Grillin' & Chillin'
Now’s the time to get THIS SECTION IS LOADED WITH IDEAS TO HELP YOU HAVE A TASTY AND RELAXING SUMMER SIDE W H AT ’ S I N Spice it up with rubs Invigorate your triedand-true recipes with some fresh tastes. Desserts simplified Local berries and light textures are on display from area experts. Pizza in the backyard Area family uses their outdoor oven to bake pizza from scratch. Contributors Food editor: Sue Kidd 10 24 34 SEE SEE SEE Features editor: Dusti Demarest Staff writers: Craig Sailor and Rosemary Ponnekanti Staff photographer: Dean J. Koepfler Designer: Jessica Randklev ou know the old adage in the Pacific Northwest: Summer really doesn’t start until July 4. Consider this your guide for getting your own summer ready to launch — you’ve got a week before Independence Day. We’ll have you ready for patio party season in no time. Need grill inspiration? We’ll take your grill on a global flavor tour with recipes from farflung places. Need new recipes for that barbecue you just got invited to? We asked readers to submit their favorite recipes for side dishes that can be assembled in minutes — and in advance — but carry the impression that you’ve spent hours slaving away in the kitchen. Need a new recipe for a rub or grill sauce? We’ve got your back. Try one of our rub recipes that has so much flavor, you won’t even miss the salt. For those of you — you know who you are — who like to celebrate with something delicious to sip, we’ll guide you through the basics of tiki patio drinks and cocktails made from fresh fruit liqueurs. Your backyard parties may never be the same. Lastly, prepare yourself for some serious armchair homegazing. Check out our profiles of South Sound residents with amazing backyard spaces great for chillin’. grillin’& chillin’ ﬁred up INTRODUCTION We’ve also got practical advice, too. Know that grill that needs to be cleaned? Skip the wire brush and try our tips and tricks for tuning up your grill so you’re ready for prime time next week. SEE P. 37 MARK DUFRENE/Contra Costa Times, 2011 grillin’& chillin’ Secrets FLAVORS OF THE WORLD BY SUE KIDD | Staff writer THESE LOCAL COOKS’ GLOBAL FLAVOR IDEAS WILL MAKE YOUR GRILL SIZZLE from local grillers ohn Idstrom alternates between Italy and Vietnam, depending on his mood. Ann Meersman heads straight for Argentina on her grill. Jennevieve Schlemmer? She mixes up her cuisines — the Middle East intersected with Mexico. Globe-hopping is where those three Tacoma home cooks head for flavor-fueled inspiration on the grill. As world flavors have increasingly penetrated our culinary landscape — from smoothies to stews — it’s no surprise that backyard barbecues would embrace punchy flavors with global edges. The method for flavoring grilled meat is universal, no matter the geography — marinades, rubs and sauces deliver flavor to whatever is cooked over flame. Let your palate get creative. Instead of barbecue-sauced chicken, how about a Vietnamese lemongrass marinade? Instead of plain ol’ Heinz 57 on your steak, ever thought to try a squeeze of fresh lemon before service — just how the Italians serve steak in Florence? Or, Argentinians know their way around a slab of beef — how about the surprising flavor of a chimichurri sauce? Take a tour here of global flavors with home cooks who know a thing or two about backyard grilling — and punchy flavors. SOUTH AMERICAN-STYLE SEE P. 6 FOR ALL THE WORLDLY RECIPES DISCUSSED BY THESE CHEFS MIDDLE EASTERN-STYLE PERSIAN-STYLE Ann Meersman Jennevieve Schlemmer Mitra Mohandessi Think of chimichurri as a South American pesto sauce or marinade. The blended garlic-parsley mixture can be served to accompany grilled meats or can act as a marinade. Meersman started with a basic chimichurri recipe from “Herbivoracious,” a cookbook by Michael Natkins, then tweaked together two recipes for different kinds of meat. “The chimichurri with balsamic vinegar, kalamata olives and red chili flakes would be perfect over a nicely grilled steak, and the chimichurri with lime juice, jalapenos and green olives would be a versatile sauce on pork, chicken and even fish.” Her recipes yield about two-thirds of a cup of sauce — so double ingredients if you intend to it use as a marinade. Added Meersman, “These sauces aren’t just for meat. We use them over grilled vegetables, mushrooms or pastas. My favorite is simply plain orzo tossed with some chimichurri.” “I like to mix up my world cuisines,” declares Schlemmer of her recipe here for pork tenderloin that merges a Middle Eastern spice blend za’atar with chipotle-flavored tomato jam. Her favorite spice blend, za’atar, is a dried blend that includes thyme, oregano and sumac. As she says, it “comes in a ton of varieties depending on region, even neighborhoods. You can find recipes online to make your own, but I recommend taking a trip to a local Middle Eastern grocery to try an authentic blend.” That means a trip to a store such as Dahnia International Market in Tacoma. However, cooking instructor, Mitra Mohandessi, who teaches at Olympia’s Bayview School of Cooking, shares her recipe for blending a fresh za’atar mixture at home. The Bayview cooking instructor turns to something simple for her backyard grill parties — chicken kebabs. Mohandessi, who will teach a class on grilling kebabs at Bayview in August, shares her recipe for Jujeh Kebab, flavored with grated onions, lemon and sumac. Mohandessi offered these tips for marinating, “I like to marinate my meats — chicken and red meat — for at least one day. However, even a couple of hours of marinating adds a lot of flavor to meat and makes it tender. In Persian kebabs, as well as other Middle Eastern and North African kebabs, grated onions are always used to enhance the flavor of the meat. Marinades always have an acid, usually lemon or lime juice, and this is for tenderizing as well as adding a tart flavor. Some kabobs are marinated in lemon juice and yogurt, which creates a tender and smooth texture.” JAPANESE-STYLE William Mueller Photos by DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer Chef and co-owner William Mueller of Babblin’ Babs Bistro is known for his globehopping menu at the Proctor neighborhood breakfast and lunch cafe he runs with wife Shannon. Mueller’s a big fan of Northwest seafood and also a fan of the flavors of Japan. His grilled oyster recipe combines a wasabi butter with sake marinated fennel that can be grilled alongside the oysters. ITALIAN-STYLE ASIAN-STYLE John Idstrom When in need of something fast and simple, Idstrom turns