Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.
Fresh fig purée makes a fabulous salad dressing or barbecue sauce for grilled pork when combined with balsamic vinegar, says itryalot. For salad dressing, she whisks balsamic vinegar with extra-virgin olive oil and fig purée to taste, seasoning with salt and pepper. For barbecue sauce, she cooks fig purée and balsamic vinegar down until it is reduced to a thick sauce, then brushes it on the meat.
Board Link: ISO Fig salad dressing recipe
August’s ripe peaches are great grilled, both as a light dessert and as a sweet-savory side.
For dessert, pilotgirl210 halves peaches or nectarines, brushes the cut sides lightly with canola oil, and grills them over medium heat, cut side down, until lightly browned. Turn the fruit over, spoon a teaspoon of blueberry preserves into the cavity of each half, and grill until they’re tender; serve hot.
ChefBoyAreMe grills peaches as a side dish: Halve peaches, brush with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until lightly charred, turning once. Finish with a squeeze of lime.
Board Link: Grilled Nectarines with Blueberry Preserves
Barry Foy was thrilled to discover that the simple chopped chiles preserved in salt that he made to use in Hunanese recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook cross culinary divides East and West: They lend heat, spark, and zing, with a nice bit of fruitiness and color, to whatever you add them to, and you can vary the heat level and flavor profile depending on what kind of chiles you use. Indeed, says Barry, they are “the universal condiment.” They’re great for picking up a bland dish, and give a fresher flavor than hot sauce or chile powder would. Barry’s used them in mayonnaise, rice pilaf, and homemade kielbasa, as well as Chinese dishes, and says his fridge will never be without a jar.
Here’s how to make them: Wash 1 pound very fresh hot red chiles (Barry used Fresnos) and dry thoroughly. Remove stems and bottom tips, and chop coarsely, including seeds. In a bowl, mix the chiles thoroughly with 3 1/2 tablespoons salt, then pack them into a glass jar and top with 1/2 tablespoon salt. Close tightly and refrigerate for two weeks to cure. Stir the salt and chiles thoroughly; they are now ready to use. Kept refrigerated, they will last for months.
Board Links: I Have Discovered the Universal Condiment
Homemade veggie burgers can be a bit of work to put together, but they invariably taste much better than the bland frozen variety. You can make big batches and refrigerate or freeze them for another day.
rose water created her own recipe, with terrific results:
1 cup lentils, boiled until tender
1/2 cup wheatberries, boiled until tender
2 shallots, sliced and fried
1 or 2 carrots, grated
1 red pepper, minced
Several beet green stalks, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Handful fresh basil, chopped
Handful cilantro, chopped
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons spicy-sweet prepared mustard
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
Aleppo pepper, salt, and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Mash together all ingredients, shape into patties, and bake 10 minutes.
abud says Heidi Swanson’s Ultimate Veggie Burgers are incredible, and also recommends CHOW’s recipe.
Board Links: Fantastic Veggie Burgers
Chowhounds share their favorite (other) sites for finding great recipes:
Food magazine–based sites Epicurious (recipes from Bon Appétit and Gourmet), and MyRecipes (recipes from Sunset, Southern Living, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Cottage Living, and Health) are popular gold mines.
RecipeSource and Food Down Under both have globe-spanning selections.
Here are resources for restaurant-style Indian recipes and home-style Indian recipes.
For general recipe sites, RecipeZaar is lauded for its awesome search capabilities and useful comments and ratings.
Williams-Sonoma has reliably good recipes.
BBC Food and UKTV Food both have diverse collections.
And King Arthur Flour has a treasure trove of baking recipes of all kinds.
Board Link: Favorite online recipe collection
If you’ve got a grill, you’ve got a stovetop and an oven as well, say Chowhounds. With a gas grill, you can choose to use only two burners and indirect heat, along with a closed top, to mimic an oven for baking lasagne and other baked pastas, gratins, skillet cornbread, and fruit cobblers and crisps.
Pizza cooked directly on a grill’s grates is terrific, especially with strongly flavored toppings that can stand up to the rustic, smoky flavors of the grill—sun-dried tomatoes, smoked cheeses, etc.—says sgwood415. The high heat of the grill is great for making naan, according to chowser, who recommends this recipe.
jzerocsk shares a neat trick for making a workaday frozen food better: He tosses frozen french fries with a bit of olive oil, puts them in a grill basket designed for vegetables, and cooks them over a medium-low burner on a gas grill. They get nice and crispy and a bit caramelized.
If you’re cooking meat over hot charcoal, you can nestle a wok in the coals while your meat rests and get real wok heat to cook a side dish that a home stove cannot put out.
Board Link: Using a grill for other things…
If you’ve never had radishes any way but raw in a salad, you’re missing a treat. Quickly sautéed or steamed, they keep their peppery bite while softening up; roasted, or added to long-braised dishes, soups, and stews, they mellow out.
Steam (they take just a few minutes) and dress with butter and sea salt, or with a splash of lemon or orange juice or rice vinegar. Sauté sliced radishes in butter, add lemon juice and reduce, then add parboiled green beans. Roast radishes with other root vegetables; or follow Bivalve88’s lead and toss with toasted sesame oil and soy sauce before roasting, then sprinkle with scallions and toasted sesame seeds to serve. They get sweet from the roasting and nutty from the sesame oil, she says.
Board Link: Cooked Radishes?
We all know how well sage marries with turkey. It’s also a perfect match with pork; and, cooked in butter, makes a lovely topping for ravioli or butternut squash—or butternut squash ravioli. Lightly fried whole sage leaves make a wonderful garnish for pasta or risotto, or a good nibble on their own. Add dried sage to ground pork, or use it as a rub for any cut of pork. Include sage in breading for pork chops.
Sauté onions in olive oil, toss in a handful of minced fresh sage and some diced prosciutto, season with salt and pepper, and toss with pasta, suggests PamelaD. Karl S places sage leaves in the bottom of warmed bowls, ladles hot broth and ravioli over them, and garnishes with freshly grated Reggiano cheese and some minced herbs.
For something different, howchow recommends adding about eight bruised sage leaves and some lemon zest to a bottle of rosé wine and letting it stand for 24 hours; strain, chill, and serve.
Board Link: Sage: not just for turkeys?
August is the height of zucchini season, and this simple Turkish roast zucchini recipe from howchow is a winner, especially at room temperature with some chopped dead-ripe tomatoes added, raves Melanie Wong.
3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 bunch green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, then spread on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until zucchini is soft. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.
Board Link: Persian Zucchini Recipe?
Important information about red kidney beans for those who like to cook beans in slow cookers: Raw red kidney beans contain a high level of a specific toxin that is only killed off at high heat. You should boil beans for 15 minutes before transferring to a slow cooker, or risk food poisoning—and as few as four or five undercooked beans can cause symptoms! Read more here.
Board Link: Rice and Beans