Barbecue with Tre Stelle

The time for outdoor entertaining, family get-togethers and barbecues has arrived! Sometimes it seems slow in coming, but who can help but feel that sense of anticipation as the days get longer?

No matter what the occasion – whether it’s a dinner for two under the stars or a sun-drenched brunch in the garden – there can be no question that the barbecue will always play a starring role in our summers. It’s the perfect opportunity for get togethers.

The great thing about barbecues is that simple, laid-back, no-fuss atmosphere that allows us to spend time with our guests without having to run off to check something in the oven or put the finishing touches on fancy plating. It’s so nice to be able to keep things simple where we can quickly throw together a variety of unexpected hot dishes, even if you aren’t an expert in the kitchen or a great fan of cooking! There’s no excuse not to give it a try – in fact, some people who never set foot in front of the stove turn into avid chefs in the summer, thanks to the barbecue.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWaEwvFAQc9/?taken-by=trestellecheese

Beyond the traditional meat, fish and vegetable dishes, you can experiment with recipes that are more elaborate and creative, but still not difficult. So, it’s time to venture into new culinary territory, surprise our taste-buds, swap in some new ingredients, and put a new twist on old favourites. Remember: it often only takes one little addition to make a huge difference, in both taste and presentation.

Keep in mind that most ingredients are perfect for the barbecue, from appies to desserts. Play around with your favourite flavours, choose seasonal fruits and vegetables to add cheerful accents of colour to your menu and turn delicious summer soups into unforgettable experiences.

Time to whet our appetites!

Here are 3 original recipes perfect for the barbecue.

  1. Greek salad with Grilled Feta
  2. Polenta, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Kebabs
  3. Grilled Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream

 

Greek salad with Grilled Tre Stelle® Feta

12-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 large English cucumber, finely sliced

¼ red onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp. Kalamata olives

1 tub Tre Stelle® Feta

Olive oil

Salt and oregano to taste

 

Season a piece of Feta Cheese with 2 generous tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of oregano, then wrap the cheese in foil and cook it on the barbecue for 2-3 minutes on either side;  In the meantime, put the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives on a platter and season them with a few spoonfuls of olive oil, a pinch of salt and oregano to taste;

Place the unwrapped barbecued Feta with its seasoning on top of the vegetable salad, using two spoons as the cheese will be quite soft.

Serve immediately. 4 servings

 

Polenta, Prosciutto and Tre Stelle® Bocconcini min mini Kebabs

250 mL of water

5 heaped tablespoons of quick-cooking polenta

4-5 thin slices of prosciutto

Tre Stelle® Bocconcini mini mini

A few fresh mint leaves

Salt, olive oil

 

Bring the water to a boil in a pot and add a pinch of salt;

Lower the heat and sprinkle in the polenta, stirring with a whisk;

Let it cook for 5 to 6 minutes, adding a few more drops of water if necessary;

Pour it into an oiled baking pan: you want it to be quite thick. Allow it to cool completely;

As soon as the polenta has cooled and set, cut it into squares;

Brush the squares with oil and put them on the barbecue for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side; assemble the kebabs with a mint leaf, a ball of Bocconcini, half a slice of prosciutto and two pieces of grilled polenta.

Serve the kebabs or, if you are preparing them in advance, keep them in the refrigerator. 4 servings

 

Grilled strawberries with Tre Stelle® Mascarpone Cream

3 eggs

6-7 tbsp. of sugar

250 g Tre Stelle mascarpone

A few drops of lemon juice

12-16 strawberries (depending on the size of the berries)

 

Separate the egg whites and yolks into two bowls; Add 3 heaping tablespoons of sugar to the egg yolks and beat until you get a frothy, uniform, pale yellow cream. Set aside;

Gently fold the mascarpone into the egg yolk and sugar mixture;

Add the lemon juice to the egg whites and, using a hand mixer, beat them until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, taking care to keep it light and airy; Cover the mascarpone cream with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it; Coat the strawberries with the remaining sugar, put them on skewers and grill them on the barbecue for about 1 minute on either side; Serve the strawberry skewers with the mascarpone cream. 4 servings

 

Summertime Grilling

There is absolutely nothing I look forward to more in the summer than grilling. I am a self-professed BBQ addict, known to be out there through rain, sun, and even snow. Over the years I’ve accumulated some must have’s and make’s for grilling season, and I’d love to share them with you.

