Catfish Sandwich Recipe for the Char-Broil Gas2Coal Grill

Inspired by Char-Broil’s ultra-brand new, innovative 3-Burner Gas2Coal combination grill– I share one of my very favorite lakeside barbeque recipes – This gas and coal combo grill is perfect for preparing the perfect Blackened Catfish with Garlic-Honey Aioli & Al Fresco Purple Kale-slaw.

Beautiful, tender filets of freshly caught catfish are liberally seasoned with a blackened herb mix, grilled over the searing infrared heat of white-hot charcoal and hardwoods, then chopped into chunks and tossed in a roasted garlic-honey aioli. Topped with an al fresco charred sweet corn kaleslaw, then loaded over buttered and toasted artisan rolls. This feast is rounded by dozens of baked scallops in the half shell, a garden of fresh greens, and a crisp, gorgeous craft-brewed gold coast pilsner.

Catfish Sandwich Recipe for the Char-Broil Gas2Coal Grill


    Garlic-Honey Aioli:
  • 1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Kosher salt and ground black peppercorn, to taste
  • Grilled Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw:
  • 2-3 cobs of sweet corn, silk & husks removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/3 cup, separated
  • 1 small head Japanese purple kale leaves, ribs removed and finely chopped
  • 1-2 small heads green radicchio, finely chopped
  • 1 handful parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • Salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
  • Blackened Herb Mix:
  • 2 tablespoons ground sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Blackened Catfish with Garlic-Honey Aioli & Al Fresco Purple Kaleslaw:
  • Roasted Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw, recipe above
  • Blackened Herb Mix, recipe above
  • Garlic-Honey Aioli, recipe above
  • 2 pounds fresh catfish filets, trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • Heirloom tomatoes, finely sliced
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
  • 6-8 artisan sandwich rolls, lightly buttered and toasted


    Garlic-Honey Aioli:
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl, until well-combined. Set aside.
  2. To thicken sauce, add 1 teaspoon mayonnaise. To thin sauce, add 1 teaspoon water.
  3. Grilled Sweet Corn Purple Kaleslaw:
  4. Preheat your gas to coal combo grill to hot. Brush corn in olive oil before laying over direct heat grill grates, then char upon all sides. Remove corn from the grill, slice kernels from the cob and set aside. Bring oil, vinegar, honey, sugar & juices to a boil, then set aside to cool and emulsify with an emersion blender. Toss together all prepared ingredients in a large bowl and season to taste.
  5. Blackened Herb Mix:
  6. In a food processor, pulse together all ingredients. Set aside.
  7. Blackened Catfish with Garlic-Honey Aioli & Al Fresco Purple Kaleslaw:
  8. Up to 4 hours prior to grilling on your combination grill, rub the catfish filets with olive oil and Blackened Herb Mix, then wrap air-tight in plastic and refrigerate. 30 minutes prior to grilling remove the filets from the cooler and return to room temperature.
  9. Remove grill grates and place the charcoal tray into the firebox and load with lump charcoal and 2 cups of cedar woodchips. Replace the grill grates, ignite the gas burners and turn to high heat, then wait until the coals are white and ashy. Once charcoal is fully-lit, turn off burners and scrub the grill grates with olive oil. Confidently apply the catfish over the cleaned grill grates for 4-6 minutes per side, with the grill lid closed. Cook until the filet is well-encrusted upon the exterior and translucent in color throughout. Remove fish from the grill, toss in the prepared aioli, and season to taste. Load over toasted artisan rolls, garnish with heirloom tomatoes and Roasted Sweet Corn Kaleslaw.

Devour and Enjoy! – David 

 Charred Sweet Corn and Kale Slaw, Blackened Catfish Sandwich prepared on Char-broil Gas2Coal Combination Grill

A Traditional Clam Bake on the Grill

Digging a pit in the sand at the beach, filling it with hot stones and seaweed, and topping it with shrimp, clams and sausage is a traditional clam bake. But if the beach is a thousand miles away and seaweed is hard to come by you can still make a clam bake right in your own backyard. Just use your grill.

A clam bake is great party food because you can either make one large packet and all the guests can share or you can make individual packets for everyone.

