Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Individuals of Italian extraction constitute one of the most important ethnic groups in West Virginia. These Italian-Americans date their connection with the state to ancestors who were recruited during the early years of the 20th century to work in West Virginia’s rapidly developing industrial economy. With more than 17,000 Italian immigrants in the state by 1910, they made up 30 percent of West Virginia’s foreign-born population. In fact, so many Italians had entered the state that for over a decade before the First World War, the Italian government maintained a consular office in northern West Virginia.

The majority of the Italian population were located in the northern part of the state, with Marion County leading the way, followed by Harrison, Tucker, Randolph, Preston and Monongalia. Significant clusters of Italians were also drawn to southern West Virginia. McDowell County, with 2,300, could boast the most Italian immigrants in the state in 1910, although the Fayette County communities of Boomer, Harewood, Longacre and Smithers constituted the greatest single concentration of Italians in the state. While immigrants were attracted to West Virginia from all over the Italian peninsula, the majority came from the southern regions of Campania, Calabria and Sicily.

The great majority of Italian immigrants were employed in the coal industry as pick-and-shovel miners. West Virginia mines were among the most mechanized in the US and miners born in America generally operated the new machines. They usually earned better pay than their foreign born counterparts, who were left with the hand tool work. Despite this disparity, West Virginia Italians were able to significantly improve their financial position. In part, the Italians achieved economic progress and acceptance by their work ethic. The records for coal production by hand tools are all apparently held by Italians. For instance, in 1924, Carmine Pellegrino of Rosemont mined 66 tons of coal in one 24-hour period and earned the nickname ‘‘sixty-six’’. Eleven years later, Dominic Pesca of Boomer mined by hand 48 tons of coal in one day and 52 tons the next at the Union Carbide mines at nearby Alloy. Italian miners in West Virginia also improved their economic position by self-sacrifice and frugality. Raising livestock and tending gardens kept down expenses and helped them save a great deal of their earnings. The U.S. Department of Labor noted that such Italian miners sent more money back to their home country than any other comparable group of immigrants.

Loading coal into horse drawn carts to be distributed to businesses or homes. (Image courtesy of Google Books)

Although large numbers were involved in digging coal, West Virginia’s Italians were an occupationally diverse group. Even in the coal camps, they often held a variety of jobs such as teamsters, carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, stonemasons or general laborers. In many areas, Italians were a vital part of the business community. The occupational diversity of Italians was especially notable in the northern part of the state where urban industrial settings were more common. For instance, historian William Klaus has written that Italians in Marion County were not just miners, but also worked in glass and other manufacturing establishments, on railroads, in skilled trades, on farms and in their own small businesses.

Historians have explored the significance of the high concentration of Italians in the work force of the Mountain State. As a result, we know they came mostly as an indirect result of wanting to work in the West Virginia coal industry. What emerges from this literature is that these immigrants were desperately poor individuals fleeing their old world peasant communities for a chance at a better life in America. Confused and unable to speak English, they were met at ports of entry by employment agents or representatives of private firms and whisked away to the mountains, where they had little idea of where they were or what they were going to do.

Dispersed without input to coal, lumber, transportation and construction companies, they were seemingly powerless to determine their own destiny. However, despite this background, they earned respect for their hard work and were seen as assimilating rather easily into the mountain culture. The purpose of this historical study was to take a first step at understanding the Italian experience in West Virginia. By focusing on the group of Italians who were drawn to Fayette County, the research attempted to move beyond the impact in which West Virginia’s culture and institutions had on such immigrants. Rather, the research aimed to determine how the Italians influenced the institutions and values of the southern West Virginia coal workers, in what was emerging as a critical period in the state’s mining history.

Italian Family 1929

A seam of coal, measuring between five and six feet thick, ran through the hills above the town of Boomer in Fayette County. This coal was first developed in 1896 by West Virginia merchant, William Masters. Boomer Coal and Coke operation became possible because of the extension of the Kanawha and Michigan Railroad. Completion of the K and M also aided W. R. Johnson in opening a mine in Harewood and Samuel Dixon in Longacre. By the spring of 1903, the Boomer Coal and Coke operations was purchased by Hocking Valley of Ohio. Since Boomer’s three mines were among the most productive in the district, their acquisition placed the Hocking Valley Corporation on the verge of a significant expansion in their capacity to produce coal.

Shortly after, the Boomer Coal and Coke Company began a vigorous campaign of attracting Italian immigrants as part of its workforce. The hostile labor relations atmosphere created by the Coal Strike of 1902 in West Virginia gave the recruitment of Italians and other foreign labor a sense of urgency. The work stoppage of West Virginia’s miners in the great Coal Strike of 1902 is historically pictured as a sympathy strike to support the anthracite miners in eastern Pennsylvania. However, in southern West Virginia the strike was basically about local issues. During this situation, the Boomer Coal and Coke Company did everything it could to keep the union out and keep its production going full strength. Among other things, it forbade meetings on its property and obtained restraining orders, forbidding any attempt at interference with the employment relationship at any of its operations.

File:W. Va. coal mine 1908.jpg

1908 West Virginia coal mine entrance

It became clear that Boomer Coal and Coke and the other Hocking properties decided that their expanding enterprises would depend essentially on immigrant labor, but it is not clear why these coal operations placed particular emphasis on recruiting Italians. It may have been as simple, as the fact, that there were so many of them available. On the other hand, the preference of Boomer Coal and the other Hocking operations for southern Italians may have had another source. It was well known that the vast majority of southern Italian immigrants were agricultural workers. However, anyone who conducted interviews with the Italians in the southern West Virginia coal fields, learned that a substantial number were not new to mining work. For example, Luigi Curatolo migrated from a Sicilian community where he and his brothers, Salvatore and Guiseppe, had entered the sulfur mines at the age of eight. These brothers, as had their father before them, expected to spend the rest of their lives in such mines. However, at the turn of the century, the ancient mines of Sicily were no longer profitable and eventual emigration to a place like West Virginia was an opportunity to do something that had a familiar feel to it.

KANAWHA COALFIELD

Whatever the reasons may have been for recruiting them, a steadily increasing stream of Italian immigrants flooded onto the properties of Boomer Coal and Coke and its sister companies. As more and more Italians made the trip to Boomer, they soon filled up the clusters of little houses the company built and the area became know as “little Italy.” In less than a decade there were over a thousand Italians in Boomer, making it the largest concentration of Italians relative to total population of any city in the state.

If Boomer Coal and Coke Company and the other Hocking Valley interests recruited so heavily among the Italians in the hope that these immigrants would constitute a more docile, controllable work force than their native West Virginia employees, who had caused so much trouble during the 1902 strike, they would soon be disillusioned. They would learn that Italians could respond aggressively and with remarkable solidarity to injustice. For example, in July, 1905, the foreman of a construction crew, working on a railroad grading crew in Fayette County, reprimanded an Italian laborer by knocking him down an embankment. The foreman’s actions incensed many of the Italian crew, who threw down their tools and grabbed rocks to throw at the foreman. The Italians were soon joined by workmen from other nearby railroad construction crews. A battle between the Italians and company men soon broke out. The Italians and their allies were winning until William Nelson Page, the owner of the area’s coal properties, got word of the trouble and sent law enforcement officers to break up the melee and arrest eleven of the instigators. 

While many Italian immigrants eventually left West Virginia, many others stayed and made a long lasting impact on the state and its institutions. Italian union members and organizers, such as Tony Stafford and Armando Folio, helped to make the Mountain State one of the most union-oriented states in the nation. West Virginia Catholicism and its ancillary institutions were strengthened considerably by the infusion of Italian parishioners. The continuing influence of Italians in West Virginia was symbolized by the growth of the yearly Italian festivals held in the state at Clarksburg and Wheeling in the north and Bluefield and Princeton in the southern part of the state. As late as 1970, Italians with at least one parent born in Italy constituted West Virginia’s second-largest ethnic group. By the third generation, Italians had moved into the center of political life in many parts of the state. In 2005, Joe Manchin became West Virginia’s first governor of Italian descent. His uncle, A. James Manchin, secretary of state and treasurer, had preceded him as one of the state’s most popular politicians.

West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival

The first West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival was first held in downtown Clarksburg in 1979. The idea was proposed by the librarian at the Clarksburg Harrison Public Library and a board of directors was formed, consisting mostly of prominent citizens of Italian descent. A parade, street concerts, authentic Italian food, cultural events (including art shows and opera), crafts, sports (bocce, morra and golf) and the crowning of a festival queen were all part of the first Italian Heritage Festival and continued in later festivals.The West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival is held each Labor Day weekend beginning on Friday and concluding on Sunday.

Sources: http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/924 and http://muwww-new.marshall.edu/csega/research/minewars.pdf

The Food of West Virginia Italians

The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll

As the story goes… Italian miners, like most miners, needed something non-perishable and easily portable to pack into their lunch pails (or pants pockets) as they often worked very long hours, so lunch frequently consisted of a piece of bread and a couple of pieces of cured meat. It wasn’t long before an entrepreneurial miner in Fairmont, W.V., Frank Agiro, decided to experiment with baking a couple of bits of salumi inside a yeast roll and, thus, the pepperoni roll was born. Not soon after, Agiro put down his pick ax and opened the now famous Country Club Bakery, which is still in operation today.

Like its cousin, the pizza, a pepperoni roll varies greatly in taste and quality and ranges from: flour-dusted, brownie-size rolls stuffed with sliced pepperoni and sold by the dozen in bread bags at gas stations; to individually wrapped rolls as big as an overstuffed burrito with pepperoni sticks in the middle sold at Mountaineer Field, home of West Virginia University’s football team; to heated rolls, split open and topped with cheese and tomato sauce, such as those served at Colosessano’s in Fairmont.

Sticks versus slices are probably the biggest dividers among bakers–sticks are definitively the purist’s take. You’ll also find some hackles raised over the matter of cheese. To add or not!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • One 6-ounce stick pepperoni, cut into 4 logs and each split in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella

Directions:

In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted. The milk should be just a little hotter than warm, between 100 and 115 degrees F, but not over 115 degrees F. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, salt and yeast. Let the mixture sit until the yeast is activated and foam covers the top, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Crack the egg into the middle and pour in the yeast liquid. Make the dough by mixing all ingredients together with a rubber spatula. Make sure all ingredients are incorporated; the dough will be sticky and loose. Leave the dough in the center of the bowl when it is fully incorporated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Remove the plastic and gently re-knead the dough while still in the bowl. Form into a ball, as best you can, and cover with plastic wrap. This time allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour.

After the second rise, remove the dough to a very generously floured surface, kneading to bring together. Cut the dough into 8 pieces, about 3 1/2 ounces each. Gently form each piece of dough into balls, incorporating more flour as needed. Use your hands to flatten each ball to a 4 1/2-inch circle. Brush a piece of pepperoni with oil and place in the center of the circle, along with 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella. Fold the dough over the pepperoni, like a burrito, and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet seam side down.

Repeat with the remaining pepperoni and cheese. As you place each pepperoni roll on the sheet tray, leave at least 1 inch around each roll to allow for a third rise (therefore you will need 2 baking sheets). Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 30 minutes. The rolls will puff up just a bit.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining oil and bake in the oven 30 to 35 minutes. The rolls will have a rich golden color and crispy crust.

Note: This dough is very wet dough. Use a rubber spatula when incorporating flour into the dough. Make sure to always flour your hands and the surface you are working on when working with the dough.

Tiella

The dish is very popular among Italians in North Central West Virginia and a great way to use up fresh summer vegetables. Supposedly, the word “tiella” (like so many Italian recipes) means pan. A vegetarian version can also be made by omitting the meat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 large can tomato sauce (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 parboiled potatoes, peeled and sliced (if using red potatoes, leave the skin on)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced same size as the potatoes
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil and parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Directions:

Brown the meat in a skillet. Pour tomato sauce and water over meat mixture and let simmer about 15-20 min. In another pan saute the onions and garlic in olive oil and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the fresh bread crumbs with the grated cheese, parsley, basil, salt and ground black pepper.

In a round deep dish pizza pan or casserole cover the bottom of the pan with some of the meat sauce and then add a layer of potatoes, zucchini and onions. Top with some of the bread crumb mixture. Just like making lasagna, repeat with another layer, pour any remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle the top with the remaining bread crumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.

Zuppe di Pesce Venetian

Carlotta Yonkers remembers the long hours her mother, Sylvia Potesta, spent in the family’s East End kitchen. Potesta’s maternal grandparents, who came from Calabria, in the southern coastal region of Italy, settled first in Boomer, where most of the men became miners. Her mother was born in Charleston, WV. Her father, who was born in Bruzzi (Italy) preferred city life and moved to Charleston where he became a tailor and worked for years at the Diamond department store. Potesta remembers that her father ordered seafood from New York City, which was shipped to them in a large barrel, for the family’s Christmas Eve dinner because no Charleston grocer carried the required ingredients.

Carlotta Yonkers’ Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups cleaned and chopped leeks
  • 4 cups chopped tomato
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 cups chopped fresh fennel tops
  • Any combination of: whole shrimp, clams in their shells, mussels, crab pieces in the shell, scallops, white fish of any kind, fresh, cut into 2-inch chunks

Directions:

Place butter, olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots, leeks and tomato in a 12-quart heavy stockpot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until things begin to brown a bit, about 15 minutes.

Add parsley, wine, stock, water, fennel seed, peppercorns and fennel tops to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. Drain the stock from the kettle and discard all the ingredients, returning the stock to the pot.

