9 Unexpected Things to Toss on the Grill This Summer

iStock
iStock

So, you’ve mastered all the usual stuff when it comes to grilling—burgers, steaks, hot dogs, and every variety of teriyaki kabobs. Ready to try something new? Here’s a list of ideas from soup to nuts (literally), just waiting to be fired up.

1. SOUP

Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and numerous other books on grilling, believes that soup is “utterly transformed” by the addition of grilled vegetables. He recommends charring some tomatoes, peppers, and onions or some corn in the husk to add depth and smokiness to your gazpacho or corn chowder. You already know that caramelizing onions on the grill takes the flavor to a new level, but add butter, sherry, and broth to the mix and you’ve got the makings for an unparalleled onion soup.

2. CAKE

Grill homemade or store bought pound cake and you’ve created the base for a multitude of simple-but-elegant desserts. Preheat your grill to high; while you wait for things to heat up, brush each slice with butter on both sides. Grill each slice for about a minute, then rotate each slice a quarter turn to create a crosshatch pattern. Grill for another minute, or until toasted, then top with whatever seasonal produce you can find at your local market or farmstand, adding a dollop of fresh whipped cream or your favorite ice cream. For a booze-infused dessert, add some peaches with a whiskey and caramel sauce.

3. DOUGHNUTS

Creating fresh doughnuts is as easy as one, two, three: Just mix some cinnamon and sugar, cream some butter and brown sugar, and use a cookie cutter to cut the center out of some pre-made buttermilk biscuits. For an even easier take, purchase fresh glazed doughnuts and grill over medium high heat to achieve a delightful crispiness on the outside and light fluffiness on the inside.

4. COOKIES

Here’s another way to satisfy your sweet tooth grill-style. Take just about any basic cookie dough recipe and a baking sheet, and you can achieve the same home-baked results that you accomplish in the kitchen. Try these classic chocolate chip cookies or bring a little fruity, nutty, chocolatey goodness to the milk and cookie platter with this chunky, chewy, chocolate cookie recipe.

5. EGGS

The possibilities for the incredible edible are endless. Start your day with grilled peppers stuffed with egg and cheese. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, go global and give some grilled eggs with Vietnamese seasonings a roll.

6. LEMONS

Grilling lemons brings out the tangy juices and imparts a subtle, smoky flavor—so when life gives you lemons, make some grown-up lemonade with a splash of bourbon or give your dip a Middle Eastern twist with a grilled lemon tzatziki.

7. BANANAS

You can create authentic New Orleans-style Bananas Foster. It takes just five minutes to create a sauce on the stovetop with butter, brown sugar, and spices. Once your sauce is done, simply split bananas lengthwise, skin on, brush with butter, and grill both sides. Voila! Grill up another American Classic with this banana split recipe that uses foil “boats” to transport your dessert to gooey, chocolatey, creamy deliciousness.

8. HEARTS OF PALM

Hearts of palm, usually served cold in a salad, are the edible, tender center parts from the stem of the cabbage palm tree. Their delicate flavor, similar to artichokes, translates beautifully to grilling. For a healthy and delicious side dish, try hearts of palm and parmesan. Or, add a vegan-friendly, south of the border vibe to your grilling repertoire with these marinated heart of palm tacos with spicy cabbage slaw by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chef and author of Serious Eats's James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab.

9. NUTS

Forget buying store-bought roasted nuts, which can include excess ingredients and unhealthy oils. Instead, grab a foil pan and one of your favorite sweet and spicy recipes, like the famously addictive Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts and place the pan over low, indirect heat for about 30 minutes, watching to prevent any charring. For a more rustic take, try this cowboy trail mix, which you can create with any combination of your favorite dried fruits, pretzels, cereal, or chocolate chips.

All images courtesy of iStock.

How Microwaving Food Affects Its Nutritional Value

iStock/grzymkiewicz
iStock/grzymkiewicz

There’s probably no household appliance that sees more use than a microwave. For people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare dinners from scratch or heat meals in a conventional oven, zapping food has become the ultimate method of time management in the kitchen.

Some people harbor the belief that a price has to be paid for that convenience—specifically, that food loses nutritional value by being subjected to a quick nuking.

The truth? Microwaving doesn’t harm a food’s nutrients. In fact, it may preserve them more than some slow-cook methods do.

The reason is found in how microwaves work. The appliances heat food by blasting it with waves of energy not unlike radio waves. These waves target water and other molecules in the food. Thermal energy quickly builds up, and dishes come out heated in a relatively short period of time. This process avoids two of the factors that can lead to nutrient loss: cooking duration and high temperatures. Typically, the longer and hotter food is cooked, the more its nutritional value dissipates.

The other advantage is that microwaves don’t require water for heating. If you boil broccoli, for example, the hot water allows nutrients to leach out of the vegetable. (While that makes for a good stock, your broccoli may be robbed of some of its healthy benefits.) A quick steam in the microwave leaves broccoli relatively intact.

That’s not to say that microwave cooking is superior to a stovetop. Cooking foods at reasonable temperatures and durations shouldn’t result in significant nutrient loss, though some is inevitable for any manner of cooking. But microwaving isn’t going to erase nutrients via some mysterious microwave alchemy, either.

[h/t CNN]

Golden Girls Cereal Has Arrived

NBC
NBC

Fans of The Golden Girls can now spend their mornings with Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose. The ladies of the beloved sitcom now have their own cereal—and it's only available for a limited time, Today reports.

Funko—the toy company known for its vinyl Pop! dolls depicting nearly every character in pop culture (including, of course, The Golden Girls)—rolled out the special-edition cereal in Target stores on September 30. The box is decorated with Funko-fied versions of the four leading ladies, and the multi-grain loops themselves are a shade of deep blue that would look great on one of Rose's dresses.

At $8 a box, the product is more expensive than your average breakfast cereal, but that price includes a little something extra. Each box of Golden Girls cereal comes with its own version of a prize inside: a Funko Pop! figurine of one of the four women.

The cereal won't remain on shelves forever, so collect all the dolls while you still can.

[h/t Today]

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