All you need to do is get a double-layered sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, form it into a bowl and place the ingredients on it.

Clam Bake 2

Then close the packet tightly, poke a hole in the top to vent the steam and put it on the indirect side of a grill heated to medium high. Close the lid and have a beer. In about 30 minutes, your clam bake is ready.

Clam Bake 3

The clam bake is ready when the potatoes are tender and all the clams have opened. Check all the clams before you serve the packets and discard any that didn’t open.

Be sure to have a lot of crusty bread on hand for sopping up all the delicious buttery broth.

A Traditional Clam Bake on the Grill


  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 4 large red potatoes, sliced 1-inch thick
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked and cut into three pieces for each ear
  • 4 dozen littleneck clams
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced in ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup dry white wine


  1. Preheat the grill on one side to medium high, leaving the other side off for indirect cooking.
  2. Combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic cloves and Old Bay Seasoning. Set aside.
  3. Cut four large pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Put two sheets of foil together to form a double thickness. Fold up each side to form a bowl.
  4. Make a bottom layer in each packet of the potatoes and top with the shrimp, corn, clams and sausage.
  5. Pour the butter mixture evenly over both packets and pour the white wine around the bottom.
  6. Tightly fold the foil packets and poke a hole in the top of each to vent the steam.
  7. Place the packets on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid. Grill for about 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the clams have opened. Discard any clams that don’t open.

Paleo Diet Grilling Ideas

The Paleo Diet. It is everywhere, but what exactly is it? We’ve heard the terms “caveman’s diet” and “primal eating” and it has something to do with not eating grains, but what else is involved? The good news is that cooking over live fire was the first cooking method and today’s barbecuing fits the Paleo profile perfectly. Here are some pointers on what to make for your guests who are on the Paleo diet.

In its simplest form, Paleo means you only eat foods that can be gathered or hunted in the wild. So, that cuts out anything that has been cultivated, which includes grains such as wheat, rye, barley and rice. Paleo diets range from those who are extremely limited/primal (very strict) to those who allow some dairy, eggs and the occasional consumption of white rice. And then there are some who practice the 80/20 rule – eating paleo 80 percent of the time and then being less strict during the remaining 20 percent. The basic foods to avoid are grains, dairy, processed foods and sugars, legumes, starches and alcohol. So if you take away grains, breads, starches, etc., what does that leave us to eat? Focus on lean meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats.

For those who are trying to plan a menu for someone following the diet, it can be confusing. The bottom line is you need to ask your guests which foods they are avoiding and what they prefer to eat – and be prepared for different answers from each person you ask. Here are a few menu ideas that are absolutely delicious and that everyone on your guest list will love:

  • Grilled bacon-wrapped beef filets along with vegetable skewers, served with marinated heirloom tomatoes and grilled pineapple slices drizzled with honey for dessert.
  • Barbecue whole chickens stuffed with lemons and onions. Serve them with a tossed green salad with roasted sweet potatoes and beets dressed with olive oil-lemon vinaigrette. A bowl of sliced and grilled fresh peaches and nectarines is the perfect finishing touch.
  • Lime cilantro chipotle boneless chicken pieces with mushrooms and onions, wrapped in lettuce leaves for a different take on fajitas. Serve a pineapple salsa alongside for a touch of sweet heat. And make a mixed berry and stone fruit crisp with an almond meal/honey/grass-fed butter topping to finish the meal. Whip up some heavy coconut cream for a lovely garnish on the dessert.
  • For classic BBQ fare, grill hamburgers and use grilled Portobello mushrooms as the “buns.” Make the patties larger than normal and if your guests are eat cheese, try melting a couple different types over the burgers for more flavor and interest.
  • Fire up a London broil or chateaubriand, sliced thin and served over a large salad of tossed greens and grilled vegetables. Finish with roasted honey-coated pecans and almonds for a fun snack.
Cajun-Spiced Shrimp - Paleo Grilling
Grilled Cajun Spiced Shrimp
Pineapple Salsa - Paleo Grilling |Char-Broil
Grill pineapple rings or spears
Fresh Peaches on the BBQ - Paleo Grilling | Char-Broil
Grilling fresh fruits adds a touch of smoke and brings out their natural sugars.
Grilled Hamburger Tricks | Char-Broil
Separate hamburger patties with squares of parchment paper makes them super easy to slap on the grill

How To Throw A Backyard Party

Summer is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s take the party outside!”

