Better Summer Grilling

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We just can’t imagine summer without grilling. The two words practically go hand-in-hand. Not only does firing up the grill beat the heat of cooking indoors, but it provides some flavors that you just can’t get inside. This week we will provide tips and recipes to set you up for a summer of better grilling.

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Coconut Mint Ice Cream

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If this presentation isn’t beyond fun – we don’t know what is! Little touches (like coconut ice cream bowls!) are the key to a memorable shower. Sprinkle in a few of these spectacular details and you’re sure to leave everyone in awe. Not to mention, the light, refreshing treat that is this coconut milk ice cream!

Coconut Mint Ice Cream

Makes: 8 small servings
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes + ice cream machine

Ingredients
3 cups full fat coconut milk (2 cans)
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 handfuls 20 or so sprigs of mint + extra for garnish
¼ teaspoon salt
4 small coconuts, halved (optional)
chocolate sauce8
ounces high quality dark chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons agave
pinch of salt

Directions
In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup of coconut milk with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch until fully
dissolved.

In a small saucepan, heat the remainder of the coconut milk over low heat with the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, salt and sprigs of mint. Bring to a low simmer and stir.

Remove from heat after 5 minutes or so. Cover the pan and let it steep for 30 minutes. Then, place in the refrigerator until chilled, another 30 minutes or so.

Strain out the mint and follow directions according to your ice cream maker.

For the chocolate sauce- simmer water in a small saucepan, then place a glass bowl on top to create a double boiler. Add the chocolate, coconut oil and agave to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir until fully melted. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

To serve, place several scoops in a halved coconut, top with chocolate sauce and a sprig of mint.

mini chicken tacos

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It’s likely that there will be a theme for the shower and we have to admit, we are big fans of a little fiesta! The flavors are so fun and beg to be served family style! Just like the theme, these mini chicken tacos are sure to be a hit! They’re cute and not to mention, oh so tasty. Can’t find mini tortillas? Try making your own using large tortillas and a biscuit or cookie cutter!

Mini Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema

Makes: 16-24 mini tacos
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
1 ½ pounds skinless chicken breasts
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion, finely diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
16-24 mini tortillas, flour or corn
4 ounces queso fresco cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced
sliced lettuce or cabbage
extra limes for garnish

chipotle lime crema
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
¾ cup half and half
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
juice of half a lime
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the skillet and let it get really hot. Once it’s hot, add in the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cover the skillet and place it in the oven, roasting for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, chili powders, garlic powder and onion powder. Set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the diced onion, tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro in a small bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside.

Once chicken is cooked, transfer chicken and pan juices to a bowl and add mixed spices. Use forks to shred the chicken and mix in the spices.

To assemble, place chicken in a tortilla and top with salsa, crumbled cheese and a drizzle of crema. Serve with avocado, sliced cabbage (or lettuce) and a squeeze of lime.

grilled stone fruit

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Warm weather calls for fruity desserts – and that’s just what we have here! These fabulous little treats can certainly be made on a grill, but we love using a cast iron grill pan too! Not to mention, it’s a great back up plan for rain! Our favorite part of this recipe? The EASY mascarpone ice cream! Don’t have the time? Whipped cream or whipped mascarpone will do!

Grilled Stone Fruit with Mascarpone Ice Cream

Makes: 4 servings
Total Time: 20 minutes + freezing time for ice cream

Ingredients
mascarpone ice cream
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of flaky sea salt

4 peaches (or other stone fruit), halved and pit removed
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon cinnamon
honey
almonds, toasted
sprigs of mint

Directions
To make the ice cream, add the mascarpone and sweetened condensed milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until smooth and combined. Add the heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze 4-6 hours or overnight.

Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat and brush the grates with oil.

In a large bowl, toss the fruit with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place fruit, cut side down in the pan. Grill for 2-3 minutes, or until light char marks appear, flip and grill another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan.

Serve the fruit warm, with a large scoop of mascarpone ice cream, toasted almonds, a few sprigs of mint and a drizzle of honey!

