Back to the Kitchen: Fire Up the Grill!

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It is the beginning of March and last week we had snow in places that are warm and sunny all year long. The first week of spring has been perfect outdoor dining weather, so I am firing up the grill! In my opinion anything is better grilled. I always throw extra veggies on and keep them in the refrigerator so I can grab them and toss them in a salad. Grilling is simple and since it is swimsuit season these lighter recipes should please everyone.

Grilled Eggplant

1-cup olive oil

4 globe eggplants

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced

1-tablespoon thyme, minced

1-tablespoon rosemary, minced

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 garlic cloves, minced

Build a hot fire in a grill or preheat a gas grill to 400°F. Rub the grill grate with 1 tsp. of the olive oil. Cut the eggplants lengthwise into slices 1/2 inch thick. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until golden brown and crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn and grill until golden brown and crisp on the other side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the eggplant to a platter and set aside. Whisk the remaining olive oil in a shallow baking dish and add the parsley, thyme, rosemary, vinegar and garlic. Add the warm eggplant slices and let stand for 1 hour, then turn and let stand for 1 hour more. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature.

Grilled Ginger Chicken

5 pounds chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-teaspoon salt

Juice of 3 oranges

4 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1-tablespoon brown sugar

1-1/2 inch ginger, peeled and minced

1/4-cup canola oil

Rinse the chicken and dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with the garlic and salt; place in a heavy plastic bag. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate in a cool place for at least one hour or refrigerate for up to two days. Prepare the grill. When the coals are medium hot, drain the chicken and cook over the coals, turning after 10 minutes and basting them frequently with the marinade, for a total of 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. If the chicken is browning too quickly, move to a cooler part of the grill. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with Watermelon Salsa

2 cucumbers, finely chopped

2 cups finely chopped red watermelon

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 Seeded jalapeno chili, minced

2 Cloves garlic, minced

1-inch ginger, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1-teaspoon fresh limejuice

3/4-teaspoon salt

6 (6-oz) pieces Chilean Sea Bass

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare gas or charcoal grill for cooking. If using charcoal, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderately high.

Toss together cucumber, watermelon, onion, chili, cilantro, limejuice, garlic, ginger and salt. (Do not make salsa more than 1 hour ahead or it will become watery.)

Pat fish dry, then brush with oil and season with salt. Grill fish, on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over once, until just cooked through, 8 to 9 minutes total.

Serve fish topped with salsa.

Cedar Planked Salmon

1 – 2 1/2 to 3lb salmon fillet rinsed and patted dry

5 cloves garlic

3-tablespoon olive oil

Rosemary sprig, chopped

Thyme sprig, chopped

1-teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

1 18″ cedar plank, soaked in water 2 hours

Make small slits on the side of the fish. Slice garlic into slivers, and press into these slits. Coat fish with oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper. On a hot gas grill or over very hot charcoal briquettes heat the plank for 5 minutes each side. Place fish on plank and return to the grill. And cover. Close vents 1/2 way and don’t open for 15 minutes. Check for doneness in middle of fillet…pink and flaky. Serve immediately.

Spicy Black Bean Burger Patties

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoon, olive oil

Juice and zest of half a lemon

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 onion, minced

2 teaspoon old bay seasoning

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4-cup breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dash hot sauce, to taste

In a food processor or blender, process the all ingredients until smooth. Or, mash together with a large fork or potato masher until beans are well mashed. Refrigerate mixture for at least 2 hours or overnight. Fire up the grill and barbecue your black bean veggie burger patties. Serve over lettuce.

Turkey Burger

2-pounds ground Turkey

4 scallions, thinly chopped

1cup-dried cranberries, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 inch ginger, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Splash soy sauce

8 burger buns or rolls

2 cups Asian lettuce mix

In a medium bowl mix the turkey, scallions, cranberries, garlic. Ginger, red pepper and soy sauce. Divide into 4 patties. Over medium coals place on BBQ (or skillet or stovetop grill) cover and cook for 10 minutes and flip and cook 5-10 minutes longer. Serve on a bun with 1/4-cup Asian lettuce, Chinese style mustard and wasabi mustard. (In a small bowl whisk together 1/4-cup Chinese mustard and 1 tablespoon wasabi paste.)

Salmon Burgers with Ginger Lime Aioli

Juice and zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon Asian hot chili sauce

2 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillets, chopped finely

4 scallions, thinly sliced

5 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

1-cup fresh breadcrumbs

2 eggs

2 tablespoons of reserved aioli

Splash soy sauce

Fresh mint leaves

8 sesame buns, split and toasted

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and very thinly sliced

Combine 2 tablespoons of reserved aioli with egg, limejuice, zest and chili sauce; whisk to blend well. Add salmon, onion, mint, breadcrumbs and soy sauce. Handling salmon as little as possible to avoid compacting it mix well and form 8 patties. Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on rack; cook about 3 minutes on each side. Top each bun bottom with cucumber strips, mint leaves, burger and aioli. Add bun tops and serve.

Ginger-Lime Aioli

1-cup mayonnaise

4 tablespoons sour cream

5 cloves garlic, minced

4 teaspoons ginger, minced

Juice and zest of 1 lime

Pinch Kosher salt

Combine aioli ingredients; mix well. Reserve 2 tablespoons for patties; cover and refrigerate remainder until serving.

Lentil Burgers with Ajvar

1 cup dry lentils

2 1/2 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 carrots, grated

2 celery stalks, diced

Garlic to taste (I like lots)

1-bunch scallions

1-teaspoon kosher salt

2-teaspoon black pepper

2-teaspoon cayenne pepper

2-teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups rolled or steel oats

8 whole grain buns

In a medium saucepan simmer the lentils in water with the bay leaf until the lentil skins split easily, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile in a heavy saucepan heat up olive oil. When hot add the onions and garlic. Sautee for 3 minutes and add the rest of the vegetables and cook until tender. Add spices and let cool for 10 minutes. Process the oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground. Combine the vegetables with the lentils. Add lemon juice and oats. Shape the mixture into 8 patties. You can bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or grill over medium heat for 8 minutes per side. Serve on a whole-wheat bun with a generous spoonful of ajvar.


2 eggplants

6 red bell peppers

3 cloves garlic

Juice of one lemon

1/2-cup olive oil

Parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Bake eggplants and peppers until tender when pierced with a fork. Peel skin from hot vegetables and place in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the garlic and lemon juice. And olive oil and pulse. You want it to be pureed, but coarsely. Chill or serve warm sprinkled with parsley!

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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