No matter what the calendar says, Memorial Day kicks off the start of summer and the grilling season. Here are some tips on how to be a successful griller:
Treat your grill just like any other cooking surface — give it a good cleaning before and after you cook. Scrubbing and oiling the grill grates not only protects the grates but creates a nonstick surface for cooking.
A hot grill makes for easier cleaning (as any of the stuck-on food bits become brittle and easier to scrape off), but if your grill really needs a deep clean, preheat the grill then turn it off while you scrub and oil.
When preparing a charcoal grill, don’t skimp on the charcoal. Light the coals at least 30 minutes before you plan to begin cooking. Do not put foods on the grill until the fire dies down to glowing coals.
Even gas grills need to preheat. Turn on the flame at least 15 minutes before putting food over the fire. This will help to warm up the grate and stabilize the temperature of the grill environment.
Don’t grill anything too fatty or with too much marinade, as this can cause flare-ups. Most recipes will direct you to trim excess fat or shake off any excess marinade — this step is included for your safety.
Metal skewers get hot which helps meat to cook more evenly — just remember to use tongs or an oven mitt when turning them on the grill. Double-skewer items that might fall off, such as shrimp, chicken strips or slices of summer squash. In this case, skewers can help keep ingredients from twirling and also maintain the shape of the ingredient.
Grill delicate of small foods in a perforated grill pan — it will keep the food from falling through the cooking grate.
For larger cuts, such as chickens, roasts or a rack of ribs, do most of your cooking away from any actual flames and keep the grill lid closed. This allows for slower cooking and more even temperatures. Unless you have a serious cookout in the making, most grills are big enough to prepare one side for lower heat cooking and one side for high heat. Move hot coals to one half of the grill or turn off one or more burners to create indirect heat.
Can’t decide whether to use a direct or indirect method? If the food takes less than 20 minutes to cook, use direct heat; if it takes longer, use indirect heat.
If the grill gets too hot, turn it off or pull everything off the grill. If it’s not hot enough, close the lid, as this will help to build heat quickly.
GRILLING BEEF & PORK
The appropriate heat levels and cooking times are crucial for grilling meat, so that it stays tender and juicy. Each type of cut has its own rules:
Use direct heat for chops, steaks and hamburgers.
Use indirect heat for Italian sausage, roasts and larger cuts of meat.
Cover the grill when cooking less tender cuts of meat.
Slash the edges of steaks and chops on the diagonal, about ¼ inch into the center to prevent the edges from curling.
Resist the urge to squeeze or press down on the grilling meat! This will result in a tougher, less juicy cut.
Steaks like filet mignon, ribeye, top sirloin and New York strip are naturally tender and need nothing more than a seasoning rub or a bit of salt and pepper before grilling.
Larger steaks like flank, skirt steak and London broil are best when soaked in a flavorful marinade before grilling.
Cuts like brisket, shank and chuck demand long, slow, indirect cooking.
Ribeye is excellent on the grill because of its marbling and its ability to hold up to strong flavors in spice rubs and marinades.
Lean, tender pork chops can be marinated or rubbed with spices and then cooked over the coals.
Pork spare ribs and baby back ribs can be prebaked and then grilled to achieve a smoky flavor.
Pork tenderloin grills quickly, is low in fat and can be sliced easily for an attractive presentation.
Treat larger cuts of pork, like pork shoulder, the way you would larger cuts of beef.
Keep this homemade Italian Vinaigrette on hand to quickly give foods flavor before grilling.
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian mixed herbs
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Whisk all the ingredients together and drizzle olive oil in a little at a time. Yields: ¾ cup
Always cook all types of meat thoroughly and use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the thickest part of the meat. Wait a couple of minutes before reading and follow these simple temperature guidelines:
|Cooked meat||Temperatures in degrees F|
Italian Flank Steak
- 1 large (1 1/2-pound) grass-fed flank steak
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves
- 1/4 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Soak 8 toothpicks in water for at least 20 minutes and prepare the grill for medium heat cooking. Don’t forget to oil the grill grates.
Butterfly steak by slicing it horizontally with a very sharp knife, stopping about 1 inch before you would slice all the way through. Open meat up, like opening a book, and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.
Layer opened steak with spinach, basil and provolone slices. Starting on one long side, roll up tightly.