to the Italian preparation Steak Florentine. It’s a fuss-free preparation and is reasonable for a crowd. “For years, I thought the way you made this dish was go apply lemon juice to steak prior to cooking, but it never came out tasting lemony. When I went to Florence two years ago, I saw them actually squeezing the lemon on at the table. Also, you order your steak for a certain number of people. They bring you the steak cut into large pieces, enough for the people who are eating. You don’t get a whole steak on a plate. This way, they cook up a very large thick cut steak and don’t have to give the whole thing to one person. Those big steaks are easier to cook and taste better,” wrote Idstrom about his recipe, which first appeared on his blog devoted to home cooking, meezenplace.com. David Lepore BONUS RECIPE When serving chicken, Idstrom borrows from the sparkling flavors of Southeast Asia in his recipe for a lemongrassginger marinade. “It is light, sweet, spicy, sour, salty … just what I love about Vietnamese cooking in general because it hits the full flavor palate all at once.” When he’s looking for a speedy grill dish, Tacoma resident Lepore combines two loves — sweet Thai chili sauce with Korean short ribs. After a quick marinade, the short ribs are ready for a quick sear on the grill. Lepore jokes that it’s his “lazy” recipe, but it’s a dish packed with sweet-spicy flavor. QUICK TIP You don’t need to make your own chili sauce, you can find it at any Asian grocery store. grillin’& chillin’ FLAVORS OF THE WORLD RECIPES From PAGE 5 Za’atar Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Smoky Chipotle Tomato Jam YIELD: SERVES 6 FOR THE PORK: 2 pork tenderloins, about a pound each 4 Tablespoons Za’atar blend of your choice (try to find the dried dark green version, or try the recipe for a fresh za’atar below from Mitra Mohandessi) Salt and pepper, to taste FOR THE TOMATO JAM: 1 pound fresh roma tomatoes Olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper 1-2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, blended in food processor. For the tomato jam: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Coat a rimmed sheet pan with olive oil. Slice tomatoes in half (remove stems) and place cut side up on sheet pan. Brush olive oil over tops of tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven two plus hours. You want the tomatoes to really collapse. Allow to cool while you cook the pork. While tomatoes are cooling, rinse and pat dry your pork and cut off all the silver skin. Place in shallow dish and coat generously with za’atar and salt and pepper. Let it sit at room temperature while you preheat grill. Grill tenderloins over medium-high heat, covered, for 18-25 minutes, turning occasionally, until done. Remove from grill and tent with foil while you finish tomato jam. Blend tomatoes in food processor with chipotles and additional olive oil if desired. Check flavor and adjust with salt and pepper. You can even add a pinch of brown sugar if it is too acidic. Slice tenderloin crosswise in slices on the diagonal. Plate pork slices with jam drizzled on top and pass extra jam for those craving some more heat. Source: Jennevieve Schlemmer, Tacoma Mitra Mohandessi’s Fresh Za’Atar Blend 1 cup crushed oregano ½ cup crushed thyme 3-4 tablespoons sumac 2 tablespoons salt ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds, toasted Run the herbs through a sieve, add cooled sesame seeds, salt and sumac and store in a jar in the fridge. Use in salad dressings, mixed with oil for making croutons, mixed into yogurt or rubbed onto meats. Source: Mitra Mohandessi, cooking instructor Olympia’s Bayview School of Cooking Photos by DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer Meezenplace Vietnamese BBQ Steak Florentine With Wilted Spinach 3 game hens split in half (or substitute one chicken, cut into 8 pieces, plus wing sections) FOR THE MARINADE: 2 tablespoons soy sauce 6 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons shredded ginger ¼ cup fish sauce 4 lemongrass stalks, end white stalks only, cut into matchsticks Juice of 2 lemons 3 tablespoons honey 1-2 teaspoons chili sauce, or to taste Salt and pepper Small bunch of cilantro, rough chopped 6 tablespoons canola oil Combine the marinade ingredients and reserve about a third of it. Pour the remainder over the hens or chicken and let sit for 30 minutes to two hours. Prepare charcoal or gas grill. If using charcoal, arrange coals so there is space for indirect cooking. Start meat over high heat to get them nicely browned, then move to indirect heat or turn gas grill down. Lower heat and cook until juices run clean or until they reach 165 degrees on instant read thermometer. Baste periodically with reserved marinade. Skin should achieve a nice golden glaze. Turn pieces periodically to brown all the skin. Source: John Idstrom, Tacoma resident and author of a food blog at meezenplace.com Thick-cut, high-quality steak (6 ounces per person served) Salt and coarse ground pepper Lemon 1 large bag or bundle fresh spinach Olive oil 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped More lemon FOR THE STEAK: Prepare a hot grill, either gas or charcoal (the latter is preferred). Keeping the steak whole, season it liberally with salt and pepper. Let it rest an hour at room temperature. Sear on the hot grill until medium rare, three to four minutes per side. Watch them cook — don’t go in and watch the ballgame. Once cooked to desired doneness, remove from the grill and allow to rest on a warm platter for five minutes. Cut into strips against the grain (on the bias, if you are fancy). Squeeze fresh lemon over the cut meat. Serve immediately. FOR THE SPINACH: This dish cooks fast. Clean and pat dry a good amount of fresh spinach (it is amazing how much spinach cooks down, so use a lot). Saute chopped garlic in a large nonstick pan with a modest splash of good olive oil for about three minutes. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted — maybe two minutes, max. Salt and squeeze on lemon to taste. Serve immediately. Source: John Idstrom, Tacoma resident and author of a food blog at meezenplace.com Both of John Idstrom’s recipes have a good amount of garlic Jujeh Kebab Chimichurri Sauce for Beef YIELD: SERVES 6 YIELD: ABOUT † CUP Sumac is 3 pounds of boneless skinless derived from chicken thighs, cut in half or thirds the fruits of a FOR THE MARINADE: “Rhus” plant 1 large onion and ground ½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice into a powder 1 teaspoon mustard powder that gives off a lemony-taste. Salt and pepper FOR THE TOPPING: Sumac ¼ onion very thinly sliced Olive oil Place the onions in the food processor and grind. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and mix well. Place one layer of chicken thighs in a container. Pour some of the marinade on it. Repeat until all the chicken and marinade is used and the chicken is fully covered in marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one day and up to three-four days. TO SERVE: Heat the grill. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers tightly next to each other. Place on the grill over medium-low heat and let cook for 35-45 minutes. Check to make sure it is fully cooked by cutting a piece. TIP: If the grill is too hot, the chicken cooks on the outside but the inside will be raw or it will burn on the outside before becoming fully cooked. FOR PRESENTATION: Place a layer of pita bread on a deep platter. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove skewers and place over the bread. Sprinkle sumac and the sliced onions on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with chopped parsley Source: Mitra Mohandessi, cooking instructor Olympia’s Bayview School of Cooking Speedy Thai Shortribs 3 pounds short ribs, bone in 1 large bottle of Thai sweet chili sauce (such as the Mae Ploy brand) 2 limes 3 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup soy sauce Freshly grated ginger to taste In large dish, add the entire bottle of sweet chili sauce, garlic, soy sauce and squeeze both of the limes into the mix. Add ginger to taste. Add the ribs to the mix, cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove ribs from mix and grill a few minutes on each side. Source: Dave Lepore, Tacoma FOR MORE RECIPES FOR MEATY MAIN DISHES SEE P. 14 ª cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (or to taste) 1 cup parsley leaves, lightly packed 1 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed 1 teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 2 tablespoons kalamata olives, rinsed and chopped 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar In a small food processor bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic and red chili flakes and run for about a minute. If you don’t have a mini-food processor, you can use the full-sized food processor, but you’ll need to make a double batch to effectively process the ingredients. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar, and process until the ingredients are minced but not pureed (leaves still have texture). Pour into a bowl, cover and let rest a minimum of 30 minutes. Taste again before serving to adjust salt and pepper and/or vinegar. Serve with grilled beef, or use as a marinade for 30 minutes to two hours before grilling meat. Source: Ann Meersman, Tacoma. The recipe is a variation of a recipe from Michael Natkin’s “Herbivoracious” cookbook. Grilled Wasabi Oysters with Fennel YIELD: SERVES 2-4 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 tablespoon wasabi paste 2 cloves garlic, fine minced Black pepper to taste 8 fresh oysters; open and loosen muscle and put back in shell 1 whole bulb of fennel, sliced thick, lengthwise 1 cup sake, good quality ¼-cup brown sugar Soy sauce, to taste For garnish, you can use chopped cilantro, split grape tomatoes, white or black sesame seeds, or green onions cut on a bias. Preheat grill to high. Shuck open the oysters, loosen the oyster and return oyster to the shell. In a small bowl mix softened butter with wasabi paste, ½ the garlic and pepper to taste. Place a dollop of the butter on each oyster and let rest in refrigerator. In a mixing bowl combine sake, brown sugar, soy sauce, remaining garlic and pepper to taste. Place sliced fennel on a baking sheet and brush sake-sugar mixture generously over both sides. TO GRILL: Turn your grill down to medium heat. Place fennel on grill and let it set for a couple of minutes, then turn a quarter turn to give a crisscross marking, if desired. Turn over and repeat process. Take oysters still in their half shell and place on grill. Cook over medium heat on the grill until butter has melted and oyster is fully cooked. Place on individual plates with a bed of rock salt to cradle the oysters. Garnish, if desired. Serve grilled fennel on a separate plate, sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onions. Source: William Mueller, Babblin’ Babs Bistro, 2724 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253-761-9099, babblinbabs.com Chimichurri Sauce for Chicken, Pork or Fish YIELD: ABOUT † CUP Wasabi is a root that is finely grated to make a pungent paste. Readymade tubes of wasabi can be found at Asian markets. ª cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped ½ jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped 1 cup parsley leaves, lightly packed 1 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed 1 teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 2 tablespoons green olives, rinsed and chopped 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice In a small food processor bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic and jalapeno and run for about a minute. If you don’t have a mini-food processor you can use the full-sized food processor, but you’ll need to make a double batch to effectively process the ingredients. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, green olives and lime juice, and process until the ingredients are minced but are not pureed (leaves still have texture). Pour into a bowl, cover and let rest a minimum of 30 minutes. Taste again before serving to adjust salt and pepper and/or lime juice. Serve with grilled chicken, pork or fish, or use as a marinade for 30 minutes to two hours before grilling meat. Source: Ann Meersman, Tacoma. The recipe is a variation of a recipe from Michael Natkin’s “Herbivoracious” cookbook. grillin’&chillin’ MEAT SEE P. 10 FOR THE RECIPE FOR THE SPICY BAJA RUB USED ON THIS TRI TIP. Brozovic’s top tips for grilling beef REST YOUR BEEF: At least an hour at room temperature before grilling, 5 minutes afterward. Bigger cuts need more time for both. SEASONING: Simple seasonings can be used five minutes before grilling. Save the marinades and sauces for pork and chicken; beef should stand on its own flavor. But if you insist, don’t add sugary sauce until the last minute because the sugar will burn. GRILL TEMP: Make sure the surface is really hot before you throw on the beef. For cross-hair grill