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Whole Gourmet Natural Cooking

Alison Anton's Natural Cooking Blog offers healthy recipes, inspirational food articles and culinary advice for the natural chef, and features dessert recipes from her upcoming cookbook, Desserts for Every Body.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Barbecue and Grill - Let the Grilling Begin!

Memorial Day is the national kick off of the barbecue season. So now is the time to wheel it out, scrape it off and get it fired it up. The first round of the season is always a little clumsy, but you should get warmed up in no time!

Although barbecued food did not originate in America, this convenient slow-cooking technique was utilized in the late 1800’s by cowboys during western cattle drives. The hungry men were fed the tough and stringy cuts of meat that often needed several hours of cooking to tenderize. Barbecuing was the perfect remedy - they not only had a low-temperature heat source for slow cooking, but could also do the cooking in the great wide open.

And then came the invention of the charcoal briquette in 1920. Interestingly enough, Henry Ford and his cousin E.G. Kingsford are credited for popularizing this innovation. The bi-product of the wood scraps and sawdust from the Ford automobile factory was used to make the briquettes and soon they were put into commercial production. And so was the birth of an American legend. Now from the west coast to the east, the backyards of millions of Americans are up in smoke.

And not just for the cowboys either... Since the dawn of the gourmet 80’s, you can find grilling recipes for just about anything, even pizza. From hot dogs to haughty cuisine, there’s something for everyone on the grill.


Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Pesto and Apples [print recipe]
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 cup pesto
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 rectangles focaccia bread, sliced in half horizontally
Mayonnaise and stoneground mustard
1 cup baby spinach
2 apples, thinly sliced

Preheat the grill (charcoal, gas or stovetop) to medium heat.

Place each chicken breast between sheets of waxed paper. Pound each to 1/2-inch. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

brush the bread with olive oil and grill until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Spread each half of bread with the mayonaise and mustard. Top each with sliced apples, spinach and a chicken breast. Drizzle with pesto and serve.

Grilled Pizza Crust [print recipe]
Yield: 1 pizza crust

1 uncooked pizza crust
Your favorite toppings

Preheat the grill (charcoal, gas or stovetop) to medium heat. Brush the grill with olive oil.

Place the uncooked crust on the rack and grill for 5 minutes, until the dough begins to puff up and starts to turn golden. Flip the crust with tongs or a heat-proof spatula. Brush the top of the crust with a generous amount of olive oil and top with your favorite toppings. Let the pizza cook another 8-10 minutes, until the toppings are bubbling hot and the crust is crisp and golden.


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