Secure the rolled steak at the seam and ends with the soaked toothpicks.
Brush the outside of the steak with oil and grill, turning frequently, until the steak is deeply browned all over, about 12-15 minutes for medium rare (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should register 125-130°F). Don’t overcook or the steak will be dry.
Transfer steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Remove toothpicks and thinly slice. Arrange on a serving platter.
Grilled Sausage and Pepper Salad
- 4 fresh pork or turkey Italian sausage links
- 1/2 large white onion, cut into 2 thick slices
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- Olive oil for brushing
- Prepared Italian salad dressing
Oil the grill grates and prepare the grill for medium-high heat cooking. Prepare one side of the grill for indirect heat
Brush the onion slices and sausages with oil.
Grill sausages on the indirect heat side of the grill for 30 minutes turning then after 15 minutes.
Grill onion on the direct heat side of the grill, turning occasionally, until the onion is tender, 8 to 10 minutes
When cool enough to handle, slice sausages thickly on the bias and cut the grilled onion into chunks.
Toss romaine, feta and red peppers in a large salad bowl with a little Italian salad dressing.
Spoon romaine mixture onto serving plates and top with sausages and onion.
The mild flavor of poultry makes it ideal for grilling. Whether you choose chicken, duck, turkey or game hen, marinating or using a dry rub will maximize flavor. Once you’ve selected your specific cut of poultry and seasoning method, follow these tips:
Thin pieces of poultry can be cooked over direct heat; larger pieces of chicken should be cooked over indirect heat.
Cook whole and butterflied poultry breast-side down.
Turning poultry pieces every 5 minutes and rotating pieces around the grill can help ensure even cooking.
Place a drip pan under a whole chicken or turkey breast to catch the juices.
Allow turkey to rest 20 minutes before carving. Remember, smoked turkey may appear a little pink even when thoroughly cooked.
Always cook poultry thoroughly. Test with an instant read thermometer (it should reach 165°F).
Insert the thermometer into the middle of the thickest part of the meat, taking care not to touch any bone. Wait a couple of minutes before reading. For whole poultry, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
|Part of the Poultry||Time|
|Whole Chicken||15-20 minutes per pound, about 1 3/4 hours|
|Butterflied Whole Chicken||About 1 hour|
|Bone-in Breast, Leg & Thigh||12-15 minutes per side|
|Wing||2-3 minutes per side|
|Boneless Chicken Breast||4-6 minutes per side|
|Boneless Turkey Breast (up to 3 pounds)||1-1 1/2 hours|
|Boneless Turkey Breast (3-9 pounds)||2-3 hours|
Grilled Chicken and Peppers Over Arugula
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
- 7 tablespoons prepared Italian salad dressing, divided
- 2 bell peppers (red or green, or 1 of each), quartered
- 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 lightly packed cups arugula leaves
Split the chicken breasts by placing them on a cutting board and using a sharp knife to slice evenly through them, while applying slight pressure on top with the other hand.
Oil the grill grates and prepare a grill for medium-high heat cooking.
Brush chicken breasts on both sides with 3 tablespoons of the salad dressing.
In a small bowl, toss bell peppers with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
Place chicken on one side of the grill and the peppers on the other side. Grill chicken and peppers, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and peppers are tender and browned, 6 to 7 minutes.
Toss onion and arugula with the remaining 2 tablespoons of salad dressing and arrange on a platter. Slice chicken and peppers; place them on top of the arugula salad.
Pesto Turkey Burgers with Grilled Onions
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
- 1/3 cup prepared basil pesto
- Olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, peeled, but leave the root ends intact and cut into 4 thick slices
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 slices
- 4 hamburger buns
In a large bowl, combine turkey and pesto. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 3/4-inch thick.
Brush the onion slices and burgers with oil.
Oil the grill grates and heat the grill to medium. Grill burgers and onions until browned and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Place burgers on the buns and top each with a slice of mozzarella and a slice of grilled onion.
Part 2 Tomorrow
I was chosen to participate in Castello’s Summer of Blue #BluesdayTuesday campaign. Beginning with this month, May, Castello Blue Cheese will be featuring creative blue cheese recipes on Tuesdays, also known as #BluesdayTuesday, until September. Castello has a wide range of wonderful cheeses. Check out Castello’s website for more information and don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes. You can win a season’s worth of blue cheese for your summer entertaining. See the link at the bottom of this post to enter the sweepstakes.
