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Thrill of the Grill

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Cuba Libre chef Guillermo Pernot’s grilled tomatoes topped with sliced garlic, fresh thyme, olive oil and saltWith several more weeks of summer still ahead of us and plenty of locally grown produce at our fingertips, there’s no better time to refill the propane tank (or stock up on charcoal or woodchips) and dole out the invites. And it couldn’t hurt to brush up on that open-flame terminology, either. Lesson one: the difference between grilling and barbecuing. The former refers to cooking over a direct flame or other high-heat source; the latter relies on indirect or low-level heat to slowly cook less expensive cuts of meat until tender. Authentic barbecuing can take all day or even several days, which works great if you’ve some vacation time to spare. For most, however, grilling is the way to go. Not sure what to make or how? Allow us—and a few high-profile experts—to help.

CHEF PROFILES

Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre
Chip Roman of Blackfish
Ann-Michelle Albertson of Charlotte Ann Albertson’s Cooking School
• Cookbook author Andrew Schloss

EXPERT ADVICE
A Technique for Every Cut: Tips and recipes for tough, tender, thick or thin.
Tips for grill purchasing and cooking

COOL TOOLS
Outdoor Kitchen Essentials
Tools of the Trade: Hot Gadgets for Grilling
Read & Eat: 8 great titles for grillers.

RECIPES
Ensalada de Piñaw
Grilled Veggie Flatbread Sandwich
Grilled Habanero Shortcakes with Chunky Plum Salsa
Golden Sweet Corn on the Cob
Grilled Watermelon Salad
Pesto Turkey London Broil Panzanella Salad
Grilled Glazed Doughnuts with Chocolate Espresso Dunk
Chip Roman’s Grilled Bluefish with Tomato Chutney and Grilled Asparagus
Derek Davis’ BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Chinese Black Bean Barbecue Sauce
Guillermo Pernot’s Bife Angosto de Nueva York (New York Strip Sirloin Steak)
To Drink: Pomegranate Mojito, Cuba Libre Sangria and Cuba Libre Grilled Pineapple Mojito
 

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Cuba Libre concept chef Guillermo Pernot prepares a hearty, smoked-grilled New York strip on his backyard grill in Wynnewood.Hot Havana Nights

Cooking out with Cuba Libre’s
leading man.

Whether it’s a casual, picnic-style barbecue with burgers, chicken and ribs, or a posh, sit-down surf-and-turf feast, even the most accomplished chef needs a list—or three. And it can’t hurt to get some advice from the pros.

“Even I make a list,” says Cuba Libre concept chef Guillermo Pernot, who lives in Wynnewood and operates restaurants in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Orlando, Fla., and, come next spring, Washington, D.C.

Pernot’s approach: Keep it simple and write it all down. “It really works for most things,” says Pernot, who’s credited with introducing Nuevo Latino cuisine to our area.

Because the scope of his kitchen duties is vast, Pernot utilizes a shopping and prep list to help him keep track of the restaurants’ inventory and to ensure that his supporting cast is up to speed. “The worst thing you can do is realize that you’ve forgotten something at the last minute,” he says. “You need to set aside a two- to three-day window before the date of your party, and create a schedule to help keep you organized and minimize stress.”

Pernot also recommends a thorough perusal of your pantry, fridge and bar—and be sure to take a walk around the house to assess the décor. When it comes to the food, don’t overcomplicate things. “Make a lot of cold salads that can be prepped ahead, use ingredients that won’t wilt—romaine or radicchio, jicama, avocado, pineapple—and plan your menu after you decide on the number of guests, not the other way around,” he says. “Cooking for eight is a lot different than 20.”

Check out Pernot’s recipes for
Ensalada de Piñaw and Golden Sweet Corn on the Cob.
 

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Blackfish chef/owner Chip Roman, an avid fisherman, with a no-fuss grilled bluefish (recipe on page 18).Roman Rules

Tips on grilling seafood from a chef who loves to fish.

“Too many people go out and buy the cheapest grill,” says Chip Roman, the culinary mind behind Blackfish in Conshohocken and its new like-named offshoot in Stone Harbor, N.J. “But you really need to invest in a heavy-duty one with cast-iron grates and a decent amount of BTUs to get the grill hot enough.”

And when it comes to grates, adds Roman, “don’t buy anything that looks like the one in your oven, and make sure it doesn’t have gaps more than 2 inches apart.”

Roman strongly advises against using 100-percent charcoal for cooking seafood. “It’s too hard to control,” he says. “Maybe if you’re doing something like a pork shoulder, which is more forgiving. But, for fish, gas is a better way to go.”

For added flavor, Roman mixes cedar, applewood or hickory chips into the charcoal briquettes. When using his gas grill—which he does more often—he pops the chips under the grates and directly onto the burners. If properly soaked, they’ll smolder, adding a nice smoky flavor to whatever you’re preparing.