What makes a great outdoor party? You know the usual suspects: Have enough seating for everyone, break out the citronella candles if it’s mosquito season and make sure everyone knows where the bathroom is located.

But here are five fresh ideas to take your next outdoor bash off the charts.

The Guests:

It goes without saying that the best people to invite are fun people. But chances are some of your guests won’t know each other and your job, as host, is to make everyone immediately comfortable. A few ideas:

  • Ask your guests to write their names on name tags with their hometowns underneath. They’ll make some surprise connections and  get the conversation going.
  • Assign your guests jobs to help get the party started but stipulate that couples can’t work together. Make them fun jobs like organizing the bar geographically with the closest country first and the most remote last (print out a world map to help). Hint: Tequila and vodka won’t be next to each other. Have them set up the games (of course there will be games and we’ll get to that in a minute) and then rotate playing each one. The winners of each will face off in the Ultimate Game Death Match. Make sure there are prizes. People love prizes.

The Drinks:

Since we’ve just got the bar set up, let’s talk about what’s on it. First of all, make it a do-it-yourself bar. Nobody wants to get stuck as the bartender.

Have a selection of craft beers on hand.  Pick an affordable but quality selection of red and white wines. Check out Food and Wine Magazine’s guide to choosing the best wines for $15 and under. And then set out the ingredients for a build-your-own summer cocktail. Could be a margarita. Could be a gin and tonic. Just have some options in mixers and garnishes so guests can create their own masterpiece.

Be sure to have some non-alcoholic options on hand for those who don’t drink or are the designated drivers. Get some inventive ideas from this post on BuzzFeed.

The Basics of Brats - 095

The Food:

Think buffet with do-ahead grilled options. Even though you’re the host, you still want to have fun and join all your guests in conversation, cocktails and games.

Don’t attempt anything you haven’t made before. Nobody wants to see the host crying at the grill. Think simple but tasty offerings like a fajita bar with grilled chicken and skirt steak plus all the trimmings. Think a brats buffet with grilled peppers and onions and a variety of specialty mustards.

Make a grilled corn and black bean salad to go along with the entree and buy the rest. Some options that are a little outside the box:

  • A mixed marinated olive bar
  • A Charcuterie Board with a variety of cured sausages and hams
  • A trio of different salsas with tortilla chips

Or go old school with store-bought potato salad and coleslaw.

Noted cookbook author and entertaining expert Ina Garten has a rule about throwing a party, indoors or out. She makes two things and then supplements with store-bought extras so she can enjoy her own party.

The Games:

Bring out the inner child in all your guests. Everyone loves a little friendly competition and, once again, prizes so offer those as well.

  • Hang a pinata filled with dollar store items that kids of all ages love: water pistols, jump ropes and bubble blowers. Up the ante by adding a few $1 lottery tickets.
  • Break out the croquet set and offer prizes for the winners.
  • Set up a cornhole tournament.
  • Divide the guests into teams and have a scavenger hunt of items that can be photographed with your phone.

The Music:

Keep it light and familiar.

  • Unless you really know your guests musical tastes, go with classic rock ‘n roll. Check out this playlist of possibilities from the Celebrations website.
  • Plan for four to five hours of music.
  • Keep the decibel level reasonable, both for your guests’ eardrums and the neighbors.


How to Host a Grilled Pizza Party

Pizza is the perfect party food—you can feed a lot of people in a short amount of time and everyone (more or less) gets to pick what they like.

I love the fact that pizzas don’t have to be perfect. Kids and adults can stretch the dough and make their own unique pizza. They can be any shape or size and the topping combinations are endless.

