In This Episode:
Something Cold And Wet
The local food movement has a do-it-yourself mentality to it, and this is no more obvious than in the burgeoning trend of home brewing. It’s no small feat to brew your own beer, but if done right, the results are unmatched by anything mass-produced.
Consider making these three non-alcoholic summer drinks for the kids or anyone looking to whet their whistle for that matter: Lavender Lemonade, Apple and Sage Juice, and Sour Cherry Fizz. They use fresh herbs picked from the garden.
“Some of these do have sugar in it, but I’ve got some organic sugar, which is a little bit healthier for the planet to produce,” says Chef Daniel Orr. “But I’d say just any kind of cane sugar or beet sugar is better than high fructose corn syrup.”
Grilling Tips And Tricks
“There is something primordial about food and fire,” says Chef Daniel Orr. He enjoys shedding his white chef coat in exchange for some cut-off jeans as the temperatures get warmer. While he admits that he likes to show off his culinary chops when in front of a grill, summertime family gatherings are more about nostalgia and fun than kitchen wizardry.
Here are some of his tips to get your grilling adventures started on the right path:
The fire waits for no one. Keep an eye on your coals and use them at their best. Coals are perfect when they have an even white ash around them. No black unburnt coal and not too much red hot burn. A general rule is:
- High heat (500 degrees) you can hold your hand 6 inches above for 3 seconds
- Medium high heat (400 degrees) 5 seconds
- Medium heat (350 degrees) 7 seconds
- Medium low heat (325 degrees) 10 seconds
- Low heat (300 degrees) 12 seconds
Use an instant read thermometer to check doneness – always check in the center of the thickest part of the item. Chefs rarely do this because they know by touch if something is ready but if you don’t cook hundreds of meals a day here are a few guidelines for cooking outside on the grill or indoors.
- Chicken and turkey-breast 160-165 degrees
- Beef, lamb and duck 115-125 degrees rare, 125-130 medium rare, 135-145 medium, more than that a waste of time
- Veal and pork 135-145 degrees
- Fish – this is a tricky one. Good quality tuna just needs a sear on all sides but in general the temperatures can be the same as for beef.
Always create two temperature zones on your grill. You build a nice big charcoal fire in the middle of the Grill. Once the coals are white hot you push the majority of the coals to one side of the grill. If you are using a gas grill you put one side on high and the other on low. This gives you two heats to work with and lessens the chance of flare-ups and burning.
More: Read even more tips and tricks from Chef Daniel Orr for how to make this season the best grilling season yet.
BBQ Duck With Grilled Peaches
This is an easy, show stopping recipe that will make you look like a pro even if you can barely boil water. As with many restaurant recipes, it is all about advance preparation, or “mise en place.”
By par-cooking the duck in advance you remove a majority of the fat that can cause flare-ups and burning. You also don’t need to worry about under-cooking the meat and having burnt skin and raw duck.
Par-cooked Roasted Duck for Grilling (may be done up to 3 days in advance).
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Remove giblets and trim excess fat. Rinse and dry.
- Gently prick the skin. Season as desired, inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff with ½ oranges and lemons and fresh herb stems if desired. If you prefer, truss legs loosely.
- Spray roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the bird breast-side up on a rack in pan and fill with 1/3-1/2 inch of water.
- Roast duckling for 20 to 25 minutes per pound. Baste with pan juices every 15minutes. The duckling is done when the legs move freely, the juices run clear, and the internal temperature at the leg joint reaches 145-150° F.
- Remove duckling from oven and cool to room temperature. Cut into halves or quarters and chill in refrigerator until needed.
- 1 par-cooked duck – see above recipe
- 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
- 4 peaches – cut in half and pitted
- To cook on a gas grill, turn all burners to high, close lid and allow to heat up for about 15 minutes. When hot, leave 1 burner on high and turn the rest to med-low and close the lid.
- Place par-cooked duck on the grill over the burner on high. Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy.
- Move duck to the cooler side of grill, skin side up, and brush liberally with BBQ sauce. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Brush with BBQ sauce again and turn over. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
- As the duck finishes on the slow side of the grill, grill the peaches. To do this brush the grill lightly with an oiled paper towel. Place the peaches, cut side down, on the hottest part of the grill and cook until caramelized. Turn them over and place on the cooler side of the grill until duck is finished.
- Remove duck and peaches from heat to a serving platter and drizzle with remaining BBQ, sprinkle with sea salt and a touch of freshly cracked black pepper.
We are serving the duck with a classic French side dish, Petits Pois à la Française. Instead of placing it on a bed of lettuce, we are using wild garlic mustard greens we foraged ourselves.
Be sure to read up on what you can and can’t eat and where you should and shouldn’t forage before you go hunting for wild food. Better safe than sorry is what we like to say here at Earth Eats!
This applies tenfold when it comes to foraging for mushrooms. Pick up a wild mushroom guide and connect with an experienced mushroom hunter if you want to try your hand at foraging.
Whether you hunt for mushrooms yourself or pick up a bag from the farmers market, you’ll love this recipe for mushroom skewers. We’re serving them over an endive salad with truffle oil vinaigrette.