1First up is a clean grill. There is absolutely nothing worse than lifting up a lid and seeing all the food still stuck on there from the last time you cooked. I’ve cycled through just about every kind of grill brush and stone out there, but my hands down favorite is this style:

 

It does a really good job of getting in between all of the grates, and deep into the corners of the BBQ. A brush isn’t something that you keep season after season though, I usually go through at least two a year. As soon as the stainless steel bristles start looking a little rough (really bent, gunky, or falling off), it’s time to get a new one. What happens if you’re about to cook though and you realize it’s time for a new brush? Just crumple up a good sized piece of aluminum foil and use your BBQ tongs to brush it around the grill, it’ll do just as good a job cleaning it up for you!

Speaking of BBQ tongs, I am a big lover of tools and gadgets (my poor husband, he’s such a trooper). I’m going to break down my favourites into to two lists: must haves, and love having.

BBQ Tool Must Haves:

1. Long handled tongs
2. Long handled turner
3. Long handled basting brush
4. Instant read thermometer

These tools aren’t the same ones you use in your kitchen (unless you enjoy searing the hair off of your arms). You want some that are made for the grill, with a nice long reach so that you can get to the back with the tool, and not your hand. An instant read thermometer is my best friend both in the kitchen and at the grill. Cooking on the BBQ goes a lot faster than the oven in most cases, so it’s important to keep an eye on where your food is at so you don’t accidently overcook it.

BBQ Tools I Love Having:

1. Pizza Stone
2. Rib Rack
3. Smoker Box
4. Metal Skewers
5. Cast Iron Griddle
6. Metal Basket
7. Foil Pans

2I know, a heck of a list. A pizza stone is a must for me. I pretty much exclusively grill my pizzas. I can get the stone a lot hotter in the BBQ than I can in the oven, and that slightly smoky flavour makes me feel like I’m eating a wood fired pizza. Click the picture above to check out my BBQ jerk chicken pizza with Tre Stelle Mozzarella cheese all done on the grill (you can make this with or without a stone).

3A rib rack is just a great way to cook ribs – standing them up makes for all around heat circulation, and tender juicy ribs every time. A smoker box goes hand in hand with ribs for me. All you do is add some wet wood chips, and put the box on the opposite side as your vents (or at the front if you can when the grill vents are at the back). You want the smoke to be pulled back over your meat on its way out.

Metal skewers are such a great, versatile tool. You can do the obvious shish kabobs, but I LOVE doing tornado sausages on them: just stick a skewer through the center of a sausage, and use your knife to cut a swirl all the way around the sausage (basically turning it into a slinky). The finished sausage has lots of amazing crispy bits, and really pulls in your toppings for every bite. Or do dessert; make a grilled strawberry shortcake, alternating strawberries and pound cake, then top with whipped cream once they come off the BBQ.

4If you have the room, adding a cast iron griddle on one side of you grill can be a great way to cook up some amazing toppings at the same time. Making burgers? Why not fry up some onions and jalapenos on the griddle at the same time. Really want to be a show off? Crack an egg on there at the last second to add to your burger. AMAZING!

Metal baskets and foil pans are a great way to grill sides, like veggies and potatoes. When I’m BBQ’ing, the last thing I want to do is run back and forth, inside and out, to cook the whole meal. I love grilling my sides as well.

Alright, we’ve got the tools out of the way, now it’s time for the fun stuff: FOOD! Nothing is more important to a BBQ than the food you’re cooking on it. Everyone knows the staples: burgers, sausages, steaks, and anything pork. I’m not going to hit you with what you already know. It’s the ingredients that you may not be thinking of for the BBQ, that to me, are absolute musts.

I love using fruit with my grilled dishes, and everyone always thinks it’s so unexpected. Making some quick pork chops? Chop up some pineapple and red onion to throw on top. Make your own BBQ sauce with peaches and bourbon to brush over ribs (add some jalapenos for a surprising kick). Be bold and experiment, and your meals will never be boring.

My hands down, number one thing you need to be grilling with though? Cheese! Hand to my heart, I have yet to find a meal that isn’t made better when Cheese is added to it. I’d love to share a few of my favourite Cheesy recipes with you:

My citrus ginger chicken with three melon salsa is one of the most flavourful pieces of chicken you’ll ever eat. It is made 1,000 times better by adding some crumbles of Tre Stelle Feta cheese on top just before serving.

These bruschetta style BBQ pork chops are great topped with some Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese. I love switching it up sometimes though, and swap out that Mozzarella for Arla Smoked Havarti.

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These Cajun stuffed BBQ chicken breasts are bursting with flavour (literally!). That melty, gooey, Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese is exactly what this chicken needed to make it anything but a typical BBQ’d breast. Don’t be shy with Cheeses either. I love a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin that’s stuffed with Ricotta and sautéed onion. Throw it on the rotisserie, and you have a delicious, hands-free dinner.

Have fun with your food! Experimenting with different flavours and styles is what makes cooking fun. See you at the grill!

Grilling for Dad

Nothing brings family and friends together better than a backyard BBQ! This Father’s Day let Dad show off his culinary skills on the grill with these helpful “Tips and Tricks”.

Father's Day Grilling-3821Let’s celebrate Dad on Father’s Day by setting him up for the most successful BBQ season ever. A few tips and tricks will have Dad serving up some amazing grilled delights, stress free and having fun all summer long.

To start Dad off in becoming King of the Grill he needs the right tools. Men love their tools and can never have too many. There are a ton of BBQ specialty items out there but a few that I consider “must haves”.

Essential Grilling Tools

Meat Thermometer

A good digital meat thermometer ensures no more of those horrific moments where everyone has sat down to eat and Dad brings in the chicken fresh off the BBQ only to see red juices oozing out when it is sliced into. A meat thermometer takes the guessing game out of knowing when things are done and mastering the perfect grilled steak. No more slicing into meat to check and let all those moisture enhancing juices drip to the bottom of the BBQ.

Tongs

Get a few sizes with good grip to suit the various BBQ foods. You don’t want to be poking holes with forks into those juicy meats as they are grilling.

Spatula

A heavy duty, long handled, stainless steel spatula is a must have for turning things like burgers and fish.

Grill Brush

A sturdy grill brush with stainless steel or brass bristles makes easy work of cleaning the grill.

Grill Gloves or Mitts

Protect your hands from a grill’s searing heat with a pair that is heavy duty, heat resistant and fire-retardant. Kitchen mitts will not suffice when dealing with a hot grill.

Basting Brush

A thick silicone basting brush will hold onto sauce better than other brushes. They are also easier to clean making them much more sanitary.

Water Spray Bottle

When cooking you want to avoid flames for they only burn food. Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy to dampen down any fire.

Some additional items that are great to have on hand are bamboo or steel skewers, grill pans or baskets, an apron and cast iron cookware.

Time management is key to stress-free grilling

Time management is key to successful, stress-free grilling and outdoor entertaining. Here is a helpful timetable for summertime grilling:

Day before:

Ensure you have plenty of coals or if using propane, the tank is full. Have you ever started grilling and ran out of propane before the meat is done? Keep a spare tank on hand!

Morning:

Rub or marinate large cuts of meat like brisket and pork shoulders. Also marinate chicken, whole fish, or less than best quality of steak, pork, and lamb.

Prepare side dishes that aren’t time sensitive like baked beans or coleslaw.

Early afternoon:

Skewer kebab ingredients, prep vegetables and side dishes. Prepare salad (have dressing ready, but don’t toss it until right before serving.

Set up bar, prepare drinks like lemonade, ice down beer or soft drinks.

Set up tables, plates, glasses, and cutlery.

Have grilling utensils clean and ready to go.

One Hour before:

If using a charcoal grill, light it 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to start grilling. If using a gas grill, preheat 10 to 15 minutes before grilling.

Just before:

Father's Day BBQ-3877Clean the hot grill grate with a wire brush and oil the grate with oil-soaked paper towel or rag. The grate is the part of the grill that comes in direct contact with the food, so it should be clean.

Be safe make sure your grill is away from the house or other buildings, plants and shrubbery. Grill in an area with good ventilation but is sheltered from the wind.

Father’s Day BBQ/Grilling Gift Ideas:

A collection of sauces, spices, rubs and marinades make a great Father’s Day gift.

Or make something for him like a grilling chart for easy reference for grilling times and temperatures. One side with grilling temperatures, the other grilling guide for the perfect steak.

Some other great gift ideas: make Dad his own personal cookbook of family favourite barbeque and grilling recipes, side dishes, drinks and desserts.

Mention barbecue and you’ve got the family drooling with thoughts of sizzling steaks, hamburgers, and sausages; summer food at its charbroiled best!

Summertime is such a wonderful time of year when family and friends gather to enjoy the great outdoors and sensational BBQ meals. A few tips and tricks will help Dad be everyone’s favourite Master of the Grill!

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