Here are my top tips for having a grilled pizza party:

  1. Use store bought dough. It saves time and stress. If you have a local pizza shop where you love their dough, ask if you can buy it directly from them or purchase from your local grocery store.
  2. Let the dough come up to room temperature and stretch the dough out at least 30 minutes in advance of grilling. This allows the dough to relax.
  3. Make sure every ingredient you want is assembled and ready to go ahead of time.  Grilling pizzas happens quickly so you need to have everything set ahead of time.
  4. Make sure the raw ingredients you choose like peppers are sliced thinly so they will cook within 3-4 minutes. Or, grill larger pieces of vegetables and meats ahead of time and slice into smaller pieces.
  5. If you are grilling the pizzas directly on the grates – oil the grates generously and repeatedly if making more than one pizza.
  6. If you are using a pizza stone – generously flour or cornmeal the stone to help prevent sticking.
  7. Have all your tools ready to go ahead of time – pans, trays, tongs, and pizza peels should all be within arm’s length of the grill.
  8. After grilling the dough directly, use indirect heat to melt cheese and warm toppings.
  9. If making multiple pizzas, make sure to clean the grates and brush off the pizza stone in between each pie.
  10. Dessert pizzas (try a s’mores pizza) are a great way to end the meal. Experiment to find your favorite flavor combinations.

5 Steps to Get Him to Share the Grill

Let’s have a little heart to heart about some things. You know a girl on girl chat about how rough it can be to convince your guy to let go of his char-kissed dreams and let you “man” the mighty grill.

Growing up, grilling was a ‘man’s job’, where the men would gather around the old charcoal grill and talk shop while the women fussed with the sides and watched the kids. But, in my house, I am the meat master. You want a perfectly seared rare steak or a juicy burger over a pile of charcoal briquettes? You put this girl in charge. A perfectly seasoned and smoked pork shoulder? Let this lady do the heavy lifting. Yep, after years of working together as a team for all things, my man has let me become the grill-master in our home.

 Lucky for us, it’s 2015 and time for us ladies to take a turn stoking the flame.

But, how can you gently persuade him to share the precious grill time without damaging his ego?

  1.  Start Small. Big changes are often made with baby steps. From getting him to put the dishes in the dishwasher to folding the laundry, everything works in steps. Try starting small, a dinner for two waiting for him when he get’s home from a long day at work that you grilled all by yourself? Maybe he will want to come home to that a little more often.
  2.  Give him a job. Propane tanks can be heavy. Lifting bags of charcoal can be cumbersome. Getting those coals a nice ash gray is rough. Keeping the dogs at bay while you transfer food from the kitchen to the grill can be a rodeo in itself. If you let your guy help out while you are taking over his post, it will help to show him you aren’t just stripping his rank, but that you do indeed still need his help. And come on, we all want to feel helpful.
  3. Give him a break. Most guys hover over the grill for the entire get-together always flipping, turning and shuffling food out. Push him off to spend some much needed time with friends and socialize. He may quickly forget his post and just start enjoying himself.
  4. Make him want to let you grill. Truth is, maybe he thinks he is supposed to be the guy at the grill. That’s just the way the history books are written. Ask him if you can take a turn, maybe once or twice, then before you know it the grill is your territory. Show him how delicious your fresh grilled pizza is or those grilled pound cakes with pineapples and bananas.Yeah, before you know it, he may just be begging you to grill.
  5. If all else fails, bully your way in. Some arguments are best won by taking action. You know the whole “better to ask forgiveness than permission” mindset? Plan a meal that only you can cook. Something completely out of his comfort zone and show him just how good you are at what you do. Frilly apron and all.

And remember, all things in relationships are about working together. So, if he isn’t the best at being the grill master, but he loves the job, let him have it. There’s going to be nights when he doesn’t feel like it or the yard needs to be mowed and you will end up cooking anyway. Over time, he may just let you have the grill.


Gluten-Free Cookout Ideas

Gluten-Free. Two words that can strike fear in our hearts when a family member or friend is diagnosed and has to change their diet. It affects the entire family. Suddenly we have to understand how to cook for them so they can relax, enjoy themselves and be safe at mealtime. Here are some pointers to help you be the consummate host or hostess.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye and foods made with them. These grains or their byproducts have been added to many foods to boost flavor, add sweetness (malt), and appeal specifically to the American palate. And contrary to what you may have heard, cooking foods does not eliminate gluten or “kill it” making it safe to eat. If people are celiac or are extremely sensitive to gluten they cannot consume foods made on the same equipment as gluten-full foods – that’s why reading labels is so important.