And how hot is hot enough for this chef?

“Most grills go to 550 degrees,” says Roman. “But when the weather heats up, it’s possible to hit in and around 700, which is a pretty good number.”

To prevent sticking, keep grates clean and wipe them with oil (he uses a cloth) before cooking. Get the heat just right, and make sure the ingredients you’re using are grill friendly. For certain foods—scallops, for instance—it’s best to cook them in a cast-iron pan on the grill. That way, you get the same smoky flavor and minimal tearing, all while lessening the chance of overcooking.

A big grilling “don’t” for Roman: frozen fish. “You’ll just be fighting all the moisture that gets released once the molecules expand,” he says. “And you won’t be able to get that seared, charred crust you’re going for.”

Another bad move is using aluminum foil for anything other than grill-steaming a delicate fish like flounder, which has a tendency to fall apart. Meaty fish—striped bass, halibut, salmon, sea bass and bluefish—are best for cooking out.

As for grilling with the top down or up, Roman says it depends on how hot you want to go. For more complex dishes like seafood cioppino or paella, he puts a cast-iron pan onto an intense fire and adds ingredients one by one, based on their cooking times. Then he covers the grill for that smoky flavor, and turns the heat down low.

One of Roman’s favorite things to grill at home on a weeknight is a nice piece of mahi-mahi coated with Paul Prudhomme’s blackened seasoning mix, and covered with canned tomatoes and rice (sometimes from a local Chinese restaurant).

“Grilling should make mealtime easy,” he says. “Don’t get too fussy, but have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment.”
 
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For Main Line cooking school instructors Charlotte Ann (left) and Ann-Michelle Albertson, entertaining begins and ends by the grill all year long.Cooking Schooled

Taking the classroom outside with Ann-Michelle Albertson.

For years, the Albertson family spent summers by the lake, where getting dinner on the table was always a no-fuss affair and the tool of choice was a well-worn gas grill.

How times have changed for Ann-Michelle Albertson and her mom, Charlotte Ann, the latter of whom founded her eponymous Main Line cooking school back in 1973. The school’s assistant director, Ann-Michelle now relies on a six-burner grill, which serves as her outdoor oven—not just in the summer, but all year long.

Ann-Michelle has vivid memories of catfish swimming around in the family’s kitchen sink, and plenty of clams and mussels. “Clams are so easy, and they make a terrific appetizer with very little effort or embellishment,” she says. “Even now, when I entertain, and friends are sitting outside waiting for whatever’s on the grill to come off, I throw on several batches of clams and toss them into a big bowl as they start to pop. The bowl goes from me to the crowd, then back to me for a refill.”

Over the years, she’s experimented with vegetables beyond the typical onions, peppers and squash. “A lot of times, I’ll just throw something on to see what it does—or doesn’t,” says Ann-Michelle, who was trained at La Varenne cooking school in Paris.

That said, she recommends staying away from jicama and turnips, as grilling makes them dense and mealy. One of her favorite grilling foods is actually hard salami. “It crisps up just like bacon, and you can crumble it into everything,” she says.

The Albertsons bring the heat with jalapeño poppers overflowing with cheese, crabmeat and salami.Her recipe for grilled antipasto salad includes crumbled salami, grilled romaine, sea salt, cracked black pepper, olive oil and shaved Parmesan. Another of her “super-easy” appetizers features a lightly toasted English muffin with a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, sliced onion, and salami melted on top. The “spread” can be made ahead of time, then rolled into a log and kept in the fridge.

One of the best pieces of advice Ann-Michelle offers novices is to get to know their grills. “They’re all different,” she says.

And experiment with whatever you’d like. “This is truly the best way to test out your grill’s personal heat parameters, and to hone a distinct grilling repertoire,” says Ann-Michelle.

Often, she says, beginners try to do too much, which makes for a stressful experience—the opposite of what grilling is supposed to be. When cooking for a crowd, Ann-Michelle suggests something “embarrassingly” easy like pork tenderloin. Rinse it, pat it dry and toss it in a plastic bag with olive oil, cracked pepper and kosher salt. Allow the meat to marinate for a few hours or as long as overnight, then grill and serve with a simple relish of charred mango, chopped tomatoes and red onion.

For lunchtime shindigs, Ann-Michelle’s standby is a grilled vegetable flatbread sandwich. “Just use whatever’s ripe,” she says. “Make it colorful and attractive, and your guests won’t be able to resist building a sandwich that’s bursting with color and flavor.”

Pile ingredients on a large platter—arugula, all the veggies you can get your hands on, a tub of Alouette or a mound of Boursin cheese, and a handful of forks and spreaders. The rest of the work is up to your guests. Sometimes Ann-Michelle will add salami or prosciutto.

