BBQ Favorites


Time to fire up the grill and enjoy the season's bounty and the warm weather. The population of verandahs, front porches, backyards, decks and neighborhood pools rises exponentially this time of year! I grilled out for the first time yesterday and I can't wait to do it for nearly every meal for the rest of the Spring and throughout the summer!

Clockwise: Grilled kofta (kefta), Grilled nectarine and blueberry cobbler with granola, Fresh carrots at the Piedmont Farmers Market, Grilled carrots with parsley garnish
Blueberry and Nectarine Cobbler
Serves 8-10
For filling:
1 pint blueberries (2 cups)
8 nectarines (or peaches)
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch salt

For Granola topping:
Makes about 3 cups

1 c rolled oats
1/3 c wheat germ
1/3 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Heat the grill to medium.
In a large heavy skillet, toast the oats and seeds over medium-low heat until they begin to just brown, 5 minutes. Add the sunflower seeds and coconut. Stir until they are warmed (but not yet brown) and then add the wheat germ. Stirring continually, toast until everything is nicely golden.

Add the brown sugar, salt and oil. Stir until everything is nicely mixed. The brown sugar will melt slightly and coat the granola. Wash and peel nectarines. Slice each in half. Place the nectarines cut side down on the grill until browned. Remove from the grill, cut into wedges and place into 8 X 8 baking dish.  Wash blueberries. Place fruit into a medium bowl and add 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine then pour fruit into dish.

Sprinkle 2 1/2 cups of granola over cobbler. Cover with foil.
Cook for 40-45 minutes, until juices are bubbly and topping is a nice brown color. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving to give the juices a chance to thicken and reabsorb.
Serves 6-8.

Compound butter to accompany grilled carrots

1 T sherry vinegar
1 shallot, minced
8 T Smart Balance OR butter (1 stick), softened
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 T parsley
1 T orange zest

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

(Greek Meatballs) Kofta
Makes +/- 40 meatballs
4 cloves garlic
1 pound ground beef chuck or lamb (a mix of two is preferable)
3 tablespoons grated onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper

Smash the garlic cloves and mix with meat, onion, parsley, and spices.

Line a pan with aluminum foil. Divide the meat mixture into 28 rough balls. Mold each piece around the pointed end of a skewer (if you use wooden ones, soak them in water for 15 minutes before threading them), making a 2-inch oval kebab that comes to a point just covering the tip of the skewer. Lay the skewers on the pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat or prepare a grill. Brush the pan lightly with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until brown all over and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Grilled new potato salad with bacon & sour cream dressing 
Serves 6 to 8 (1/2 cup servings)

2 lbs new potatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp pickle relish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chives
1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
5 slices pre-cooked bacon, crumbled
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Start with cold water, add eggs and potatoes in a large pot on high heat. Boil until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove eggs from pot around 12 minutes into cooking. Cool and peel eggs. Set aside. Meanwhile, In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, relish, garlic, chives, and mustard. Set aside. Drain potatoes. Place cut side up on rimmed baking sheet and press each gently with a fork to flatten slightly. Coat grill rack with nonstick spray. Prepare grill and grill potatoes cut side down until cut side is crisp and brown, 10-12 minutes. Transfer potatoes to large serving dish or bowl. Pour dressing over potatoes and add crumbled bacon and hard-boiled eggs. Toss potatoes and slightly mash them while combining all ingredients. Serve warm or chill for 1 hr for flavors to develop.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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