Sometimes the Gluten-Free designation is a little harder to find; Massel Stock; 2015 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook
Sometimes the Gluten-Free designation is a little harder to find

Gluten Can Hide in Surprising Places

Gluten ingredients are added to a vast number of our prepared foods. We have to be vigilant and constantly read labels. Luckily, in the past decade the gluten-free food industry has boomed and there are more and more options available to us.

The easiest way to tell if prepared foods are gluten-free is to look for the labeling. But be careful, wheat-free does not always mean gluten-free because it may contain barley or rye.


Many ingredients are clearly labeled like these packages
Many ingredients are clearly marked such as these packages


Some of the more common items you may use or serve at your barbecues are:

  • Hot dogs, sausages, and other processed/cured meats
  • Marinades
  • Soy sauce and other condiments
  • Prepared BBQ sauces, dry rubs and spice blends
  • Prepared salad dressings
  • Malt vinegar made from barley
  • Dark alcohols, such as bourbon and rum
  • Gluten-free beer for marinades
  • Plastic food containers must be very carefully cleaned, but it is safer to buy a new set just for your GF foods and ingredients


Fresh salmon, cooked on foil, is safe and delicious for everyone

Food Substitutions that Everyone Can Enjoy

Gluten-free does not mean the food doesn’t taste good. There are many wonderful options everyone will love without risking anyone’s health:

  • Manufacturers such as Applegate make gluten-free meats that are wonderful and no one will guess they are gluten-free
  • Stubb’s brand of BBQ sauce, marinades, and dry rubs are all gluten-free
  • Use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari sauce to make your own sauces and marinades
  • Massel stocks are gluten-free and perfect for making sauces or marinades
  • Use lettuce to wrap foods or use portobello mushrooms instead of bread or buns
  • Make rice or quinoa salads instead of pasta salads
  • Fresh fruit salads, grilled corn on the cob and grilled vegetables are delicious and healthy for everyone
  • Buy unflavored chips – most are gluten-free but always check the labels to be sure
  • Making your own rubs, sauces and dressings keeps your guests safe and taste so much better than any processed foods.


Avoid using wooden utensils, choose silicone or other non-porous materials such as the spoons at the bottom
Avoid using wooden utensils. Choose silicone or other non-porous materials such as the spoons at the bottom.

Keeping Track of Cross-Contamination Issues

If you are hosting anyone with celiac disease or severe reactions to gluten, you have to be extra careful about cross-contamination. Gluten-free foods cannot be cooked on the same surface that has been used to cook regular foods. Even the grill brush you normally use to scrub the grates can harbor minuscule bits of crumbs or residue from marinades and sauces. There are ways to safely use a non-dedicated barbecue:

  • Buy a portable grill such as Char-Broil’s® Grill2Go™ Infrared Gas Grill and keep it dedicated for gluten-free cooking. If you have the room and are cooking gluten-free often, consider buying a second BBQ such as Char-Broil’s® TRU-Infrared™ 2-Burner grill. No special cleaning needed!
  • On shared grills, thoroughly wash the grates and all utensils in hot soapy water and use a clean towel to dry them. Wipe down the inside of the lid, too. If you are regularly cooking gluten-free, you can buy an extra grate and keep it specifically for gluten-free cooking.
  • Cook GF foods first for the safest way to avoid cross-contamination. The grill will be freshly cleaned and there is no risk of marinades or sauces coming in contact with the GF foods.
  • Use a separate set of utensils and knives for turning and serving the foods. And keep clean towels, aprons, napkins, etc. available. Even casual contact with gluten can cause some people to get horribly sick. Place two sets of utensils by the grill and line a baking sheet with foil – keep the GF specific utensils on that baking sheet so they won’t get confused with the other tools used for regular foods. Use stainless steel tools that are scrubbed clean – plastic and wood can harbor contaminates.
  • When in doubt, use aluminum foil to keep gluten-free foods completely separate from the other foods being cooked. Build a foil barrier to visually remind you that there are two cooking areas, set sheets of foil on the grill to keep your GF foods safe or for the safest option, cook them in foil packets.
  • Do not use any wooden or plastic spoons, tongs, or cutting boards. The tiny crevices can trap and innocently transfer gluten. Choose non-porous easily cleaned tools. Buy inexpensive colored flexible plastic cutting boards and keep them just for gluten-free foods (red = GF for example). You can tuck them away and save them for future parties.