Along with the drawbacks of trying to overachieve while entertaining, Ann-Michelle warns against moving things around too much on the grill during the cooking process. “Get it hot enough for searing, make your grill marks, and flip once,” she says. “It’s OK to walk away.”

To learn more about Charlotte Ann Albertson’s Cooking School or to register for classes, visit albertsoncookingschool.com.
 
Check out Ann-Michelle Albertson’s recipes for Grilled Watermelon Salad, her Grilled Veggie Flatbread Sandwich and her Pomegranate Mojito.

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Dessert chef Andrew SchlossGrand Finale

Andrew Schloss grills desserts,
both fruity and decadent.

“I’m fascinated by food,” says noted cookbook author, teacher, onetime restaurateur and local culinary authority Andrew Schloss. “I love to do things that are unexpected. Grilled desserts are not what people expect.”

One of Schloss’ favorites is also one of the easiest to make: grilled glazed donuts with chocolate-chunk-espresso sauce (think hot fudge). They’re glazed, after all—so they caramelize easily.

Or beginners can simply toast a piece of cake. “You don’t actually have to bake something on the grill,” he says. “But it can be done, and you’ll like the results.”

S’mores are another great option. Schloss tweaks the traditional recipe by toasting the graham crackers with lightly sea-salted caramel candies inside, instead of chocolate.

Using fruit is just about the easiest way to make a grilled dessert—and it isn’t any harder than cooking vegetables. The best fruits to use are higher in fiber and lower in moisture. So while melon, strawberries and kiwi aren’t ideal, mangos, grapes (with skin) and bananas work quite well. Firm fruits like apples, pineapple and pears are harder to overcook; peaches and mangoes require close monitoring lest they turn to mush.

A convenient option is fruit kebabs. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 15-30 minutes, then thread fruit onto the skewers and baste the kebabs with a little melted butter before cooking. Flames can quickly blacken fruit, so keep the grill’s top down to help tame the fire.

Schloss likes to pair fruit with something hot—maple-glazed peaches with grilled habaneros, black pepper gingerbread with chipotle-chocolate butter, or the habanero shortcakes and plum salsa shown here. Another interesting combination: grilled bananas laced with espresso—or, for a salty-sweet, crispy-soft contrast, bananas wrapped in bacon.

So why does grilled fruit taste so delicious? The heat helps extract the natural sugar by caramelizing the surface, producing a sweet, brown syrup.

When it comes to baked goods, try shortcakes, clafouti, dense cakes like carrot or sweet potato, and pies. Just keep in mind that it’s easier to control the temperature and baking process if you use a gas grill. Things like cake won’t really reap the benefits of woodchips or charcoal, anyway.

To learn more about Andrew Schloss, visit andrewschloss.com.

 
Check out Schloss’ recipes for Grilled Habanero Shortcakes with Chunky Plum Salsa and Grilled Glazed Doughnuts with Chocolate Espresso Dunk.

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Chef Derek Davis handles the merchandise.A Technique for Every Cut

Tips and recipes for tough, tender, thick or thin.

No matter what you spend on equipment, a bad night at the grill typically comes down to operator error. And since nobody wants to feed an expensive hunk of meat to the dogs, it pays to learn what cuts are most suitable for grilling, not to mention which need a marinade, dry rub, or simply a few grinds of sea salt and peppercorns. Then there’s the not-so-frivolous matter of how the meat or poultry should be cooked—slowly over indirect heat with the lid covered, or seared over intense flames.

To help you through each step of the process, Derek Davis, chef/owner of Derek’s in Manayunk and former proprietor of the high-end butcher shop Main Line Prime, offers six pointers.

1. Sausages, chops, steaks, hamburgers and thinner cuts of meat or poultry should be cooked quickly using direct heat. Thinner cuts dry out faster, so you don’t want them to stay on the fire for long—thin is anything cut to a 3/4-inch thickness or less. For roasts and larger cuts that require longer cooking times, use indirect heat.

2. Generally speaking, the more you spend, the less you do. Steaks like filet mignon, rib-eye, top sirloin and New York strip are naturally tender and need nothing more than a seasoning rub or a bit of salt and pepper. For larger steaks like flank, skirt and London broil, a robust marinade is a must to tenderize, add flavor and protect the meat from drying out.

3. You can create a marinade out of just about anything, but the essential ingredient is an acid. Examples are lemon, lime or tomato juice, wine, and balsamic vinegar. Give your marinade a boost with a flavored oil that coats the meat and gives it a nice zing. Depending on what you use, even 30 minutes of marinating can make a noticeable difference in flavor.

4. You won’t get any additional moisture or tenderization out of dry rubs. They add flavor only by seasoning the surface of the meat. That’s why dry rubs work great on thinner cuts, which are cooked more quickly than their fleshier counterparts.

5. Allowing a thickly cut steak, chop or tenderloin to rest for 10 minutes or so allows the meat to loosen up, getting the juices flowing.

6. Leave the palm reading to the fortune-tellers. Buy a good thermometer—and use it. Pork chops, roasts, tenderloin and burgers (ground beef, lamb or pork) should be cooked to 160 degrees. With eggs or bread crumbs, they’re safe at 165. Beef roasts and steaks should cook to (at least) 145 or 160.
 

TURKEY: Cook quickly over a medium-hot grill.
Check out Davis’ recipe for Pesto Turkey London Broil Panzanella Salad.


FLAT IRON STEAK: Davis calls it “idiot proof.”

PORK: When using a mallet, be sure not to tear the flesh.

LEG OF LAMB: It’s not just for Easter.

PORK TENDERLOIN: One of the easiest cuts to grill.

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Grill Tips

When purchasing …

• Choose a grill made of high-grade U.S. steel with a baked-on, porcelain enamel finish and a sturdy cart with wheels that roll easily.

• Make sure it has two or more separate burners to allow greater control of heat.

• Choose cast-iron, stainless steel, or porcelain-coated aluminum grates; a thicker, heavier-gauge cooking grate will last longer and distribute and retain heat better.

• Gas or charcoal? Both, if you have the money and the space. The former is more convenient and burns cleaner than charcoal; the latter has that distinct smoky taste we all crave.

• BTUs indicate the volume of gas a grill can burn. Well-engineered grills use fewer BTUs and cook food more efficiently. Too many can cause damage to burners and reduce grill life.

When cooking …

• Preheat to the point where you can hold your hand a few inches above the grill for more than a few seconds.

• Make sure the grates are clean, and lightly wipe with oil to prevent sticking. Tightly roll up a rag, dip in oil, and use both before and after grilling.

• Don’t play with your food. It’s already dead—you don’t need to poke and prod. Get your sear marks, flip and crack a beer with your guests.

• Achieving that mouth-watering, thick, tangy, smoky taste takes time. If you don’t have the time, don’t try it.

• Save individual steaks or chops for smaller gatherings, where meeting everyone’s desired doneness specs is much easier.

• If you’re grilling for a crowd, your best bet is a roast, whole turkey or pork shoulder—all of which can stay on the grill for a long time and won’t require nonstop surveillance.
 
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Well Equipped

Whether you’re working with a designer or cobbling together your own outdoor kitchen, for sheer entertainment value and convenience, these four components should be part of the plan.

1. A refrigerator with an ice maker: Viking’s 24-inch beverage center with ice maker includes a removable wire shelf and three door shelves. It makes 2 pounds of ice a day and stores up to 5 pounds. $2,300

Or … Franklin Chef’s stainless steel outdoor refrigerator has a lockable, reversible door, three adjustable shelves, a wire basket and can dispenser, bottle storage, adjustable legs for uneven ground, and wheels. $988

2. A grill with individual or side burners: Viking’s 24-inch gas cooker with 20-inch steel wok delivers 27,500 BTUs for high-heat/fast cooking. It has a push-button electronic igniter and a two-piece cast-iron, porcelainized, removable burner grate. $2,100

Or … The Char-Broil 21,000-BTU outdoor gas stove top LP can be used with your griddle, fryer, stock pot or wok—with or without a grill. $119

3. An outdoor cocktail station or a mini-bar: Viking’s 41-inch refreshment center comes built-in or portable style, and features a faucet, cutting board, bottle opener, insulated bottle bath, storage and condiment trays. $3,500

Or … KitchenAid’s freestanding refreshment center has a cutting board, a bottle opener and cap catcher, a stainless steel ingredient center with compartments to keep ingredients cold, fresh and separated, and a whole lot more. $2,299

4. Outdoor storage: The 18-inch, three-drawer base cabinet from Viking complements the rest of the brand’s stainless steel components. Doors can be adjusted for left or right hinges, and drawers have full-extension slides. $1,600

Or … Modular cabinetry can be a huge cost-saver for those who know what they want. AuthenTeak carries a tasteful line of modular outdoor kitchen units featuring weather-resistant, lightweight cabinetry.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Adequate lighting is essential to make an outdoor cooking and dining area functional and safe. Solar lights are an option, as they can be charged during the day and turn on automatically at night. And before you pay $150-$450 for a patio heater, take into account the size of the area you’re heating, how many people will benefit from it, and what sort of temperatures you’ll be battling.
 
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Tools of the Trade: Hot Gadgets for Grilling

• Heat resistant up to 800 degrees and easy to clean, Le Creuset’s Silicone Basting Brush ($9.99) has a removable head, is dishwasher safe, and comes in a variety of colors. Available at Bed Bath & Beyond (bedbathandbeyond.com) and other locations.

• The Charcoal Companion Grilling Wok ($19.99) allows you to cook smaller foods to a smoky, crispy, slightly caramelized finish without worrying about them slipping through the grates. And it’s healthier than its kitchen counterpart since it doesn’t require as much oil. Available at Kitchen Kapers (kitchenkapers.com) and other locations.

• The Portable Digital Meat Thermometer by Outset ($60) takes the guesswork out of grilling. Choose the type of meat you’re grilling and the level of “doneness” you want, and the thermometer base will alert you when it’s finished. Available at various locations; outsetinc.com.

• The Outset F505 Magnetic Light ($15) attaches to stainless steel tools for easy nighttime grilling that reduces the risk of under- or overcooked food. Available at various locations; outsetinc.com.

• With the Charcoal Companion PizzaQue Pizza Stone ($89.99), you can make brick oven-style pizza right on the grill. With its stainless steel base and thermometer, it’s functional and easy to use. Available at Kitchen Kapers (kitchenkapers.com) and other locations.

• Nothing gets the neighbors jealous quite like that smoky grill scent wafting over the fence. Outset Mesquite Wood Smoking Chips ($10) will provide plenty of olfactory enticement while giving your meat an extra kick. Just add water and they’re ready to go. (Requires a smoking box.) Available at various locations; outsetinc.com.

• You don’t have to sacrifice flavor, even if you’re making a basic burger. The Outset Grill Press ($15) sits atop the meat you’re cooking to hold in moisture and flavor. Various locations; outsetinc.com.

• Create fun finger foods with the Perfect Slider Press ($7.99), and indulge in a miniature version of your favorite burger. Available at Kitchen Kapers (kitchenkapers.com) and other locations.
 
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Read & Eat

Eight great titles for grillers.


BBQ USA: 425 Fiery Recipes from All Across America

By Steven Raichlen
(Workman Publishing Company, 784 pages)

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint
By Chris Lilly
(Clarkson Potter, 256 pages)

Italian Grill
By Mario Batali and Judith Sutton
(Ecco, 256 pages)

Mastering the Grill: The Owner’s Manual for Outdoor Cooking
By Andrew Schloss and David Joachim
(Chronicle Books, 416 pages)

Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking

By Adam Perry Lang
(Hyperion, 400 pages)

Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way
By Francis Mallmann and Peter Kaminsky
(Artisan, 278 pages)

The Asian Grill: Great Recipes, Bold Flavors

By Corinne Trang
(Chronicle Books, 168 pages)

The New Vegetarian Grill: 250 Flame-Kissed Recipes for Fresh, Inspired Meals
By Andrea Chesman
(Harvard Common Press, 352 pages)
 
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Chef’s Recipes


Chef Pernot’s Ensalada de PiñawGuillermo Pernot’s Ensalada de Piñaw
• Grilled pineapple and calabaza salad, crabmeat salpicón, toasted pepitas and cocoa nib vinaigrette

• 1 ring grilled pineapple (recipe below)
• 4 oz. (about 9-10 pieces) poached calabaza (recipe below)
• 1 portion crabmeat salpicón (recipe below)
• 1 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
• 1 tsp. cocoa nibs
• ¾ oz. watercress
• 2 tbsps. piloncillo vinaigrette (recipe below)

• Place a ring of grilled pineapple on a plate.
• Position poached calabaza cubes in a circle around pineapple.
• Toss the watercress with the piloncillo vinaigrette, and place greens on top of the pineapple.
• Sprinkle salad with the cocoa nibs and toasted pumpkin seeds.
• Makes one salad.

Grilled pineapple preparation:
• 1 pineapple
• 3 tbsps. olive oil
• 3 tbsps. “piloncillo syrup” (recipe below)
• 2 tsps. kosher salt

• Peel the pineapple, trying to keep the fruit as round as possible while peeling.
• Cut the peeled pineapple into six “wheels” approximately 1 inch thick.
• Toss the “wheels” with the oil and syrup, and season with salt.
• On a very clean grill, grill one side of the pineapple for one minute, then turn 90 degrees and grill for another minute. Flip, and repeat the same procedure.
• Once grilled on both sides, place the pineapple on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for seven minutes.
• Once the pineapple is finished in the oven, use a small cutter to carefully remove the tough central core of each slice.
• Yields enough for six salads.

Piloncillo syrup preparation:
• 5 oz. piloncillo (cane sugar)
• 6 tbsps. water

• In a small saucepan, melt the sugar into the water (without allowing it to reduce), then cool and store.
• Makes one cup.

Crabmeat salpicón preparation:
• 3 shallots, brunoised
• 1 red pepper, brunoised
• 1 red onion, brunoised and washed (after being cut)
• 2 tbsps. lime juice
• 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
• 3 tbsps. honey
• ½ cup olive oil
• 1 tbsp. mint, minced
• 1 tbsp. cilantro, minced
• 1 lb. lump crabmeat
• ½ tbsp. salt
• 1 tsp. ground black pepper

• Mix all of the ingredients together, and refrigerate until ready to use.
• Makes six 3-ounce portions.

Piloncillo vinaigrette preparation:
• 2 garlic cloves
• 10 tbsps. cider vinegar
• ½ tsp. ground allspice
• 1 ¼ tsps. salt
• ½ cup piloncillo syrup (recipe above)
• 10 tbsps. olive oil

• Combine all ingredients except the oil together, and whisk well.
• Once all the ingredients are combined, slowly drizzle in the oil to form vinaigrette.
• The vinaigrette will need to be whisked again briefly before serving, if it separates.
• Makes two cups.

Poached calabaza preparation:
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 ½ tbsps. salt
• 2 qt. water
• 6 allspice berries
• 20 oz. calabaza (West Indian Pumpkin), cut to a ¾-inch dice
• 2/3 cup piloncillo vinaigrette

• Combine the spices, salt and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
• Once the water has simmered for 10 minutes, add the calabaza and allow it to blanch until it’s al dente.
• Remove the calabaza from the cooking liquid and, while it’s still warm, toss it with the piloncillo vinaigrette.
• Makes six portions.

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Ann-Michelle Albertson’s Grilled Veggie Flatbread Sandwich
• 1 medium eggplant, sliced oblong
• 2 medium zucchinis, sliced oblong
• 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut in quarters
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in quarters
• 1 medium red onion, sliced in ¼-inch rounds
• 2 portobello mushroom caps, de-stemmed and cleaned
• 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
A true sign of grilling excellence: perfect char marks. • 1 6.5-oz. container Alouette cheese spread
• Arugula
• Flatbread
• 5 tbsps. olive oil
• 1 tsp. herbs de Provençe
• 2 tbsps. balsamic vinegar
• Sea salt
• Fresh cracked pepper

Vegetable preparation:
• Place sliced eggplant on a sheet pan, sprinkling both sides with salt. Set aside.
• Place quartered bell peppers and sliced zucchini in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Add 2 tbsps. olive oil and ½ tsp. herbs de Provençe, salt and pepper. Close bag and gently shake to coat peppers.
• Rinse eggplant slices, pat dry and return to flat sheet pan. Place onion slices on pan.
• In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsps. olive oil and the remaining herbs de Provençe, salt and pepper. Using a pastry brush, coat eggplant and onion slices. Season with salt and pepper.
• Place mushroom caps in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Add remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Ann-Michelle’s signature grilled veggie flatbread sandwich is packed with fresh summer flavors.Sandwich preparation:
• Arrange sliced tomatoes on a platter with arugula in the center.
• Have cheese spread open and ready, preferably at room temperature.

Cooking:

• Grill all vegetables over medium heat, turning once. Be sure not to overcook.
• Arrange grilled vegetables on a platter. Set aside.
• Heat the flatbread gently on grill over medium heat.

Assembly:
• Spread Alouette cheese on flatbread. Add choice of grilled vegetables, and sliced tomato and arugula.
• Makes 4-5 sandwiches.

Chef’s notes: For variety, add thinly sliced prosciutto or grilled salami. When grilling salami, watch carefully, as it will burn quickly. When done properly, it crisps just like bacon and adds a wonderful crunch to the sandwich.

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Preparing chunky plum salsaAndrew Schloss’ Grilled Habanero Shortcakes with Chunky Plum Salsa
• 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsps. sugar
• ½ tsp. baking powder
• ¼ tsp. baking soda
• ¾ tsp. kosher salt
• 1 ripe habanero, stem and seeds removed, minced
• ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
• 6 tbsps. cold, unsalted butter, in small pieces
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 2/3 cup cold buttermilk
• 1 cup whipped cream or crème fraîche (optional)
• 6 plums of various colors (red, purple, black, yellow, green), split in half, pits removed
• 2 tsps. canola oil
• 3 tbsps. honey
• 2 tbsps. unsalted butter
• ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 tbsps. mint leaves, finely chopped

Shortcake preparation and cooking:
• Light grill for indirect medium-low heat. Place a clean screen over the grill away from the fire.
• Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, minced habanero, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Cut butter into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers until the mixture is a pale tan and the texture of bread crumbs.
• Mix egg and buttermilk in a small bowl; add all but 1 tbsp. to the dry ingredients and stir to form a soft dough. With lightly floured hands, pat out dough into a circle ¾-inch thick; cut into 8 3-inch rounds using a biscuit or cookie cutter.
• Coat grill screen lightly with oil and place shortcakes on screen away from direct flame. Brush tops with leftover buttermilk-egg mixture.
Sliced plums hot off the grill• Cover grill and cook until bottoms are brown (about 15 minutes). Turn shortcakes over with a spatula and grill until lightly toasted (about 3 minutes). Set aside.

Grilled plum salsa cooking and preparation:
• Increase heat to medium-high. Toss plums with oil and grill directly over the fire until skin is blistered and the cut surfaces are grill-marked (about 3 minutes per side).
Andrew Schloss’ grilled habanero shortcakes with chunky plum salsa• Remove plums from grill and cut each half into 8 chunks. Toss with honey, butter, vanilla and mint until butter melts.

Assembly:
• Slice shortcakes in half horizontally. Cover bottoms with plums; add tops and cover with more plums.
• Garnish with whipped cream or crème fraîche.
• Makes 8 servings.

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Guillermo Pernot’s Golden Sweet Corn on the Cob
• 6 ears golden corn
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups guarapo (sugar cane juice)
• 6 oz. Cotija cheese
• 3 tbsps. cilantro, minced

• In a saucepan, combine water and sugar, and heat until thoroughly combined.
• Add the sugar cane juice and pour marinade over ears of corn in a suitable container.
• Allow corn to marinate overnight.
• After marinating, drain corn, then cook on a grill until kernels are tender.
• Top each ear with crumbled cheese and minced cilantro.
 
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Ann-Michelle Albertson’s Grilled
Watermelon Salad

• 1 bag mixed baby greens
• 1 small watermelon, sliced
• ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
• ½ cup toasted pine nuts
• Olive oil
• Aged balsamic vinegar
• Sea salt
• Fresh cracked pepper

• Assemble baby greens on a platter, garnish with the feta and pine nuts, and set aside.
• On a very hot grill, sear watermelon slices on both sides. Remove from grill and quickly cut into cubes.
• Place watermelon cubes on lettuce platter.
• Drizzle with aged balsamic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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Derek Davis’ Pesto Turkey London Broil Panzanella Salad
• 2 lbs. turkey breast, trimmed of all fat and pounded evenly
• ½ cup pesto
• 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
• 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
• 1 small red onion, julienned
• ½ baguette or other crusty bread
• ¼ cup basil chiffonade
• Sea salt to taste
• Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

• Marinate turkey breast in salt, pepper and pesto. Bring to room temperature.
• Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Grill turkey over medium heat so pesto crusts (10-15 minutes on each side).
• While turkey is cooking, mix tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, basil olive oil and vinegars, and season to taste.
• Just before serving, cut bread into 1- to 2-inch chunks and toast on the grill. Toss with salad and make sure the bread gets coated nicely with vinaigrette.
• Divide salad onto six plates.
• After turkey is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain.
• Lay turkey slices on salad. Serve at once.

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Andrew Schloss’ Grilled Glazed Doughnuts with Chocolate Espresso Dunk
• 1½ cups cocoa powder
• 1½ cups brown sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 cups freshly made espresso or strong coffee
• 2 tbsps. unsalted butter
• 6 glazed doughnuts, preferably cinnamon glazed
• Spray oil
• 1½ cups half-and-half, warm (optional)

• Light a grill to direct, medium-low heat.
• Mix cocoa powder, brown sugar and salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Mix in espresso with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.
• Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula until sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes until lightly thickened and very smooth.
• Remove sauce from heat and stir in butter until melted. Keep warm.
• Coat doughnuts on both sides with spray oil.
• Brush grill grate and coat with oil.
• Grill doughnuts until glaze melts and is browned on both sides (30 seconds to 1 minute per side). • Serve ½ cup warm chocolate dunk per person in small coffee cups, along with doughnuts for dunking. Offer warm half-and-half on the side to add to chocolate dunk.
 
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Chip Roman’s Grilled Bluefish with Tomato Chutney and Grilled Asparagus
• Serves four.

Grilled bluefish preparation:

• 6-8 oz. pieces of bluefish
• 3 tbsps. olive oil
• 3 roughly chopped garlic cloves
• Lemon zest
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Fresh lemon and lime wedges for garnish
• Fresh lemon thyme for garnish

• Cut bluefish into 6- to 8-ounce-size portions, making sure blood line is removed.
• Marinate in olive oil, garlic and lemon zest for one hour in refrigerator.
• Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper.
• Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through and slightly flaky.
• Serve garnished with fresh lemon and lime wedges, plus a bunch of fresh lemon thyme around the plate.

Tomato chutney preparation:
• 3 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil (EVO)
• 5 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into a medium dice
• 2 shallots, sliced
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
• 1 splash Tabasco sauce
• 1 lemon
• 2 scallions, sliced
• ¼ cup cilantro (chiffonade)
• Salt and pepper to taste

• In a medium-size pot over medium heat, sweat shallots and garlic in EVO.
• Add tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and cook until all water from within tomatoes is gone.
• Add Worcestershire and Tabasco to taste.
• Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat to cool.
• When cool, incorporate herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Grilled asparagus preparation:

• 4-5 pieces of asparagus per person

• Cut 2-3 inches from bottom of asparagus.
• Marinate in EVO, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.
• Grill until tender.
• Serve chutney warm or chilled on top of bluefish. Add a few spears of grilled asparagus, a wedge of fresh lemon on the plate, and some lemon thyme spears for garnish.

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Derek Davis’ BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Chinese Black Bean Barbecue Sauce
• Serves 4-6 people.

• 2 one-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 cup Hoisin sauce
• ¼ cup black Chinese vinegar
• 2 tbsps. fish sauce
• 2 cups ketchup
• ½ cup molasses
• ½ cup dried fermented Chinese black beans, soaked
• 1 knob ginger, grated
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• 2 cloves garlic
• ¼ cup peanut oil
• 1 small white onion, diced

• Marinate pork in Hoisin, vinegar, garlic and fish sauce overnight.
• Sauté grated ginger, onion and chopped garlic in peanut oil.
• Remove black beans from water, and sauté until soft in pan with ginger onion mixture.
• Add ketchup and molasses.
• Simmer a few minutes until dark and rich.
• Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Grill whole pork tenderloins evenly on all sides.
• When the pork is marked, start brushing on the BBQ sauce. Caramelize on the grill; cooking time should only be about 15 minutes.
• Let meat rest before serving. Slice meat and present on a platter on top of black bean sauce; garnish with chives or scallions.

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Guillermo Pernot’s Bife Angosto de Nueva York
(14-ounce, smoked-grilled New York strip sirloin steak)
• Yields 6 steaks.

• 1 cup adobo rub (recipe below)
• 6 14-ounce sirloin steaks, approximately 1-inch thick
• 8 oz. wood chips, hickory, apple or mesquite

• Rub sirloin steaks on all sides with adobo rub, making sure the rub is well mixed before applying to the meat.
• Allow all of the meat to rest with the marinade applied for at least 1 hour.
• While the meat is marinating, preheat the grill, ensuring that the grill is appropriately hot and ready.
• Place an old roasting pan—which can be used over and over again for smoking—containing wood chips over the heat, and allow the wood to start smoking. Place a roasting rack on top of the roasting pan containing the wood to separate the meat from the wood by 2-3 inches.
• Once the wood is smoking, place the steaks on the roasting rack, cover with aluminum foil, and allow the meat to smoke for 6 minutes.
• Once the steaks have been smoked, season with salt and pepper, and grill normally.

Adobo rub preparation:

• 1 ½ oz. granulated sugar
• 1.4 tbsps. ground cumin
• 1 ½ tbsps. granulated garlic
• 1 ½ tbsps. paprika
• ½ tsp. chipotle powder
• ¾ cup vegetable oil

• Combine all ingredients thoroughly, and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Bar Meets Grill …


Ann-Michelle Albertson’s Pomegranate Mojito
• 2 oz. white rum
• 1 oz. simple syrup
• 2 limes, halved
• Fresh mint
• Club soda
• 1 tsp. sugar
• Pomegranate juice

• Using a mortar and pestle, muddle mint leaves with sugar and juice of half a lime.
• Fill a tall glass with ice. Add rum, simple syrup, juice of remaining limes and muddled mint.
• Top with club soda and a splash of pomegranate juice.
• Garnish with sprig of mint and lime wedge.


Cuba Libre Sangria

• 9 liters real sangria (found in most liquor stores)
• 375 ml. Cuba Libre spiced rum (or other premium spiced rum)
• 3 pints fresh strawberries, sliced in half
• 10 cups peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced
• 10 cups pears, cored, peeled and sliced
• 3 oranges, sliced
• 2 lemons, sliced

• Mix sangria and rum together, then add fruit.

Note: Other fresh, seasonal fruit may be substituted, including raspberries, blackberries, muscat grapes and nectarines.


Cuba Libre Grilled Pineapple Mojito

Pineapple puree preparation:
• 1 pineapple
• 2 tbsps. granulated sugar

• Peel pineapple and dice into chunks, excluding the tough inner core.
• In a hot sauté pan, caramelize pineapple on all sides, then place in a blender with sugar.
• Puree until smooth, then cool, store and use as a base for the mojito.
• Makes 1 quart.

Mojito preparation:
• 1.25 oz. Cuba Libre white rum
• 2 tsps. pineapple puree
• 2.5 oz. guarapo (fresh sugar cane juice) or substitute simple syrup
• 1.25 oz. fresh lime juice
• 6 each hierba buena (an herb similar to mint) or substitute mint
• 1 splash lemon-lime soda
• Pineapple wedge garnish

• In a mixing tin using a jigger, add rum, guarapo and lime juice.
• Tear hierba buena and add to mixing tin.
• Add pineapple puree.
• Fill tin with ice and shake six times.
• Pour into glass and top with a splash of lemon-lime soda.
• Garnish with pineapple wedge.
• Makes one serving.
 
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