I was sent samples of Castello’s crumbled Danish Blue to use in my recipes for this campaign. That was very exciting in itself, since I am a big fan of blue cheese and love to put it on my salad. However, I wanted this delicious tasting cheese to be a star in a menu I would use for entertaining my guests.
If you are not that familiar with blue cheese, start simply and pair it with different foods to see how they complement each other. Try it alongside sweeter ingredients like figs or pears for a great appetizer. Add blue cheese to spicy recipes to tone down the heat and, then, add it to some of your main dish recipes. Once you start experimenting with blue cheese, you’ll become a fan also.
Now that May is here and the weather has warmed, I look forward to entertaining outdoors. It is also the time I think about grilling. I find it very creative to plan a menu for entertaining and, in thinking about what to serve, I always think it is best to go with seasonal foods because they are going to be flavorful and fresh. This entrée is excellent to serve when you have company because the chicken rolls can be prepared early in the day and refrigerated. I always try to plan a menu where most of the preparation can be done early in the day, leaving me free to spend time with my guests.
Below is my suggested menu for an outdoor dinner party for 4. This menu is easily doubled for additional guests.
Eggplant Compote, (recipe link)
Grilled Chicken Rolls with Danish Blue Cheese Stuffing, recipe below
Lettuce and Green Bean Salad, (recipe link)
Grilled Vegetables, (recipe link)
Almond Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce, (recipe link)
Grilled Chicken Rolls with Danish Blue Stuffing
A technique I like to use for cooking fish and chicken on the grill is to coat them in Panko crumbs and grill them on heavy-duty foil over indirect heat. This technique keeps food moist and delicious. The chicken only uses one side of the grill, which leaves the direct side to use for grilling vegetables.
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Danish Blue Stuffing
- 4 oz Castello Crumbled Danish Blue Cheese
- 4 large fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 slices Pancetta, about 4 oz
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz each)
- 3/4 cup Panko crumbs
For the sauce:
In a small bowl combine lemon zest, lemon juice and melted butter. Divide the sauce in half and set one bowl aside. Refrigerate the other bowl until serving time.
For the chicken rolls:
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet and saute the pancetta and garlic until the pancetta is crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Set aside.
Butterfly each chicken breast and place each piece between 2 layers of plastic wrap.
Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the chicken into rectangles of an even thickness.
Divide the cooked pancetta evenly on each chicken breast.
Add 1 oz of Castello blue cheese to each breast and top with a basil leaf.
Fold in the sides of each chicken breast and roll up.
Dip chicken into one of the dishes with the reserved lemon sauce and then roll in the Panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken.
Secure the rolls with skewers and place on a tray lined with heavy duty foil. Refrigerate the chicken rolls until it is time to grill. Discard the lemon sauce used for the coating.
Preheat the grill on high.
Turn off one side of the grill and place chicken with the foil on that side of the grill.
Grill for 10 minutes, turn the chicken rolls over with grill tongs and cook for 10 more minutes or until the chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer.
Move the chicken rolls to a serving platter. Let grilled chicken rest 5 minutes.
Reheat the reserved lemon sauce in the microwave while the chicken rests. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken rolls and garnish with basil leaves. Serve.
In spring the focus is on tender, leafy vegetables that represent the fresh new growth of the season. The greening that occurs in springtime should be represented by greens on your plate, including some of the ones listed below.
Arugula is a dark green, peppery green that is used both raw and cooked. Arugula is sold either by the bunch or as loose leaves (much like spinach). Look for dark greens leaves of a uniform color. Avoid yellowing leaves, damages leaves, wilted leaves, or excessively moist-looking leaves
Spinach – it is easy to forget that the small, tender leaves of spring spinach are a real treat. There is a sweetness to their dark green leaves that is perfect in spinach salads.
Broccolini is actually a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. Broccolini is tender and somewhat sweet, without the bitterness you might find in regular broccoli or broccoli rabe.
Collard Greens are leafy green vegetables that belong to the same family that includes cabbage, kale and broccoli. Like kale, collards are one of the non-head forming members of the Brassica family. Collards unique appearance features dark blue-green leaves that are smooth in texture and relatively broad.
