Summer is here in full swing and what a great time of year to cook outside and enjoy healthy, easy meals prepared on the grill.
I have always been a fan of grilling no matter the season due to the ease of preparation, healthy low-fat method of cooking and of course, the delicious results.
I have a class on grilling coming up in July and it’s almost sold out, so clearly it’s a hit.
When I lived in NYC in a small apartment I cooked on a cast iron indoor grilling pan and enjoyed many a yummy dinner rain or shine.
Here in Connecticut I often use my indoor cast iron pan, not always wanting to light a large outdoor grill and sometimes needing to stay in.
Tips for grilling are; always marinate the food for at least an hour for flavor (overnight is ideal) heat the grill for about five minutes on high before cooking and then regulate the heat during the cooking time, brush with extra marinade while you are grilling and remember not to overcook your proteins!
Here are some terrific recipes for grilled meat, fish and vegetables all of which can be marinated in the morning or even the day before (except fish) and then slapped on a hot indoor or outdoor grill whenever you are ready. A marinade can be boiled and used as a sauce (not for chicken) so don’t throw it away with all its fabulous flavor.
Grilled Thai Lime Chicken
2 Tb. peeled ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 scallions, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 3 limes
3 Tb. fish sauce
2 Tb. rice wine vinegar
3 Tb. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
8 chicken thighs, with skin and bone
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime cut into wedges
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and add the chicken. Marinate 1 to 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Heat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the chicken skin side up on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Heat a grill pan.
- Grill the chicken, turning and basting with the marinade until golden and brown about 10 minutes.
- Arrange on a platter and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
Grilled Shrimp with Heirloom Tomato Salad
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, de-veined
5 Tb. lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 small jalapeno, seeded, minced
6 Tb. cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large Heirloom tomatoes mixed colors, diced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup basil, chopped
3 Tb. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups mixed greens
1 half of a small papaya, peeled, diced
- Combine the shrimp with the lime, olive oil, cumin, jalapeno, cilantro and salt in a medium bowl. Toss and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour.
- Combine the tomatoes, shallot, basil, balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Allow to sit while you grill the shrimp.
- Heat a grill pan until hot. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and grill until pink and curled, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
- Toss the mixed greens with the tomatoes. Taste for seasoning.
- Place the greens on serving plates, divide the shrimp between the plates and top each serving with the diced papaya.
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tb. brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb. fresh thyme, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean with a damp paper towel
2 Tb. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag baby spinach
1. Combine marinade ingredients and add mushrooms in a shallow baking pan. Marinate 1 hour, or overnight.
2. Prepare grill. Grill mushrooms about 7 minutes turning and basting often. Reserve any marinade that is leftover.
3. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir to wilt down. Transfer to a serving dish.
4. Slice the mushrooms into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on top of the spinach.
5. Pour any reserved marinade over the top and serve.
Editor’s Note: Amanda Cushman of Simple Real Food Inc., is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for over 30 years. She has taught corporate team building classes for over 15 years for a variety of Fortune 500 companies including Yahoo, Nike and Google. She began her food career in the eighties and worked with Martha Stewart and Glorious Foods before becoming a recipe developer for Food and Wine magazine as well as Ladies Home Journal. Having lived all over the United States including Boston, NYC, Miami and Los Angeles, she has recently returned to her home state of Connecticut where she continues to teach in private homes as well as write for local publications.
Chef Amanda teaches cooking classes for all levels along the Shoreline both privately and at locations such as White Gate farm and the Weekend Kitchen. For more information, click here to visit her website.