So, you’ve mastered all the usual stuff when it comes to grilling—burgers, steaks, hot dogs, and every variety of teriyaki kabobs. Ready to try something new? Here’s a list of ideas from soup to nuts (literally), just waiting to be fired up.
Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and numerous other books on grilling, believes that soup is “utterly transformed” by the addition of grilled vegetables. He recommends charring some tomatoes, peppers, and onions or some corn in the husk to add depth and smokiness to your gazpacho or corn chowder. You already know that caramelizing onions on the grill takes the flavor to a new level, but add butter, sherry, and broth to the mix and you’ve got the makings for an unparalleled onion soup.
Grill homemade or store bought pound cake and you’ve created the base for a multitude of simple-but-elegant desserts. Preheat your grill to high; while you wait for things to heat up, brush each slice with butter on both sides. Grill each slice for about a minute, then rotate each slice a quarter turn to create a crosshatch pattern. Grill for another minute, or until toasted, then top with whatever seasonal produce you can find at your local market or farmstand, adding a dollop of fresh whipped cream or your favorite ice cream. For a booze-infused dessert, add some peaches with a whiskey and caramel sauce.
Creating fresh doughnuts is as easy as one, two, three: Just mix some cinnamon and sugar, cream some butter and brown sugar, and use a cookie cutter to cut the center out of some pre-made buttermilk biscuits. For an even easier take, purchase fresh glazed doughnuts and grill over medium high heat to achieve a delightful crispiness on the outside and light fluffiness on the inside.
Here’s another way to satisfy your sweet tooth grill-style. Take just about any basic cookie dough recipe and a baking sheet, and you can achieve the same home-baked results that you accomplish in the kitchen. Try these classic chocolate chip cookies or bring a little fruity, nutty, chocolatey goodness to the milk and cookie platter with this chunky, chewy, chocolate cookie recipe.
The possibilities for the incredible edible are endless. Start your day with grilled peppers stuffed with egg and cheese. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, go global and give some grilled eggs with Vietnamese seasonings a roll.
Grilling lemons brings out the tangy juices and imparts a subtle, smoky flavor—so when life gives you lemons, make some grown-up lemonade with a splash of bourbon or give your dip a Middle Eastern twist with a grilled lemon tzatziki.
You can create authentic New Orleans-style Bananas Foster. It takes just five minutes to create a sauce on the stovetop with butter, brown sugar, and spices. Once your sauce is done, simply split bananas lengthwise, skin on, brush with butter, and grill both sides. Voila! Grill up another American Classic with this banana split recipe that uses foil “boats” to transport your dessert to gooey, chocolatey, creamy deliciousness.
8. HEARTS OF PALM
Hearts of palm, usually served cold in a salad, are the edible, tender center parts from the stem of the cabbage palm tree. Their delicate flavor, similar to artichokes, translates beautifully to grilling. For a healthy and delicious side dish, try hearts of palm and parmesan. Or, add a vegan-friendly, south of the border vibe to your grilling repertoire with these marinated heart of palm tacos with spicy cabbage slaw by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chef and author of Serious Eats's James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab.
Forget buying store-bought roasted nuts, which can include excess ingredients and unhealthy oils. Instead, grab a foil pan and one of your favorite sweet and spicy recipes, like the famously addictive Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts and place the pan over low, indirect heat for about 30 minutes, watching to prevent any charring. For a more rustic take, try this cowboy trail mix, which you can create with any combination of your favorite dried fruits, pretzels, cereal, or chocolate chips.
All images courtesy of iStock.