All Things Grilled Part 2

Grilled Scallop with Mango Lime Salsa

Grilled Scallop with Mango Lime Salsa

Part 2 in a 3 part series on Grilling!

Scallops are a beautiful thing when properly prepared. The tender flesh plus the subtle taste of ocean can be heavenly. If you want to cook delicious scallops, there are three keys to success: 1) start with high quality dry scallops, 2) season appropriately, and 3) sear well.

Dry scallops are usually shucked on the boat and stored without any water or preservatives. This treatment leads to the freshest, tastiest scallops. On the contrary, wet scallops are shucked and then stored in water, salt water, or water + a chemical preservative. These treatments make the scallops last longer, but contribute to sub-par shellfish.

Scallops naturally contain a lot of moisture, but you want it to be the natural, briny flavor of the ocean. So ask your fishmonger for dry scallops. Before preparing your scallops, pat their surface gently with a clean cloth or paper towel(s). Also, make sure to remove the tough muscle on the side (see below). Season them generously to enhance their flavor and help form a crust (when seared). Salt and pepper will do, but we found that a variety of spices were delicious as well.

Scallops with muscle removed

Creating a crust is a great textural complement to the delicate flesh of a scallop, but this technique can be a challenge. Using dry scallops, seasoning, and searing them in a well-oiled pan over medium-high heat are important.

Another way to create a tasty scallop is grilling! Grilling scallops creates a beautiful crust as well as smokey, charred flavors. We found that grilled scallops pair nicely with refreshing citrus and tropical flavors too. Make sure to oil the grill just before adding the scallops.

Grilled Scallops Two Ways

Grilled Scallop with Mango Lime Salsa

Grilled Scallops with Mango Lime Salsa

serves 3

1 pound large dry scallops
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder

Mango Lime Salsa

1 cup peeled, diced mango
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
2 Tbs lime juice
pinch or two salt

Set scallops on a paper towel lined plate. Lay another paper towel on top of the scallops. Gently pat. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium.

Remove paper towels from scallops. Season scallops with salt and chili powder.

Oil grill to prevent sticking. Grill scallops about 3 minutes per side or until almost cooked through. Remove from grill.

Serve with Mango Lime Salsa (or Orange Salsa below).

Grilled Scallop with Orange Salsa

Grilled Scallops with Orange Salsa

serves 3

1 pound large dry scallops
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Orange Salsa

1 cup peeled, sectioned orange
1 Tbs finely chopped jalapeno
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
1 Tbs lime juice
pinch or two salt

Set scallops on a paper towel lined plate. Lay another paper towel on top of the scallops. Gently pat. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium.

Remove paper towels from scallops. Season scallops with salt & cumin.

Oil grill to prevent sticking. Grill scallops about 3 minutes per side or until almost cooked through. Remove from grill.

Serve with Orange Salsa (and maybe even a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc).

All Things Grilled Part 1

Bison Burger with Potato "Bun"

Part 1 of a 3 part series on Grilling!

I love a good burger. There is nothing quite like taking your first bite of a juicy, perfectly cooked burger and having all of the layers and components harmoniously meld together in that one bite. Once you have had that wonderful experience, it is quite disappointing when things (flavors, textures, proportions) don’t seem to work out.

One challenge for gluten-free folks is what to do about a bun. Don’t get me wrong, I love a light, airy, appropriately sized bun with my burger. But sometimes a dense, dry gluten-free bun interferes with the star of the show…the meat! I’ve tried lettuce wraps and grilled portobello mushrooms too, but my quest for a new “bun” continues.

When my brilliant and creative side kick, Constance, mentioned using a thick potato slice as a bun, I couldn’t wait to try the concept of a burger and fries all in one! It was a beautiful thing...I fell in love with burgers all over again.

Grilled Bison Burger

makes 4 burgers

1 pound ground bison (or sub grass-fed beef)
½ cup grated red or white onion
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp lemon pepper
cheese slices optional

Turn on grill and set to high heat.

Meanwhile, combine burger ingredients and divide meat evenly into 4 patties.

Reduce heat to medium high once grill temperature reaches 400° F.

Place patties on grill for approximately 3 minutes. Rotate the patties 45° and grill for 2 more minutes if grill marks are desired. Then, flip the burger and cook for 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove from grill and allow to rest 3-5 minutes.

Grilled Potato "Bun"

1-2 russet potatoes (nice thick round ones), scrubbed
olive oil or fat of choice (about 1 Tbs)
salt & pepper

Microwave (each) potato 2 minutes.

Slice potatoes crosswise in ½ inch thick slices. (Use the bigger pieces for buns and the smaller pieces for “fries”.)

Drizzle or brush with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Grill potatoes for about 4 minutes, preferably on the cooler side of the grill. Rotate potatoes 45° and grill for 4 more minutes, if grill marks are desired. Flip potatoes and grill another 3-5 minutes, depending how crispy you want them.

Set potato "buns" aside for a few minutes while the burgers rest. Then use the potato slices as a bun to build a tasty burger.

