September 4th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Planning a Labor Day barbecue?
Transform sweet organic watermelon into a savory side dish with a Thai-inspired sauce.
Grill watermelon wedges until they’re caramelized, drizzle them with the tangy sauce, and garnish with fresh organic cilantro. The recipe can accompany ribs, chicken or shrimp.
All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store. Enjoy!
Read More:Grilled Spicy Watermelon
August 13th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Cucumbers on the grill?
Absolutely! They’re even better when freshly picked from your organic garden.
Today’s recipe pairs English cucumbers with juicy tomatoes, and prep time is minimal. Use a grill basket to prevent veggies from slipping through the grate.
All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Warm Tomato and Cucumber Salad
1 English cucumber
Olive-oil nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper, to taste
Your favorite Italian dressing
- Cut tomatoes into wedges.
- Slice cucumber into 1/2-inch slices.
- Spray veggies generously with olive-oil nonstick cooking spray for extra flavor and browning. Spray grill basket, as well.
- Place vegetables in basket. Grill until lightly browned, tossing occasionally, about 4 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toss with salad greens and Italian dressing.
Recipe courtesy of PAM Organic Cooking Spray. Photo: La Grande Farmers’ Market.
Read More:Warm Tomato and Cucumber Salad
August 6th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Crosshatched grill marks give food that professional-chef look.
So, how can you grill summer’s organic vegetables to perfection?
- Make sure your grill grate is clean. Pretreat it with a nonstick cooking spray. (Don’t spray a hot grill.)
- Purchase the right tools, including long-handled tongs and a grilling spatula. Tools should also be pretreated with nonstick cooking spray.
- While large chunks of bell pepper and sweet potato can be placed directly on the grill, smaller veggie cuts may require a grill basket so they don’t fall through the grate.
Tune in next week for a new grilled-veggie recipe: Warm Tomato and Cucumber Salad.
Read More:3 Tips for Perfectly Grilled Organic Veggies
July 29th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Whether raw, grilled or roasted, red bell peppers are an incredible low-calorie source of vitamin C.
One medium bell pepper has only 25 calories, while providing:
- 190% of your daily vitamin C requirement
- 2 g fiber
- 4% of your daily vitamin A requirement
- 4% of your daily iron requirement
But does nutritional content change when peppers hit the grill or roasting pan?
Peppers shrink as they cook, and vitamin C is heat-sensitive. Grilled peppers will therefore contain less vitamin C, but you’ll make up for it by consuming a larger, more concentrated portion of the veggie, explains registered dietitian Karen Collins, nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research. Ultimately, regardless of preparation, a half-cup serving of red bell peppers provides a full day’s vitamin C requirement.
Conversely, vitamin A levels are higher when red peppers are roasted, Collins says. That’s because the cooking process leads to better absorption of beta-carotene.
But watch out for hidden calories and sodium in jarred roasted red peppers (or similar varieties found in supermarket or restaurant antipasto bars).
“When they are marinated in oil, of course, calorie content increases,” Collins says. “Sodium content also changes with preparation. Jarred roasted red peppers usually contain added salt, which increases sodium content markedly.
“However, you can broil or bake fresh red peppers in a hot oven (about 450°F) for 7 to 10 minutes; then put them in a bag to cool for about 15 minutes. You’ll have roasted red peppers with the near-zero sodium content of raw red peppers.”
How to Choose an Organic Bell Pepper
- Look for firm, brightly colored peppers with tight skins.
- Peppers should be heavy for their size.
- Avoid dull, shriveled or pitted peppers.
5 Roasted Red Pepper Recipes
- Tomato and Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup
- Grilled Fennel, Corn and Red Pepper Salad
- Skewered Grilled Organic Veggies
- Roasted Vegetable Medley
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Read More:Grill Organic Red Bell Peppers for a Vitamin Boost
July 2nd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Nix the burgers and hot dogs this Fourth of July in favor of today’s more healthful, bun-free option.
Hearty portabella mushrooms can stand up to the heat of the backyard grill. In this recipe, they’re artfully topped with a savory tomato blend and garnished with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.
Prep time is 15 minutes, grilling time is 10 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
Makes 6 servings (1 mushroom each)
1 can (14.5 ounces) Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 package fresh basil, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
6 large portabella mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (see note below)
Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Spray cold grill and utensils with cooking/grilling spray. Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Combine tomatoes, garlic and basil in medium bowl; blend well.
- Grill mushrooms, smooth side up, 5 minutes or until browned. Turn mushroom caps over.
- Spoon tomato mixture into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with nuts and cheese.
- Grill an additional 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender.
Note: You can easily toast nuts on the grill. Spray a small, cold ovenproof skillet with cooking/grilling spray. Heat skillet; add nuts. Toss until nuts are golden brown. Remove from heat.
Recipe and photo courtesy of PAM Organic Cooking Spray
Read More:Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
July 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Known for his sustainable cuisine, Chef Kurt Michael Friese of Iowa City’s Devotay uses the finest local ingredients.
To add a smoky flavor to chicken and pork, he grills them over leftover corncobs, he recently told Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. To use them:
- Soak cobs in water for at least 1 hour (overnight is fine).
- Charcoal grill: Place directly on coals.
- Gas grill: Wrap in perforated aluminum foil. Set on the grate, and close the grill’s lid.
Instead of composting cobs, you can store leftovers in the freezer so you’ll have them on hand when you’re ready to grill, advises Everyday writer Christine Richmond.
Photo: Luigi Chisea
Read More:Grill Over Corncobs for Extra Flavor
August 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
When they hear the word “plank,” many people immediately think of pirates—and an untimely demise.
