Tag Archives: barbecue

Grilled Pomegranate Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

pomegranate chicken skewers tastefood

Posted by Lynda Balslev

Memorial Day weekend is a week away, but why wait to grill? Any weekend (or any night, for that matter) is a good excuse to fire up the Weber. I made these skewers to feed a crowd, but the following recipe will generously feed a table of four. A Middle Eastern inspired pomegranate marinade infused with aromatic spices tenderizes and flavors the chicken, which is best left to marinate overnight. If you don’t have time for that, then 4 hours will do.

Grilled Pomegranate Chicken and Vegetable Skewers
Serves 4

Marinade:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Bamboo skewers, pre-soaked for 30 minutes
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 red or orange bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
Fresh mint and parsley leaves for garnish

1. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside 1/4 cup for basting.
2. Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl. Add the marinade and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Thread the chicken on skewers alternating with onion pieces and peppers.
4. Grill over direct medium heat until nicely charred and chicken is thoroughly cooked through, turning as needed, 8 to 10 minutes, basting halfway through the cooking process with reserved sauce.
5. To serve, pile the skewers on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with extra salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with fresh mint and parsley leaves.

Super Bowl Party Food: Dry Spice Rubbed Pork Ribs

BBQ Pork Ribs TasteFood 1

~ Dry Spice Rubbed and Grilled Pork Ribs ~

Call me a fair weather fan (or a championship series fan) when it comes to football. I don’t pay much attention during the season, but once it gets down to the final stretch I am right there on the couch with all of you potatoes. As this season would have it, I was nearly in a connundrum, since I am a die-hard New Englander residing in San Francisco. Who would I root for? That question will remain unanswered (sigh) since the Ravens removed any potential conflict of interest. Now I am a resolute 49ers fan, which is a good thing, since that means I am now welcome in my friends’ homes to watch the game. And for the big occasion I suggest this finger-licking-spicy-good rib recipe for your Superbowl Party.

Dry Spice Rubbed Baby Back Pork Ribs

The key to making these ribs is in the method. Begin with a dry rub which coats and permeates the meat with a sweet, spicy, smoky flavor as the ribs cook long and slow in a low-heat oven. You can start the ribs early in the afternoon; pop them into the oven and forget about them for 3 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, remove and transfer to the grill to cook just long enough get all caramelized and crispy.

Serves 6-8

For the rub:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne (or to taste)

3 racks baby back pork ribs

Preheat oven to 200° F. Combine all of the rub ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
Pat ribs dry with a paper towel. Arrange in one layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Rub the spices all over the ribs on both sides, coating well. Bake in oven for 3 hours.
Prepare grill for indirect medium heat. Grill ribs on a rack over indirect heat, turning, until the meat darkens and crisps, 10 to 12 minutes.

These ribs are good as is, with the crispy exterior and succulent meat. If you like your ribs more wet, baste with your favorite sauce  just before removing from grill and serve with additional sauce on the side.

No-Fail Sriracha Marinade and a recipe for Grilled Chicken Skewers

~ Grilled Chicken Skewers with Sriracha Lime Marinade ~

I would like to share my favorite no-fail marinade that will carry you through the summer grill season. It’s downright addictive with a blend of spicy Sriracha, tangy lime and thick Dijon mustard. I made this last week for a mess of shrimp we grilled up for our Solstice party, and they disappeared before you could say “Sriracha Shrimp.”  It left me craving more, so I made another batch the next day and used it to flavor these chicken skewers and another round of shrimp for an easy outdoor dinner party. What I love about this marinade is that it tastes great on everything it coats. Try it on skirt or flank steak, firm fleshed fish, portobello mushrooms and provencal vegetables. Just like a best friend, it won’t let you down. Continue Reading Grilled Sriracha Marinated Chicken Skewers

Summer Beach Grill Party: BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Last weekend we celebrated the summer solstice with our annual BBQ and bonfire at the beach. This is a Nordic tradition we happily packed up with us from Denmark, where the longest day of the year is celebrated in true viking-style with feasting, fire, libations, and an effigy which is burned to ward off evil spirits. Since the sun sets over the sea at 9 pm in California and not at midnight during the Scandinavian midnight sun, we enjoy an abbreviated version, Pacific-style, before the park rangers shepherd us off the beaches – or the residents call the police. This year was spectacular, with warm weather, tame winds and a hopping crowd of 50 wannabe vikings. As hosts, we took responsibility for the Danish beer, grillables and fire setting, while everyone else brought side dishes desserts, beach chairs, lots of kids and wine. It truly takes a village! On the menu were these sticky spiced ribs – inspired by a delectable recipe from my friend Karen who brought them along last year. (She is on tour in Italy right now with her band which is another story in itself.) Continue Reading Grilled BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Memorial Day BBQ Party and Birthday Celebration

It’s Memorial Day in the U.S., which is also the semi-official kick-off to summer and outdoor grilling. It’s a busy weekend here in the San Francisco Bay area. Not only is it Memorial Day, it’s the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge’s staggering construction – and, even more importantly, it’s my son’s birthday. We have a busy day of festivities ahead of us, but before I sign off I will leave you with a Memorial Day menu worthy of a national holiday, a bridge building fête, and a birthday BBQ celebration.

