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June, 2010

What am I going to do with that grill?

By Mark Mulcahy

Do you find yourself searching for ideas to break your old summer meal routine?

Onions

Or just can’t think of what will get your grill excited? While just about anything from Melissa’s might do the trick, I’d recommend looking at our fresh organic produce items. The possibilities are endless.

How about Melissa’s Onions? I like using red onions this time of year. Here’s what you do:

  • Take a red onion and cut it into ¼” thick slices.
  • Brush grill lightly with olive oil and heat to medium-high.
  • Brush onion with olive oil, marinade or your favorite oil-based dressing and grill about 2 minutes on each side or just until fork tender.
If you ask me, these will put any pan grilled onion to shame. I will often cook more than I need so I can enjoy the wonderful grilled flavor in omelets or egg salad.

Or how about Melissa’s Organic Avocados? Are you thinking, “I’m not so sure about warm avocados”? I say don’t knock them if you haven’t tried them! Here's what you do:

  • Cut a ripe, yet firm, avocado in half, seed, peel, and slice.
  • Drizzle with fresh lime or lemon juice and brush lightly with olive oil.
  • Gently place slices on grill over hot coals for 2 minutes on each side.
  • Season with salt to taste.
This method brings out the avocado’s rich flavor and can make any sandwich or salad just that much better. I added them to salsa the other night and Wow, it was a real treat.

Peaches
How about peaches?

  • Take some large, ripe but firm Melissa’s Organic Peaches, and peel, halve, and core them.
  • Brush your grill lightly with olive oil and heat to medium-high.
  • Brush peaches with olive oil or a raspberry vinaigrette dressing and grill about 2 minutes on each side or just until fork tender.
If the peaches aren’t quite done, give them a brush with a little more dressing and cook for another minute on each side. Voila! You now have the perfect topping to a bed of Melissa’s Salad Greens for a nice summer salad. Or, one of my favorites is to have a bowl of frozen yogurt in a bowl, ready to be topped with the hot peaches. Mmmm, mmmm. Once again, cook more than you’ll need, as they make a great topping for pancakes the next day.

When I’m leading a produce class or working in a client’s store, it’s not uncommon for me to hear a customer say, “I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t know how to cook corn on the barbecue. If you can help me, I’m all ears.”

If you are one of these folks who aren’t sure how to grill corn, it's not as hard as you may think. Try these simple instructions and you’ll be the king of the corn queue:

  • Remove large husks (outer ones).
  • Turn back inner husks and remove the silk.
  • Pull inner husks back over ears and soak in cold water for about 1 hour.
  • Remove ears from water bath and shake excess water off.
  • Place ears on grill about 4-5 inches above hot coals.
  • Turn frequently and cook for 15-30 minutes or until tender.
As you can see, just about anything in produce can be grilled; just open your eyes to all the possibilities and you will keep your grill happy all summer long.

Assorted Apples

Apples Take Sides
Barbeque season is coming into its own, and one of the things I love most about outdoor cooking is the side dishes that go along with whatever you are grilling. One of my favorites has always been baked beans, and the other night I was delighted to be introduced to some of the best baked beans I’ve ever had. They were vegetarian and had just the right amount of sweet to heat. My friend didn’t have the recipe written down, so we adapted a quick and tasty recipe from this one on http://www.cooks.com/ and came up with a winner that included all of the ingredients her version of the recipe contained.

BARBEQUED BAKED BEANS
2 (16 oz.) cans pork & beans, or vegetarian baked beans, drained
3/4 cup barbeque sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tart apple, peeled, cored
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. golden raisins
3 strips bacon, cut in half (optional)

In a 1-1/2 quart casserole, combine the drained pork and beans, barbeque sauce, brown sugar, apple, onion and raisins. Arrange the strips of halved bacon over the top of the bean mixture in the casserole. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Another favorite of mine is coleslaw, and since this is prime southern hemisphere apple season, I thought you might like to try one that uses Melissa’s Organic Apples as the star ingredient.

APPLE COLESLAW
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1 Melissa’s Organic Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and coarsely shredded
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon pineapple juice (optional)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:
Place the shredded cabbage and carrot together in a bowl with the sliced apple, and toss to combine. In a separate bowl, stir together the honey, brown sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice, and mayonnaise until the honey and sugar have dissolved completely. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Catch me on the radio
If you would like to learn more about being green or ways to further the organic conversation, tune into Green960.com or http://www.cooks.com/ on Saturday mornings. Helge Hellberg and I have a radio show called An Organic Conversation @ 10am PST every Saturday. If you can’t catch us live, after it airs the episode will be uploaded to http://www.cooks.com/ and iTunes as a podcast so you can listen at your convenience. An Organic Conversation is part of The Green Morning, which runs from 9am to 12:30pm every Saturday at http://www.cooks.com/