Spring Escarole is sweeter and more tender than at other times of year. It is delicious sautéed with garlic as a side dish, in soups or in a salad.
Chard comes in Swiss (white ribs), red, golden, and mixed rainbow versions. Each has its own flavor, but an earthy edge defines them all. Chard is usually cooked, but certainly can be chopped up and added to salads raw.
Arugula Fennel Salad
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 cups arugula leaves
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large salad bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and salt. Set aside.
Wash the arugula well and spin or pat it thoroughly dry. Set aside.
Trim fronds and root end of the fennel bulb. Cut the bulb in half, lay each half flat on a cutting surface and slice as thinly as you can.
Put the sliced fennel in the dressing. Use salad tongs, salad fork and spoon or clean hands gently toss the fennel and coat it evenly with the dressing. Add the arugula and cheese and toss to evenly coat the leaves. Serve.
Cheddar Broccolini Soup
- 1 pound broccolini, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bunch (6 to 8) green onions, with green, thinly sliced
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring broccolini and vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for about 5 minutes or until just tender.
In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat; add bell pepper, garlic and green onions and continue cooking for about 2 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Stir in flour and mustard until well blended. Slowly stir in milk. Cook, stirring, until thick and bubbly.
Pour broccolini and vegetable broth into the sauce mixture. Add cheese and the remaining seasonings, to taste. Serves 6.
Spring Spinach and Cheese Pizza
- One pound of your favorite pizza dough, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves,chopped and lightly packed
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
- 1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Oil a 14 inch pizza pan and stretch the dough to fit the pan. Let rest while you prepare the topping ingredients
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the spinach, garlic and green onions to the pan and toss for about two minutes until spinach is slightly wilted. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Spread sliced mozzarella over the surface of the dough. Top with the spinach mixture, Sprinkle with the asiago cheese and black pepper.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Swiss Chard with Tomatoes, Feta and Pine Nuts
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves chopped separately, divided
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or 1 tomato, cored and chopped
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook 5 minutes more.
Uncover, add chard leaves, salt, pepper and broth and cook, covered, until chard leaves are bright green and tender, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and gently stir in tomatoes. Scatter cheese and pine nuts over the top and serve.
Rigatoni with Ricotta and Collard Greens
You certainly can use any type of greens you like but this is a great recipe to give collards a try.
- 8 oz rigatoni or penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound collard greens, washed, drained, and chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, optional
Cook pasta to the al dente stage. Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté onion 5 minutes or until soft but not brown. Add garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and add greens; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until the greens are tender, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle the flour over the greens. Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring well. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and smooth.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the cooked pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, if using, over the top of the casserole.
Bake for 20 minutes.or until the center of the casserole is hot.
Sautéed Escarole with White Beans and Garlic
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1/2 pounds escarole, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add escarole (in batches, if needed), and cook, tossing often, until wilted and bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander as done and drain well.
Return skillet to heat and add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
Add broth to the skillet and deglaze; add beans and simmer until hot throughout, 2 to 3 minutes. Return greens to the skillet, toss gently and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sometimes, only a sandwich will do. Pasta seems too complicated and meat too fussy. A sandwich is simple and easy — bread, fillings – done. However, have you ever had a burger with a too-crusty bun or a multi-layered hero on bread that falls apart? Then you know what it means to choose the wrong bread for a sandwich. The basic rule of sandwich-making is that textures need to work together. You just need some basic knowledge and a bit of creativity.
Some breads work with almost everything, and challah — like its sweeter French cousin, brioche — is one of them. If you’re looking for fluff or sweetness as a balance to salty flavors, these breads are perfect: Both will also stand up to savory, salty prosciutto, condiments and even mayonnaise-based salads.
Heartier sandwiches, like pulled pork or meatballs, require more support, so go with a bun or roll. If you’re set on slices, remember that soggy fillings — like marinated steak or tomatoes for — benefit from thick-cut slices of bread.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are those sandwiches that require a lighter touch, especially if you’re thinking about making an open-faced sandwich. While baguettes are versatile, they also allow for thinner slicing. Baguettes are a wonderful base for a variety of toppings, especially if you’re feeding a crowd and they toast well.