Bring the stock to a boil when ready to serve and add any or all of the seafood, using any amount desired. Start with the heavy-shelled seafood and then add scallops and fish last. Simmer until the clams and mussels are open, the shrimp pink and all is tender, but not overcooked, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty toasted bread.

Oliverio Family Tradition

In 1932, in her small kitchen at the back of her retail store in Clarksburg, WV, Antoinette “Ma” Oliverio perfected her recipe for peppers in Italian sauce. Her son, Frank, took her recipe out of the kitchen and into the business world.

In 1972, he began canning peppers under the Oliverio label. Today, his son Mark Oliverio and daughter Deanna Mason continue running the business that was a labor of love for their father. Three generations later, the Oliverio family have combined their love of good food with their recipe for success. In sharing their fathers dream, they are also continuing the legacy of Antoinette, whom they credit with instilling respect for heritage and love of family. Oliverio products are made from a family recipe using only the finest ingredients. Today, the peppers are used in restaurants and line store shelves throughout the East Coast.

Oliverio Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 16 oz jar Oliverio Peppers and Sauce (hot or sweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl add ground beef and all ingredients except 1/4 of the peppers with sauce and cheese. Mix together. Place in a loaf pan and press gently to relieve any air pockets.

Pour remaining peppers and sauce on top of the ground beef mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

Cover baking pan with foil (greased on the side facing the meatloaf) and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

Remove the meatloaf from the pan and drain any grease, let stand for 10 minutes. Slice and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Italian Cream Cake

Patricia Haddy bakes lots of Italian Cream Cakes, her most popular cake. She bakes for friends, family and others who request her cakes after they taste them. “The Italian Cream Cake took off like wildfire when I started making it,” she said.

When a friend requested she bring the cake to a reception years ago at the Marriott, the chef tasted it and offered her a job. She turned him down, but sold her cakes to him for years as his job took him to local country clubs and restaurants. She found the Italian Cream Cake she makes faithfully from a local source, “Seasons and Celebrations” by former West Virginia Gazette food contributor Rosalie Gaziano.

Yield: 3 9-inch round cakes

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 small can coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 5 egg whites, beaten

Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg yolks, one at a time.

Sift flour and soda together; add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Add vanilla, coconut and pecans.

Fold in beaten egg whites.

Pour into three greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Frosting for Italian Cream Cake

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
  • 1 pound confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream together cream cheese and butter or margarine. Add sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth.

Spread between layers and on top of the cake. If frosting is stiff, add a little milk.

Sprinkle nuts on top of the cake.

 


Best Beef Steaks For The Grill

Choosing the correct cut of meat is very important when grilling. Some of the best steaks for grilling are the premium cuts. Thickness of the steak is very important. Each cut should be between 1 inch and 1 1/2 inches thick. The strip steaks and top sirloin should be a little less expensive than the filet mignon, t-bone, porterhouse and rib eye.

Filet Mignon is a cut taken from the center of the beef tenderloin that has outstanding taste as well as texture. They’re the most tender steaks you can buy, though not the most beef flavor.

Also known as:

Tenderloin

Tournedos

Chateaubriand

Beef Medallion

New York Strip is an excellent cut for grilling. This is the steak that many grilling experts prefer.

Also know as:

Strip Loin

Shell Steak

Kansas City Strip

New York Strip Steak

Rib Eye is another classic cut that has marbling throughout the meat – making it one of the juiciest cuts as well as very tender.

Also know as:

Scotch Fillet

Delmonico Steak

Porterhouse is a very large steak that is actually a combination of two steaks: the New York strip on one side and a tender filet on the other. Many believe these to be the best of all steaks.

Also know as:

T-Bone

Short Loin

 

T-Bone is named for its distinguishing T-shaped bone. This choice cut is almost identical to a Porterhouse steak, only it doesn’t have as much of the tenderloin muscle in it. It is both a strip sirloin (with the bone) and a tender filet mignon.

Also known as:

Short Loin

Porterhouse

Club Steak

 

Top Sirloin is near the rump, so the meat’s a bit tougher than cuts from the loin or the rib. The top sirloin is a juicy cut taken from the center of the sirloin – the most tender part and is a great cut for grilling.

 

Flank steak has great beef flavor at a low price. However, it can be a little tricky to grill, because it is easy to overcook. Due to its low fat content and pronounced grain, it becomes tough and nearly inedible, if cooked past medium rare. First of all, make sure the meat is at room temperature. Placing cold meat on a hot grill will make it seize up, toughening it. Also, it will be more difficult to get the steak to cook evenly if the meat is cold in the center. Also, make sure the grill is hot – very hot. The key to keeping flank steak tender is to sear it quickly over high heat.

Rub flank steaks with a little olive oil, then salt and pepper both sides heavily. The salt will bring some of the meat’s juices to the surface and help to form the brown crust that is the hallmark of good grilling. You can also use a marinade.

Place the meat on the grill and do not move it for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes are up, turn the meat over and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the second side, again without moving the meat. Provided that your grill was hot enough, this should give you medium rare on the ends and rare in the middle. If you prefer it a little more done, increase the cooking time on each side to 4 minutes. Do not cook past medium rare, or the steak will be tough.

The last step is actually the most critical. When the meat is done, remove it from the grill and place it on a cutting board. Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. When the meat has rested, determine the direction of the grain – in flank steak, the fibers run along the length of the steak, and you will want to cut across the grain, in thin slices. Cutting thinly across the grain gives you short fibers in each slice, resulting in more tender meat.

Cooking Perfect Steak: on the stove, in the oven or on the grill.

Pan-Searing Steaks:

In a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Sear the steaks, moving them with tongs a little so they don’t stick to the bottom, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Using this Pan-Searing technique, proceed to cook your steak to your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:

Rare – 120 degrees F

Medium Rare – 125 degrees F

Medium – 130 degrees F

When the steaks are done to your liking, remove from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute (add juices that accumulate from resting steaks to any sauce you are making).

Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates.

Sear-Roasting Steaks:

Preheat oven to 500°F (a very hot oven produces a juicy interior). Place a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof skillet or cast-iron skillet and place on range over high heat (the pan and the handle will be extremely hot – be careful).

Immediately place steaks in the middle of a hot, dry pan (if cooking more than one piece of meat, add the pieces carefully, so that they are not touching each other). Cook 1 to 2 minutes without moving; turn with tongs and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and put the cast iron skillet with the steaks in it into the oven. Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks and degree of doneness you like. Using the Sear-Roasting technique, proceed to cook your steak to your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:

Rare – 120 degrees F

Medium Rare – 125 degrees F

Medium – 130 degrees F

When the steaks are done to your liking, remove from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven) and the juices redistribute (add juices that accumulate from resting steaks to your wine sauce). Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto individual serving plates.

Grilling Steaks: 

Using dry heat from a grill is another great way to cook quality steaks. Remove steaks from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking and wipe any excess marinade (if used) off the steaks.

When you are ready to grill, preheat the grill and coat the grates with oil or non-stick kitchen spray to keep the steaks from sticking to the grill. Place steaks on a hot grill. Only turn the steak once. Let it cook on one side, then let it finish on the other side.

Grill to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Rare – 120 degrees F

Medium Rare – 125 degrees F

Medium – 130 degrees F

When the steaks are done to your liking, remove from the grill and let sit 15 minutes before serving (meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven).

Grilled Porterhouse Steak with Fennel Sauce

A great way of presenting the meat to be served is to cut out the bone, slice both sides of the steak and then reassemble the steak on the plate in its original form.

3 to 4 servings

Fennel Sauce

  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 (1/4-inch-thick) slice of lemon
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Grilled Vegetables

  • 3 bell peppers, red, orange, yellow or a mix, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large head radicchio, cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges, keeping root ends intact
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges, keeping root ends intact
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise on a diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Fine sea salt

Steak

  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) Porterhouse steak (2 inches thick), at room temperature.

Directions:

FOR SAUCE: Cook fennel and lemon in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes, then drain, reserving some of the cooking water; discard lemon. Transfer fennel to the bowl of a food processor; add 5 tablespoons of the cooking water, oil, chives, mustard and generous pinch salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl.

FOR VEGETABLES AND STEAK: Prepare a charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal or medium-high heat for gas. Grill vegetables, turning as needed, until slightly charred and tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a large platter and season with salt.

Grill steak, shifting meat every 30 seconds or so to avoid flare-ups and brown evenly, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and repeat procedure on second side. Using tongs, prop steak up and grill edges until browned. Grill sides of steak again, until meat is cooked to rare (about 120° on an instant-read thermometer inserted 1 1/2 inches into steak; meat will be cooler near the bone). Total cooking time will be 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice steak; serve with vegetables and sauce.

Steak with Herb Sauce

Sauce:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
  • 2 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons. packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon. packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh tarragon leaves

Steak:

  • Four (6- to 8-ounce) New York strip, porterhouse or T-bone steaks (about 1-inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Prepare Herb Sauce: Place garlic and next 7 ingredients (garlic through lemon juice) in a blender and pulse until emulsified. Add herbs a little at a time and blend until they are incorporated. Scrape down sides of blender jar as needed. The sauce should be thick and very green with the texture of pesto.

Prepare the grill and heat to medium high.

Prepare steak: Remove steak from refrigerator and let come to room temperature (about 1 hour). Pat dry with paper towels. Just before grilling, brush both sides of steaks with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place meat directly on the grill grate and cook over medium-high direct heat about 5 minutes. Turn and continue cooking 5 minutes for medium rare. Cook longer for medium. Remove from grill to a clean platter and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Herb Sauce.

Grilled Mediterranean Steak

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb boneless beef top sirloin or rib eye, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed, chopped, fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
  • Sliced fresh tomatoes

Directions:

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Grease grill grates.

Rub both sides of each piece of beef with garlic; sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning.

Place beef on grill. Cover grill; cook over medium heat 9 to 11 minutes, turning once, until beef is medium rare.

In small bowl, mix together spinach, feta and olives. Spoon over beef. Serve with sliced tomatoes on the side.

Sirloin Steaks with Barbaresco Glaze

You defrosted the steak and it is raining! Make this dish instead.

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups Barbaresco wine
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 1 sage sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • Four 1/2-pound sirloin steaks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt

Directions:

In a 1-quart pot, bring Barbaresco wine to a boil with shallots, sage and rosemary. Reduce by half, about 15 minutes over medium heat; strain and discard the shallots, sage and rosemary.

Dredge sirloin steaks in the flour. Heat the olive oil in a 14″ skillet. Cook the steaks 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Turn and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. Add the Barbaresco reduction. Cook 3 minutes. Season with salt.

Remove the steaks to a platter; keep warm. Reduce the cooking juices until thickened to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Pour the glaze over the steaks and serve immediately.

Grilled Flank Steak with Zucchini and Tomato Sauce

4 servings

Ingredients:

Steak

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak (3/4 inch thick)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Zucchini Tortini

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2/3 teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

FOR THE STEAK: Combine fennel seeds, peppercorns and salt in a mortar and pestle or small processor. Grind to a fine powder. Place steak in a baking dish; rub on all sides with ground spices and oil. Marinate, chilled, 2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare sauce.

FOR THE SAUCE: In a large saucepan combine bell pepper, tomato, onion, oil and pinch salt. Bring to a simmer. Gently simmer, covered, until vegetables are very soft, about 12 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, uncovered, 1 minute more. Process sauce with an immersion blender or in a processor, then transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Prepare a charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal or medium-high heat for gas. Remove marinated steak from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while you prepare zucchini.

FOR THE TORTINI: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat oven to 375  degrees F. and set rack in middle of the oven.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, garlic, parsley and a pinch salt; toss together to combine. Cook until zucchini is tender, about 3 minutes; remove from heat.

On prepared baking sheet, overlap enough of the zucchini to form 4 single-layered, 3-inch rounds. Sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon cheese. Repeat with remaining zucchini and cheese to form 4 (4-layered) tortini.

Grill steak 4 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board to rest. While steak is resting, bake tortini until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Transfer tortini to serving plates. Slice steak. Serve with tortini and sauce.


The aroma fills the neighborhood and that distinctive sizzling sound can mean only one thing – it’s grilling season. But while you’re enjoying those burgers, be mindful to keep your meals healthy for your heart. A burger doesn’t always have to be fattening or even made of beef.

Here are seven heart-smart choices along with tips for better-tasting burgers.

Grass-Fed Beef: Less fatty than corn-fed beef and the meat of pasture-raised cattle produces a lean hamburger with a clean, mineral flavor. You can add a bit of fat, such as olive oil, to your blend for more flavor. Choose ground round or sirloin–they’re lower in fat.

Bison is one of the leanest meats and very high in protein. But it is the amount of protein you get in bison meat, without the saturated fat, that makes this a great alternative to regular beef. Bison is a great source of nutrients: zinc, niacin, iron, vitamin B6 and selenium. Because bison meat is leaner than beef, it can easily become tough, if you overcook it. Adding a marinade can help keep the meat moist. Try marinades with ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh rosemary or soy sauce, garlic and ginger. 

Chicken and Turkey: More supermarket space is now devoted to ground turkey and chicken. The trick is finding the lower-fat versions to make burgers. Some ground turkey breast can be 99% fat free. In addition, ground poultry breast can have fewer calories than a typical ground-beef burger. When buying chicken or turkey for patties, ask the butcher to grind boneless, skinless breast meat. Some prepackaged ground turkey and chicken may contain dark meat or skin, which can increase the amount of fat.

