Recipe of the Week

Main Ingredient - Vegetables
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

This is a favorite of the barbecue circuit and it is one of those recipes that taste much better than it sounds. Even the biggest naysayer can’t keep his hands off the cabbage once it is done. The real trick is to cook it until so tender that you can pluck a leaf from the center without any resistance.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel

There are basically two ways to top popcorn — wet and dry.

Let’s start with wet toppings, such as melted butter. Melted butter is always a crowd pleaser, but you have to make that version just before serving or else it gets soggy. Plus, buttered popcorn is always best hot. Other wet toppings, such as melted chocolate, should be applied to popcorn spread flat on a baking sheet, then allowed to cool. Otherwise it becomes soggy.

The advantage of dry flavor toppings is that you can make the popcorn a few hours in advance, then serve it room at temperature. Just make sure to add the spices while the popcorn is hot. My three favorites are truffle salt, Parmesan cheese and a sweet and spicy barbecue rub.

To cook the popcorn for use with a dry topping, I use a heavy enameled cast-iron Dutch oven set over medium heat. I heat the empty pot for about 2 minutes over low heat, then pour in the olive oil and the popcorn, increase the heat to medium and immediately place the lid on the pot. The heavy pot helps prevent the popcorn from burning and almost all of the kernels pop. I find that a good olive oil gives the popcorn a great flavor and that you won’t even want to add melted butter.

As soon as the popcorn is popped, I pour it out of the pan into the biggest bowl I have. I toss the popcorn with the seasoning and continue to toss so that the steam doesn’t make the popcorn soggy. When the steam dissipates, I toss it a few more times, taste to make sure that I have enough flavoring, then let it come to room temperature in the bowl. At this point you can place it in serving bowls or baskets or even individual paper bags to give your guests.

And don’t forget to pair your gourmet popcorn with a flute of sparkling wine. The make the perfect high-low party combination!

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel

This simple pasta dish with grilled tomatoes lacks nothing!  Once you make it you’ll be sold on the rich garlic and tomato flavors that come from caramelizing the garlic and grilling the tomatoes over high heat in a grill pan.  Who knows?  You may never go out for pasta again!

Created by Elizabeth Karmel
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Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel
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Created by Elizabeth Karmel

Grilling asparagus miraculously transforms it from the kind of vegetable you hated as a kid to a sweet, meaty, lip-smackin’ treat that you can’t get enough of as an adult. This is the least amount of work you will ever have to do to be considered the Queen of the Grill. Contrary to popular belief, look for the fatter stalks when buying asparagus, they are much better suited to grilling and actually have better flavor.

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel

The delicate taste and texture of baby vegetables is one of the true joys of finding garden-fresh produce. Look for a farmer’s truck by the side of the road or visit any of the growing farmer’s markets around the country. Watch these young veggies carefully, they cook much faster than their older, tougher siblings—something we can all understand!


Created by Elizabeth Karmel

My good friend, Rose Levy Beranbaum is most known for her baking expertise including her most recent tome, The Pie and Pastry Bible. But, in her free time, Rose really loves to grill and she discovered this technique for cooking onions by forgetting it one night and waking up in the middle of the night to discover that instead of being ruined, it was the most savory caramelized onion she had ever eaten. For that reason, it is the "Forgotten Onion." I've taken her idea and changed it a bit to make the world's best grilled onion roasted onion.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

This is one of the first “unusual” foods that I tried nearly a decade ago. Since then, it has become commonplace for me and hundreds of people that I’ve encouraged to make it. But it is still one of my top-ten all time favorites. Although, they take a while to cook, resist the urge to pre-cook the potatoes. They are sooo much better cooked entirely on the grill.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel

Sometimes the promise of leftovers is almost more exciting than the meal itself! And who says leftovers can't be planned?

 

Whenever I'm heating my grill for dinner, I always toss on and roast a few red and yellow bell peppers, even if I don't plan to use them for that meal. Grilled peppers can add so much to so many other dishes. And they are almost effortless to make. Wrap them around fresh mozzarella for an easy appetizer, layer them in a sandwich, or chop them up and toss with pesto and pasta for a simple summer side.

 

I also almost always cook a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts to have at the ready for salads, sandwiches or meals on the go.

 

I call all of these items "grilled-overs," and my favourite thing to do with them is assemble a grilled vegetable sandwich. It's just the thing to make the most of whatever I grilled too much of the night before. Particularly at the end of summer, I love to go to the farmers market and buy all kinds of vegetables, grill them and save them to make sandwiches.