Though some would argue that a wap is not a sandwich, they are popular for typical sandwich fillings, like salads, cold cuts and scrambled eggs. Just be sure the fillings are soft enough to be rolled up.
Are you thinking about making a Mediterranean type sandwich? You might want to choose an olive oil bread like focaccia or ciabatta. An olive oil bread is ideal to support, tomatoes, olives hummus, feta, pickles and capers. These breads also make the best paninis.
Want a healthy midday sandwich to get you through the day? Earthy, multi-textured loaves are a perfect match for good-for-you fillings like leafy greens, spreads, and tofu. They are also perfect for PB&J.
Maybe you are in the mood for a BLT or grilled cheese? Stick to the classics for these sandwiches, like a loaf of crusty sourdough. These types of sandwiches are all about what’s in the middle (cheese, bacon, tomatoes) and you want bread that will compliment them. The balance of soft chew, crusty crust and a slight tang make sourdough a good choice.
Chicken Panini with Tapenade, Roasted Peppers and Onions
Makes about 4 large sandwiches
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread thinly sliced or focaccia sliced in half
- Artichoke and olive tapenade (recipe below)
- 6 ounces Italian Fontina cheese, sliced
- 4 roasted red bell peppers from a jar
- 3/4 cup sautéed onions
- 1 large bunch fresh basil
- 1 pound cooked chicken breasts, sliced thin
- Olive Oil
Spread 1 slice of bread with tapenade, and layer the cheese and peppers on top. Spread cooked onions on another slice and top with basil and chicken.
Put the two halves together, brush the outsides of the bread with olive oil, and grill on a Panini maker or on a cast iron pan with another cast iron pan pressed on top. Repeat with all remaining sandwiches.
Olive and Artichoke Tapenade
- 4 ounces (113 g) of pitted kalamata olives
- 4 ounces (113 g) marinated artichoke hearts
- 2 fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
Open-Faced Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
- 2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced
- 1 medium green pepper, sliced
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- One small baguette cut in half and then in half again to make 4 pieces or use 4 – ½ inch thick slices of challah bread
- 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
- 4 slices Muenster cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F. Toast bread.
In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, salt, oregano and basil. Add vegetables and toss to coat. Transfer to two 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pans.
Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Combine mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard; spread over toasted bread. Place on a baking sheet. Top with vegetable mixture, tomato and cheese.
Broil 6-8 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Turkey Salad on Whole Wheat
- 1 cup chopped cooked turkey or chicken breast
- 1/3 cup chopped cored apple or chopped seeded cucumber or finely chopped celery
- 1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- Salt and black pepper
- 8 slices whole wheat bread
- 4 lettuce leaves
In a medium bowl stir together turkey, apple and egg. Add yogurt and mayonnaise; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 4 hours.
Spread chicken mixture on half of the bread slices. Top with lettuce leaves and remaining bread slices. Cut each sandwich in half.
Healthy Everything Hoagie
- 1 regular or whole wheat hoagie roll, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 fresh basil leaves , chopped
- 1 large lettuce leaf
- 1 slice deli oven roasted beef
- 1 slice deli oven roasted turkey breast
- 1 slice deli lean ham
- 2 thin slices provolone cheese
- 2 slices ripe tomato
- 1 thin slice red onion
- 2 thin slices green bell pepper
- Sliced pickles, optional
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar and basil.
Drizzle mixture on the inside top half of the roll.
On the bottom half of the roll, layer ingredients in the following order: lettuce, beef, turkey, ham, cheese, tomato, onion, peppers and pickles, if using.
Cover with the top of the roll.
Crispy Fish Fillet Sandwiches
This sandwich is oven fried and the sauce is made with yogurt to keep it healthy. Coleslaw goes well with this sandwich.
- Nonstick spray
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Two 6-ounce fish fillets (tilapia, halibut, cod, snapper, grouper, etc.
- Two 6-inch soft rolls or baguette, split and toasted
- 1 tomato, sliced
- Lettuce, shredded
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a heavy-duty baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray in the oven to heat.
Combine the sauce ingredients and refrigerate until ready to make the sandwiches.