Soy: Made with soy protein, these patties are great-tasting meat substitutes. Although no meat is in soy burgers, they can still have a beefy flavor. Soy burgers are lower in saturated fat, calories and cholesterol than beef patties–plus they often provide fiber. Because the texture isn’t the same as regular burgers, try dressing them up with flavorful condiments.

Veggie: Often a mix of brown rice and other grains, vegetable patties won’t necessarily taste the same as grilled meat. However, a veggie burger on a whole wheat bun with a slice of tomato and cheese is a nutritional powerhouse. Some veggie patties can be a mere 90 calories, meaning they’ll satisfy appetites without expanding waistlines. Unlike some other on-the-bun options, veggie burgers can also supply fiber. Opt for mustard, which adds additional flavor without many calories.

Portobello Mushroom: This thick, hearty mushroom is about 4 to 6 inches in diameter, conveniently sized for a bun. It has a firm texture that feels similar to a beef burger. However, portobello mushrooms won’t have the same char-grilled flavor as meat. Zero fat and incredibly few calories–only seven calories per ounce–make this mushroom a great choice. Marinate mushrooms in a low-fat Caesar or Italian salad dressing for a few hours to add flavor. Grill for about five minutes on each side.

Venison: Deer meat can be a lean option for grilling season as well. Because the meat is low in fat, it may taste drier than a beef patty. Some people also experience a “gamey” flavor from this meat. With about half the fat of a beef burger, venison offers about the same amount of protein. Because venison may seem a bit drier than ground beef, mix in some tomato or barbecue sauce to moisten the patties.

Additional tips for making just about any burger more heart healthy.

1. Use caution with toppers. If you’re trying to reduce fat and calories, stick with veggie additions like tomato, lettuce, mushrooms and peppers on your burger. Use low-fat cheeses and spreads such as mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce. If you want bacon on your burger opt for turkey bacon.

2. Choose whole grains. By using a bun made with whole grain, you can easily fulfill one of your three daily servings of whole grains.

3. Trim patty size. Think thin and small to keep calories down.

4. Mix meats. If you crave the taste of ground beef in your burgers but want a healthier option, mix half ground sirloin beef and half turkey breast.

Forming A Burger

Don’t pack the meat too much: overworking it can cause the burger to become overly dense and tough. Gather the meat into a loose ball and set it on a work surface. Curl the palms of your hands around the sides of the patty and work it back and forth in a rotating motion so that the sides of the patty flatten slightly. Then gently press down on the top of the patty with the flat of your hand.

An ice cream scoop is a great tool for perfectly sizing the burgers into healthy portions.

Thick burger patties tend to puff up in the middle while they cook. Making a depression in the top of the patty using the back of a measuring spoon or your thumb, helps a burger hold its shape.

Keep the meat cold (it helps to wet your hands with cold water) and handle it as little as possible when shaping patties. Over-handling “bruises” the meat and compressing the meat too much will lead to dense, dry burgers. Make the burgers a few hours ahead of time and chill them on a plate covered with plastic wrap. This firms up the burger and helps it hold together during grilling. Leave them in the refrigerator until the last minute or place them on a sheet pan over another sheet pan filled with ice.

 

Grilling A Burger

1. Build a medium-hot charcoal fire (the coals are ready when they’re fully ashed over but are still hot enough that you can’t hold your hand an inch above them for more than 2 seconds).

2. For Gas Grill: Heat your grill to high heat, about 450°F or until you can hold your hand an inch over the grate for only two seconds.

3. Lightly brush the burgers on both sides with oil just before grilling. This helps prevent sticking and adds an extra layer of flavor. You’ll also need to practice good grill hygiene by heating, scraping and oiling the grill’s grate prior to grilling.

4. Do not press on a burger with a spatula while it’s grilling, All this does is squeeze out the juices onto the fire.

5. After about two minutes on the grill, give the patty a quarter-turn to get grill marks. After that, aim to flip the burger only one time. When the edges begin to brown or you see a few little pearls of blood bleeding through the top, the meat’s ready to turn over.

6. Do not overcrowd the grill. Follow the Steve Raichlen’s “30 percent” rule—leave 30 percent of your grill free of food. That way, if you get flare-ups, you have a place to move the burgers if they start to burn.

7. Make sure your burger’s cooked. While rare burgers may be tasty to some, you don’t want your burger to make you sick. 

8. Let the burgers rest, off the grill grate, for a couple of minutes before serving. This allows the meat to “relax,” giving you a juicier burger.

The Basic Burger

Yield: 8 burgers

  • 3 pounds ground beef of choice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 8 hamburger rolls, split, toasted
  • Cheese and condiments
  • Classic Burger Sauce or Spicy Ketchup or Blue Cheese Onion Topping , recipes below

Directions:

1. Combine beef, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently blend with a fork. Use moistened hands to form 8 3/4-inch-thick patties (about 6 ounces each). Brush the burgers well on both sides with olive oil.

2. Heat grill and grease the grilling grates. Grill burgers over moderate heat (about 5 inches from heat source) on one side for 4 minutes. Carefully turn and cook on other side for about 4 minutes for medium-rare burgers. Serve on warm buns, topped as desired.

Classic Burger Sauce

Makes About 1/4 Cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons lowfat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Mix all ingredients and chill.

Spicy Ketchup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Directions:

Mix ketchup with prepared horseradish and 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste. Serve chilled.

Burger Blue Cheese Onion Topping

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Directions:

To make the onions: Heat butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion until soft, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until onions are slightly caramelized, about 7 minutes more. Remove from the pan and reserve.

Top each burger with 1 oz. of blue cheese and continue to cook until just melted, about 2 minutes. Divide cheese-topped burgers between toasted buns, top with onions and serve.

The Caprese Burger

  • 1 recipe Basic Burger, above
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups packed basil leaves (about 4 oz.), plus 8 large leaves for serving
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 slices
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 hamburger rolls, split, toasted
  • Pesto Mayo, optional, recipe below

Directions:

Prepare burgers as recipe directs and refrigerate patties until ready to cook.

Place pine nuts and garlic in a food processor. Add oil; pulse to chop. Add 4 cups basil leaves, Parmesan and salt. Process until finely chopped, stopping and scraping sides of bowl once or twice. (Makes 3/4 cup pesto.)

Grill or broil burgers as recipe directs. Top with mozzarella during the last minute of cooking time.

Spread buns with pesto. Place burgers on buns and serve topped with a slice of tomato and a large basil leaf, assorted toppings and Pesto Mayo, if desired.

Pesto Mayo

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lowfat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions:

Mix mayonnaise with prepared pesto and lemon zest. Chill before serving.

Parmesan Bison Burgers with Balsamic Ketchup

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground bison
  • 1 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 4 thin slices red onion
  • 4 tablespoons Balsamic Ketchup, see recipe below

Directions:

1. Preheat grill to high heat.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Divide bison mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in the center of each patty.

3. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

4. Place bottom bun halves on plates. Top each with 1/4 cup arugula, 1 onion slice and 1 patty. Spread 1 tablespoon balsamic ketchup on top half of each bun; place on top of burgers.

Balsamic Ketchup

Refrigerate extra ketchup in an airtight ­container for up to a week or freeze in small batches.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds small tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325° F.

2. Combine oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and tomatoes in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Arrange tomatoes, skin side down, on a wire rack set inside a jelly-roll pan. Bake for 3 hours. Cool slightly; peel. Discard peels.

3. Combine tomatoes, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Chicken Caesar Burgers

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut up
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut up
  • 1 medium onion, cut up
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2 anchovy fillets, drained and patted dry (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3 medium roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 6 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup homemade or bottled reduced fat Caesar salad dressing

Directions:

In a food processor combine chicken breast halves, chicken thighs, onion, grated Parmesan cheese, parsley and, if desired, anchovies. Cover and process with several on/off turns until coarsely ground and slightly sticky. Shape into six 4-inch patties. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Brush both sides of each patty with oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. For a charcoal or gas grill, grease grill rack of a covered grill. Grill patties directly over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until 165 degrees F, turning once halfway through grilling.

To serve, place a lettuce leaf and tomato slices on the bottom of each roll. Top each with a chicken patty. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Spread roll tops with salad dressing. Place roll tops, dressing side down, on burgers.

Note: The internal color of a burger is not a reliable doneness indicator. A chicken or turkey patty cooked to 165 degrees F is safe, regardless of color. To measure the doneness of a patty, insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of the patty to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

Grilled Portobello Burgers

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (4 to 4-1/2 inches), stems removed
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette, divided
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 1 cup roasted sweet red peppers, drained
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4 kaiser rolls, split
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise

Directions:

Brush mushrooms with 4 tablespoons vinaigrette. Grill mushrooms and onion, covered, over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until tender. Top mushrooms with red peppers, onion and cheese.

Grill, covered, 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Grill rolls, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes or until toasted.

Spread roll bottoms with mayonnaise and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Top with mushrooms; replace roll tops.

Glazed Salmon Burgers

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen skinless, boneless salmon fillets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chili sauce (hot or sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus extra for grilling
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix)
  • 6 sesame seed hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • 1 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumber

Directions:

Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Place salmon, half at a time, in a food processor. Cover and process until finely chopped.

In a large bowl combine egg, green onions, salt and black pepper. Add chopped salmon; mix gently until combined. Using damp hands, shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons chili sauce. Cover and chill until needed.

For slaw: in a large bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Add shredded cabbage toss to coat.

Lightly brush both sides of salmon patties with additional canola oil.

For a charcoal or gas grill, place patties on the greased rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes or until done (160 degrees F).

To serve, spread cut sides of buns with mayonnaise mixture. Fill with salmon burgers, slaw and cucumber slices.

Bulgur Veggie Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley sprigs
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 slices multi-grain bread, toasted

Directions:

Cook 1/4 cup onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add bulgur and water and cook, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in beans and soy sauce.

Pulse bulgur mixture, walnuts, garlic, parsley, turmeric, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining onion in a food processor until finely chopped.

Form rounded 1/2 cups of mixture into 4 (3 1/2-inch-diameter) patties. Chill at least 10 minutes. Uncooked patties can be chilled, covered, up to 4 hours.

While patties chill, stir together mayonnaise, zest and lime juice.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas). Put a perforated grill sheet on grill and preheat 10 minutes.(Or use heavy duty foil and poke holes in it with a large fork at regular intervals.)

Brush patties all over with olive oil.

Oil grill sheet or spray foil with cooking spray, then grill burgers on grill sheet or foil, covered, carefully turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total.

Serve burgers open-faced on toast with lime mayonnaise.

Heavy Duty Foil Sheet

Grill Pan


In 1920 artist, Enrico Vittori, created this bronze bust which was paid for by Italian immigrants living in Indianapolis.

Although Indiana has had an Italian connection from the very beginning – Enrico Tonti accompanied the explorer LaSalle in 1679 and Francesco Vigo assisted George Rogers Clark in exploring Indiana, it was only after 1880 that Italian immigrants were attracted to the state in any numbers. Indianapolis’  first Italians came from the Lombardy, Liguria, Tuscany and Basilicata regions. The Sicilians who developed the city’s fruit and vegetable trade came later, followed by barbers from Calabria and the Friulani experts in terrazzo-mosaic tile work. Early immigrants became grocers, shoemakers, tailors and barbers.

In 1882, Frank Mascari, a fisherman from Termini Imerese in Sicily, visited Indianapolis to investigate business possibilities. He opened a profitable fruit store on Virginia Avenue just south of Washington Street and before long his three brothers, his brother-in-law, their wives, their children and friends followed him. By 1910, 33 of the 54 fruit and vegetable dealers in the city were Italian. They were well represented among City Market stand holders and behind the wagons and push carts parked around the Marion County Courthouse. Reputedly responsible for introducing the banana here, several were nicknamed “the banana king.”

Residents of Italian ancestry have contributed significantly to Indianapolis’s economy, culture and professional and religious life. Later, primarily after World War II, many Italian Americans moved into Indianapolis, excelling in business and professional fields, including law, medicine and education. 

The Holy Rosary Neighborhood has been known as “Little Italy” because of the numbers of Italians who settled there. The neighborhood was historically known as the Holy Rosary-Danish Church Neighborhood. After the Civil War, the neighborhood was settled by German, Irish, Scottish, Danish, and Welsh immigrants. It is the story of the Italians, however, that shaped the neighborhood. In the 1890’s, southern Italians began arriving in Indianapolis and, specifically, in what is now the Holy Rosary area.

Before 1909, Italian Catholics attended services at St. Mary German Church. Because many of the Italian immigrants did not speak English, they desired to have an Italian parish of their own. Indianapolis’ Bishop Francis Silas Chatard authorized the newly-arrived Father Marino Priori to organize a parish for Italians on the southeast side of the city. Two years later in 1911, ground was broken for the Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Stevens Street. Due to financial difficulties, the basement was roofed and used for services from 1912 to 1925. Finally, in 1925 at a cost of around $50,000, the construction of the edifice was completed and Pope Pius XI sent his blessing from the Vatican. 

The Italians in the Holy Rosary Neighborhood were a tightly-knit group who believed strongly in traditional family ties. It was not unusual for a family with many children to live in a house with their parents and grandparents. Even if new couples did not live in the same households as their parents, they often lived across the street or down the block. The neighborhood is still home to many Italians whose fathers, mothers, children, cousins and friends are direct descendants of the Italians whose names are set forth in the original 1909 Holy Rosary Catholic Church charter.

As a means of raising funds, Holy Rosary conducted the traditional lawn fetes and bazaars, but after 1934 the parish attracted larger summer crowds by erecting stands and rides in the street and offering entertainment. Highly successful, other parishes imitated Holy Rosary. In 1984, parishioners revived the Italian Street Festival. This two-night event features Italian foods and amusements, attracts as many as 25,000 people and has produced a half-million dollar income over the last ten years.

