Island grilled mangoes and papaya with a rum butter sauce, Exotic grilled pear salad with goat cheese and balsalmic drizzle…These menu items can be found in high end eateries all of over the world! They sound ultra sexy and complicated, right? They are not! These delicious tastes can easily be replicated at home in your kitchen!!
Fruit is made up of sugars and water. Grilling fruit takes out some of the water and caramelizes the natural sugars leaving delicious sweet fruit with a charred texture. This method is quick and easy, and the delicious grilled fruit leaves our taste buds craving more!
Hard fruits are easier to grill. They won’t get mushy and fall apart on you. My favorites are apples, pears and pineapple!
One of our breakfast favorites is grilled peaches! (With a squirt of whipped cream!)
(Yields 4 servings)
4 Sliced white and yellow peaches
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. nutmeg
Clean grill grate and spray with non stick cooking spray. (Olive oil is too strong for these fruits and will leave a dull taste. If anything use a little butter.)
Dust fruit with the spice mix.
Grill the fruit on medium heat until it is softened to your liking.(Pierce with a fork. The fruit should be cooked but still firm.) Approx. 4 minutes per side.
OR grill them in a frying pan! Peaches are soft enough to be cooked quickly right on the stove!
Don’t forget a fabulous cheese pairing! Grilled pears are delicious with goat cheese or a creamy fontina, while grilled apples are most delicious when served with Gruyere or Brie.
Hola! We have just returned home from Riviera Maya, Mexico’s Ocean Coral and Turquesa H10 Resort and Spa in Puerto Morelos! Wow!
What an awesome trip! Great company, fabulous weather, and amazing authentic food!! Don’t let anyone tell you not to travel to Mexico because it is unsafe, you will get sick, or the food is bland. All not true, IF you spring for a great resort!
Kevin and I vacationed in Mexico 10 years ago and we were in the bathroom the ENTIRE trip, but we paid $600 each for the whole week all- inclusive with flights. Oops! We learned a valuable lesson on that trip and we laugh about it now!
One afternoon I had the pleasure of assisting the chefs who were making authentic Mexican guacamole! Here is the recipe!
Makes 12 servings
6 Avocados- called aguacate in Mexico
3 Lemons, limon
4 Tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small Chile habanero- pepper
1 cup chopped Cilantro
1 cup pico de gallo
1/4 cup beer, Cervesa in Mexico
Salt and pepper- to taste
Scoop out avocado and add to a large mixing bowl by cutting in half and pitting.
(Save avocado skins and pits.)
Add chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
Add pico de gallo.
Squeeze the lemons halved into bowl.
Mix well, smashing and smushing avocado.
Add pico de gallo.
Add finely chopped chile or habanero pepper.
(Shave some lemon flesh from a squeezed lemon onto chopped pepper to mute the heat.)
Add beer and salt and pepper a few splashes/pinches at a time to taste.(The chef’s “perfect consistency” was a bit runnier than I am used to. The addition of the beer maybe?)
Mexican Guacamole Secrets Shhhhh…
1. Keep the pit and leave it in the bowl. It keeps the avocado from browning.
2. Keep the avocado shell/skins to use as cute serving pieces. They are the perfect size for guests to fill with chips or a scoop of guacamole!
3. Mexican chefs keep gum readily available to chew while chopping onions. No tears!
4. In Mexico, their limons are our lemons. Small but green and sweeter. Mexican limes are much bigger and more tart. The chefs I worked with only used the small ones for the guacamole, equivalent to American lemons.
5. Mexican chefs? sip tequila on the rocks not in drinks. (Not sure what this had to do with making guacamole, I forget.)
The number 13 is lucky in Italy! And Italians believe Friday the 13th is a great day to begin something new and try your luck! Perhaps the perfect day for gambling or even starting a new business venture!
In North America, we try to ward off the evil spirits associated with the spooky, bad luck driven day. A best bet food to eat… Rosemary! Eat foods cooked with Rosemary for good luck! The plant’s powers are even stronger if the plant is a gift!
Although Italy is a predominantly Roman Catholic country, it’s superstitions run deep and through generations! Here are a few:
Never toast with water. (duh)
Never pour wine with your left hand.
Never keep peacock feathers in your home- the devil’s watchful eye. (Evil eye superstitions are huge in Italy, called Malocchio)
Never set shoes on a bed or counter.
Good luck today! If you still aren’t buying it, cook with rosemary!
I love smoothies and muffins for breakfast! Add in superfoods, fruits, and grains, and you will have energy for the day! We love to try different flavor combinations! This morning we tried blueberry and orange…it is delicious!
My basic muffin recipe came from Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Muffins and it has morphed from there! Enjoy these! Try different flavors and let me know how they turn out!
Beemster Graskaas, sounds like someone needs their mouth washed out with soap!! Beemster is actually a Dutch cheese company and Graskaas is Dutch for “grass cheese!” This seasonal, super creamy cheese is created every Spring after the Beemster cows leave their barn and feed on the fresh, Spring grass. Only their first milk is used to make Graskaas!
Only 2,000 wheels of Graskaas are produced in Beemster, Holland, and only 1,000 are shipped to the US! So it must be really expensive, right? Nope! Your average $13.99/lb! Less than my Parrano for sure!
How did I find this cheese? I was having a dinner party and searching for something new! Carol, the Pittsburgh legend Dear Heart of Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, had me taste it and told me the Graskaas story! I enjoyed telling the story and having everyone sample the cheese!
Get your Graskaas today!
Graskaas and Date Salad Recipe!
Click link for the recipe!