Mix together the melted butter, Dijon mustard and dill in a pie plate. In another pie plate, combine the panko, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Dredge the fish through the melted butter mixture and then through the panko. Place on the hot baking pan in the oven and bake until cooked through and lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Assemble the sandwich by slathering the toasted split roll with the Sandwich Sauce, topping with the breaded fish fillet and adding tomato slices and shredded lettuce.
As immigrants from the different regions of Italy settled throughout the various regions of the United States, many brought with them a distinct regional Italian culinary tradition. Many of these foods and recipes developed into new favorites for the townspeople and later for Americans nationwide.
Saint Helena, North Carolina
Saint Helena began as one of six immigrant colonies established by Wilmington developer, Hugh Mac Rae. He attracted Italian farmers to Saint Helena with promises of 10 acres and a three-room home for $240, payable over three years.
St. Helena was named for an Italian queen, Elena, the wife of King Victor Emmanuel III and the daughter of King Nicholas I of Montenegro. In the Spring of 1906, eight immigrants from, Rovig, Veneto in Northern Italy, arrived. Within the year, they were followed by about 75 more adventurous individuals.
The first group of immigrants cleared the wooded land for vineyards. Most of the immigrants had lived in the Italian wine country and were experienced vineyard dressers. One of their first tasks was to plant fields of grapevines. They also planted crops, such as peas and strawberries. The Italian ladies made plans to open a bakery.
By 1909, about 150 immigrants lived in St. Helena. The surnames included Bertazza, Yarbo, Trevisano, Laghetto, Berto, Borin, Ferro, Marcomin, Rossi, Fornasiero, Codo, Tasmassia, Rossi, Malosti, Tamburin, Santato, Ghirardello, Liago, Bouincontri, Canbouncci, Lorenzini, Garrello, Antonio, Martinelli, Canavesio, Perino, Ronchetto, and Bartolera. From this group, fifteen musicians emerged who served as the Italian Brass Band that welcomed all newcomers to the Mac Rae settlements.
Most of the settlers were Roman Catholics and their first mass at St. Helena was held in a shed near the depot by the Rev. Joseph A. Gallagher in 1906. The newcomers, assisted by 2 or 3 carpenters from Wilmington, built the Church of St. Joseph. The church was held in great affection and served numerous waves of immigrants in St. Helena until it burned in 1934. Another Church of St. Joseph was constructed on Highway 17 in 1954 and it still exists today.
Prohibition put an end to their wine making venture. However, another great success story originated in St. Helena. James Pecora, a native of Calabria, Italy, brought the superior Calabria variety of broccoli and other vegetables to North Carolina to create a successful produce business.
Italian Cabbage with Tomatoes and Pecorino Romano Cheese
This robust side dish is served as an accompaniment to meats.
- 1 pound savoy cabbage
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved and cut into very thin rings
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 6 canned Italian plum tomatoes or more to taste
- 1/2 cup tomato liquid from the can, or chicken stock or beef stock
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Pecorino Romano for serving
Remove the core of the cabbage and cut the remaining cabbage into 1/4-inch strips. You should have about 4 firmly packed cups of cabbage strips.
Place the olive oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the onion and sauté until they start to soften and brown. Add the cabbage and garlic, stirring to blend well.
Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the cabbage and add them to the pan. Add the tomato liquid (or stock), vinegar and thyme.
Season well with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until the cabbage is softened.
Stir the butter into the cabbage. Serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Charleston, South Carolina
Giovanni Baptista Sanguinetti was a native of Genoa, Italy and immigrated to the United States in 1879. He entered the country through New York and settled in Charleston, SC. Sanguinetti, like most Italian immigrants during this period, was young. He was 25-years old. In order for Sanguinetti to fit into the Charleston community, he “Americanized” his name. Giovanni Sanguinetti became John Sanguinett. This change was reflected in the city directory and on his death certificate. Sanguinetti, a sailor by trade, worked for the Clyde Steamship Line as a longshoreman. Italian immigrants were very commonly employed as longshoremen because they were willing to work for lower wages and this created a great conflict with the locals.
Many employers exploited this conflict so that they could take advantage of the Italians’ working for a lower wage. Immigrants in Charleston faced difficulties in finding housing. They were relegated to live in specific areas of downtown Charleston. They, along with other immigrants, were expected to live east of King Street and north of Broad Street. This area encompasses the current historical district, including the “market.” Giovanni lived his entire life in this area and spent most of his working life on the wharf loading and unloading ships.