Dry Spice Rubbed Baby Back Pork Ribs

Spice rub tf

It’s Labor Day weekend, and we are firing up the grill. A small crowd is expected to join us for dinner, and baby back pork ribs are on the menu. Now, there are all sorts of BBQ preparations, ranging from the restraint of a piece of steak to the elegance of a whole fish, or the finesse of, say, a pizza. None of this applies. Today we are getting down and dirty. I have 4 racks of baby back ribs ready to be smeared with a dry spice rub, slow cooked in the oven and then finished on the grill to crispen and darken the meat. This is Fred Flintstone material: white shirts, silverware and cloth napkins need not apply. We can’t wait.

The key to making these ribs is in the method. I begin with a dry rub which coats and permeates the meat with a sweet, spicy, smoky flavor as they cook long and slow in a low-heat oven. Thirty minutes before serving, the ribs are transferred to the BBQ where they grill over a low fire long enough to crispen and darken in color. The combination of the dry spice and the natural succulence of the meat is a perfect balance. However, if you like your ribs a bit more “wet”, either baste them right at the end when removing from the grill or serve with a sauce on the side for dipping.

Ribs bbq tf

Dry Spice Rubbed Baby Back Pork Ribs
Serves 6-8

For the rub:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne (or to taste)

3 racks baby back pork ribs

Preheat oven to 200 F. (100 C.) Combine all of the rub ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
Pat ribs dry with a paper towel. Arrange in one layer on 2 baking sheets. Rub the spices all over the ribs on both sides, coating well. Bake in oven for 3 hours.
Prepare grill for indirect medium-low heat. Grill ribs on a rack over indirect heat, turning, until the meat darkens and crispens, 10-12 minutes.
If using a sauce, baste ribs just before removing from grill. Serve with optional sauce on the side.

My Big Fat Greek Dinner: Grilled Spiced Lamb Kefta Skewers


Greek Plate

Labor Day is fast approaching and what better way to close out the summer than with a Greek inspired grill party? These Spiced Lamb Kefta Skewers are perfect for the barbeque. Their spice and heat stand up well to the char from the grill, especially when accompanied by a fiery Harissa and a creamy Tsatsiki as condiments. Round out the menu with a Fattoush Salad and Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Mint. By the end of the meal your tastebuds will be singing, and your guests will be begging for more. What else could you ask for? Oh, yes – a nice wine and perhaps a little Ouzo.

Grilled Spiced Lamb Kefta Skewers
Makes 16

16 (8 inch) bamboo skewers

2 pounds ground lamb
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
Exta-virgin olive oil for brushing
Pita bread

Pre-soak bamboo skewers in warm water 30 minutes before assembling kebabs.
Combine the lamb, herbs and spices in a bowl; mix well. Gather a small handful of the meat in your hand and form it lengthwise around a skewer so that the meat is covering 2/3 of the skewer. Place on plate or tray. Repeat with remaining meat and skewers. Lightly brush the kebabs with olive oil.  (Kebabs may be prepared to this point up to 6 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.)
Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Grill directly over heat, turning to brown on all sides, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Serve with pita bread, tsatsiki and harissa.

Grilled Ratatouille Salad

Ratatouille Salad

Grilled Salad?  You bet. This version of ratatouille is perfect in the summer when the season is lobbing a kaleidescope of Provençal vegetables our way. Instead of simmering eggplant, squash and peppers with tomatoes on the stove in the traditional Niçoise fashion, try grilling all of them on the barbecue.  Bright, colorful, and pleasantly charred, Grilled Ratatouille Salad is a healthy, summery side dish or salad.  Serve as an accompaniment to grilled meats and fish or as a smoky, crunchy stand-alone salad with crusty pain paysan. Alternatively, head further south in the Mediterranean for inspiration and add feta cheese and kalamata olives for a twist on Greek salad.

Grilled Ratatouille Salad
Serves 6 as a side dish

2-3 bamboo skewers
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large, firm eggplant, cut horizontally in 1/2 inch thick slices
2 large red onions, cut horizontally in 1/2 inch thick slices
2 thin zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 thin yellow squash, halved lengthwise
2 red peppers, halved, seeded, stems removed
1 poblano pepper, halved, seeded, stem removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small bunch Italian parsley leaves, stems removed, chopped
1 small bunch basil leaves, ripped in half

Soak skewers 30 minutes before grilling.  Prepare grill for a medium-heat. Thread tomatoes on skewers.  Arrange the vegetables and tomato skewers on a large baking sheet.  Lightly drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat thoroughly.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Transfer to grill (or broil in oven). Grill vegetables over medium direct heat, turning, until lightly charred and tender.  Transfer to platter; allow vegetables to cool slightly. Remove tomatoes from skewers and place in large bowl. Cut eggplant, onions, zucchini, squash and peppers in 1 inch pieces. Add to bowl with tomatoes.  Toss vegetables with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with extra parsley and basil leaves.