We are offering a third salad for our cookout guests today. This one is topped with Lefty’s Black Walnut Vinaigrette, a dressing Chef Orr named after his father.
You can forage for walnuts as well, but getting at the nut meats is not the easiest process. Local forager Tracy Branam processes walnuts the old-fashioned way: he runs over the hard green hulls with his truck. Then, at the farmers market, he cracks the inner shell with a special machine right in front of his customers. “That gives me the advantage of seeing whether it’s a good meat or not,” he says.
Jim Fiedler raises heritage, large black pigs, that he says are known for having a lot of inter-muscular fat. His pigs are raised on pasture – no shots, no clipped tails. “We’re certified humane. We always identify our pigs as happy pigs. They have one bad day, and I wish that’s all I had in my life.”
We’ve rubbed some of Fiedler’s pork ribs with a coffee-espresso rub (recipe below), and they’ve been steamed, wrapped in plastic, for 90 minutes so they’re cooked through and tender.
We put them on the hot side of the grill to get some nice smokiness to them. The finely ground espresso in the rub is going to add to the roasted flavor from the grill, “so it really accents the flavor of the pork and brings out its sweetness,” Chef Orr says.
Columbus Cowboy Espresso Chili Rub
- 2 cups fresh good-quality espresso coffee, finely ground
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup paprika
- 1/2 cup ground pepper
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup onion powder
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons orange peel, dried
- 1 tablespoon star anise, ground
Place ingredients in a spice grinder and blend until they form a fine, consistent powder. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Boneless Pork Chops
From pork ribs, now to pork chops. As the ribs are cooking, we put some boneless pork chops on the grill. These were NOT pre-cooked like our other meat. Pork chops just don’t really need it.
We don’t want to have our pork chops well-done, we want them to still be a little rosy. To start, get a nice sear on them, but once they’re marked on both sides, put them off to the side and let them slow-cook until they get medium-rare on the inside.
We’re very frugal here at Earth Eats, so the last bit of meat we’re doing on the grill today is something that might typically be wasted: lamb necks.
So, these have been boiled for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to make a nice lamb stock, but there’s still a lot of great meat on them. ”It’s great for people who like pulled pork and like moist, well-done saucy meat,” Chef Orr says, “and we’re going to throw some BBQ sauce on those.”
This dish cooks right in the coals of the grill, and you can essentially ignore it and let it cook on its own while you grill other items on top of the grill. You’ll want to prepare this dish ahead of time so you can start it cooking right away. The longer it cooks in the coals, the more tender and flavorful the potatoes, onions, and pepper become.
- olive oil
- 1 1/2-2 pounds of fingerling potatoes, sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
- 1 poblano pepper, roughly diced (remove seeds)
- 4-5 scallions cut into 1/2” pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Par cook the potatoes. (Boil the potatoes until they are about 2/3 of the way cooked. Shock them in cold water. This process can be done a couple days in advance.)
- Add all ingredients to a bowl. Cover with olive oil and toss.
- Take three 1 1/2 foot long strips of aluminum foil. Overlap them to make one big square. Shiny side faces out.
- Spread out potatoes and other ingredients on the aluminum foil.
- Place one more long strip of aluminum foil overt op of veggies and roll the package into a tube shape.
- Place the veggie tube in the coals of the grill.
- No specific cooking time! Just keep them in the coals as you cook on top of the grill and remove them when you’re ready to serve all of the other food!
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry saute pan until lightly smoky
- 1 tablespoon curry
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 head red cabbage, cut chiffonade (thin ribbons)
- 1/2 head savoy cabbage, cut chiffonade (thin ribbons)
- 2 large carrots, cut julienne (in thin strips)
- 1 red onion, minced
- 1 bunch cilantro, very roughly chopped, use stems, too
- salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Whisk honey, cider, lemon juice, cumin, curry, olive oil, and jalapeno together.
- Toss with cabbage, carrot, and onion and marinate for at least 2 hours.
- Just before serving, add cilantro and season to taste.
Mexican-Style Grilled Corn
Chef Bob Adkins is manning the grill for this recipe. He’ll be making a Mexican creme that is tasty enough to spoon over just about anything. “It’s a good all-purpose sauce,” he says. “This would be great on any number of vegetables or on fish or poultry.”
But this sauce is a great way to re-imagine the traditional corn on the cob.
- 4 ears corn, husked
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup chili paste
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- salt and pepper to taste
- lime wedges
- grated cheese
- red pepper coulis or Pico Guapo
- Steam ears of corn before placing them on the grill.
- Grill corn until slightly caramelized.
- Whisk together cream, mayonnaise, chili paste, Parmesan, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
- Garnish with lime wedge, cheese, cilantro, and Pico Guapo.
No-Bake Rhubarb And Strawberry Tart
- 3 1/2-4 cups of rhubarb (cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- fresh strawberries
- strawberry jam
- prepared pastry shells
- Cook rhubarb and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat for 15-20 minutes. The rhubarb will cook down and become tender – from a celery-type consistency to more of an apple butter consistency
- Meanwhile macerate strawberries with strawberry jam.
- To assemble the tart, spread rhubarb compote into a pre-baked puff pastry shell. Top with strawberries.