marks, turn steaks 45 degrees halfway through cooking, on each side. Flip once, not twice. COOKING: Cook beef to medium rare. “I understand some like their steaks well done, but you’re not doing yourself any favors, and as long as the meat is handled properly, it is no safer from a food safety perspective — cooking well done as compared to a medium rare steak,” advised Brozovic. EXPERIMENT: Try using wood chips on your gas grill or charcoal barbecue. Hickory and mesquite are good for heavy smoke flavor; try alder for a medium smoke flavor. For a lighter smoke flavor, try fruitwoods, such as cherry or apple. Cooking new cuts DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer A HOW-TO FROM FIFE’S RESIDENT ‘MEAT SCIENTIST’ BRIAN BROZOVIC BY SUE KIDD | Staff writer A with the rtisanal butcher is a smirk-worthy title a la the television show “Portlandia” — so don’t call Brian Brozovic that. The Fife resident prefers “meat scientist.” He’s worked in many aspects of butchering — from managing a butcher shop to working as a food safety and quality assurance manager at Seattle’s Corfini Gourmet. That company provides meat to some of the region’s top restaurants, such as Canlis, El Gaucho, Quinn’s Pub, Restaurant Zoë and many others. Brozovic’s been noticing what astute meat-case stalkers have seen recently — cuts of beef have been popping into our vernacular that didn’t exist before. Alongside names like ribeye, top sirloin and filet, shoppers may now see cuts of beef labeled as tri tip, top sirloin cap, petite tender and flap meat. Want to take a tour of the wild side of the meat case? These are all meats you can spend some time getting to know on your grill this summer. All comments are from Brozovic, who graciously answered several meaty questions via email: Tri tip steak/roast AT THE STORE: Look for tri tip. Other names might be bottom sirloin, triangle or Santa Maria steak. This cut is getting easier to find. FLAVOR: It’s more dense than the rib or loin, explained Brozovic, but it’s also a tender cut. He described the flavor as beefier. This cut qualifies as a lean meat. QUICK RECIPE: “I like to sear the roast (a full roast should be less than 3 pounds) on all sides and then turn the grill down or put it over an area that receives less direct heat and more smoke. Cook to medium rare, rest for 10 minutes, and then slice it into thin slices across the grain of the muscle fibers and fan it out on the plate as the main dish. You can also slice steaks off the roast prior to cooking as long as you cut across the grain.” Also, try this cut with a teriyaki marinade, then treat as you would a steak for the grill. RUB IT WITH: “Santa Maria-styled rub is typically a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika with the addition of some other seasonings (sage, rosemary, oregano, red pepper or cayenne, chili powder, sugar).” ABOUT THE CUT: “This cut was made famous down in Santa Maria, Calif., and has quite the story that goes with it, quite popular both there and along the western seaboard. So popular in our area that it has its own category in the local BBQ competitions.” Top sirloin cap AT THE STORE: Also known as the culotte steak, the top sirloin cap lies at the top of the top sirloin, explained Brozovic. You may not find this in a typical grocery store, so consult a specialty butcher shop if you can’t find it. If you find it as a roast, cut it into steaks, advised Brozovic. FLAVOR: This is a beefyflavored cut. It qualifies as a lean cut. Because it’s a sirloin cut, it is balanced between tenderness and big flavor, he advised. QUICK RECIPE: “I like to grill this steak up after a nice citrus marinade and use it to top salads or slice it into thin slices and fan it out on the plate as the main dish.” Petite tender Flap meat AT THE STORE: Look for petite tender, or sometimes it’s called teres major. It should come as medallions or as a roast. It’s a lean cut, and the meat comes from the shoulder part of the chuck. Try a specialty butcher if it’s hard to find at a typical store. Note: Don’t confuse this cut with the mock tender, which also comes from the shoulder. AT THE STORE: This might be a really hard cut to find at a retail store, but you’ll see this at specialty butchers or on restaurant menus. With the recent name changes instituted by the USDA, shoppers may see more of this cut in the case. It may be marketed as “pinwheels, braciole, pre-marinated carne asada,” said Brozovic. FLAVOR: The flavor is quite beefy because it’s a highly used muscle, explained Brozovic. Despite being a shoulder cut, he described it as very tender. QUICK RECIPE: “I like to prepare these as I would a tenderloin, slice into medallions and sear. Top with a nice demi and local harvested chanterelle mushrooms or truffle shavings.” FLAVOR: The cut is from bottom sirloin, but Brozovic said it’s an extremely versatile cut. He described it as similar to the culotte steak — beefy with nice tenderness. Like a skirt steak, it has a grainy texture. QUICK RECIPE: “This is a good substitute for skirt steak, so you can use it in pinwheels, stir fry, carne asada, fajitas, braciole, etc. I actually like to sear up as a typical steak and savor the sirloin goodness.” grillin’&chillin’ RUBS AND MARINADES chipotle chili powder chili powder cumin Baja Spicy Rub 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder 1 teaspoon chili powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin oregano 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed ½ teaspoon granulated garlic ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon In a small mixing bowl, place all spices and whisk. Adjust to taste. Place in airtight jar. Use on shrimp, fish, steak, pork chops or chicken. Source: William Mueller, Babblin’ Babs Bistro, Tacoma cayenne pepper black pepper DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff phototographer paprika garlic cinnamon Spice it up Caribbean Chicken Marinade with Honey Pineapple CHOCOLATE ½ cup honey mustard ½ cup pineapple juice 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds ½ teaspoon mace ½ teaspoon pepper ¼ teaspoon allspice ¼ teaspoon clove In a mixing bowl add the first three ingredients and whisk. Add the rest of the ingredients to honey mixture. Take a whole chicken cut up in eight pieces and patted dry. Dip chicken into honey mustard mixture, put into Ziploc bag and pour in the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate, turning several times. While grill is heating, bring chicken out and let it come to room