 

Sometimes I layer the veggies with shaved Parmesan and silky prosciutto, as in this recipe. Other times, I spread the bread with olive tapenade and a gracious layer of fresh goat cheese. Regardless, grilled vegetables make a crave-worthy, healthy sandwich. They also pack really easily — a bit of weekend sunshine in a weekday lunch.

 

There are a few things that you need to know when grilling vegetables. Make sure all of the vegetables are lightly coated with oil before grilling. That will promote those beautiful grill marks, keep the veggies juicy and prevent sticking! You also need to cut the vegetables so that they are long enough to be placed perpendicular against the grates, usually at least 3 inches long. You won't need a vegetable basket if you slice them correctly.

 

Always place food horizontally on the cooking grates — or the opposite direction of the cooking grates, never parallel. When you place the food in the same direction as the grates, you run the risk of having it slip through the grates. Even more important, you won't get good grill marks on whatever you are grilling. The best marks are short and go across the food.

 

Grill over a medium, direct heat and turn the vegetables once halfway through the cooking time; each vegetable will vary in the amount of time it needs. Really dense vegetables such as potatoes will need to be finished with indirect heat or the outside will burn by the time the inside is tender.

 

When you remove the grilled vegetables, place them in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack so they can cool completely before they are stored in the refrigerator. Make the sandwiches or serve the vegetables room temperature with a drizzle of fruity olive oil and a pinch of crunchy salt.

 

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel

veggie napoleons, which is just a fancy name for individual mini-zucchini lasagna. This dish is a great light entrée, or a substantial vegetable side dish that is perfect served with a Grilled Steak or our favorite, Beer-Can Chicken.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel

Much as I love mashed white potatoes, my favourite "potato" is the sweet  variety.

I've been cooking and eating sweet potatoes as long as I can remember. And  when I found out that they were loaded with vitamins and other good-for-you  stuff like fiber, I immediately thought... Here's a great excuse to eat sweet  potato pie!

Kidding aside, sweet potatoes are just as good if not better than traditional  baking potatoes in savory applications. My favourite one-bowl meal in winter is  a loaded baked potato. And I often make it with sweet potatoes.

Around 5 p.m., I throw the potatoes in a 350 F oven. I find that a lower oven  temperature keeps the skin from falling apart, allowing you to split the potato  in half and load it up! However, it does take twice as long for the potatoes to  cook.

This year, I have been topping my potato with sauteed kale, which not only  looks stunning — all that orange and green — but also is a perfect complement to  the sweet "meaty" potato.

But that's not all. I also roast garlic and make it into a paste to flavour  the potato, folding in just a touch of butter and a pinch of sage. I scoop out  half of the potato, mix it all together, add half the cheese and put it back  into the shells like you would a twice-baked potato. At this point, the recipe  can be made in advance and re-heated another day.

Just before serving, you sprinkle on more cheese, add a healthy spoonful of  the sauteed kale and, if you like, top with toasted pumpkin seeds for a welcome  crunch. If you don't like kale, you can saute spinach instead. And while I have  specified fontina and Gruyere for the cheeses, Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella  are great, too.

I generally make this loaded potato a "meatless meal," but you could easily  add leftover or rotisserie chicken.

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

If you aren’t fond of Bourbon or don’t like cooking with spirits, you can substitute fresh squeezed orange juice—it won’t taste exactly the same but it will still be delicious! If you can find Garnet sweet potatoes in your area, buy them. We think they are sweeter and have a more delicate texture, the garnet potatoes have a reddish skin (see photograph) instead of the standard brown-orange skin. This mash is great all year ‘round served with grilled chicken, pork, beef and of course stuffed cornish hens

Created by Elizabeth Karmel

I think tomatoes are probably the best thing that comes from the earth! I started making these with the cherry or grape tomatoes--that you can find all year long-that still tastes like a tomato! It is the simplest recipe but it is a favorite of nearly everyone I know. I make it at least twice a week and most of my friends are addicted as well-but hey, it's a healthy addiction!

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel

Adapted from Elizabeth Karmel, Hill Country Barbecue Market, Manhattan
Time: 1½ hours

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hi elizabeth3
a food fanatic and the Grill Girl from North Carolina who has seasoned, basted and tasted my way across the country. Please join me on my non-stop, culinary journey...


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