Optional toppings:

  • stone ground mustard
  • grilled onions (sliced ¼ inch thick and grilled about 10 minutes on medium low, flipping occasionally)
  • grilled tomatoes (try a drizzle of oil + balsamic for a tangy treat; grill about 5 minutes on medium low)
  • avocado
  • arugula
  • baby spinach
  • grilled or sauteed mushrooms

Bison Burger with Grilled Tomato & Arugula
Bison Burger with Grilled Tomato

Celebrate Summer with these Cool Treats Part 3

Creamsicle Ice Cream
Frozen Creamsicle Coco-cream

Part 3 of a 3 part series

Summer is here and hot days have arrived. Sometimes I long to be transported back to those carefree afternoons of summer vacation when we lounged by the pool and enjoyed popsicles to help beat the heat. My parents had an old fridge/freezer in the garage that my mom would stock with frozen treats, so my brother and I would keep our sticky messes outside.

Although fudgesicles were a staple, sometimes my mom would mix it up and buy creamsicle popsicles. There was something about the creamy vanilla center with the tangy orange outside that dazzled my tastebuds. It's a flavor that takes me back to those lazy days by the pool.

Here's a dairy-free creamsicle "ice cream" with a coconut milk base, thus the name coco-cream. Serve it with fruit salad, sandwiched between gluten-free gingersnaps, or with a toasted coconut topping. Delish!

Frozen Creamsicle Coco-Cream

makes about 3 cups

1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk (~2 cups)
1 Tbs orange zest
1 cup orange juice (about 3 medium oranges*)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla powder, scraped vanilla bean or more extract
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
1 Tbs cointreau or grand marnier

Combine ingredients. Stir well.

Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacture's instructions. Serve immediately or move to freezer safe container for another time. When you are ready, remove ice cream from freezer about 5 minutes before serving to allow it to soften.

*Ingredient Note: for those seasonal sticklers out there who think oranges are a winter crop, we have an orange tree that pumps out sweet juicy oranges year-round. Hooray for fresh orange juice (and mimosas)!

Celebrate with these Cool Summer Treats Part 2

Lime Coco-Cream
Frozen Lime Coco-Cream

Part 2 of a 3 part series

It’s avocado season in California! And lucky for us, Southern California grows about 90% of the nation's avocadoes. Good thing, they complement many meals and provide healthy and filling fats. The creamy texture and cool sensation of a ripe avocado are so delicious on hot summer days.

With avocadoes on the brain (and ripe ones on the counter!), I was intrigued by David Lebovitz's Avocado Coconut Ice Cream recipe. He used creamy avocados as a part of the ice cream base and suggested a dairy-free alternative that I was eager to try.

The final product had a hint of lime flavor, but on this particularly warm day, I was craving a refreshing kick (margarita anyone?). After adding more lime zest and juice, I was pleasantly surprised by the assertive lime flavor in this revised version. If you are a fan of lime, be prepared to pucker with delight upon the first bite!

Frozen Lime Coco-Cream

makes approximately 4 cups

2 very ripe avocados (about 1 pound)
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
½ cup coconut cream

½ cup honey

2 tsp lime zest
1 cup lime juice

suggested toppings:
toasted coconut chips
toasted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Cut avocadoes in half. Remove pit. Scoop out avocado flesh with a large spoon.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker. Follow ice cream maker instructions.

Stop machine once ice cream thickens and is able to hold its shape. Move mixture to a freezer safe storage container or serve immediately!

If you are storing the coco-cream in the freezer, allow it to stand at room temp for 5 minutes before serving. The consistency should be smooth and creamy.

Enjoy a scoop with toasted coconut or macadamia nuts, or sandwich between two gluten-free graham crackers for a Key Lime Pie-like treat!

Celebrate Summer with these Cool Treats Part 1

Roasted Peach Ice Cream

Part 1 of a 3 part series

Summer fruit has been amazing lately...peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apricots are some of my favorite picks at the Farmer's Market. Although I'm not crazy about the fuzzy exterior of peaches, I love the flavor and the sweet juice that ends up dribbling down my chin when I take a bite.

In my quest for all things gluten-free and dairy-free, I recently churned up some non-dairy roasted peach ice cream. Then it made me think of pie, so I whipped up a "pie-like" topping for it. Heaven!

Roasted Peach Ice Cream
makes almost 3 cups

1 pound peaches, halved (orange and/or white)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs + 1/4 cup maple syrup, divided
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cointreau or grand marnier
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss peaches with olive oil, 1 Tbs maple syrup, and cinnamon. On a parchment or foil lined sheet pan, roast peaches for 20-30 minutes (or until soft). Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to touch.

Slide skins off peaches. Puree peaches in a food processor. Add cointreau, vanilla extract, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and coconut milk. Blend. Cool peach mixture.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker. Follow instructions to make ice cream. Move frozen mixture to a freezer safe storage container or enjoy right away!

Although the ice cream is delicious on it's own, this pecan pie like topping really takes it up a notch.

Spiced Pecan Topping
makes 2 cups (trust me, you want a big batch)

2 cups raw pecan pieces
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine topping ingredients. Stir well. Pour onto a foil or parchment lined sheet pan. Toast in oven about 10 minutes, stirring half way through. Cool.

Use on top of ice cream or eat by the handful!