Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Vacation

Clearly, my blog has been on summer vacation, as I have not posted anything since early May.  I have finally succumbed to the hoards of fans (a few friends...) who have been begging me to write again (commenting on my laziness).  It's been a little difficult to come up with inspiration this summer.  Not only have we been SUPER busy, but I love grilled food, and to be quite honest, that's pretty much all we've eaten all summer.  So, since that's all I've done (food-wise) this summer, that's what I've got to write about. To make up for the lack of posts the last few months, I'm giving you 3 delicious recipes to try!

Eating in the summer is incredibly easy, especially if you've got a grill.  You really never have to turn on the oven.  Almost anything you can do on the stove-top or in the oven can be done on a grill.  It takes maybe a little extra creativity, but it's worth it.  Imagine the delicious flavor of your food but with the added authentic grilled flavor.  Amazing!

The trick to grilling something that you would normally cook in an oven boils down to two grilling basics: temperature and indirect heat.   Indirect heat is most easily explained as the source of the heat (ie: flame, coals) all on one side of the grill and what you are grilling on the other side of the grill.  This is important because direct heat will burn foods that need to be grilled for a longer period of time.  If you do intend on successfully "grill-baking," you will need a good grill-thermometer.  This type is very different from a meat-thermometer because it actually tells you the internal temperature of your grill.  Once you've got these basic concepts down, you are ready to "grill-bake"or "grill-roast" a delicious meal.

Grilled Lasagna
-recipe courtesy of, makes 4 lasagnas, serves 4

Photo by Antonis Achilleos,
1 lb mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 large tomatoes (2 thinly sliced, 1 grated)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 cups baby spinach (about 5 ounces)
1/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat grill to medium (about 350). Combine the mozzarella, parmesan, red pepper flakes, 1/2 t salt and all but 1/4 t garlic in a bowl;  drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine.  Season the sliced tomatoes with salt.

Lay out 4 double-layer sheets of nonstick foil.  Drizzle each with olive oil, top with 1 noodle and sprinkle each noodle with 1 T water.  Divide half of each of the spinach, sliced tomatoes and mozzarella mixture among the noodles.  Repeat to make another layer of noodles, water, spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella mixture.  Finish each stack with a noodle, 1 T water and a drizzle of olive oil.  Bring the foil together and crimp tightly closed to make 4 flat packets.

Grill the packets, covered, over indirect heat, about 10 minutes per side.  Let rest 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the grated tomatoes, a pinch of salt, the reserved garlic and 1 T olive oil in a bowl.  Open the packets and cut the lasagna in half, if desired.  Top with the tomato mixture, ricotta and herbs.

Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

24 romaine leaves
3 T olive oil
Salt and Ground Pepper
Parmesan cheese, fresh grated

Brush the leaves of romaine on both sides with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Grill on each side for 30 seconds.  Place 6 leaves on each plate, drizzle with caesar dressing (I like Romano Caesar Dressing from Trader Joe's) and garnish with parmesan cheese and croutons.

Grilled Pineapple with Mascarpone Cheese and Honey

1 Pineapple, skinned, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings (step-by-step directions here:
Mascarpone Cheese or Creme Fraiche (both equally delicious)
Chopped Pistachios, optional

Spray grill with cooking spray.  Grill the pineapple rings 2-3 minutes until nicely caramelized.  Remove from grill and distribute rings evenly on plates.  Top with a dollop of mascarpone cheese or creme fraiche, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with some chopped pistachios.