Ribs ready for the gluten-free grill
Ribs ready for the gluten-free grill


How to Keep Food Safe After it has been Cooked

Preparing the food safely is critical, but the cross-contamination vigilance isn’t over yet. People innocently using the same utensils to serve gluten-free foods as regular foods is another issue. Here are a few ideas of how to protect your gluten-free foods once they are ready to be served:

  • If you are serving a buffet, separate the GF foods, setting plates or a centerpiece between the two sets of foods
  • Set serving utensils on plates set in front of the foods and remind guests to use the spoon/tongs meant for each dish
  • Label the foods so it is easy for your guests to find the foods that are safe for them to eat
  • Alternately you can serve the gluten-free foods on different plates or in individual ramekins or similar dishes


Just remember that with a little advance planning, you and your guests can have a delicious, fun and safe party that everyone will love. Now get out there and start cooking!


Look for this certificate of gluten-free for the safest food choices
Look for this certificate of gluten-free for the safest food choices





Create a New Tradition Today!

Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook


Five Tips for Updating Your Outdoor Kitchen

I’m the type of person who will grill no matter the weather (as was probably clear in my last post). I honestly love grilled food enough to do that, but I wouldn’t say the experience of winter grilling is particularly fun. It’s cold! But I brave the elements because I’m dedicated to making meals tasty and grilling is a great way to do that. But now that the weather is warming, I can see myself legitimately enjoying outdoor cooking again.

So in anticipation of the upcoming “grilling season,” let’s take a break from the recipes and “how to’s,” and look at some things we can do to spruce up our outdoor cooking area to make grilling as enjoyable as possible.

1. Patio Furniture
Adding some nice, comfortable patio furniture is a great way to enjoy grilling more. If all your dinner guests are inside and you’re outside, you’re gonna feel left out. Comfy seating options will entice a few of your guests to join you, and you can sit and talk while keeping a nose/ear on the sizzling food a few feet away.

Beach Style Porch by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Stedila Design

2. Pergola or Patio Cover of Some Sort
There’s nothing worse than being hunched over a flaming grill with the sun beating down on your back. Your guests don’t want to see sweat dripping off your face as you hover over the food they’re supposed to eat. Shade makes it more physically comfortable for you and more mentally comfortable for your guests.

Contemporary Landscape by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Duncan Consultants
3. Bar Cart
Now that you have a covered sitting area outside, that’s obviously going to be “the place to be.” Find a bar cart like the one below and stock it with self-serve drinks. Put a cooler in the lower section and stock it with ice and sodas for the kids.
Industrial Bar Carts by Chicago Furniture & Accessories zopalo
4. Hanging Herb Planters
I vividly remember one summer evening, making dinner for my parents. As I was tending the grill, a breeze carried aromas from the nearby herb garden. The combination of smells was so pleasant, I picked a few stems of fresh oregano and basil, chopped them up and tossed my finished pork with them. That dish has been a favorite summertime meal ever since. Use these hanging planters to riddle your cooking area with the scent of fresh herbs.
Contemporary Indoor Pots And Planters by Brooklyn Furniture & Accessories neo-utility
5. A Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Grill
Char-Broil makes all kinds of grills, including charcoal which is widely touted as “the best.” But something being “the best” is very subjective. I say, if you truly want to enjoy yourself while grilling, TRU-Infrared™ is the way to go. The entire surface heats evenly so you don’t have to constantly be moving food around. There are no flare-ups so you don’t have to worry about keeping flames in check. In short, this grill gives you freedom to enjoy visiting with guests and actually taking part in your own get together rather than being chained to an unstable cooking apparatus.


Healthy Grilling Tips for the New Year

If you made a resolution this year to cook healthy, then the grill should be your new best friend.

All the temptations to add fat to your food can be left at the kitchen door because grilling is an inherently healthy way to prepare food. And most people prefer the tastes that only a grill can produce. The Consumer Reports National Research Center says 86 percent of Americans prefer grilled food.