Hundreds of mom-and-pop-owned stores once dotted the neighborhoods of Indianapolis. Before zoning laws restricted businesses in residential neighborhoods, small stores such as groceries, hardware stores, shoe repair shops and restaurants were sprinkled among the houses and their proprietors often lived in quarters behind or attached to the the shop.

One such store was the J. Bova Conti Grocery, which served Indianapolis’s Italian community on the near south side from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. According to Indianapolis Italians by James J. Divita (Arcadia Publishing, 2006), Josephine Mascari and her son Tommaso were experiencing hardship in operating their grocery business on Virginia Avenue. John Bova Conti moved in to run the store and ended up marrying the widow. In 1920 they rented a small, wood-frame grocery with an adjacent residence. Signs on the store and visible goods included, Wonder and Yum Yum bread, fruit, macaroni, olives, cheese, Coca-Cola and East End Dairy products. The store’s business ledger for 1924 through 1927 (housed at the Indiana Historical Society) indicates that many products were imported from Italy and distributed to other stores around the state. According to Divita, “After visiting relatives in Indianapolis, customers from smaller towns would stop at Bova Conti’s to buy 20 pounds of dry pasta for the month. Among his attractive prices were one gallon Berio olive oil, $3; one bottle Florio Marsala, $2.25; five pounds Sicilian caciocavallo, $3.75; and one case Brioschi, 75 cents.”

By the time the photographs, above, were taken in April 1946, the store’s namesake had been deceased for several years. Gus Mascari recalls that his grandparents operated the grocery from the late 1930’s through the late 1950’s. Another Mascari grandchild, Mrs. Terry Shannon, shares that the store had sawdust on the floor, pickles in large barrels and they sold Italian bread baked by Mrs. Mascari.

Iozzo’s Garden of Italy, originally established in 1930, is now the newest, oldest Italian restaurant in Indianapolis. Santora “Fred” Iozzo had a vision of creating the American Dream. Born in Calabria, Italy in 1888, Fred emigrated to the United States of America arriving at age 17. After working on the railroads in Boston and Ohio, Fred was naturalized in 1924 and settled in Indianapolis, Indiana. By 1926, Fred Iozzo had a small empire of 21 grocery stores located in the central Indianapolis area. But as the Great Depression did to so many proud businesses, his chain of stores closed. Later, when economic conditions improved, Fred relied on his background as a chef to build Naples Grill in 1930.

Naples Grill, at the time, was Indianapolis’ first full-service Italian restaurant and it quickly became popular, not only to Hoosiers but to those traveling through the Midwest. After a few years of success, the business moved to the corner of Illinois and Washington Streets, where Fred ran the restaurant with his sons Vincent and Dominic. The restaurant was renamed Iozzo’s Garden of Italy and it continued to be a commercial success. With three bars, a banquet room, two kitchens and a bandstand, it could service an incredible 850 customers at a time. Iozzo’s became a hot spot destination as one of the best restaurants in the Midwest.

Iozzo’s Garden of italy

On October 24, 1940, an unfortunate incident occurred inside the restaurant and temporarily derailed the hopes and dreams of the Iozzo family. That night, a group of sailors came into Iozzo’s and were sitting at the bar, flirting with Fred’s daughter, Margaret. Her brother, Dominic, decided the flirting had gone too far — and a brawl ensued. Fred, who heard the fight from the backroom, burst out and shot the sailor who was choking his son. When the sailor died, Fred was charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He went to prison for 26 months. Fred Iozzo died in 1945, a few years after his release from prison.

After the closing of the restaurant, the Iozzo family continued to pass down their traditions and recipes. In July of 2009, Iozzo’s Garden of Italy re-opened. With traditional family recipes combined with new favorites, Iozzo’s has received awards and recognition from many publications, including “Best New Restaurant”, “Best Italian Restaurant in Indianapolis” and the restaurant has been featured on the cover of “Indianapolis Monthly” magazine.

The Original 1911 Speedway

In 1911 the first car race was held at the Indianapolis Speedway. An estimated 80,000 spectators attended the first 500 mile (800 km) race on Memorial Day when 40 cars competed. A classic race followed in 1912 when Ralph DePalma lost a five lap lead with five laps to go when his car broke down. As DePalma pushed his car around the circuit, Joe Dawson made up the deficit to win. Three of the next four winners were European, with DePalma being the exception as an American national, though originally Italian born. These races gave Indy a worldwide reputation and international drivers began to enter.

Ralph De Palma (December 18, 1882 – March 31, 1956) was an Italian-American race car driving champion who won the 1915 Indianapolis 500. His entry into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame estimates that he won about 2,000 races during his career. DePalma won the 1908, 1909, 1910 and 1911 American AAA national dirt track championships and is credited with winning 24 American Championship car races. DePalma estimated that he had earned $1.5 million by 1934 after racing for 27 years.

In 1958, a budding race-car driver named Mario Andretti first laid eyes on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His family, who had arrived from Italy three years earlier, had driven from their Pennsylvania home, so that Andretti could watch the Indianapolis 500. After the race, the 18-year-old made it to the infield to walk on the famed 2.5-mile track, which includes a narrow front straightaway lined with grandstands on both sides.

“It was very daunting,” recalled Andretti, now 69. “Just to look at all those grandstands, it was quite a sight, so unique.” At that moment, he said, “I wanted to find out what those other drivers were experiencing. It egged me on even more.” Andretti, of course, would go on to win the 500 in 1969 and become one of the most famous racers in history.

The Speedway As It Looks Today

Clinton, Indiana

At the turn of the 20th century Clinton, Indiana, located approximately 15 miles north of Terre Haute, had a great influx of Italian immigrants to the area to work in the coal mines. Italian immigrants made up the majority of mine workers (both deep-shaft and strip coal mines) in Clinton. At one point the city had a population of over 15,000 people, of which, nearly one-third were Italian. The northwest area of ​​Clinton became known as “Little Italy”, as the majority of its inhabitants had come directly from Italy. Unlike a lot of the Italian immigration that took place at that time, most of the Clinton Italians were from northern Italy. A listing of businesses in the Little Italy section of Clinton in the 1920’s shows (4) grocery stores, (2) meat markets, a bakery, a cheese shop, multiple tailors and clothing shops, shoe and variety stores all owned by Italian immigrants. 

According to The Daily Clintonian, Bollittino Edition, a large bronze statue, the Voice of the Immigrant (on North 9th St.), is located at what is known as, the Piazza Del Immigrante.  As a lasting tribute to Clinton’s Italian heritage, the Airola family commissioned the statue from Italian sculptor, Carlo Avenati,  and called it, The Voice of the Immigrant. But it’s not alone, the statue also shares the spot with a very unusual bullhead fountain and a tall granite fountain. These artifacts were made possible by the Airola family. As a coal mining town, with plenty of Italian immigrants, the granite fountain stands as a reminder of Clinton’s Italian roots.

The bullhead statue is unusual in that that particular style of bull is an image that is normally associated with Torino, Italy. As the story goes…hundreds of years ago, the town of Torino, Italy fought one war after another. The people just about lost hope and so decided to stampede their town with bulls. Lots and lots of bulls. The evil invaders were run down by the masses of bulls and the town then became known as Torino. Toro is Italian for, you guessed it, bull! The town of Torino does not sell their bullhead fountains. Instead, the Airola family, through a series of connections, were given permission from the Mayor of Torino to use a pattern of the fountain for a replica to be built in little Clinton, Indiana.

Clinton, Indiana’s Little Italy Festival

The festival has been held every Labor Day weekend since 1966. Part of every festival is the crowning of the Grape Princess and the Re & Regina. Another big part of the Little Italy Festival has always been learning about the Gondola. On June 27, 1967 Clinton’s gondola left its birthplace in Venice, Italy and shipped to the U.S. The Gondola made is debut at the 1967 Festival and is on display every year.

 

Italian Food Of Indianapolis

Baked Clams

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped very fine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 24 cherrystone or littleneck clams, top shell removed
  • 2 cups fish or chicken broth
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine bread crumbs, oil, garlic, parsley, cheese and paprika in a medium bowl. Mix together well, mixture should be moist to the touch.

Place clams in bottom half of the shell in a baking pan and pack about 2 teaspoons of the bread crumb mixture into each clam.

Pour broth around clams, making sure not to cover the clams or wash away any bread crumb mixture.

Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown and crispy.

Transfer clams to serving plates and drizzle a little of the juice from the baking pan on top of each clam. Serve with lemon wedges.

Caesar Salad at Iozzo's Garden of Italy.

Classic Caesar Salad

The croutons are best made no more than half an hour before assembling the salad.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For The Croutons

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 loaf rustic Italian bread (8 to 10 ounces), crusts removed, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For The Salad

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 20 ounces romaine lettuce, outer leaves discarded, inner leaves washed and dried
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese, or 2 1/2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Combine the butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the cubes of bread and toss until coated. Sprinkle with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper; toss until evenly coated. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until croutons are golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Place the garlic, anchovy fillets,and salt in a wooden salad bowl. Using two dinner forks, mash the garlic and anchovies into a paste. Using one fork, whisk in the pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and egg yolk. Whisk in the olive oil.

Chop the romaine leaves into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Add the croutons, romaine and cheese to the bowl; toss well. If you wish, grate extra cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note: If you prefer not to use the raw yolk in this recipe, substitute 1 tablespoon store-bought mayonnaise. Raw eggs should not be used in food prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children or anyone whose health is compromised.

 

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

The pasta cooks in the sauce.

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1  (26 ounce) container Pomi crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups packaged dried rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 -2 1/2 ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 8 ounces)
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions:

In a large saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil until tender but not brown. Stir in undrained tomatoes, pasta, water, mushrooms, Italian seasoning and red pepper.

Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until pasta is tender but slightly firm, stirring occasionally.

Stir in chicken; heat through. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Osso Buco alla Milanese

Risotto Milanese is the classic accompaniment. Using veal shanks is traditional, but I have had success with this recipe using pork shanks, beef shanks or trukey thighs.

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour for dredging (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 meaty veal shanks, each 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick (3 to 3 1/2 pounds total)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion (about 6 ounces), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), trimmed, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 strips orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler (each about 3 inches by 3/4-inch)
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
  • 1/2 cup veal or chicken stock, homemade, or store-bought
  • 1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes, fresh or canned, with their juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Dredging the shanks: pour the flour into a shallow dish. Season the veal shanks on all sides with salt and pepper. One at a time, roll the shanks around in the flour coat and shake and pat the shank to remove any excuses flour. Discard the remaining flour.

3. Browning the shanks: put the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a wide Dutch oven or heavy braising pot (6 to 7 quart) and heat over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and the oil is shimmering, lower the shanks into the pot, flat side down; if the shanks won’t fit without touching one another, do this in batches. Brown the shanks, turning once with tongs, until both flat sides are well caramelized, about 5 minutes per side. If the butter-oil mixture starts to burn, lower the heat just a bit. Transfer the shanks to a large platter or tray and set aside.

4. The aromatics: pour off and discard the fat from the pot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the pot and melt it over medium heat. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the onion, carrot, celery and fennel. Season with salt and pepper; stir and cook the vegetables until they begin to soften but do not brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic, orange zest, marjoram and bay leaf, and cook for another minute or two.

5. The braising liquid: add the wine, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, to reduce the wine by about half, 5 minutes. Add the stock and tomatoes, with their juice and boil again to reduce the liquid to about 1 cup total, about 10 minutes.

6. The braise: Place the shanks in the pot so that they are sitting with the exposed bone facing up and pour over any juices that accumulated as they sat. Cover with parchment paper, pressing down so the parchment nearly touches the veal and the edges hang over the sides of the pot by about an inch. Cover tightly with the lid and place in the lower part of the oven to braise at a gentle simmer. Check the pot after the first 15 minutes and if the liquid is simmering too aggressively, lower the oven heat by 10 or 15 degrees. Continue braising, turning the shanks and spooning some pan juices over the top after the first 40 minutes, until the meat is completely tender and pulling away from the bone, about 2 hours.

7. The gremolata: While the shanks are braising, stir together the garlic, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool place (or the refrigerator, if your kitchen is very warm.)

8. The finish: When the veal is fork-tender and falling away from the bone, remove the lid and sprinkle over half of the gremolata. Return the veal to the oven, uncovered, for another 15 minutes to caramelize it some.

9. Using a slotted spatula or spoon, carefully lift the shanks from the braising liquid, doing your best to keep them intact. The shanks will be very tender and threatening to fall into pieces and the marrow will be wobbly inside the bones, Arrange the shanks on a serving platter or other large plate, without stacking and cover with foil to keep warm.

10. Finishing the sauce: Set the braising pot on top of the stove. if there is a visible layer of fat floating on the surface, use a large spoon to skim it off and discard it. Taste the sauce for concentration of flavor. If it tastes a bit weak or flat, bring it to a boil over high heat and boil to reduce the volume and intensify the flavor for 5 to 10 minutes.

11. Portioning the veal shanks: if the shanks are reasonably sized, serve one per person. If the shanks are gargantuan or you’re dealing with modest appetites, pull apart the larger shanks, separating them at their natural seams and serve smaller amounts.

12. Serving: Arrange the veal shanks on warm dinner plates accompanied by the risotto, if serving. Just before serving, sprinkle on the remaining gremolata and then spoon over a generous amount of sauce .