Grilled Steak with Rosemary, Shitake Mushrooms and Garlic Scapes

Steak Shitake

This morning, in honor of Mother’s Day, we went to the farmers market with the satisfying intention of purchasing ingredients for our dinner. Beautiful New York strip steaks were on display and immediately went into our basket. Asparagus, shitake mushrooms, strawberries, peas and fava beans quickly followed. Our final purchase was a bunch of garlic scapes, impossible to pass by, as they feistily vied for attention, announcing their assertiveness – if not in taste, than in their spiky shape.

Garlic scapes resemble an oversized chive with a bulbous flower at the end. The stalks are firm with a peppery bite and mild garlic flavor. They are wonderful in a stir-fry, because they retain their crispness, and impart a mellow, garlicky flavor. The flowers are edible and, when cooked, have a somewhat astringent and earthy flavor.

Garlic scapes

When we arrived home, I made a paste of garlic, rosemary, sea salt and olive oil and smeared it all over the steaks to marinate in during the afternoon. While they stewed in garlic and rosemary, I prepared a stir-fry of Shitake Mushrooms and Garlic Scapes to serve over the steaks as a fresh garnish, along with grilled asparagus, new potatoes and fresh strawberries and cream for dessert.

I can’t think of a better Mother’s Day celebration.

New York Strip Steak with Sautéed Shitake Mushrooms and Garlic Scapes

Serves 4

For the steaks:

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 rosemary sprigs
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 New York or Ribeye steaks, about 2 lbs. (1 kg.)

Combine garlic, rosemary and salt in a mortar with a pestle. Smash the garlic and bruise the rosemary. Mix in the olive oil and black pepper. Rub the oil all over the steaks. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance.) Remove from refrigerator one hour before grilling.

Grill the steaks over a hot fire, 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or to desired doneness.
Remove from grill and place on cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

For the shitake and garlic scape stir-fry:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
6 elephant garlic scapes, bulbs removed and saved for another use, stalks cut in 1/4″ pieces
1 sprig rosemary
6 oz. (180 g.) shitake mushrooms, wiped clean with paper towel, ends trimmed, sliced
1/3 cup (80 ml.) beef or chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add garlic clove and sauté until fragrant. Add garlic scapes and sauté 1 minute. Add rosemary sprig and shitake mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms release juices and turn golden brown. Add stock and deglaze pan. Add soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard rosemary sprig.

Arrange steaks on serving plates or platter. Spoon the shitake and garlic scape stir-fry over the meat. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Grilled Nectarines and Apricots with Greek Yogurt, Honey and Thyme

Grilled Nectarines and Apricot

It’s the final stretch of summer, and the month of August is digging in its heels as autumn approaches.  The days are slow and lazy, as the summer sun falls a little lower in the sky, casting lavender and peach hues in the steamy horizon.  Life is simple, and food is easy, cool and sweet, especially in the fruit department.  Eliptically shaped watermelons, weighing more than a stuffed picnic basket, are cut up and slurped for their refreshing liquid and sweetness. Ripe cantalope melons vie for attention, equally sweet and easy to eat – either dressed up, all fancy, on a plate with salty prosciutto or simply eaten by the wedge.  Stone fruits stack our bowls: Nectarines, peaches, apricots and plums mingle in teetering piles, perfumed, tangy, and juicy, begging to be eaten with the promise of a quick pick-me-up when the heat wilts our energy and appetite. Summer eating doesn’t get better than this with no fuss and no kitchen heat.  In fact, the only heat action, beyond the sun, is on the barbeque, where, not surprisingly, many of these fruits are quite compatible with our favorite summer activity: grilling.

Grilling fruit is not about cooking, but intensifying the flavor and sweetness of the fruit.  The grilling process enhances the fruit as the natural sugars begin to caramelize while the fruit browns.  Many types of fruit can be grilled, such as melon, stone fruit, pineapple, mangoes, apples and pears.  Have fun experimenting, remembering to lightly oil the fruit before grilling and not to let the fruit blacken too much, because it will become bitter.  Grilled fruit can be used with sweet and savory dishes, incorporated into salads and salsas or starring in a dessert such as this:

Grilled Nectarines and Apricots

Grilled Nectarines and Apricots with Greek Yogurt, Honey and Thyme
Serves 6

3 nectarines, halved, pitted
6 apricots, halved, pitted
Vegetable oil
Whole milk Greek-style yogurt, room temperature, stirred to soften
Honey
Thyme sprigs

Prepare grill for medium-hot heat. Halve the fruit and remove the pits.  Lightly oil the cut side of the fruit.  Place cut side down over direct medium-hot heat.  Cook until char marks appear, 3-4 minutes. Arrange fruit, cut-side up, on plates.  Serve with a spoonful of Greek yogurt.  Drizzle yogurt and fruit with honey.  Garnish with thyme sprigs.