July, 2012 Newsletter — The Independence Day Issue

One of the biggest grilling holidays of the year is just around the corner, and we’ve pulled together some easy and flavorful dishes for you. Fire up the grill, gather some friends and enjoy some great food and good company. From all of us at Kalamazoo, have a safe and happy Independence Day.

Cheers,

Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet


Grilled Avocados Filled with Blistered Tomato Salsa

Some of the best summer appetizers are also the easiest to prepare, and our grilled, stuffed avocados certainly fit the bill. This starter takes just minutes to make, but it looks and tastes fantastic.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium-hot fire.  

Crush the garlic clove into a medium bowl. Add the oil and lime juice and whisk together. Halve and pit the avocados. Brush some of the oil mixture onto each half without letting any puddle in the hole where the pit was (we don’t want it dripping into the grill and causing flare-ups). Reserve the remaining liquid. Season the avocados liberally with salt and pepper.

Skewer the grape tomatoes and drizzle them with olive oil. Season with salt.

Place the avocados on the grill cut-side-down. Add the tomatoes alongside. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, turning the tomatoes once. The avocados should be nicely marked and the skin on the tomatoes should be blistered. Remove everything from the grill.

Cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters. Add them to the liquid in the bowl. Fold in the chiles and cilantro to complete the blistered tomato salsa.

Spoon some of the salsa mixture into each avocado half and finish with a little salt. Garnish with dollops of sour cream. Serve warm.

 

Chef Rick Bayless

Check out Chef Rick Bayless' Tips for Quick-Grilling 10 Great Foods.

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for the tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 3 avocados
  • Fine sea salt
  • Coarsely-ground black pepper
  • 18 grape tomatoes
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely-chopped cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream

Notes on using a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill:

This recipe grills ingredients for a short period, so you may wish to just use the gas burners if you are not cooking other items. Pre-heat the grill on high for about 10 minutes. For the medium-hot fire, you can turn the burners down to medium right after placing the ingredients on the grill grate.

To grill with charcoal, load the Hybrid Fire Grill Drawer with lump charcoal or all-natural briquettes and fire up the gas burners on high. Once the charcoal fire is set, you can turn off the gas burners below. Wait until the charcoal is ashed over and all visible flame has subsided before grilling the ingredients.


Grilled Corn, Radicchio and Onion Relish

The sweetness of corn and red onion are enhanced by the grill in this quick side dish that also makes for a great topping on turkey burgers or grilled fish. Grilled radicchio, fresh arugula and a quick dressing round out the flavors in this light summer side dish.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a hot fire with an indirect zone at 500ºF. Preheat a cast iron skillet over the fire or use a Kalamazoo custom fish surface. (See following instructions for setting up a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill.)

Drizzle the corn, onions and radicchio with olive oil. Season them liberally with salt and pepper. Place the corn in the indirect zone, close the hood and cook for 5 minutes or until it turns golden, turning once. Transfer the corn to the direct grilling zone and lightly mark the kernels over the fire. Remove when done. While the corn is in the direct zone, add the onions to the skillet or fish surface and the radicchio to the grill grate. Toss the onions while they cook until soft and browned, about 5 minutes time. Cook the radicchio for a minute or 2 on each side until they are nicely marked. Remove everything from the grill.

Cut the corn from the cob using a knife or a corn zipper. Coarsely slice the radicchio. Place corn, radicchio, onions and arugula in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Fold this dressing into the relish in the large bowl. Serve warm.

Instructions for a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill: The warming rack on the new 2012 Hybrid Fire Grills is perfect for roasting the corn. Rather than using an indirect zone, place the corn on the warming rack above the fire for the roasting period of 5 minutes or more and then transfer it to the direct zone. The Kalamazoo custom laser-cut fish pattern grill surface is great for grilled onions for this and other recipes.

Ingredients

  • 3 ears corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 1 red onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 head radicchio, quartered
  • Fine sea salt
  • Coarsely-ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Grilling onions on a Kalamazoo Fish Surface

Grilling onions on a custom fish-pattern grill surface.


Buffalo Chicken Burgers

We have brought you a number of variations on Buffalo wings over the years. We even shared a recipe for Buffalo shrimp. But I realized last week we had never shared this great recipe for Buffalo Chicken Burgers. The scratch Buffalo sauce is mixed into the patty along with crumbled blue cheese. We add a hint of celery by mixing the seeds into the mayonnaise for the garnish. You can make these hot, medium or mild. As written, these are mild.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a hot fire.

Whisk together the butter, hot sauce and ground chile in a large bowl. Add the chicken breast and blue cheese. Gently fold the ingredients together with a spatula. (Try not to over-work the ground chicken. I think it ruins the texture of the burger.) You may need to add a little bit of bread crumbs if the mixture is too soft. Form into 6 patties shaped so that they are slightly thinner in the middle (a trick from Bobby Flay to keep burgers flat once they begin puffing up in the center). Lightly brush the patties with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Stir together the celery seed and mayonnaise. Spread a thin coating of the mixture onto the cut sides of each bun. Reserve the rest.

Grill the chicken burgers for 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning only once, until cooked through. Grill the buns until lightly toasted.

Spread a small amount more mayonnaise onto the bottom half of each bun. Add a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice and the burger. Finish with the top bun and enjoy. Serve with a little extra hot sauce on the side for people, like me, who love their Buffalo burgers spicy.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I use Cholula)
  • 1 dried pasilla ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and ground
  • 3 pounds ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 pound Maytag blue cheese, crumbled
  • Bread crumbs (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Coarsely-ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, finely ground
  • 6 golden hamburger buns
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 6 slices tomato

Grilled Croissant S’mores

These s’mores for grownups are almost as easy to make as the fireside classic. We add a little cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg to the croissants to make them a little more reminiscent of that classic graham cracker flavor. Then we melt dark chocolate and marshmallows into a gooey, delicious mess.

Instructions

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium-hot fire.

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small dish. Brush the melted butter on the cut sides of the croissants. Sprinkle with the sugar blend.

I find it best to make these in batches of 2 or 3 on the grill at a time rather than trying to juggle all 6 at once. Perfect timing is needed on the marshmallows or you may find yourself with a big mess on your hands. I recommend 3 marshmallows per skewer because that is how many go into each Croissant S’more.

Grill the buttered sides of each croissant until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Remove from the grill and place some chocolate squares onto the bottom slices. Grill the marshmallows until melted through, turning once, about 90 seconds total. (You can get away with laying them directly on the grill grate as long as you don’t leave them there too long.) Carefully slide three melted marshmallows on top of the chocolate on each croissant bottom. Add the tops. If the whole thing doesn’t turn out gooey enough, heat them a little more on the warming rack of your grill.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 6 croissants, sliced
  • 18 marshmallows (and some skewers)
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate (about 50% cocao)