Ricotta Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

12 servings

Cheesecake:

  • 4 cups (2 pounds) Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Topping:

  • 2 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Mint sprigs (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

To prepare cheesecake:

Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Pour batter into a 10-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 1 hour or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched.

Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around the outside edge of cheesecake. Cool slightly; remove outer ring from pan. Sprinkle cheesecake evenly with powdered sugar.

To prepare topping:

Combine berries, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and juice; toss gently to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve berry mixture with cheesecake. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.



Memorial Day is the gateway to summer and it conjures up images of picnics, barbecues and parades. Originally the holiday was charged with deeper meaning and it was called Decoration Day – a day of remembrance for those who died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is about reconciliation and about coming together to honor those who gave their lives.

Memorial Day is the time to wear poppies, fly the flag and place flowers on the graves of military personnel. Many volunteers and volunteer organizations march in patriotic parades. Frequently there is a reading of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Patriotic speeches are made and declarations by The President and Heads of the Armed Services are also read. We all take time on this special day to remember the human sacrifice it has taken to establish and maintain our great country. Later in the day, time is set aside for picnics, BBQ parties and other outdoor activities.

Instead of spending money on store bought pasta salads, meat trays, fruit and dessert, save money by making these simple dishes yourself. Here is a suggested menu with beverage ideas to help you get you started.

What Drinks Go Well With BBQ?

Soda, beer and iced tea are a good start. Provide pitchers of punch or lemonade or mix up a few sensational summer cocktails. Put a twist on some old classics or try some fresh new blends to quench that thirst.

Try this Italian Cocktail Punch                                                                                                                                         

  • One 750-milliliter bottle Aperol or Compari (Italian Liqueurs)
  • One 750-milliliter bottle Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)
  • 750 milliliters chilled seltzer
  • Ice
  • Fruit slices, for garnish

In a pitcher combine the Aperol,  the Prosecco and the seltzer. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish each drink with fruit.

Keeping it simple with wine:

The grill serves up such a wide range of foods that pairing them with beverages can be seen as either a challenge or the result of your imagination. Luckily, the spirit of outdoor dining—including the tendency to serve lighter beverages—simplifies the choice.

Sparkling wines beat the heat and play well with almost any grilled food. Stick with wines like Prosecco, Cava or a light California sparkling wine.

White wines are clearly suited to grilled fish and chicken and some pork recipes, even those that call for blackened preparations or spice rubs. The high acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc or a cool Sancerre (made from the same grape)—pairs perfectly with such meats. Choose a white Burgundy or Chardonnay for richer fish, like tuna, trout or salmon. Chardonnay is also the best pick for veggie burgers and sometimes regular hamburgers that have a mushroom sauce.

There’s no question that rosés are a perfect fit for casual outdoor dining. Served cool, these wines have a bit more acidity than white wines and can handle grilled flavors. Among the favorites in this category are Bandol from Provence, Tavel from the Rhône Valley and a number of rosés from California made from the Sangiovese grape.

When pork, smoked meats or shellfish are on the menu, a Pinot Noir from Oregon or the Russian River Valley or a Burgundy is best. 

If you’re serving hamburgers, steaks or barbecued ribs, only the big red wines will do. Bordeaux, California Cabernet and Barolo are perfect matches, but if the meat has a spicy rub, try Zinfandel or an Australian Shiraz or Argentine Malbec.

Appetizers

Pimento Ricotta Spread                                                                 

Serve with toasted baguette slices or flatbread and cut up vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 15 ounces fresh ricotta (1 1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup well-chopped drained pimentos (from one 8-ounce jar)
  • 3 ounces light cream cheese

Directions:

In a food processor, puree the ricotta and cream cheese. Add the pimentos and crushed red pepper and pulse until the pimentos are minced. Season with salt.

Iced Mint Green Tea Punch                                         

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 6 green tea bags
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups Limoncello
  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Directions:

Combine mint leaves, tea bags, honey and boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes; remove tea bags. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until chilled.

Stir in Limoncello, ice cubes and lemon slices just before serving.

Main Dishes

Rosemary-Skewered Artichoke Chicken

6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 fresh rosemary stems (18 inches)
  • 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and halved
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 6 cherry tomatoes

Directions:

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the oil, dill, oregano, lemon peel, garlic, salt and pepper; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel bark from the bottom half of each rosemary stem and make a point at each end; soak in water until ready to use.

Drain and discard marinade. On soaked rosemary stems, alternately thread the chicken, artichokes, squash and tomatoes. Position the leaf parts of the rosemary stems so that they will be on the outside of the grill cover. Pointed ends toward the back of the grill.

Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Place skewers on the grill. 

Grill, with the cover slighly ajar, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated zest of a navel orange
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lb flank steak, trimmed
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
  • 2 large navel oranges, peeled & sliced thin
  • 8 sprigs mint — for garnish

Directions:

In a shallow glass or ceramic dish, combine garlic, orange zest, juice, vinegar, pepper, mustard and chopped mint. Add steak to marinade; turn once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, turning steak twice in the marinade.

Remove steak from marinade, scraping any bits of marinade clinging to meat back into the bowl. Transfer marinade to small saucepan and bring to a boil; reserve.

Lightly grease grill rack with vegetable cooking spray or oil.

Preheat charcoal grill until coals have turned a gray ashy color or preheat gas grill according to manufacturer’s suggested time on high heat.

Place steak on grill 4 inches from heat source and sear 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Brush with a little reserved marinade and continue cooking, covered (with lid down or tented with foil on a charcoal grill), for approximately 4 minutes, brushing frequently with marinade.

Place onion slices on the grill and baste with some of the marinade. Cook until lightly brown about 3 minutes on each side.

Transfer to a carving board, tent with foil, and let rest for 7 minutes before slicing.

Arrange orange slices and onion slices in overlapping pattern around the outside of the platter.

Slice steak diagonally across the grain into very thin slices. Arrange down the center of the platter and garnish with mint.

Side Dishes

Grilled Peach Salad with Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 4 large peaches
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry flavored vinegar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce

Directions:

Preheat grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut peaches into six slices each; discard pits. Cook peach slices until grill marks appear (no need to completely cook peaches). Remove from grill and let cool at room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add butter, pecans, sugar and cayenne pepper. Cook while stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and turns golden brown.

Remove pan from heat and cool to room temperature.

Slice both heads of romaine into six sections. Place lettuce and peaches on a plate and top with dressing and pecans. 

Green Beans and Tomatoes                                       

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds green string beans (or a mixture of yellow and green)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans and spread them on a large baking sheet to cool. Pat dry.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the shallots and basil and season with salt and pepper. Place the beans and tomatoes in a large bowl, add the oil mixture and toss well.

Transfer to a platter for serving. Can be made early in the day and served room temperature.

 

Dessert

Strawberry Layer Cake

16 servings

Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
  • Cooking spray

Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 12 whole strawberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.

To prepare cake:

Place sliced strawberries in a food processor and process until smooth.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk. Set aside.

Place granulated sugar and the 1/2 cup butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer; beat at medium speed until well blended.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in egg whites.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Add pureed strawberries and food coloring and beat just until blended.

Divide batter between the twp pans.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake layers comes out clean.

Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

To prepare frosting:

Place cream cheese, 1/3 cup butter and liqueur in a medium bowl; beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat just until blended.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

Cut 1 whole strawberry into thin slices, cutting to, but not through, the stem end. Fan strawberry on top of cake.  Cut remaining 11 strawberries in half. Garnish the sides of the cake with the strawberry halves.

 


Crumbles, Crisps and Cobblers are simple old-fashioned desserts that offer the comfort of fruit pies but without the work of making a pie crust. Cobblers have a softer biscuit-like topping and texture, while crumbles and crisps have a crunchy, streusel-like topping that provides a contrast to the soft fruit in the filling.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their favorite recipes with them, such as English steamed pudding. Not finding their favorite ingredients, they used whatever was available. That’s how all these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names. Early colonists were so fond of these fruit dishes that they often served them as the main course or even for breakfast. It was not until the late 19th century that they became primarily desserts.

Cobblers originated in the early British American colonies. English settlers were unable to make traditional suet pudding due to a lack of ingredients and cooking equipment, so instead, they covered a stewed filling with a layer of uncooked plain biscuits or dumplings. The origin of the name cobbler is uncertain, although it may be related to the now archaic word cobeler, meaning “wooden bowl”.

In the United States, varieties of cobbler include the Betty, the Grump, the Slump, the Dump, the Buckle and the Sonker. Grunts, Pandowdy and Slumps are a New England variety of cobbler, typically cooked on the stovetop in an iron skillet with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings.

The Sonker is unique to North Carolina: it is a deep-dish version of the American cobbler. In the South, cobblers most commonly come in single fruit varieties and are named as such, blackberry, blueberry or peach cobbler. The Deep South tradition also gives the option of topping the fruit cobbler with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

Some of these terms are more universal than others, but here are the most generally accepted definitions:

Crisp : baked fruit topped with a mixture of some combination of flour, nuts, cereal (especially oatmeal), butter and sugar. The topping ranges in texture from streusel to granola and usually completely covers the fruit. It is sometimes called a crumble.

Cobbler : baked fruit topped with a batter or biscuit crust. The topping is often “cobbled” rather than smooth; the topping is generally dropped or spooned in small clumps over the fruit, allowing bits of the filling to show through.

Grunt or Slump: as the biscuit-topped fruit cooks on the stove, it supposedly makes a grunting noise‚ likely the result of the steam from simmering fruit escaping through the vents between the biscuits.

A Buckle is made with yellow batter (like cake batter), with the fruit mixed in with the batter.

Betty consists of fruit, usually apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betties are an English pudding dessert closely related to the French Apple Charlotte. Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.

Pandowdy is a deep-dish dessert that can be made with a variety of fruit, but is most commonly made with apples sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. The topping is a crumbly type of biscuit, except the crust is broken up during baking and pushed down into the fruit to allow the juices to come through. Sometimes the crust is on the bottom and the desert is inverted before serving. The exact origin of the name Pandowdy is unknown, but it is thought to refer to the deserts plain or dowdy appearance.

These desserts are such a simple way to use the abundance of fresh, seasonal fruits found on farm stands and in produce aisles. Unlike pies, crisps and cobblers are forgiving with exact measurements. Butter alternatives, such as Smart Balance, are an easy substitute that can reduce calories and saturated fat in the nutrition content of these dessert. It is easy to scale up for large picnics or down for dinner for two. Crisps and cobblers are at their best when highlighting the colors and flavors of summer fruit. With two basic recipes, buttermilk biscuit dough or a crisp topping, you can transform the fruits of summer into dozens of fantastic fresh-baked desserts. The processor can also make quick work of mixing the topping ingredients.

Juicy cherries, berries, sliced peaches, nectarines or plums are piled into a buttered baking dish, tossed with a bit of sugar and sprinkled liberally with streusel topping to become a Summer Fruit Crumble. Those same fruits can be placed in the same buttered baking dish and topped with sweet biscuit dough, then cooked until bubbly and brown. Now you’ve made cobbler.

A crisp or cobbler can be cooked in any type of oven proof baking dish. Ramekins, pie pans, Pyrex casseroles or  decorative gratin dishes are all fine choices. Plan for about a cup of uncooked fruit per serving and room for a topping or base. Make extra topping to keep in the freezer and you can have a fruit crisp or crumble oven-ready quicker than it takes to preheat your oven.

The art of perfecting a crisp and cobbler requires consideration of fruit size, flavor, texture and juiciness. Balance sweet and tart, crunchy with soft. Fresh, frozen and dried fruit are all possible sources for the fillings. A few dried cherries mixed in with fresh or frozen berries will absorb juices and thicken the mixture. Tart rhubarb is well paired with chewy dried apricots for a more toothsome filling than rhubarb can offer on its own. When cutting fruit:  large strawberries are best halved or quartered and stone fruits (peaches, etc.) cut into chunks rather than thick slices.

Most fruits need some sweetening in addition to the topping. Tart fruits such as sour cherries, rhubarb and raspberries always need some added brown or white sugar or honey in the fruit layer. In all of the recipes below sugar alternatives, such as Truvia for Baking, will work perfectly. A deep layer of juicy fruits can be thickened during baking with a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour mixed in with the sugar in the fruit layer. For textural variety mix soft berries with stone-fruit chunks, such as, strawberry-apricot or blueberry-peach. Or plan for color. A blush-hued cobbler with red plums, raspberries and rhubarb will evoke an evening sunset.

Nuts, spices, herbs and zests are also welcome additions to expand the basic ingredients. Sprinkle a few sliced almonds in with the topping or add some minced orange zest to the fruit. Blueberry crisp can be enhanced with a few chopped walnuts in the topping and some lemon zest in the filling. Culinary herbs more familiar in savory preparations are sophisticated additions to these homespun desserts. Try a few leaves of thin-sliced fresh basil as garnish on a peach crisp or add a little rosemary and black pepper to the sweetened whipped cream served with the cobbler. A scant teaspoon of cardamom in the biscuit dough is an unexpected flavor that blends nicely with most fruit.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

To ensure that the filling is thickened and fully cooked, bake the cobbler until it bubbles in the center.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large lemon, finely grated to yield 1/2 teaspoon zest, squeezed to yield 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1/2 cup mild honey (such as clover)
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or sugar alternative equivalent
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 oz. (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or butter alternative, such as Smart Balance)
  • 2/3 cup canned evaporated whole milk or regular whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Sugar to sprinkle on the top, optional

Directions:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix all of the filling ingredients; set aside.

Make the topping:

In another large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add the milk and stir just until the mixture comes together.

Prepare the cobbler:

Butter a shallow 2-quart dish. Transfer the filling to the dish.

With a tablespoon drop tablespoons of dough on top of the filling. Sprinkle the dough lightly with sugar, if desired.

Bake until the topping is deep golden-brown on top and the filling is bubbling in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. If the dough browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Pear Crisp with Amaretti Topping

Look for Italian Amaretti cookies at specialty stores or gourmet grocers. And choose slightly under-ripe, firm pears.

Ingredients:

  • 6 peeled Anjou or Bartlett pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 amaretti cookies (Italian almond macaroons)
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place pears in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, lemon juice and salt; toss well to coat.

Transfer mixture to an 11×7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place cookies in a food processor; process until finely ground. Combine remaining flour, cookie crumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in nuts.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over pear mixture. Bake for 50 minutes or until pears are tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Peach Blueberry Crumble

Bake the crumble on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet to catch any fruit juices that may bubble over.

Ingredients:

  • 7 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into small squares

Directions:

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon mixture into a greased 8 1/2- x 11-inch baking dish.

Stir together dark brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture forms pea-size pieces.

Spoon topping evenly over filling, and bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and top is golden.

Blueberry Crisp

Fresh blueberries are best for this crisp recipe, though frozen berries will also work. Keep them frozen and bake the blueberry crisp 10 or 15 minutes longer. Thawed berries are too fragile to use and give off too much liquid.

8 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Coat an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cornstarch evenly in the dish.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, vanilla and blueberries in a large bowl; toss. Place in prepared baking dish.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cinnamon) in the bowl of a food processor; pulse twice to combine. Add butter; pulse 5 times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spoon topping evenly over blueberries, packing down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.

Plum Cobbler

This low calorie dessert can be prepared as one large cobbler or in individual ramekins.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds plums, peeled, pitted, and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 6 ounces chilled 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour; toss. Arrange mixture in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine remaining flour, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and baking powder in a food processor; pulse 3 times. Add butter, lemon rind and cream cheese; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; pulse until blended.

Drop dough by spoonfuls over plum mixture; sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden.

Grilled Peach Crisps

A perfect finish to a summer barbecue.

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 small to medium peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2 cups reduced-fat vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat granola

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cut sides of the peaches. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat grill to medium. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.

Place peaches cut side down on the grill grates. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until peaches are tender and begin to caramelize.

Place 2 peach halves in each of four dessert bowls. Top each with 1/2 cup ice cream and 2 tablespoons of granola.

 


Grilling vegetables is not difficult. With so many possible vegetable choices and recipes, the biggest challenge is narrowing them down to just a few special recipes that take advantage of the outdoor grill flavor. Many different kinds of vegetables can be grilled with great results. Beets become sweet on the grill. Potatoes get crisp on the outside and stay sweet and moist on the inside. Carrots and onions caramelize.

Select vegetables that are firm and that can hold up to slicing and grilling. Slice them in large, thick (at least 1/4-inch) sections, since small pieces can easily fall through the grid and into the fire. Cut zucchini lengthwise or on a long diagonal, for example. If you plan to prepare a recipe that calls for smaller pieces, try grilling them on skewers or wrapping them in foil packets. Vegetables such as peppers can simply be grilled whole, then peeled and sliced.

Soak vegetables in cold water for about 30 minutes before you grill them to keep them from drying out. Pat dry.

Because vegetables lack fat, they need oil, liquid, or some sort of marinade to prevent them from burning and sticking and to keep them moist. Brush vegetables with oil (preferably vegetable oil because it has a high smoke point) or a flavored oil mixture, such as a salad dressing or your own mixture of oil and herbs or other seasonings. Marinate the vegetables for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

White wine, oil, garlic, onion and celery salt make a good marinade, as do beer, oil, garlic and cloves. Lemon juice also makes a good base for a grilling marinade. Try pineapple juice, soy sauce, lemon juice and garlic for firm vegetables. Orange juice, turmeric, ginger, garlic and lemon zest make a light marinade for summer squash or softer vegetables.

Consider the texture of the ingredient to determine marinating time. Mushrooms, summer squash, and tomatoes may need only 30 to 40 minutes to marinate. Tougher ingredients, such as, sliced carrots or potatoes can marinate for a couple of hours.

To further prevent food from sticking to the grill and to aid in cleanup, spray the grid with nonstick cooking spray before heating (never spray into the fire) or wipe the grill rack with oil before you start cooking.

Special equipment is minimal. A special grill top basket is useful to keep small veggie foods from falling into the fire. Metal or wood skewers are useful for making kebabs that are easily rotated on a grill. (Wood skewers should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to threading the vegetables so they won’t burn on the grill.) Heavy-duty foil is the best type to use for lining grills or for wrapping food in packets for grilling.

Some Popular Vegetables For The Grill

Asparagus: Cut off ends. Soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Pat dry and brush with olive oil. Place on grill, turning every minute. Remove when tips start to turn brown. You can add some extra flavor to asparagus by mixing a little sesame oil in the olive oil before you brush them.

Bell Peppers: Cut through the middle of the pepper top to bottom. Remove stems, seeds and whitish ribs. Brush lightly with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Corn on the cob: Gently pull back the husks but don’t remove. Remove the silk and cut off the tip. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Dry and brush with butter. Fold the husks back down and tie or twist the ends. Place on the grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn often to avoid burning.

Eggplant: Cut lengthwise for smaller eggplants or in disks for larger eggplants. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry, brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes on each side.

Garlic: Take whole bulbs and cut off the root end. Brush with olive oil and place cut side down over a hot fire. Grill garlic bulbs for about 10 minutes or until the skin is brown. Use to flavor other grilled vegetables or meats.

Mushrooms: Rinse off dirt and pat dry. Brush with oil and grill. 4-5 minutes for small mushrooms, 6-8 minutes. Use a grill basket for small mushrooms.

Onions: Remove skin and cut horizontally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush with oil and grill 3-4 minutes on each side. Use a wide spatula to turn onion slices, so they do not fall apart.

Potatoes: There are many ways to grill potatoes. You can do them whole for a baked potato. Rub with oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally. Or, cut into thick wedges, brush with olive oil and grill until browned.

Tomatoes: Cut in half, top to bottom. Brush with a light coating of oil and grill cut side down 2-3 minutes.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. They can also be cut down the middle into halves and grilled.

The following grilled vegetable recipes will make great sides for your next barbecue.

Grilled Ricotta Basil Tomatoes                                                                                            

Ingredients:

  • 6 round large tomatoes or 12 small round tomatoes
  • One pound of ricotta cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 12 small, whole basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

 Directions:

Preheat your grill to medium and grease the grill grates with oil.

Combine the ricotta cheese, whole egg, parsley, marjoram, chopped basil and garlic, mixing well.

Rinse the tomatoes and cut into halves. Scoop out the seedy pulp, leaving the outer flesh and skin of the tomatoes intact. If using small tomatoes, do not cut in half, just hollow out the center of each tomato.

Coat the tomatoes lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon some of the ricotta filling into each tomato half.

Place the stuffed tomatoes directly on the grill grate, making sure they are placed securely between the grates.You can also place the tomatoes in a grill top basket.

Grill for five to ten minutes over medium direct heat, until the filling has firmed up and you see some bubbling around the tomato edges.

Insert whole basil leaves into the filling of each tomato and serve immediately.

Grilled Sweet Potato Fries

3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

Set up your grill in a 2-zone configuration, one side hot, the other side cool.

Peeling isn’t necessary, but you can do it if you prefer. Cut potatoes into halves lengthwise and then into thick fries. Place in a large bowl. Drizzle the oil over the top and toss to coat.

Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over potatoes. Toss to coat.

Lay fries on the grill so they’ll get horizontal grill marks and close the lid. Cook about 3 minutes, or until potatoes have brown grill marks on one side. Turn the potato fires over. Cook and turn until all sides are marked. 

Potatoes are done when easily pierced with a fork. You may need to move the fries to the indirect-heat side, if they’re not done after good grill marks are formed.

Grilled Summer Fresh Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 each yellow, orange and red pepper
  • 18 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 18 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette, divided (recipe below)

 Directions:

Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Cut each pepper lengthwise in half. Remove and discard seeds.

Make the filling: Combine the chopped tomatoes, chopped basil and 2 tablespoons of the Balsamic dressing,

Fill each half with some of the tomato filling and, then, top each pepper half with mozzarella cheese.

Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender.

Place peppers on a platter and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 3/4 cup

Grilled Artichokes                                                

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 small artichokes, trimmed and halved
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Salt to taste
  • Spicy Lemon Aioli, recipe below

Directions:

Preheat grill and oil the grill grates.

Cut lemon in half and squeeze out the juice into a bowl. Save for later. Cut lemon into quarters.

Boil artichokes in water with 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, lemon quarters and thyme. Cook until artichokes are just tender (about 20 minutes).

Remove from the water and set aside for about 5 minutes, allowing them to dry.

Brush with olive oil and place on the grill cut side down. Grill for about 3 minutes or until they start to brown. Turn and grill for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved lemon juice and salt.

Serve with the Spicy Lemon Aioli, if desired.

Spicy Lemon Aioli

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients and season to taste.

Grilled Zucchini-and-Summer Squash with Citrus Splash

4 servings

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons grated orange rind
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 zucchini, each halved lengthwise (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 4 yellow squash, each halved lengthwise (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

 Directions:

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Peel onions, leaving root intact; cut each onion into 4 wedges. Add onion, zucchini, and yellow squash to bag.

Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill and oil grill grates.

Drain vegetables in a colander over a bowl, reserving marinade. Place vegetables on a the grill and cook for 8 minutes or until tender; turn and baste occasionally with the reserved marinade.

Place the vegetables on a serving platter; sprinkle with the basil. Serve the vegetables with any remaining marinade.

Marinated Mushrooms

The mushrooms are a great side for grilled meats.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of small crimini mushrooms
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Preheat your outdoor grill and oil the grill grates.

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp towel and trim the tips from the stems.

Juice and zest the lemons and combine with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing thoroughly.

Lightly brush the mushrooms with a little of the dressing. Set the rest of the dressing aside.

Grill the mushrooms over medium-high heat for two to three minutes. Turn mushrooms over and grill another 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the grilled crimini mushrooms to the reserved dressing. Mix well.

Allow the mushrooms to marinate for about one hour on the countertop. You can make this recipe the day before and refrigerating overnight.

Bring to room temperature before serving.

Parmesan Garlic Corn                                                    

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn on the cob
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane grater
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley

Directions:

Preheat grill and grease grill grates with oil.

Remove husks and silks from the corn. Combine grated garlic and butter in a small glass bowl.

Place bowl in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds on high.

Grill corn until lightly charred and deep, bright yellow (about 15 – 20 minutes). Turning often to keep from burning.

Brush garlic butter over corn and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley.

Crusty Grilled Onions                                                                                              

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 Vidalia onions or other sweet onions, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Directions:

Heat the grill to medium-high and grease the grill grates.

Pulse seasonings in the processor until thoroughly combined and place in a shallow bowl.

Brush onions on all sides with oil and coat in the seasoning mixture.

Place onions on the grill and cook until golden brown and a crust has formed, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and continue grilling until thoroughly cooked and crusty.

 


When the fire hydrants begin to look like Italian flags with green, red and white stripes, you know you’re on “The Hill”.  With an Italian American style all their own, featuring Provel cheese and fried ravioli, there’s an unmistakable St. Louis flair in this town’s Italian flavor.

Settlement of what’s now called “the Hill” began in the 1830’s, but the area boomed later that century with the discovery of rich clay mines. The expansion of clay pits and plant production brought Italian immigrants from northern Italy and Sicily to St. Louis and they settled north of the city on the Hill, named for being close to the highest point in the area. Able to find work within the neighborhood, the immigrants, first, bought houses and, then, started businesses — grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants, barber shops and tailor shops, to name a few.

With the growth of Italian immigration came the growth in the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. The Parish of Our Lady Help of Christians, was founded in the downtown area of St. Louis in 1900 to serve primarily Sicilian immigrants and the Parish of St. Ambrose was founded to serve the northern Italian immigrants. By the time the new church of St. Ambrose was built in 1926, the parish had already been an influence in the area for over 20 years. The structure is modeled after Sant Ambrogio Church in Milan, in the Lombard-Romanesque style of brick and terra-cotta. It became a parish church for the area in 1955, after 30 years of focusing on those of Italian heritage. When Our Lady Help of Christians Parish closed in 1975, St. Ambrose became the center of Catholic life among many Italian-Americans in the St. Louis area.

The neighborhood is still predominantly Italian, about 75 percent of the population, and St. Ambrose Catholic Church is still the center of the community. A statue of “The Italian Immigrants” at the entrance of the church demonstrates the bond between the immigrants and their religion. The Hill is also one of the city’s most tight-knit communities. Just as they did a century ago, families on the Hill greet each other warmly at church, local bakeries or while working on their front lawns. 

The Hill has flourished over the last century and somehow managed to repel the decay, neglect and suburban flight that have wracked other neighborhoods. Of all the ethnic-immigrant settlements in St. Louis in the late 19th century and early 20th century (including German, Irish, Czech and Polish), The Hill is the only one that remains intact. The Hill’s streets are virtually free of litter and crime. Its homes are modest but impeccably maintained, and these homes recall an era that predates the three-car garage and bedroom for every child. Some homes, according to Rosolino Roland DeGregorio, a local historian, are framed with free lumber that immigrants hauled in wagons from the disassembled 1904 World’s Fair exhibits.

