May, 2015 — The Memorial Day Issue

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer season for many and is one of the biggest grilling holidays on the calendar. Why not spice up your Memorial Day celebration with Grilled Pineapple Salsa, Chipotle Salmon Burgers and Grilled Banana Splits with Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream? The salsa can be prepared in advance, as can most of the components for the salmon burgers. This allows you to spend more time enjoying the party with your friends and family. The sundae is a great finish to the meal, especially if you take the extra step and make your own ice cream.


Russ Faulk

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

The fire from the grill caramelizes the sugar in the pineapple and red onions, making them even sweeter. This creates the perfect counterpoint to the complex heat of the habanero chile. With just one habanero and a poblano, the heat is pretty mild. This is a fantastic fresh, vibrant salsa to celebrate the beginning of summer.


  • 1 pineapple, cored peeled and sliced into rings
  • 1 red onion, ends removed and sliced into 4 rings
  • 1 poblano chile
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 habanero chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • Small bunch cilantro, chopped


The salsa can be prepared a day in advance, but is best when prepared just a few hours ahead.

Prepare the grill for direct grilling at about 500°F. A wood fire is preferred. We cooked this batch on the new Kalamazoo Gaucho Grill.

Grill the pineapple, onion and poblano directly over the fire. Total grilling time should be about 8 to 10 minutes. The pineapple should be flipped halfway through. By this stage it should be nicely browned. The onion slices also get flipped once, and they should be charred at the edges and beginning to turn translucent. The poblano should have blistered skin all over and requires more turning. When done, remove everything from the grill and let cool for a while.

Combine the tomatoes, habanero, salt and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you reach a fine texture.

Dice the grilled pineapple and onion. Scrape the skin of the poblano off and discard it. Stem and seed the poblano and then finely chop. Combine these ingredients in a bowl with the cilantro. Add the tomato mixture and fold together.

Refrigerate in an air-tight container for at least 1 hour before serving.


Chipotle Salmon Burgers with Cilantro Lime Cream

Grilled Chipotle Salmon Burgers with Cilantro Lime Cream

If you’re a fan of salmon, these burgers will most likely become a part of your regular repertoire. Meaty diced salmon is combined with a creamy salmon puree, then coated in a crunchy panko crust, creating the perfect texture. Chipotle chile is blended into the mix for a robust flavor, while a cream cheese spread cools the heat. If you’re one to enjoy a little lingering spice – then this might just be the ultimate salmon burger.


For the salmon patties:

  • 2 pounds salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 chipotle chille, packed in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce from the packed chillies
  • Finely-grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • 3 tablespoons, plus 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 green onions, light green and green parts only, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


For the Cilantro Lime Cream:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup crème fraiche
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Finely-grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon finely-chopped poblano chile (about 1/2 a poblano)
  • 1 tablespoon finely-chopped cilantro leaves


For the buns:

  • 6 brioche hamburger buns
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fine sea salt
  • Baby arugula


Cut up 1/4 of the salmon into chunks and place it in a food processor. Cut the remaining 3/4 of the salmon into a 1/4-inch dice and reserve in a large bowl. From the list of salmon patty ingredients, add the mayonnaise, chipotle, adobo sauce, lime zest and panko to the food processor. Blend until smooth.

Add the whole grain mustard and green onions to the diced salmon in the bowl. Gently fold in the salmon mixture from the food processor to combine.

Oil a baking sheet. Divide the salmon mixture into 6 equal dollops on the baking sheet. Wet your hands with cold water, and shape the salmon into patties about the same diameter as the hamburger buns. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To prepare the Cilantro Lime Cream, beat together the cream cheese, crème fraiche and lime juice. Stir in the lime zest, poblano and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate until use.

Prepare the grill for direct grilling at 500° to 600°F.

Spread a little mayonnaise inside the sliced hamburger buns and season sparingly with sea salt.

Remove the salmon patties from the refrigerator immediately before grilling. Combine the remaining 1 cup of panko crumbs from the salmon patty ingredients with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Press half of the panko mixture into the tops of the patties while still on the baking sheet. Use a thin spatula to flip all the patties, and then distribute the remaining panko mixture on the second side. Press down to embed the panko and to make the patties about 1 inch larger in diameter than the hamburger buns. Firm up the edges of the patties with your fingers and transfer directly to the grill grate.

Grill the patties, turning only once, until cooked through. This will take about 10 minutes total cooking time. Don’t flip them until you are sure they are halfway done and are ready to release from the grill grate. While the patties are cooking on the second side, lightly toast the sliced hamburger buns by placing the mayonnaise side directly on the grill grate.

Remove the hamburger buns from the grill once toasted, and spread a little Cilantro Lime Cream inside each bottom bun. When the patties are cooked through (they should spring back when you use your finger to poke the center of each patty), add one to each bun. Top each patty with a little arugula, and then the top half of the bun.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Grilled Banana Split Sundaes with Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream

Grilled Banana Split Sundaes with Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream

Wow. This take on the ice cream parlor classic really turns the flavor up to eleven. We made homemade ice cream with vanilla, cayenne, nutmeg and cinnamon to create some really complex, delicious flavors. Then we caramelized bananas over the hot fire of a grill. The cherries are blistered on the grill as well. Then we went dark, with a chocolate sauce made with 70% cacao chocolate and a little honey. If you don’t want to make your own ice cream, this dessert will still be amazing with a little vanilla ice cream from your local market.


For the Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk or half and half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I use Nielson Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • About 1/3 of a whole nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cayenne
  • A pinch of fine sea salt


For the Dark Chocolate Honey Sauce:

  • 8 ounces 70% cacao chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons raw honey


For the rest:

  • 6 bananas, peeled and cut in half lengthwise so that they will lay flat on the grill
  • Turbinado raw cane sugar
  • About 30 cherries
  • Salted macadamia nuts
  • Whipped cream, if you like


Whisk all of the ice cream ingredients together. Place them in your ice cream machine, and follow the standard instructions for your unit to make the ice cream. Transfer to an air-tight container and keep it in the freezer to harden for a few hours.

Prepare the grill for direct grilling at 500° to 600°F.

Sprinkle the cut side of the bananas with a generous amount of turbinado sugar. Let sit while the sugar dissolves into the banana a little.

Place the chocolate in a double boiler to melt. Combine the remaining chocolate sauce ingredients in a separate pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the chocolate from the heat of the double boiler and whisk in the ingredients from the other pan. Let rest at room temperature to thicken while you grill the bananas and cherries.

Place the flat, sugar-coated side of the bananas on the grill grate. Leave them in one place to caramelize while you also grill the cherries. You can move the cherries as much as you like, but the bananas need to be left alone. When done, the sugar will have browned and caramelized on the bananas. You’ll need a very thin and flexible spatula to remove them with the delicious sugary coating intact.

Assemble 6 sundaes, each with 2 scoops of ice cream, 1 banana, 5 cherries, a little chocolate sauce and some macadamia nuts. Whipped cream is optional. Enjoy!