temperature. Shake excess marinade off and grill on direct heat. TO BAHARAT Arizona Blend Rub INVIGORATE YOUR TRIEDAND-TRUE BARBECUE RECIPES WITH SOME FRESH TASTES, FROM BY ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI | Staff writer ored with chili? Tired of paprika? Then it might be time to spice up your favorite barbecue rub and infuse your grill with more thrill. From chocolate to gunpowder tea to citrus, there’s a lot more you could be doing with your rub than just ratcheting up the chili heat. The key to picking the right rub? Know the flavor of your product, be it meat, fish or veggies. “Whatever we do, we want to taste the product as well,” says William Mueller, chef and co-owner of Babblin’ Babs Bistro in Tacoma. “If I have a nice, expensive piece of beef or fish, I want to taste that, not just the (flavor on top).” While some spice blends work well on all types of meat or vegetables, some suit one better than the other. The trick is finding spice blends that complement the meat. For pork, Mueller — who sells his own spice blends at the bistro — likes a Caribbean flavor with jerk seasoning. He also coats pork chops with a Greek blend of oregano, parsley and a touch of lemon to finish. Or you can use an exotic blend like his spicy chocolate, with coffee, cocoa, cinnamon and cayenne. Beef, says Mueller, if it’s of high quality, is good by itself with a little cracked pepper. “But I like to use a lot of liquor,” he adds. “I do a martini steak, which is marinated in gin and olive oil, finished with lemon with a relish of lemon and olives.” Mueller also recommends compound butters — a mixture of butter and herbs such as cilantro, shallots and serrano peppers. “It melts and gives you a smooth finish,” he says. “It’s great for grilled food — you can keep it in the freezer and put it on at the last second to really taste the heat.” With fish, Mueller again emphasizes the need to put the fish’s flavor first. He uses lighter citrus tones such as oranges, lemons and limes, or vanilla, such as a West Indies curry paste with vanilla on white fish like cod. Anne Buck of Buck’s Fifth Avenue spice shop in Olympia has a calico rub with sumac and dill. “The citrusy notes of the sumac gives a nice flavor for fish,” says assistant Lamia Murphy. Or you could use a new blend that Buck has just concocted: an esoteric mixture of smoky gunpowder tea, sweet apricot tea, lemon and orange powder, rose petals, cloves, ginger, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, plus the heat of Spanish paprika and chili flakes. “It’s versatile, it goes with all meats,” Murphy says. And chicken? “Chicken’s pretty much a chameleon,” Mueller says. “It’s a blank slate. It’ll pick up whatever you do to it. I might marinate it with lemon juice and ginger, or with herbs like mint and oregano.” One thing you won’t find in either Mueller’s or Buck’s recipes — unlike many supermarket brands — is salt or sugar. “I don’t use salt,” says Mueller. “It extracts moisture, then the meat gets dry. It does bring out flavors and counteracts sweetness, but if you have to use it, you should put it on after the meat’s cooked. And I don’t think (barbecue) needs sugar; it just caramelizes. Plus, people have health concerns like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems. 1 teaspoon rubbed sage 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons chili powder 2 teaspoons granulated garlic 1 teaspoon red pepper 1 teaspoon ground turmeric In a small mixing bowl, place all spices and whisk. Place in airtight jar. Use on pork, beef, fish and chicken. Babs’ Spicy Chocolate Rub 9 tablespoons finely ground espresso coffee 6 teaspoons ground cinnamon 12 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 3 teaspoons oregano, whole leaves 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper In a small mixing bowl, place all spices and whisk. Place in airtight jar. Use on steak, pork or chicken. Lime Cilantro Butter 1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro 2 tablespoons lime juice and zest 1 shallot, minced 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced Whip butter with a paddle. Slowly add ingredients. Whip until doubled in volume. In a sheet of plastic wrap shape the butter compound into logs with diameter the size of a half-dollar. Roll and twist ends tightly and freeze. Makes several logs and keeps well. Source: William Mueller, Babblin’ Babs Bistro, Tacoma Hot Shot Barbecue Rub ½ cup apricot tea 2 tablespoons gunpowder tea 1 tablespoon lemon powder 1 tablespoon orange powder 2 tablespoons baharat 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika Mix all ingredients together and use as a rub on ribs, chicken or turkey; or sparingly in a chili. Source: Anne Buck, Buck’s Fifth Avenue, Olympia grillin’& chillin’ GETTING THE HEAT BILL O’LEARY/The Washington Post No peeking When barbecuing: BY SUE KIDD | Staff writer f there’s one piece of advice barbecue pitmaster Amy Anderson would like to dispense to backyard barbecuers it’s this: Keep your lid shut. The owner of Olympia’s Ranch House BBQ — a regional destination for slow-cooked smoked meats served with a side helping of friendliness — knows that the key to successful barbecue is to keep everything slow and low. “Every time they open the lid, they lose 15 minutes to 30 minutes to get the temperature back up,” said Anderson. “It’s not like grilling where you can have the lid open and shut. When you’re smoking, you need to have patience and that means no peeking.” Jonathan Clark, the third-generation owner of Bob’s Bar-B-Q Pit in Tacoma, agreed that consistent heat is critical for a tasty end product. Constantly checking the meat will thwart any hope of putting the party food on the table in a timely fashion, joked Clark, who runs Bob’s with his brother Michael and mother, Carolyn Littles, whose parents, Robert and Elizabeth, opened Bob’s in 1948. READY TO GET STARTED? Smoking meats in the Southern barbecue tradition takes time, patience and a few skills. Here, Anderson and Clark — both experts in the subject — dispense their best advice for slow smoking meat over hardwood. Wood types: Anderson prefers fruit wood. Clark prefers hickory and mesquite, with a bit of fruit wood mixed in (cherry and apple). What they both agree on is that a mixture of woods will create different flavor profiles. Experimentation is key. Meaty cuts of beef – such as brisket – can take the powerful smoke of mesquite and hickory, but look to fruit woods to create more mild, sweeter smoke flavors. Clark has one