Yards are lovingly embellished with small flower and herb gardens, fountains, brightly painted flower pots, strings of lights and statues of the Virgin Mary. Across from the Missouri Baking Co., Salvador Palmeri, an immigrant from Sicily, hoses the alley behind his home every day because, he said, “I like to keep it clean.” His wife, Josephine, paints ceramic flower pots and animal figures for a patio menagerie. “I love the area,” said Frank DiGregorio, 49, who arrived from Italy as an 8-month-old baby and helps run family-owned DiGregorio’s Imported Foods. “I can walk up and down the streets and talk to Italian people. It’s a community. We’re a small town in a big city.” Bill Holland, who married into the family that runs the 101-year-old John Volpi Co. Inc., an Italian meat company, said, The Hill is St. Louis’s only 24-hour neighborhood, a fragile ecosystem that has been immune to urban blight and whose anchor is St. Ambrose Catholic Church.” He said the neighborhood has a healthy balance of homes, businesses and entertainment that spins positive energy around the clock. “When the restaurants shut down at midnight, the bakers all come in at 2 a.m.,” Holland said. “We start our business at 6 a.m. There’s always something positive in the neighborhood.”  http://www.thehillstl.com/history.html

The Hill is located south of Manchester Avenue, between Hampton Avenue on the west and Kingshighway Avenue on the east. Its southern border runs along Columbia and Southwest Avenues. One city block of the neighborhood is famous for hosting the boyhood homes of Baseball Hall of Fame members and producing approximately half of the 1950 U.S. soccer team that upset top-ranked England in the World Cup.

The best way to visit the area is with a walking tour of the neighborhood which includes an Italian grocery in business for more than 50 years, a gift shop with a variety of Italian products, a ravioli store and an Italian meat market founded in 1902. Take a stroll down Baseball Hall of Fame Place, a renamed section of Elizabeth Avenue, (between Macklind Ave and Marconi Avenue) where Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola and broadcaster Jack Buck grew up. You can find their homes, marked by granite plaques listing the names and dates of their inductions into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The streets are loaded with specialty shops, including Volpi Foods (5250 Daggett Ave.), opened by Giovanni Volpi in 1902, which continues to produce cured meats for the city (some argue they’re the best in the country). Viviano and Sons (5139 Shaw Ave.), opened by a macaroni factory worker, John Viviano to supplement his income, has blossomed into a neighborhood go-to shop, selling an array of Italian wines, olive oils and cheeses.

Lunch options are limitless, but will probably include an item made with Provel, the signature shelf stable cheese of the St. Louis Italian community. Amighetti’s (5141 Wilson Ave.), has been offering its namesake sandwich, a classic featuring Provel cheese, since 1921.

Two St. Louis restaurants are credited with the toasted ravioli appetizer’s invention in the 1940s: Charlie Gitto‘s (now a popular chain) and Oldani’s (now Mama’s) in The Hill neighborhood.

Dinner at Mama’s On the Hill (2132 Edwards Ave.), is a must. Opened under the name Oldani’s in 1940, Mama’s claims to be the birthplace of toasted ravioli and Mama will tell you all about it over dinner. Start with the two-pound meatball resting atop a mount of spaghetti soaking up Mama’s marinara sauce. Take Mama’s ultimate meatball challenge and, if you manage to finish the dish, Mama’s will pick up your tab and throw in a t-shirt. 

Charlie Gitto’s “On the Hill”   While there are other claimants, Charlie Gitto’s is generally recognized as the birthplace of the ‘toasted ravioli” when the restaurant was called Angelo’s. Toasted ravioli was invented here in 1947,” says Charlie Junior. “Louis Townsend was the guy who accidentally dropped ravioli in the breadcrumbs. He decided to fry them and brought them to Angelo, who thought it was a great idea, because he could quickly get them out to the bar. In the post-war era, the bars were really busy and Angelo served ravioli as bar food.”  Apparantly, this was much quicker than serving ravioli the traditional way.

Restaurants:

The Hill is known nationally for its great Italian restaurants. It’s often the dining destination of visiting celebrities, as well as, for out-of-town guests. Great places to try include:

Zia’s – A favorite of locals, Zia serves classic Italian dishes. Portions are generous, the atmosphere is simple but warm and prices are fairly moderate.

Lorenzo’s Trattoria – As a relatively new restaurant on the Hill, Lorenzo’s can’t rest on tradition. Actually, it does just the opposite, bringing modern twists to classic Italian dishes.

Rigazzi’s – Best known for its “fishbowls” of beer, Rigazzi’s offers everyday Italian dishes and pizza.

Adriana’s – The Hill’s own Yogi Berra’s famous quote “no one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded,” could easily be applied to Adriana’s. Its classic Italian sandwiches bring in a full lunch crowd.

Mama’s Two Pound Meatball

Shopping:

The Hill also has quite a few independent shops selling everything from cutlery to ceramics. Here are just three of the shops on the Hill:

Girasole – Girasole sells a wide variety of Italian products, including ceramics, jewelry, handbags, beauty products and books. Located at 2103 Marconi Avenue.

Bertarelli Cutlery – Although geared toward serving the restaurant business, Bertarelli can be exciting for anyone that loves to cook. Shop for new knives and other quality kitchen supplies or take your current knives in for sharpening. Located at 1927 Marconi Avenue.

Atomic Neon – Glassworks studio selling everything from simple glass bead necklaces to elaborate neon signs and art glass. All crafted on site. Located at 4140 Manchester Road.

Italian Recipes of St. Louis

St. Louis-Style Pizza

With its cracker-thin baking powder crust and square slices, there are those who’d claim this dish isn’t pizza. But to residents of St. Louis, it’s one of their city’s culinary icons. There are many “authentic” St. Louis Pizza recipes, but all seem to stem from one particular St. Louis chain: Imo’s, a “mom and pop” business with over 90 stores in and around St. Louis.

Crust

  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons water

*No self-rising flour? Substitute 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour; add 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and increase the water to 1/2 cup.

Topping

  • 2/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup grated or shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded smoked provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded Swiss cheese
  • Pizza Seasoning or dried Italian herbs

*To add smoky flavor without using smoked provolone, add 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke flavoring.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two 12″ round pizza pans, or a couple of baking sheets.

To make the crust: Combine the flour, oil and water, mixing until cohesive. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it in half and shape each half into a flat disk, the rounder the better.

If you have time, let the dough rest, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes; it’ll be easier to roll out once it’s rested.

Grease a piece of parchment paper about 12″ square or a piece of waxed paper. Place one of the dough pieces on the paper and top with another piece of lightly greased parchment or waxed paper.

Roll the dough very thin, 1/8″ thick or less. Place the dough on the prepared pans.

Top each pizza with 1/3 cup sauce. Mix the cheeses together and spread half over each pizza. Sprinkle lightly with Pizza Seasoning or dried Italian herbs.

Bake the pizzas for 9 to 11 minutes, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, and the edges and bottom of the crust are golden brown.

Remove the pizzas from the oven, transfer to a rack to cool very briefly, cut in squares, and serve hot.

Yield: two pizzas, about 4 servings total.

The Original Toasted Ravioli

Makes 12 to 14 appetizers.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 2 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut up
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 -16 to 20 ounce package frozen meat-filled ravioli, thawed
  • 2/3 to 1 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
  • Cooking oil for deep-fat frying
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

For sauce: In a medium saucepan, cook onion and garlic in hot olive oil or butter until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes, dried basil, salt and pepper. Cover; cook over medium heat about 10 minutes or until tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. Uncover and stir in tomato paste. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh basil Cover sauce; keep warm.

In a small bowl, beat together egg and milk. Dip each ravioli in egg mixture; then dip in bread crumbs to coat.

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, heat 2 inches of cooking oil to 350 degrees F. Fry ravioli, a few at a time, in hot oil about 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 300 degree F.  oven while frying the rest.

To serve: Sprinkle ravioli with Parmesan cheese, if you like. Serve with warm sauce for dipping.

Chicken Spiedini

Zia’s restaurant on the Hill uses provel in this grilled chicken dish. It’s a cheese made in the neighborhood that tastes like a blend of cheddar, Swiss and provolone.

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
  • 2/3 cup Italian salad dressing 
  • 3/4 cups seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup halved fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped prosciutto
  • 3/4 cup shredded provel cheese or mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Directions:

Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Pour salad dressing over chicken. Seal bag; turn to coat chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in bread crumbs to coat. On five to six long metal skewers, thread chicken, accordion-style, leaving 1/4-inch space between each piece.

For a charcoal grill: Grill skewers on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170 degree F), turning once halfway through grilling.

For a gas grill: Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place skewers on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as directed above.

For oven directions: Arrange skewers in a 15 x 10x 1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 375 degree F.  oven about 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degree F.)

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook mushrooms and garlic in hot butter until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add prosciutto; cook and stir 2 minutes more.

Remove chicken from skewers; arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle the chicken with half of the cheese. Spoon the mushroom mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Squeeze a lemon wedge over each serving.

Salsiccia Bread

Salsiccia is Italian for sausage and it’s a tasty part of the filling in this recipe from Di Gregorio Imported Foods, which also sells the salsiccia. 

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled potato
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
  • 8 ounces canned or homemade pizza sauce
  • 2 tablespoons drained, snipped oil-packed sundried tomatoes
  • 1- 16 – ounce loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

For filling: In a large skillet, cook sausage, potato and garlic until sausage is brown and potato is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in spinach, 1/3 cup of the pizza sauce and sundried tomatoes. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×9-inch rectangle, stopping occasionally to let dough relax a few minutes for easier rolling. Spread sausage mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Starting from a short side, roll up dough into a spiral. Moisten edge and ends; pinch seams to seal. Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (30 to 45 minutes).

Lightly brush loaf with oil. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack; cool about 30 minutes before cutting. Serve with remaining pizza sauce for dipping. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note – Store leftovers, wrapped in foil, in the refrigerator up to 2 days. To reheat, bake wrapped loaf in 350 degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated.

Tiramisu

This recipe from Gian-Tony’s on the Hill.

Makes: 16 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
  • 2 -8 ounce cartons mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dried egg white powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 3 – ounce packages ladyfingers, split
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

For syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the 1/2 cup water and coffee powder. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in amaretto and hazelnut liqueur. Cool.

For filling: In a medium bowl, stir together mascarpone cheese, the 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla. In a chilled medium mixing bowl, combine whipping cream and the 3 tablespoons sugar. Beat with chilled beaters in an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold 1/2 cup of the beaten whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture to lighten; set both mixtures aside. In another medium mixing bowl, beat dried egg whites and 1/2 cup water to stiff peaks according to package directions, adding the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating.

To assemble: Arrange half of the ladyfinger halves in the bottom of a 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Brush with half of the syrup mixture. Spread with half of the mascarpone mixture, half of the whipped cream and half of the egg white mixture. Sprinkle with half of the cocoa powder. Arrange the remaining ladyfingers on top of the layers in the pan. Brush with the remaining syrup mixture. Spread with the remaining mascarpone mixture, the remaining whipped cream and the remaining egg white mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cocoa powder. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours before serving. Makes 16 servings.

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Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig and is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.

Since the animals are now bred to be lean, the meat is higher in protein and about 30 percent lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol than the pork produced in the 1970’s.

With so many lean cuts of pork to choose from, many pork cuts are comparable to skinless chicken cuts. A 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin is as lean as a skinless chicken breast. It contains 120 calories and only 2.98 grams of total fat. Pound for pound, pork is one of the most economical buys in the meat case. Not only will you be getting nutritional value of B vitamins, zinc and iron; but pork’s financial value will leave you a little extra cash in the pocketbook.

Common Cuts of Pork for Grilling

Pork Chops

The meatiest chops are cut from the center of the loin: The two most common types are loin chops, which look like miniature T-bone steaks with a bit of the tenderloin attached and rib chops, without the tenderloin (see Pork Tenderloin). Because they dry out quickly during cooking, it’s especially important not to overcook lean boneless chops. Choose cuts that are at least an inch thick so they stay juicy.

Pork Loin

Buy this large cut (from the back of the pig) without bones, which makes it easier to slice.  Stuff it and cook it as a roast or slice it into 1-inch chops for pan-frying and grilling.

Pork Tenderloin

This lean, very tender cut from the end of the loin is long, narrow and tapering at one end. It is much smaller than a pork loin roast, so it cooks quickly and is a good choice for weeknight dinners. This cut of pork is the most healthy cut of pork. Cut from the back of the pig, it has virtually no fat. This fact also makes it easy to dry out and for that reason technique is important: grill it on hot grates and grill it quickly. Tenderloins also absorb marinades really well. 

Pork Sausage

Made from ground pork, sausages come in a variety of sizes and seasonings. Flavors range from sweet to savory and spicy. Sausages can be used in sauces, stews or as a pizza topping. Grilled sausage makes an excellent sandwich.

Baby-Back Ribs

Small and meaty, these curved slabs are taken from the pig’s rib cage near the backbone. Prized for their juicy meat, they cook quickly. A full rack has at least 8 ribs. For the tenderest meat, select a rack that weighs 2 pounds or less (which should feed 2-3 people).

Spare Ribs

Although not as meaty as baby-back ribs, spare ribs rely on a generous amount of fat for flavor. Large and irregularly shaped, they come from a pig’s underbelly or lower rib cage (also the source of bacon). A full rack has at least 11 ribs and weighs 3 to 4 pounds (which should feed 3 or 4 people).