The health benefits of grilling:

  1. Vegetables retain more minerals and vitamins because the high heat of the grill means it only takes a few minutes to cook them to perfection.
  2. Any excess fat on the meat drips away as you grill it, leaving less fat in the food.
  3. Grilling seals in moisture in meats and adds a great smoky flavor, making it less likely to use fat-laden sauces or condiments.
  4. It’s an easy way to enjoy a low calorie diet.
  5. Grilling gets you outdoors. It’s not running a marathon, but it is a chance to enjoy the fresh air and your natural surroundings.

A few tips and tricks will help make your grilling experience healthy and enjoyable.

  • Choose lean proteins such as chicken, pork tenderloin or fish.
  • Trim any excess fat from your meats before you grill them.
  • Exchange the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken  and add a panade (a paste of milk and bread) to the meat for extra juiciness.
  • Use healthy marinades with olive or nut oils and a variety of vinegars to add a flavor punch.
  • Go beyond the usual suspects when it comes to vegetables. Lightly grilled romaine lettuce makes a satisfying salad with a light vinaigrette.
  • Don’t forget the potatoes. Grilled par-boiled potato wedges brushed with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper make a great alternative to traditional French fries.

But the health benefits to grilling aren’t just measured in fat grams or calories.  Grilling is fun and playing with your food on the fire is a great way to relieve stress and just relax.

Grilled Appetizers for Health and Wealth in the New Year

New Year’s Eve represents “out with the old and in with the new ” for virtually everyone around the world. Promises are made, scraps of paper burned, toasts are given and food traditions are kept.

I love rituals, and all the little meanings we place within rituals. When planning a New Year’s menu, even the appetizers can have meaning. In that light, I give you two appetizers – one for Wealth and one for Health. The Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rolls are for health, while the Pulled Pork Brioche “Purses” are, naturally, for wealth.

We’ll start with the most important one…the one for health. That’s what you were going to say, weren’t you? I’m from the Northwest, where we place a lot of importance on salmon. It’s not just a delicious, bountiful fish; it’s high in omega-threes, full of the good fats, a wild swimmer (aka, not a bottom feeder), and on the “Best” or “Good” column of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch List. It’s also integral to the food chain of the Pacific.

This appetizer has the wow factor, but is super-easy and can be assembled in minutes. You will need some sort of vegetable slicer that can make long thin cucumber slices (or have good knife skills!). The grilled part of this dish is the green onion “laces” which can be grilled quickly on any Premium TRU-Infrared™ grill by Char-Broil®.

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rolls


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 ounces herb goat cheese
  • Thin sliced smoked salmon lox, about 18 half-ounce pieces, cut uniformly
  • 2-3 cucumbers, cut into thin planks (about 18 total)
  • Thin shaved red onion
  • Water crackers (optional)


  1. Lightly grill green onions until they become wilted and slightly charred, but not crispy. Set aside.
  2. When cool, pull apart individual leaves – each onion will give you 2-3 “ties”.
  3. Mix cream cheese and goat cheese together.
  4. Slice cucumbers into thin planks. Cut off ends to make uniform edge. Lay out on a board.
  5. Put a slice of lox toward the top of the cucumber planks. Add a level teaspoon of cheese mixture, then a few slices of shaved red onion.
  6. Roll up until cucumber overlaps a bit.
  7. Stand up and tie middle with grilled green onion. Repeat. Serve with crackers (optional).
Pulled Pork Brioche Purses


  • 1 pound smoked pulled pork (or See Recipe: Big Easy Pork Shoulder)
  • 4-6 ounces barbecue sauce
  • 1 sheet frozen brioche dough, thawed
  • 2 egg whites


  1. Prepare pulled pork and mix half of the sauce in with the meat.
  2. Make twelve 1-1/4 ounce balls with the brioche dough (be careful not to over handle).
  3. Proof dough in a warm place or low oven (120°F) until it doubles in size.
  4. Make a pocket in the center of each bun.
  5. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of the pork and sauce mixture in each bun. Add a dollop of barbecue sauce on each portion.
  6. Close each bun with a twist.
  7. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  8. Brush each bun with egg whites, and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately or chill for later. If refrigerated, warm up buns for about 20 seconds in the microwave before serving.