Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Barbecue With Sauce

It's the start of the barbecue season and that means the usual fare - burgers- dogs  and salads. The problem is that they can be boring. It's time to liven up the Q and change up those traditional recipes. Replace the ho-hum with something exciting.

Hamburgers are standard grill fare. Most home chefs usually buy the premade patties then slap them on the grill to cook up. Instead a more interesting option is buying ground beef and adding to it. Try the classic hamburger recipe that mixes ground chuck with beaten egg, breadcrumbs and Worcester sauce. This not only makes for a more flavorful bite  but a thicker burger. Bacon  makes anything taste better so think about creating a burger with a bacon center (get the already cooked bacon for this or make your own). It's the same with cheese. You can make cheddar burgers with the surprise of the sharp Vermont kind or pizza burgers with a mozzarella center. Serve the last with tomato sauce. Jalapeno burgers are always a crowd pleaser too. Add four chopped and seeded peppers to a pound of ground meat. Homemade burgers usually made with chickpeas can get an exotic spicing up with everything from cumin to turmeric. Hot dogs are a little more difficult to change up yet they can be amped up with cheese or any kind of filling. Before cooking ,slit the hot dogs lengthwise so they'll cook up with a gash. Fill the gash with melted cheddar or better yet pulled pork.Vegetarians can have their soy dogs filled with ratatouille or a hot onion chutney.

One of the most predictable barbecue dishes is salad, namely macaroni. It's usually the elbow kind mixed with Hellman's, Sometimes celery is added for color but that's it. Try tricolore rotelli instead of the traditional.and for a healthier spin olive oil instead of the mayo. Sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts round it out. For a real eye opener make a spaghetti salad.It will create both memories and smiles. Add some chopped salami and ham, along with peppers and tomatoes in an Italian dressing to a bowl of cold pasta. Make a veggie salad fun by using a spiralizer. These are great gadgets that turn veggies into long strands or "noodles". Think of making a cucumber noodle salad with sour cream and fresh dill. Sub in Greek yogurt for a healthier dish. Chickpeas and their liquid can have double use at a cookout. Use the first along with parsley and chopped onions in a Mediterranean style salad with za'atar dressing. Za'atar is a mix of sumac , oregano, marjoram along with toasted sesame seeds and thyme. Sea salt rounds this easy to make spice. The accompanying liquid has the same composition as egg whites and can be transformed into a vegan mayonnaise, along with adding lemon juice, Worcester sauce, dry mustard and a pinch of sugar. This can also be used as a condiment too.

Don;t have a boring barbecue. Liven it up with unique homemade burgers and fancily filled dogs along with some wild salads. It'll be not only tasty but fun - exactly what a cook out should be.

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