But chefs have long been fans of planking, a grilling method first embraced by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Not surprisingly, they planked the region’s bountiful fish and seafood, creating a barbecue trend that’s experiencing a resurgence today.
As the name implies, fish fillets and shellfish are placed on a wet, aromatic wooden plank, which flavors the food.
You can purchase precut planks at barbecue and grill shops, supermarkets, some natural and organic food stores, and online. Read labels carefully to ensure you’re buying organic planks, such as Elizabeth Karmel’s Grill Friends Organic Cedar Grilling Planks, made from organic American wood that comes from sustainable forests.
Another source for planks is your local lumberyard; just be sure to buy untreated hardwood lumber (again, preferably organic).
The best wood choices for planking are cedar, alder and oak. Hickory and maple also work well. Do not use pine or other soft woods, as they are too resinous.
Before grilling, presoak the plank in water for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Pat planks dry with paper towels, and spray-coat or lightly oil one side. (You’ll place seafood on the oiled side.)
Season fillets or seafood lightly with an herb blend, such as Taj Rub, or simply use salt and pepper. Go easy, as you don’t want to overpower the flavor imbued by the plank.
Preheat one side of the grill to medium-high, and place the planked seafood on the indirect (nonheated) side. Close the lid, and turn down the heat to medium. After 10 minutes, check fish and seafood frequently for doneness.
Be advised: Seafood changes from translucent to opaque as it cooks, and it will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat. Cook just until opaque throughout.
If you’re grilling fish without a plank, follow the tips provided in Fish on the Barbie.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Plank Grilling Cookbook: Infuse Food with More Flavor Using Wood Planks
Tips courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Read More:Plank Grilling with Organic Wood
August 9th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
If I had to choose my favorite way to cook fish or seafood, grilling over an open flame—caveman style—would trump indoor methods.
I usually apply a dry rub, such as Friday’s recipe for Taj Rub. The grill can take it from there.
If you prefer to sauce your fish or seafood, I’d suggest the following recipes from our Organic Blog:
Sustainable salmon is a year-round favorite. It’s high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and has the perfect texture for grilling.
Preparing the Grill
- Fish cooks best over a medium-hot fire; shellfish requires a hot grill.
- Make sure the grill is hot before you start cooking.
- Liberally brush oil on the grill just prior to cooking.
Grilling Fish and Shellfish
- Cut large steaks or fillets into meal-size portions before grilling.
- Use a grill basket or perforated grill rack to keep flaky fish or smaller shellfish from falling through the grill bars.
- Brush fish or shellfish with oil very lightly just before cooking.
- Always start to grill fish with the skin side up. (If the skin has been removed, the skin side will appear slightly darker.) This allows the natural fat carried beneath the skin to be drawn into the fillet, keeping it rich and moist. It’s also easier to turn when the more delicate or “flesh” side cooks first.
- Turn fish/shellfish only once. For easy turning, use a two-prong kitchen fork inserted between the grill bars to slightly lift fish fillets or steaks; then slide a metal spatula under the fish and turn. Use long-handled tongs to turn shellfish. (Check out this slotted fish spatula.)
- Cook fish approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Fish/shellfish continues to cook after it’s removed from the heat, so take it off the grill just as soon as it’s opaque throughout. To check for doneness, slide a sharp knife tip into the center of the thickest part of a seafood portion, checking for color. Remove from the heat just as soon as it turns from translucent to opaque throughout.
Tips and photo courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Read More:Fish on the Barbie
August 7th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Spice rubs, often called “dry rubs,” are carefully crafted spice blends that are used to season meat, poultry and fish in lieu of a wet marinade or grilling sauce.
Simply coat your protein of choice with the rub, and allow it to marinate so the flavors can be absorbed.
Our weekend recipe is an Indian spice rub that’s ideal for a sustainable fish like Alaska salmon. It starts with garam masala, an aromatic blend of coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon. Commercial blends are available in the spice aisle of your local supermarket, natural and organic food store, or Indian market.
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 to 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Blend all ingredients. Rub 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (per portion) onto fish.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Read More:Taj Rub
August 12th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
I love ending the week with a recipe, especially during summer grilling season. This dish is featured in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, a collaborative effort from the American Dietetic Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The classic bistro flavors of mushrooms and wine add a sophisticated touch to these open-faced burgers.
Mushroom Merlot Burgers
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound ground beef (95% lean)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 4 large portobello mushrooms
- 4 slices French bread, cut diagonally 1/2 inch thick
- 2 ounces goat cheese (1/2 cup)
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves
- Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
- 1/4 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- To prepare sauce, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add shallots; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until caramelized. Stir in wine, broth and thyme. Cook over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Combine butter and flour; whisk into sauce. Stir in salt and pepper. Cover; keep warm.
- Combine ground beef, parsley, salt and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties. Set aside.
- Place mushrooms on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 16 to 18 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. About 10 minutes before mushrooms are done, move them to outer edge of grid. Place patties in center of grid; grill 11 to 13 minutes to medium (160°F) doneness, until no longer pink in center and juices show no pink color, turning once. Place bread slices on grid; grill until toasted, turning once.
- Reheat sauce, if necessary. Spread half of cheese on toasted bread slices. Top each with lettuce leaf, mushroom and burger; drizzle evenly with sauce. Crumble remaining goat cheese over tops; sprinkle with parsley, as desired.
Note: Because you are committed to organic living, OrganicAuthority.com recommends using certified organic ingredients, when available, in all recipes to maximize flavor and nutrition, while minimizing your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Recipe and photo from The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by American Dietetic Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. All rights reserved.
Read More:Mushroom Merlot Burgers