In Italy and the Northern US cities, Italian workers were recruited for Southern states by padroni. The padroni were Italians who were paid to recruit Italian workers. Many Italians were recruited to be tenant farmers and work the fields or work in the Southern mills.
Italians were not desirable as immigrants in South Carolina. Ben Tillman, one of South Carolina’s most fervent politicians and later Governor, spoke very strongly against recruiting Italians to his state. Tillman preferred to recruit immigrants from Northern Europe. As a result, South Carolina created its own Bureau of Immigration in 1881.
Vegetarian Lasagna with Artichoke Sauce
Nancy Noble’s vegetarian lasagna with artichoke sauce won the 2011 Lasagna Contest sponsored by the local chapter of the Sons of Italy. From the Post and Courier.
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 4 to 6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 4 (28-ounce) cans crushed Italian tomatoes
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 (6-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
Heat olive oil in large pot. Saute onions with garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and pepper flakes for 5 minutes. Add black pepper.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste and season with salt.
Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Drain artichokes, reserving marinade and set aside. Add the artichoke marinade to sauce. Simmer another 30 minutes.
Cut artichoke heart pieces in half and add to the sauce. Simmer another 15 minutes.
Stir in grated cheese and adjust seasonings.
For the lasagna:
- 1 pound ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 recipe of artichoke sauce
- 2 boxes of no-cook lasagna noodles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two 9 x 13 inch baking dishes.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the ricotta cheese and eggs until smooth and creamy. Reserve a few handfuls of the mozzarella to sprinkle on top of the dish. Add the remaining mozzarella to the ricotta mixture along with the parsley, salt and pepper.
In a 9 x 13-inch pan, spread a thin layer of sauce. Cover with a layer of the lasagna noodles. Spread a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture. Continue layering until pan is full.
Repeat with a second 9 x 13-inch pan. Top both with sauce and sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top.
Bake about 30 minutes, making sure not to let the cheese brown. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Beginning in the early twentieth century, millions of immigrants entered the United States from Eastern Europe, Southern Europe and the Middle East and some of these new arrivals found their way to Georgia. In many cases, the immigrants moved into neighborhoods where friends and relatives from their home country had already settled, and established themselves as members of the community. For example, Jewish Russian immigrants became prominent citizens of Columbus, Italian immigrants pursued opportunities in Elberton’s granite industry and Lebanese immigrants contributed to the growth of Valdosta.
Elbert County sits on a subterranean bed of granite in the Piedmont geologic province. It was identified at the turn of the twentieth century as the Lexington-Oglesby Blue Granite Belt that measures about fifteen miles wide and twenty-five miles long and stretches into nearby counties. In the county’s early history, the granite was seen more as a nuisance rather than as an industry, especially for residents primarily engaged in agricultural activities. Early uses of granite included grave markers and foundation and chimney stone.
After the Civil War (1861-65), however, new possibilities for Elberton’s granite began to emerge. In 1882, Elberton’s first quarry was opened to get construction stone for use by one of the local railroads. By 1885 a second quarry was also opened. During the 1890s, Elberton’s potential as a producer of granite solidified as more quarries in the city and county were opened. On July 6, 1889, the Elberton Star, the local newspaper, christened the town the “Granite City.”
In 1898 Arthur Beter, an Italian sculptor, executed the first statue carved out of Elberton granite. A small building constructed to house the statue during its completion became the town’s first granite shed.
During the immigration period from Italy, skilled laborers came to Elbert County to pursue a livelihood in the granite business. Among the many new arrivals were Charles C. Comolli, founder and owner of the Georgia Granite Corporation and Richard Cecchini, a highly skilled stone sculpturer. The industry flourished with the creation of new sheds and the opening of additional quarries in the years following.
A little bit of Georgia folklore:
Labor-Inducing Eggplant Parmigiana
Nearly 300 baby pictures decorate Scalini’s old-fashioned Italian restaurant. All of the babies pictured on the Italian restaurant wall were born after their mothers ate the Scalini’s eggplant parmigiana. The breaded eggplant smothered in cheese and thick marinara sauce is “guaranteed” to induce labor, the restaurant claims. The eggplant legend began not long after the restaurant opened 23 years ago.