Graskaas has a very mild and creamy flavor. Aged for only one month before being sold, it is the opposite of my usual pungent hard cheese taste. I give my new soft cheeses the Grilled Cheese Test! And Beemster’s Graskaas got an A+ for meltability and creaminess!
Packed with superfood quinoa and vitamins and minerals, these stuffed peppers maximize on taste and are super healthy! The kids love to eat out of the pepper bowl and then eat the pepper! So cute! Roasted Quinoa and Veggie Stuffed Peppers
6 bell peppers, any color!
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
6 basil leaves, chopped
5 Yelo tomatoes
Ingredients (cont.) 1 handful of spinach
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small saucepan, add 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and 2 cups of water on medium heat with a lid. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and cover. Let stand 15 minutes The quinoa will absorb the water.
Wash, cut the tops off of the peppers and clean out the seeds and white insides.
Place the hollowed peppers upside down on a Pam coated cookie sheet and roast for 25-30 mins or until peppers are softened and browning.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan heat the olive oil low to medium heat and add garlic and onions.
When the onions start to become transparent, add the quinoa and sunflower seeds.
Turn up the heat and toast the quinoa and seeds a bit, while constantly stirring.
Add tomatoes, basil and spinach and mix well.
Mix mozzarella and parmesan together to create a cheese mixture.
Fill the peppers with layers of the quinoa mixture and cheese mixture. Ending with quinoa mixture on top.
Coffee causes cancer. Milk causes cancer. Microwave popcorn causes cancer. Pop causes cancer. Processed meats cause cancer.
We hear these health news alerts and we try to be more cognizant about what we put in our mouths. We grill our meat instead of frying it and eat more fruits and veggies. Now we hear that grilling meat causes cancer? What? I thought grilling was healthy?!
This topic is extremely controversial, even among accredited researchers!
The one conclusion they agree upon is that cooking fleshy meat at high temperatures changes its DNA and the created “heterocyclic aromatic compounds” (HCAs) have been shown to be carcinogenic. The compounds have proven to be cancer causing in animal testing.
Another dangerous side effect caused by grilling meats is the creation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or (PAHs). These carcinogenic gasses are created from fat drippings that burn on the grill. The smoke created is absorbed by the food and we consume it.
Both end products caused cancer in animals experimentally. So the question remains, How much would we need to consume to produce the same results? Nobody really knows.
Shannon Riskey, RN, MSN, at Pittsburgh’s Hillman Cancer Center tells her patients, “Everything that enters our bodies, or we put on our skin, has the potential to ‘mix up’ our DNA, which then causes cells to regenerate in an abnormal way. Basically, how cancer occurs.”
So yes, in a way everything does have the potential to cause cancer. Shannon explained that “moderation is key” and “who wouldn’t want to eat grilled meats?” Love her, it’s so true!
Dr. Jamie Uribarri, Mt. Sinai New York nephrologist and heterocyclic aromatic compounds (HCAs)research leader , tells me the dangers don’t merely lie in grilling, but in cooking meats at high temperatures. His research highlights advanced glycation end products and the link between heating meats and chronic disease.
I had to ask him the question, “Is it the amount of meat people are eating or the cooking process?” Nobody really knows! I’m not shocked!
What do scientists know?
1. Marinate the meat!
Studies show that marinating and rubbing the meat in wine, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice or rosemary can lower its pH and lower the risk of and HCA and PAH development.
2. Eat antioxidant rich fruits and veggies!
Researchers believe that eating foods rich in antioxidants may offset the dangers of grilling carcinogens.
3. Cover the grill with aluminum foil to avoid charring the meat or scrape off the char before eating. Isn’t that the most delicious part?
4. Pre-cook meat so that it is not exposed to high heat for extended periods of time. Boiled burger, anyone?
Another option is to grill on lower heat for a longer period of time.
5. Avoid grilling processed meats. Higher levels of carcinogens were found in hotdogs and sausage.
Everything in moderation! That includes grilled meats! Remember, the dangerous levels of HCAs and PAHs are possibly, maybe, could be, might be too small to make a difference. So don’t go nuts just in case!
It is hard to get back into the swing of life after a long holiday weekend! Do you have leftover hamburgers, pulled beef or pork, or maybe some grilled chicken or shrimp?
I have a quick, easy dinner recipe for you!! Dinner in less than one hour!
Cookout Leftovers Taco Soup
2-3 cups of leftover beef, pork, shrimp
1 35 oz. can whole, crushed, or chopped tomatoes
1 15.5 oz. can black beans
1 16 oz. bag frozen corn
4 cups water
1/4 cup taco seasoning (Note: you can sub chili powder if you are out of taco seasoning!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: If you have an onion and/or a pepper you can chop and throw them in. Not necessary!
Shred, chop or dice your leftover meat or fish.
Add all ingredients to a stock pot on medium heat and stir.
Cook until hot!
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese. Maybe even some leftover tortilla chips!!
I am always looking for healthy, delicious, easy snacks for my family! Lots of chia seeds, kale, Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes…Anything that is really healthy and tastes great! We are not into the hold-your-nose-and-drink bitter green juices!!
Here is a great healthy snack recipe! Definitely not a chewy gooey, rich chocolate chip cookie recipe. Kid and mommy approved! Packed with chia seeds, fiber and a bonus, they are gluten free!
Super Chocolate Chip Snack Cookies
Recipe makes 24
1-1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Almond milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix all dry ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a mixing bowl.
Add Greek yogurt and mix well.
Add Almond milk little by little and mix thoroughly with each addition until a dough forms.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop tablespoon-sized scoops onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 mins.turning cookie sheet at 6 mins. for even baking.