Pan Seared Garlic Herb Pork Chops

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What else does cast iron do SO well? Sear meat! Because cast iron gets very hot, you are able to create that perfect sear on a piece of meat to lock in juices and flavor! Aside from perfectly seared meat, this recipe utilizes herbs, lemon and white wine (our favorite flavors of summer!) to create an easy, and somewhat decadent meal that will require barely any clean up!

Pan Seared Garlic Herb Pork Chops

Makes: 4 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
4 boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
garlic white wine sauce2
tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup dry white wine
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

Directions
In a large bowl, whisk flour, garlic powder, onion powder and herbs de provence. Season
generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Dip each pork chop in the flour mixture, making sure to cover completely. Once the pan is hot, add dredged pork chops and sear 3-4 minutes on the first side — keeping on medium-high heat. After 3-4 minutes, turn the heat to medium and flip, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.

Remove pork chop from the pan and transfer to a plate. Cover to keep warm.

To make the sauce, return the skillet to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter and minced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add flour to the butter mixture and whisk. Pour in wine and cook for 1 minute. Add lemon juice, stock, cream, herbs de provence and thyme. Season generously with salt and pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then taste and add more seasoning if desired.

Reduce heat to low and add pork chops back to the pan. Depending on the thickness, you may need to cook for several more minutes until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Drizzle each chop with sauce and serve immediately.

creamy baked eggs and greens

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Who thinks this looks worth waking up for!? *Both hands raised!* This recipe utilizes one of the things we love so much about cast iron – creating perfectly sautéed greens on the stovetop then transferring to the oven for perfectly baked eggs! Want to go from stovetop to oven to table? Grab a lovely dishtowel, a trivet and some pot holders and breakfast is served!

Creamy Baked Eggs and Greens

Makes: 2-4 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
2/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 garlic clove, halved
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons scallion, sliced
5 ounces fresh spinach
5 ounces fresh kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Mix yogurt, garlic and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Melt butter with oil in a large, heavy 10″ cast iron skillet over
medium heat. Add leek and scallion, then reduce heat to low. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add spinach, kale and lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until kale and spinach are wilted, 4-5 minutes.

Make 4 deep indentations in the center of the greens. Crack 1 egg into each indentation,
carefully keeping the yolks intact. Transfer to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let eggs set for several minutes. Sprinkle with fresh oregano and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately with a dollop of yogurt.

Cast Iron Cooking 101

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In our minds, cast iron can do just about anything — it produces some serious heat, it’s naturally nonstick, it can go straight from the stove top to the oven, and it’s the true master of one-pot meals. Occasionally you’ll hear that cast iron can be a little  finicky, or tricky to clean. But we have to disagree! If you show your pan a little love, give it a good cleaning and seasoning, you’ll have a pan to last you a lifetime. This weekend we’ll call out some of our best cast iron tips and summer recipes! Here’s a sneak peek…

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quinoa stuffed eggplant

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Want to impress the socks right off a special lady in your life? Make this dish! This veggie filled, recipe is light yet filling and we can guarantee that it will be a big hit, especially in the flavor department! We recommend serving with a light, dressed salad of chopped veggies or greens!

Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce

Makes: 4 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients
eggplant
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzle
2 medium eggplants

yogurt sauce
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt

quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water or broth
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped, plus more to garnish
2 teaspoons mint, chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 green onions, sliced
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili flakes, paprika, salt, lemon zest and ½ cup of the olive oil.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise then score the flesh of each half by making deep, diagonal cuts into the flesh without piercing the skin. Spoon the garlic and spice mixture over each half, spreading evenly. Place the eggplant, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.

To make the yogurt sauce, combine yogurt, buttermilk, olive oil, garlic and salt in a small bowl.

Whisk to combine and taste. Adjust seasoning if desired and transfer to refrigerator to keep cold.

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, two cups liquid (water or broth) and a pinch of salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat but keep covered for another 5 minutes.

When the quinoa is done, remove the lid, add remaining olive oil and fluff with a fork. Add herbs, almonds, green onions, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and taste, adding more seasoning if desired.

To serve, place ½ of an eggplant cut side up on a plate. Spoon the quinoa mixture on top, then spoon over some yogurt sauce, sprinkle with cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil.