I love to grill. My favorite to smoke is brisket. My favorite to grill is chicken. My favorite time of year to grill is anytime!
In the fall it’s fun to sit next to the pit watching your garden while grilling German sausage.
In the winter it’s fun to go out with the snow on the ground. You have to sit real close to the firebox side of the cooker to keep warm, but it’s so worth it. It’s like having an outdoor fireplace.
In the spring, you’re out getting your garden chores done and you can pop over to the cooker to check things occasionally, at the end of the day you have clean garden beds and supper is ready. Score.
And finally in the summer, another great time to grill. Whether it’s hotdogs for a picnic, chicken for a day at the lake, or just hamburgers midweek, summer is great for grilling.
As this is a gardening blog, let’s talk about the garden and the grill.
Last week I told you about the Bonus corn I’m growing this year. Let me tell you Bonus corn (or just about any corn) is great on the grill. I like to roast it with the silks on, some people like to do it silks off. I recently read a blog that talked of soaking the corn in coconut milk for an hour or so before roasting. It sounded delicious and I am definitely going to try it this year.
I’m not growing peaches, but I do love to get peaches from the Farmer’s Market. This year, as in years past, I’m sure I will be grilling my share of peaches for tarts and grilled peach pie, and I’ll be making grilled peach jam to enjoy next winter. Don’t fret, I’m giving you my recipes. = )
This year we’re adding grilled fish tacos to the menu to go along with Ryan’s chicken tacos. The Parsnip is loathe to eat fish, so I’ll be grilling a chicken breast along with the fish I’m sure. The boy spreads too much manure to not throw him a bone in the form of grilled chicken when the rest of the family will be eating fish.
Another Gunz family favorite, grilled squash quesadillas. We like quesadilla anything really. I think I could take just about anything, make it into a quesadilla and my family would eat it up. Want some lamb tongue? Eww gross, want a Baa-Baa qued quesadilla. Ooh yum! It’s all in the the marketing.
I grill squash all summer. All squash tastes great from the grill. We like the sweetness of the Sweet Dumplin’ and the Jack B Little pumpkin on the grill, as well as the smoky nuttiness of Patty Pan or Butterstick. You should try it. You won’t be sorry.
Okay, I promised recipes. So here you are.
This particular recipe has some Port Wine in it. My apologies to the teetotalers. I’m sure you could substitute maybe apple cider with reasonable facsimile. We don’t drink at our house, but I do use some alcohol in some recipes. You would seriously have to be a glutton in order to even notice with the amount that is involved. So, don’t be a glutton.
This is a sweet/savory jam that goes well with grilled chicken, fish or even steak. Chilled, it’s great on ice cream and lovely with waffles.
- 4 large, firm Yellow Peaches
- 1/4 cup Port Wine
- 1/4 cup Sugar+1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary (I use a bit more actually but you should start with a sprig and decide your Rosemary level)
- Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Mix wine, sugar, lemon juice and rosemary in medium sauce pan and simmer until sugar melts
2. Cut peaches into quarters removing pits
3. Brush the peach quarters with wine mixture and grill over high heat for about 10 minutes or until slightly charred and just begining to soften
4. Chop the peaches in half and add to the port wine mixture
5. Add 1/2 cup sugar and salt and pepper
6. Cook for about 15 minutes boiling gently until peaches are very soft and sauce is thick
7. Strain the mixture through a course sieve or cheese cloth
If serving with meat, serve warm. If spooning over ice cream, chill
One variation I make of this is switching Basil for the Rosemary. It makes it completely different, but just as delicious. It’s so easy, but seems so not. You’ll be the hit of the cookout for sure.
Another variation for the adventurous palate, add 2 or 3 roasted jalapenos for a spicy pep.
Seared Chicken Corn Chowder (Made two ways, one spicy, one tame)
- 2 slices bacon, sliced in 1-inch strips (or if you like, real bacon bits work as well)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (more or less to taste)
- 1 potato, diced (I use three, but I have more people in my family than most)
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (Insert grilled fresh corn here)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie cooked chicken (Insert grilled chicken here if desired)
- Fresh cilantro leaves (Because everything gets cilantro at some point at my house)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
In a large saucepot over medium heat cook bacon until crispy and all fat has rendered out. (Rather obviously, if you use real bacon bits, skip that first step.) Use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil instead of the bacon grease. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat, add onion, jalapeno, potato, red pepper, corn, salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes. Add thyme and cilantro. keep some cilantro for garnish as well.
In a blender or with and immersion blender, puree half the mixture and add back to the pan. Add milk, chicken broth, and chicken and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Since everything is previously cooked (seared corn, grilled chicken etc.) you’re really just sweating your veggies and simmering this soup. Serve with your chicken tacos or fish tacos, or if you’re like me, just eating it by itself is delicious.
The Parsnip thinks that soup needs an accompaniment, I don’t really hold to that.
Tame Chicken Corn Chowder
4 slices bacon, chopped (Again real bacon bits are fine)
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Kernels from 4 medium ears of fresh corn, or the equivalent in frozen corn
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
Cut leftover chicken, whatever you have on hand is fine you can even use canned chicken if you would rather here.
Salt and pepper
1.In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it on paper towels to drain. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon fat from the pot.
2.Add potatoes, cut chicken chunks and onions to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
3.Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4.Crumble the bacon and stir it, the corn, the milk and the cream into the broth. Simmer for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Makes 2 quarts
Grilled Squash Salad
- 4 medium-large zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise (any squash really)
- 4 medium-large yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, halved lengthwise (any squash of another color works here)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place zucchini and crookneck squash on large baking sheet; brush all over with 3 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and cool.
Cut vegetables diagonally into 1-inch-wide pieces. Place in large bowl. Add basil, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Okay, you can go crazy with this one. Other things I add, sweet red pepper, Roasted baby corn, cherry tomatoes halved, organic baby spinach, chervil, a few sprigs of rosemary, a few sprigs of lavender, asian winged beans and flowers, really anything to make it cheerful and hearty. I have even been known to use leftover rotisserie chicken with this to the delight of all of the carnivores involved in the eating.