Ham

Ham is taken from a pig’s leg. Some hams are sold fresh for baking, but most are cured with brine, salt and spices, making them juicier. Some are sold fully cooked and some are smoked, which imparts a more intense flavor. Hams are sold boneless, semi-boneless and with the bone in. Bone-in hams usually yield the best flavor, while boneless are easier to cut. Ham steaks are best for the grill.

 

 

Grilling is ideal for cooking smaller pork cuts, such as chops, steaks, ham slices, tenderloins, ribs, ground pork patties, sausages and kabobs. Because grilling uses high heat and short cooking times, it tends to toughen the meat, so it is best to use the most tender cuts available. Lean pork cuts will benefit from marinating before they are grilled.

Pork steaks and pork chops that are going to be grilled should be a minimum of 3/4 to 1 inch thick because the high heat will cook the meat quickly. If the cuts are thinner than this, it is easy to overcook the meat, causing it to dry out. The meat must be watched carefully while grilling. Coating the pork with a little oil or marinating it before cooking will help keep it moist. It is important that the grill be properly preheated so that it seals the juices into the meat quickly. The temperature at which the pork is cooked and the distance it is placed from the heat source are both important for providing tender, juicy, properly cooked pork.

Using a meat thermometer is the most accurate method for testing doneness. A regular meat thermometer is inserted before placing the meat on the grill and it remains there throughout the cooking time. An instant read thermometer is used to check for the recommended temperature once the meat has been cooked. 

Whether the grill is charcoal or gas, how you use the heat is key. Understanding the two grilling styles, direct and indirect, are essential for creating perfectly grilled meat. There are instances when either direct or indirect methods are appropriate. The direct method cooks foods directly over the heat source. Grill pork chops, ground pork burgers, pork kabobs and anything less than two inches in thickness over direct heat. Indirect heat cooks at a slower rate, as the heat source is off to the side, to prevent burning the outer area of the food while cooking evenly throughout. Grill larger cuts of meat, like pork shoulder and roasts, using indirect heat. (See photo above for direct/indirect heat method.)

When using direct grilling, the meat should be 3 to 6 inches away from the heat source and cooked on medium high heat. It is important that the heat source be accurately preheated to allow for even cooking. Pork is done at 160 degrees F. Cook larger cuts over indirect heat to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes. The final internal temperature will continue to rise to 160 degrees F. A hint of pink in the center equates perfectly cooked pork that is not dried out. 

Start with a clean grill. Scrub the grates with a wire brush removing all grease buildup and charred food particles prior to every use. Grease the grates with cooking oil before starting the grill to prevent sticking and burning of items to be grilled. To reduce flare ups, choose lean cuts of meat, such as: pork tenderloin, top loin chop, center loin chop, rib chop, sirloin roast or 96% lean ground pork. Also, trim any visible fat before placing on the grill.

Marinades can come from fruit and vegetable purees. Vinegar mixtures, citrus juice, herbs, spices and olive oil all make great ingredients for marinades. In addition to marinating to maximize the natural flavor of lean meats, such as pork tenderloin and ham, pair pork with fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten and lighten up summertime meals. Pairing meat with citrus fruits or adding sliced apples, strawberries or other fruit  to your grilling skewer will increase the meal’s nutrition value. Grilled fruit, such as peaches, nectarines and plums add great flavor to pork entrees. Adding vegetables to the grill alongside the meat is a healthy alternative to fattening summer sides and it saves the cook time and work.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

This is a master grilling recipe for pork tenderloin that works perfectly, no matter how you flavor the pork. 

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds total)
  • 1 recipe Rosemary-Orange Glaze, see recipe below
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe Orange Balsamic Sauce, see recipe below

Brining:

In a medium bowl, mix salt and sugar with 1 quart cool water until dissolved. Trim the tenderloins of excess fat and silverskin and submerge them in the brine; let stand about 45 minutes. Remove the pork from the brine, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.

Season and grill:

Rub the brined tenderloins all over with the Rosemary-Orange Glaze and then season with the pepper. 

Heat a gas grill, turning all the burners to high until the grill is fully heated, 10 to 15 minutes.

Put the pork on the hot grill grate. Close the lid and grill for 7 minutes.

Turn the pork over, close the lid, and grill for another 6 minutes.

Turn off the heat (keep the lid closed) and continue to cook the pork for another 5 minutes. At this point, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the thickest end of the tenderloin should read 145° to 150°F. (If not, close the lid and let the pork continue to roast in the residual grill heat.) Remove the pork from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before carving. Cut across the grain into 1/2-inch slices and serve with the Orange Balsamic Sauce .

To use a charcoal grill:

Prepare a two-zone fire, banking all the coals to one side of the grill. Use a wire brush to clean the grill rack and then brush it lightly with oil; close the lid and wait to let the air inside the grill get hot again. Position the pork directly over the hot coals and cook (covered), turning once, until nicely seared on both sides. Move the tenderloins to the coolest part of the grill (over no coals), close the lid, and cook for 5 minutes more. Grilling time may vary a bit, depending on how hot and consistent your fire is.

Rosemary-Orange Glaze 

Yields enough to glaze two pork tenderloins.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

In a small saucepan, bring the concentrate, brown sugar and rosemary to a simmer. Simmer until the mixture reduces to about half. Set aside to cool slightly.

Orange Balsamic Sauce

Yields about 1/3 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant and sizzling, about 30 seconds. Stir in the marmalade and vinegar. Heat until warm. After slicing the pork, add any juices from the carving board to the sauce and mix well. Pass separately when serving the pork tenderloins.

Pork Chops with Marsala and Porcini Mushrooms

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups very hot water
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 pork rib chops, each 8 to 10 ounces and ¾ to 1 inch thick
  • 3 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only), divided (9 scallions)
  • 1/2 cup good-quality dry marsala
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup half & half

Directions:

Pour the water into a 2-cup glass measuring cup, add the porcinis, and stir to submerge. Cover with a plate or bowl to keep the porcini submerged. Let soak until the mushrooms are soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the soaking liquid and the porcini separately. If the porcini pieces are large, roughly chop them and set aside.

While the mushrooms are soaking, prepare the pork chops. In a small bowl combine 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brush the pork chops on both sides with the oil and season evenly with the spices.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F).

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the creminis and cook until they release their liquid and become brown, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the drained porcini, 3/4 cup of the scallions and the remaining rosemary. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the marsala and boil until reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and the 1 cup reserved porcini soaking liquid, leaving any sediment behind. Boil until slightly reduced, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the half & half and boil until the liquid thickens to your desired sauce consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Season the sauce with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the pork chops over direct high heat with the lid closed , 6 to 8 minutes depending on their thickness, turning once. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Spoon the mushroom sauce over the pork chops and top with the remaining 1/4 cup scallions. 

Pork Kabobs

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt

2 pork tenderloins, each about 1 pound, trimmed of silver skin and any excess fat, cut into 1¼-inch cubes

2 large bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green, cut into 1¼-inch squares

Directions:

Whisk the marinade ingredients, including a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put the pork cubes in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.

If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F).

Remove the pork from the bag and discard the marinade. Thread the pork and bell pepper squares alternately onto skewers.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the skewers over direct high heat, with the lid closed, until the pork is barely pink in the center, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.

Ham Steaks with a Citrus Sauce

Serves: 6

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley 
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 bone-in ham steaks, each about 1 pound and ¾ inch thick

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 orange, cut into wedges

Directions:

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 500°F).

In a medium, nonreactive bowl combine the sauce ingredients.

In a small saucepan combine the marmalade, orange juice and vinegar. Cook over low heat just until the mixture thins slightly.

Blot the ham steaks dry with paper towels. Brush both sides of each ham steak with the marmalade mixture and season one side evenly with 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the ham steaks over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until they are grill marked and crispy around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill and cut into individual portions. Serve warm with the sauce and orange wedges.

Sausage Vegetable Grill

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean hot or sweet Italian Pork Sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup quartered fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, oregano, parsley, garlic salt and paprika.

Pour over sausage mixture; toss to coat.

Divide mixture between two pieces of heavy-duty foil (each about 14 in. x 12 in.). Fold foil around sausage mixture and seal tightly.

Grill both packages, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through.

Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.

 


While not as common as ketchup, barbecue sauce has become a complex American condiment that is prepared differently across the country and heightens the flavor of meat. The ingredients typically include: ketchup, vinegar, sugar, garlic, onion and mustard. But, it’s the consistency and variations that create regional differences coast to coast.

No one is really sure where the term barbecue originated. The conventional wisdom is that the Spanish, upon landing in the Caribbean, used the word barbacoa to refer to the natives’ method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform. By the 19th century, the culinary technique was well established in the American South and, because pigs were prevalent in the region, pork became the primary meat at barbecues. Barbecue allowed an abundance of food to be cooked at once and quickly became the go-to menu item for large gatherings like church festivals and neighborhood picnics.

American Barbecue varies by region, with the four main styles named after their place of origin: Memphis, Tennessee; North Carolina; Kansas City and Texas. Memphis is renowned for pulled pork-shoulder doused in a sweet tomato-based sauce (eaten on its own or as a sandwich). North Carolina smokes the whole hog in a vinegar-based sauce. Kansas City natives prefer ribs cooked in a dry rub and Texans prefer beef, especially mesquite-grilled brisket.

If there’s one issue that divides barbecue fans more deeply than any other, it’s the kind of sauce that should be served on a particular type of meat. Though it inspires passionate argument, the colorful variety of regional sauces – peppery vinegar-based in eastern North Carolina, orange tomato-based in Kansas City or yellow mustard in South Carolina are actually a rather recent dilemma. Regional sauce variations originated in the early 20th century with the rise of barbecue restaurants. Before then, barbecue sauce was pretty much the same from state to state. It was generally not a condiment applied at the table, but rather used to baste the meat just before it was served.

From Virginia to Texas, 19th century accounts of barbecues are remarkably similar in their descriptions of the sauce. In 1882, a reporter from the Baltimore Sun visited a Virginia barbecue restaurant and noted male cooks mopping the meat with “a gravy of butter, salt, vinegar, and black pepper.” A guest at a San Antonio barbecue in 1883 recorded the sauce as, “Butter, with a mixture of pepper, salt, and vinegar.” In 1884, the Telegraph and Messenger of Macon, Georgia, described the sauce of well known barbecue cook, Berry Eubanks of Columbus, as, “made of homemade butter, seasoned with red bell pepper from the garden and apple vinegar.” Similar descriptions can be found of sauces in Kentucky and the Carolinas, too. Sweeteners, such as, brown sugar, molasses or honey, were notably absent from any 19th-century formulas. Based on these descriptions, one can conclude that the eastern North Carolina–style sauce – which consists of vinegar, salt, black and red peppers without a trace of sugar – is the closest to the original.

Growing up in an Italian American home in the Northeast US, barbecue sauces were not really a part of our cuisine. We rarely had food that was grilled. My father would grill sausage and steak a few times during the summer months. I recall that I did not really like the steak because it was tough and dry. My mother did baste meats and vegetables with olive oil, vinegar and herbs. She also made tomato sauces to pour over cooked meats. However, I did not really discover the world of barbecue until I was married and looking for something different to cook for dinner. American food magazines, of the time, were  my go to place for ideas and they were full of barbecue style recipes in the summertime. So I began to experiment. Try my Italian Babecue Sauce recipe below for a combination of what is good in American sauces and in Italian sauces.

Making homemade barbecue sauce is not difficult and it tastes so much better than bottled sauce. Here are a few to get you started. You just need to think about what you want to cook.

Easy Homemade Ketchup

I like to make my own ketchup, so I can control the salt and sugar content. This recipe is easy to make and can be doubled or tripled. I freeze it in 1/2 cup measures, so I can add it to sauces without having to defrost a large container.

Ingredients:

  • 1-28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

Directions:

Combine the first four ingredients in a large saucepan.

Saute the onions, pepper and celery in olive oil in a skillet until they are transparent. Add the garlic and saute about one minute. Add the vegetables and spices to the tomato and vinegar mixture. Simmer together for at least an hour or until the mixture had achieved a ketchup consistency.

Use the food processor or an immersion blender to puree the tomato mixture until it is smooth. Ketchup made with a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes will fill three pint jars after the tomato mixture has cooked down. Refrigerate, freeze or use in BBQ sauces.

Basic Barbecue Sauce

This is a delicious sauce to have on hand during the summer grilling season. Use it to baste chicken or to top hamburgers and hotdogs right off the grill.

Yield: about 1-1/3 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Few drops hot pepper sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

In a saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Tangy Barbecue Sauce

This is another basic sauce to keep on hand and adds a sweet mustard flavor to grilled meats.

Yield: 1-1/2 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf. Use as a basting sauce when grilling chicken, pork or beef.

Molasses Barbecue Sauce

Yield: 3-1/2 cups.

This sauce has a bold molasses flavor with a hint of orange. It goes well with chicken, ribs and chops.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed low sodium tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.

Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Use it on grilled ribs, fish or ham steak.

Yield: 2-1/3 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 1 cup prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the flavors are blended. Remove from the heat; cool.

Smoky Barbecue Sauce

Yield: 2-1/2 cups.

Especially good on a grilled beef

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

Cherry Barbecue Sauce

Use frozen cherries for convenience to make this barbecue sauce. It tastes great on ribs and chicken.

Yield: about 3-1/2 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, defrosted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until cherries are tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Puree with an immersion blender until almost smooth.

Pecan Barbecue Sauce

This sauce tastes good on grilled meats, fish and vegetables, but it is especially good on grilled turkey burgers.

Yield: 3 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup ground pecans
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Italian Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is especially good on grilled chicken ot Italian sausage.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1- 14 ½ ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and heat through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Puree with an immersion blender.

 



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