“Two or three years after we began, a few people had just mentioned to us they came in when they were pregnant, and ate this eggplant and had a baby a short time after that,” said John Bogino, who runs the restaurant with his son, Bobby Bogino. “One person told another, and it just grew by itself by leaps and bounds.”
To date, more than 300 of the pregnant women customers who ordered the eggplant have given birth within 48 hours, and the restaurant dubs them the “eggplant babies.” If it doesn’t work in two days, the moms-to-be get a gift certificate for another meal.
- 3 medium-sized eggplants
- 1 cup flour
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups fine Italian bread crumbs (seasoned)
- Olive oil
- 8 cups marinara sauce (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup Romano cheese (grated)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
Scalini’s Marinara Sauce
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cups tomatoes (fresh or canned), chopped
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh sweet basil, chopped
- Pinch thyme
- Pinch rosemary
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. You may choose to peel the eggplant before you slice it. Place the eggplant slices on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt, then cover with another layer of paper towels and hold it down with something heavy to drain the excess moisture. Let them sit for about an hour.
Working with one slice of eggplant at a time, dust with flour, dip in beaten eggs, then coat well with breadcrumbs. Saute in preheated olive oil on both sides until golden brown.
In a baking dish, alternate layers of marinara sauce, eggplant slices, ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, until you fill the baking dish, about 1/8 inch from the top. Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake for 25 minutes in a 375 degree F oven. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Scalini’s Marinara Sauce Directions
Lightly saute the onions in olive oil in large pot for a few minutes.
Add garlic and saute another minute. Add tomatoes and bring sauce to a boil, then turn heat to low. Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and let simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Recipe courtesy of John Bogino, Scalini’s Italian Restaurant, Georgia (scalinis.com).
Julia DeForest Tuttle (1849-1898), Henry Morrison Flagler (1830- 1913), James Deering, (1859-1925) and other American pioneers were busy displaying their understanding of Italian culture as they built railways, planned a city and erected palatial estates in Miami and Southeast Florida. The hotels and the villas built in Miami replicated the symbols of status of the early modern European courts.
The landscape and architecture of Villa Vizcaya were influenced by Veneto and Tuscan Italian Renaissance models and designed in the Mediterranean Revival architectural style with Baroque elements. Paul Chalfin was the design director.
Vizcaya was created as James Deering’s winter home and, today, it is a National Historic Landmark and museum. The planning and construction of Vizcaya lasted over a decade, from 1910 to 1922. Deering modeled his estate after an old Italian country villa. This involved the large-scale purchase of European antiques and the design of buildings and landscapes to accommodate them. Deering began to purchase the land for Vizcaya in 1910 and, that same year, he made his first trip to Italy to acquire antiquities.
Deering purchased an additional 130 acres of land and construction on the site began in the following year. About a thousand individuals were employed at the height of construction in creating Vizcaya, including several hundred construction workers, stonecutters and craftsmen from the northeastern states, Italy and the Bahamas.
James Deering died in September 1925 and the property was passed to his relatives. In 1952 Miami-Dade County acquired the villa and formal Italian gardens, which needed significant restoration, for $1 million. Deering’s heirs donated the villa’s furnishings and antiquities to the County-Museum. Vizcaya began operation in 1953 as the Dade County Art Museum.
The village and remaining property were acquired by the County during the mid-1950s. In 1994 the Vizcaya estate was designated as a National Historic Landmark. In 1998, in conjunction with Vizcaya’s accreditation process by the American Alliance of Museums, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Trust was formed to be the museum’s governing body.
Linguine Frutti di Mare
Serves 2 as an appetizer
- 5 oz.fresh linguine pasta
- 4 jumbo shrimp
- 12 small scallops
- 6 mussels
- 6 clams
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1.5 oz. white wine
- 1 tablespoon. garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon. lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon basil, chopped and a sprig for garnish
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a hot pan. Add garlic, then sauté for about two minutes. Add shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, tomatoes and kosher salt. Add the wine and cover the pan to steam another two minutes.Add tomato sauce to the pan of seafood and stir.
Put the fresh pasta into boiling salted water. When the pasta is al dente, drain, add to the seafood pan and mix well. Add the chopped basil, mix and divide between two pasta serving bowls. Garnish with a sprig of basil and a drizzle of olive oil.