good grill mark, which is an indication that the fruit is done.
- While still warm, place fruit over your favorite pound cake and drizzle it with aged balsamic vinegar and honey. Add some lightly whipped cream for the perfect finishing touch.
KEEP FOOD SAFE TO EAT
Cooking outdoors is a summer tradition, but while great taste is at the top of everyone's list, safety is just as important.
- Safe food handling for home cooks
We all know that favorites like potato salad, macaroni salad and coleslaw should be kept cold, but this also applies to raw meat, fish or poultry. Be sure to keep meats safe. Refrigerate even while thawing or marinating.
- Personal safety for the home chef
For a safe outdoor grilling experience, be careful when wearing long or lose fitting clothing or aprons around the grill. Use flame retardant mitts, buy grill utensils with long handles and never leave a hot grill unattended. Remember that cooking technique, grill utensils and even clothing choices can impact your personal safety.
- Grill meats until safe to eat
Meat and poultry should be cooked to a safe internal temperature to destroy any potentially harmful bacteria. Poultry browns quickly on the grill but may not be fully cooked inside. You should use a food thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F for poultry, 160 degrees F for ground beef and 145 degrees F for steaks and chops.
The following recipes make summer fruits the star. Try them at home to add a unique, fresh twist to your grilling menu.
Grilled Chicken with Fresh Peaches
For Sauteed Peaches:
2 ½ cups sliced, peeled fresh peaches, ¼ inch
1 cup diced red onions, ¼ inch
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground black pepper
2 ½ tablespoons soft margarine
Melt margarine in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Add peaches, lemon juice, curry powder, ginger, cinnamon and pepper. Saute for 4 to 6 minutes until peaches are tender. Keep warm. For Grilled Chicken: ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 8 (4-ozw) boneless, skinless chicken breasts Preparation: Preheat char-grill to medium. Lightly pound chicken with meat mallet. Lightly coat with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F and juices run clear, 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Serve each piece of chicken with ¼ cup sauteed peaches
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION per serving
Calories: 150 Protein: 16g Cholesterol: 40mg Sodium: 270mg Carbohydrates: 7g Saturated Fat: 2g Total Fat: 6g
Grilled Nectarines, Balsamic & Poundcake
16 oz all-purpose flour
1/2 oz coarse salt
1 tbsp zest, lemon, Fresh
1 tbsp zest, lime, Fresh
16 oz butter, plus more to butter pans
16 oz sugar
1/4 oz vanilla extract
9 ea. eggs room temp
5 ea. large nectarines, ripe, split and stone removed
1 tsp olive oil
5 mg kosher salt
12 oz sugar, granulated
8 oz vinegar, balsamic
16 oz blackberries, Fresh
8 oz cream, heavy
2 oz sugar, granulated
1 tbsp extract, vanilla
5 g mint, fresh whole leaves
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter two 5-by-9-inch loaf pans. Combine all-purpose flour and salt in a bowl.
- Cream butter, sugar, lime & lemon zest with a mixer on high speed until pale and fluffy, for 8 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla extract.
- Lightly beat eggs, and add to mixer bowl in 4 additions, mixing thoroughly after each and scraping down sides. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 4 additions, mixing until just incorporated. Divide batter between pans. Tap on counter to distribute; smooth tops.
- Bake until a tester inserted into center of each cake comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack.
- Score around the center of the nectarine all the way into the stone. Twist the nectarine in half. Remove the stone.
- Lightly oil the nectarine and place on a hot grill cut side down. Grill for about 20 seconds then turn over and allow the skin side to blister about 20 more seconds. Remove and chill. Then slide into smaller wedges for plating.
Balsamic Blackberry Compote:
- Place balsamic vinegar and sugar into a 1 quart sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce to a syrup consistency. Add the blackberries and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and chill.
- Place cold cream into a chilled stainless steel bowl with sugar and vanilla. Whip with a wire whisk until soft peaks are formed (This dessert calls for a "loose" whipped cream so it will "wilt')
- Pick fresh mint leaves and place in ice water until ready to plate.
- Slice the poundcake 1" thick and cut "caddy corner". Place one piece down on its side and lean the other piece against it. Place 6 slices (about 1/2 of a nectarine) of grilled nectarine on and close to the sliced poundcake. Use a tablespoon to place 2 table spoons of balsamic blackberry vinegar around the perimeter of the dessert, Put a large dollop of whipped cream on the center of the dessert and allow it to "wilt". Sprinkle about 5 pieces of mint leaf over the top of the dessert. Serve.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION per serving
Calories: 570 Protein: 7g Cholesterol: 195mg Sodium: 360mg Total Carbohydrate: 76g Saturated Fat: 16g Total Fat: 28g
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