preference for fish, though: alder. He said it’s a Northwest tradition. How much wood?: Clark and Anderson both agree that at the base of every barbecue fire should be charcoal. It’s the material that delivers consistent heat, they said. Start the fire with charcoal and add hardwood as you cook. Clark advised starting with one pound of wood and adding wood in halfpound increments. Wet wood: It’s fine, said Clark, to use wood that’s not completely dry or cured because it will burn slower. That’s what you want – a slow, steady smoke. Chips and pellets: Clark said hardwood is best, but chips and pellets are also acceptable for homesmoking, with a caveat. Soak the chips in a pail of water and throw the chips on in handfuls, as needed. Pellets also should be moistened before adding to charcoal. Keep it even: It’s true that creating evenly cooked, tender meat takes low, consistent heat. That means keeping a fire at 250 degrees or just below. But don’t get too low – or you’ll be tending your meat for a full day. Have water handy: Anderson likes to use a heat-safe pan of water in her smoker to create a slightly steamy environment. She’s experimented with filling her pan with beer or aromatics, but she said the nuance of those flavorings gets lost in the smoke. Clark is a fan of keeping a bottle of water nearby for misting the fire when it gets too hot and to deal with any flare-ups. However, don’t use water to put out a fire bigger than a flare-up. Both Clark and Anderson insist that home barbecuers keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Keep an eye on the vent: If you’re using a smoker with a vent or a chimney, keep an eye on what’s coming out of the smoker. “If you’re blowing major smoke, then figure your meat is going to taste like major smoke.” said Anderson, adding, “Aim for a light wisp of smoke.” However, if you like big, bold smoke flavors, just let it rip. Marinades: These are a must, said Clark. Vinegars and a touch of salt will help tenderize the meats. He’s not a fan of brining, though, unless it’s a big piece of meat, such as a brisket or turkey. Anderson said if you use a brine, be sure to pat the meat dry before smoking. Hold the sauce: Do not sauce early or often, said Clark. Wait until the meat is nearly done to add any kind of sauce, especially if the sauce has sugar in it. Sugar burns easily. Your meat should taste smoked, not burned. Get smoked FINDING THE A BUYER’S GUIDE TO CHOOSING A SMOKER BEST SMOKER TO cal smoker holds heat well and, with its two racks, you can cook a brisket on one, ribs on the other. Comes in two sizes, 18.5 inches ($349) and 22.5 inches ($499). amazon.com or local hardware store. FIT YOUR NEEDS AND BUDGET BY JIM SHAHIN | Special to The Washington Post I have begun a quest for the holy grill — or, more accurately, the holy smoker. A well-built, smartly designed unit. First, a lesson in semantics: A grill, such as a kettle, is built for hot and fast cooking directly over the fire. Think burgers, franks, steaks. A smoker is made for low and slow cooking — temperatures from about 212 to 250 degrees (low) and long cooking times of six, 12, even 24 hours (slow). The food is cooked with indirect heat — fire on one end, food on the other — and flavored by smoldering hardwood. Smokers come in different shapes (drums, rectangular boxes, bullets, eggs) and can use a variety of fuel sources. A few months ago, a blogger who goes by the nom de ’cue “Meathead” unveiled a directory that lets you choose a rig by price, brand, function, fuel and capacity. The guide includes more than 100 manufacturers and 300 models, and it has a category for smokers. The guide helped me narrow my choices to a half-dozen. But I want to see them, touch them, ideally try the smokers out before I buy one. And that is a challenge. A lot of good smokers are available only online. That leaves you with two options: Visit the manufacturer or take a leap of faith based on reviews. I had hoped to have a new smoker by Memorial Day, but I’ve discovered that finding the right rig will take time. Just like barbecue. $400-$800 PRICES ARE APPROXIMATE. UNDER $400 Smokenator. Pimp your grill into a smoker with this half-moon-shaped stainless-steel accessory that releases smoke from the wood chunks you put in it; $60 for the 18.5-inch version. smokenator.com. Weber Smokey Mountain. This bullet-shaped verti- Smoke Hollow Pro Smoker Deluxe Barrel Grill. Better built than other cheap offset smokers and has good airflow; $599. homedepot.com. Big Green Egg, Large. As much as purists dog it, this ceramic kamado cooker holds heat extraordinarily well and even sears fairly decently. The large model is versatile enough to meet most needs; $799. Independent hardware stores. $800-$1,000 Hasty-Bake Continental 83. As a smoker, it’s good (keeping temps low can be tough), but as an overall unit, this well-built and impeccably designed grill from a Tulsa company founded in 1948 is a fave among serious cooks; $999. hastybake.com. Backwoods Smoker Chubby. With their insulated double walls creating excellent heat control, Backwoods (usually larger versions) are fixtures at contests; $970. backwoods-smoker. com. $1,000-$2,000 Jambo Backyard Smoker. Jamie Geer of Fort Worth makes stylish and sturdy “it” rigs that can go for over $12,000. So, at $1,895, the Backyard model is practically a bargain. jambopits.com. Meadow Creek SQ36. With meticulous craftsmanship and top materials, the Amish-made Meadow Creek cookers are highly regarded; $1,050. meadowcreekbarbecue.com. Klose 20x36 Square Smoker. Houston’s David Klose makes some of the world’s most dazzling custom pits. Think of this one as an entrylevel Mercedes; $1,295. bbqpits.com. grillin’& chillin’ OTHER MEAT OPTIONS Forget the beef Recipes compiled by BONNIE S. BENWICK The Washington Post 1 Rosemary-Lemon Turkey Cutlets 4 SERVINGS Simple flavors here, simply prepared. We found in testing that just a little dressing is left for serving, so we recommend doubling the amounts called for here. ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary 2 cloves garlic, minced Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1¼ pounds red-skinned potatoes (unpeeled), cut into ½-inch-thick wedges 1¼ to 1½ pounds ª-inch-thick turkey cutlets MAKE AHEAD: The potatoes and turkey need to marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Whisk together the ¼ cup oil, lemon juice, rosemary and garlic in a medium bowl to form a dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the potatoes in a medium bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the dressing and toss to coat. Place the turkey in a separate medium bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the dressing and toss to coat. Let the potatoes and turkey marinate at room temperature, turning them occasionally, for 15 to 30 minutes. Prepare the grill for direct heat. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill. Remove the turkey cutlets and potatoes from the marinade and transfer to separate rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning them once, until they are charred and cooked through. The turkey should cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees. Grill the potatoes for about 10 minutes per side. Any remaining dressing drizzled over each portion. Serve warm. 2 Coconut-Marinated Pork Tenderloin With Scallion-Peanut Relish 3 Grilled Tuna With Caramelized Onions, Cinnamon and Mint 4 TO 6 SERVINGS 4 SERVINGS The relish adds a herbaceous crunch to the silky texture of the marinated pork. The chili pepper used here is a hot one; wear foodsafe gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after prepping. Although the cinnamon is unexpected, the mint turned out to be the nicest surprise here, elevating the onions and adding to the sweetsour notes of the dish. 14 ounces unsweetened low-fat coconut milk Grated zest and juice of 2 limes 1 heaping tablespoon mild curry powder 2 teaspoons mild smoked paprika (pimenton) 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 3 tablespoons peeled, grated ginger root 1 Scotch bonnet chili pepper, seeded and chopped (may substitute 2 tablespoons Scotch bonnet hot sauce) ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 2 pounds pork tenderloin (preferably in one piece), trimmed of silver skin and visible fat 2 tablespoons canola oil Kosher salt 4 scallions, light-green and dark-green parts, halved lengthwise then finely chopped 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves º teaspoon ground allspice ½ cup coarsely chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts Hot sauce, for serving MAKE AHEAD: The pork needs to marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Combine the coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, curry powder, paprika, garlic, ginger, Scotch bonnet chili pepper and black pepper in a large zip-top bag. Add the pork and seal, pressing as much air out as possible. Massage to coat evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. Prepare the grill for direct and indirect heat. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill. Brush the pork with the oil and season lightly all over with salt. Put the pork directly over the heat and cook until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the indirect-heat side of the grill; cook for about 12 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 145 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the scallions, cilantro, allspice and peanuts in a mixing bowl. Taste, and season with salt as needed. Cut the pork crosswise into slices and arrange on a platter. Spoon the relish on top; serve with hot sauce. NUTRITION PER SERVING: 380 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 95mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 24g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 2g sugar, 37g protein. NUTRITION Per serving (based on 6): 310 calories, 35 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar Adapted from “The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide From Bon Appetit,” edited by Adam Rapoport (Andrews McMeel, 2013). Adapted from “Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction,” by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter, 2013). 4 tablespoons canola oil 2 large Spanish onions, cut in half, then into thin slices 1 tablespoon sugar Pinch crushed red pepper flakes Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks ¼ cup red wine vinegar Water Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Four 8-ounce tuna steaks 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves MAKE AHEAD: The onions can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated a few days in advance. Stir in the mint no more than 15 minutes before serving. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cinnamon sticks; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and a few tablespoons of water; season lightly with salt and pepper. Prepare the grill for direct heat. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill. Brush the tuna steaks on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season lightly all over with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook uncovered until golden brown and slightly charred, about 2 minutes per side (for medium-rare). Transfer the tuna to a platter. Discard the cinnamon sticks from the onion relish and stir in the mint. Top the tuna with the relish. NUTRITION PER SERVING: 420 calories, 54 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar Adapted from “Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction,” by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter, 2013). 4 Shrimp and Sausage Skewers With Paprika Glaze 6 SERVINGS Beautifully colored and savory, a single skewer makes a satisfying portion. Because the skewers are on the grill just long enough to cook the shrimp (and not long enough to cook sausages through), be sure to use a cooked smoked sausage. You’ll also need six 12-inch-long metal skewers. ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil 4 large garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons chopped thyme 5 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton) 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar ¾ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 12 extra-large shrimp (13 to 15 per pound), peeled and deveined 1 pound cooked smoked sausage, such as andouille or linguica, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces 12 cherry tomatoes 12 red onion wedges MAKE AHEAD: The glaze can be made and skewers can be assembled up to 6 hours in advance. Prepare the grill for direct heat. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill. Whisk together the oil, garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, vinegar, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Reserve half of the glaze by transferring it to a separate bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. Thread the shrimp, sausage pieces, tomatoes and onion sections alternately onto the metal skewers, dividing the elements evenly. Arrange the skewers on a large rimmed baking sheet. Use half of the glaze to coat them thoroughly and evenly. Cook uncovered for 6 to 8 minutes, turning the skewers as needed and brushing occasionally with that glaze, until the shrimp are just opaque in the center. Divide the skewers among individual plates. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pass the reserved glaze at the table. 310 calories, 24g fat, 6g saturated fat, 70mg cholesterol, 650mg sodium, 8g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar, 16g protein. Adapted from “The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide From Bon Appetit,” edited by Adam Rapoport (Andrews McMeel, 2013). GRILL HEAT DIRECTIONS FOR INDIRECT HEAT: If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly over the cooking area. For a hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 3 or 4 seconds. FOR DIRECT HEAT: If using a gas grill, preheat to high (475 to 500 degrees). For charcoal, repeat steps above. For a very hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for no more than 1 or 2 seconds. 1 2 3 4 Photos by DEB LINDSEY/ The Washington Post grillin’& chillin’ ON THE SIDE YOU CAN GET THE PARTY STARTED EARLY WITH THESE FAST AND SIMPLE DISHES Quick makes BY SUE KIDD | Staff writer ou know that party you planned last July where you spent all morning over that hot stove, slow-cooking that vat of baked beans? Yeah, don’t do that again. Here’s a fun trick: Make as much of the party food as possible in advance. The payoff: more time for grilling and cocktail sipping at the actual party. We turned to readers to ask what to cook for a summer barbecue that could be easily assembled the morning of a party, or days before for those of us who plan that far ahead. We insisted that recipes be packed with flavor, but the ingredients must be simple to assemble. For Leanne Willard, an Olympia foodie who also runs the Bayview School of Cooking at the downtown Thriftway, she relies on make-ahead salads that can hold in the fridge for a day or two. Israeli Israeli couscous and corn salad DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer couscous with corn and red peppers adds just the right touch of texture and substance to her summer salad. For Puyallup resident Marti Miller Hall, a vegan, creating summer party salads is a tough assignment when she’s tasked with finding a salad that also will appeal to a broad section of friends who don’t eschew dairy or meat. Her solution is to dig deep into Southeast Asian flavors that are as tasty as they are nutritious. Read those recipes, along with a handful of others submitted by readers. Cucumber Salad YIELD: SERVES 4 FOR EVEN MORE DELICIOUS SIDE DISH RECIPES TO FILL OUT YOUR BACKYARD COOKOUT SEE P. 18-19 2½ cups cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup plain yogurt ½ teaspoon sugar (or substitute stevia, a natural sweetener) 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ¼ teaspoon dried dill, or ½ teaspoon dill seed Place cucumbers in a container, and sprinkle with salt. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain water from cucumber, add remaining ingredients and stir. Serve immediately. Source: Kelli Brown, Tacoma Israeli Couscous and Corn Salad Kale Salad with Curry-Peanut Dressing YIELD: SERVES 8 YIELD: SERVES 6-8 1½ cups Israeli couscous (about ½ pound) 2 cups boiling water Salt, to taste 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cups fresh corn kernels 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced 2 green onions, thinly sliced 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint ª cup fresh lime juice ¼ cup canola oil 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1½ teaspoons honey ¾ teaspoon finely grated lime zest Freshly ground pepper Put the couscous in a bowl, and add boiling water. Stir in 2 teaspoons of salt, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand, stirring once, until the grains are plump and tender, about 45 minutes. Alternately, follow the directions on the package for preparing couscous if another form of couscous is substituted. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the corn, onion and coriander, and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add the couscous to the bowl, along with the bell pepper, jalapeños, green onions and mint. In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, canola oil, vinegar, honey and lime zest. Add to the couscous and toss. Season with salt and pepper, and serve. ª cup peanut butter 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1-inch piece ginger, shredded 2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon brown sugar, agave nectar or honey 1 teaspoon curry powder or more to taste ¼ teaspoon cayenne or to taste Sea salt, to taste 1 large bunch kale or as much as you want for the amount of dressing (see note) 1 carrot, finely shredded 1-2 cups finely shredded purple cabbage (optional) 1 bunch green onions, sliced Sesame seeds or crushed peanuts for garnish NOTE ON KALE: I prefer the Tuscan kale, also known as black, dinosaur or lacinato. To make the dressing: Combine first nine ingredients in food processor and taste. The dressing will be thick. Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to make it blend smooth. Adjust seasonings (curry, salt) to your taste. To make the salad: Wash and remove the thick “stem” from the center of the kale leaves and discard. Cut the kale into thin ribbons. Place the kale in a large salad bowl, and pour some of the dressing on it. Mix well, using your hand to massage the dressing into the kale (this step breaks down the leaves and makes them nice and tender). I don’t always use the entire amount of dressing, but add as much as you prefer. Add shredded carrots, cabbage and green onions. Stir well. Let the salad sit for about 10-15 minutes. Source: Marti Miller Hall, Puyallup Source: Leanne Willard, Olympia, director of Bayview Cooking School DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer Fresh Pineapple Chutney Apple Bacon Cornbread with Pecan Praline Butter YIELD: SERVES 6-8 YIELD: SERVES 9-12 1 pineapple, cut into rings and grilled 2 red bell peppers, grilled, then cut into strips 1 large Walla Walla onion, cut into strips 2 tablespoons butter 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced 1 tablespoon brown sugar Core and cut the fresh pineapple into rings, and grill over flame until pineapple rings have grill marks. Grill red pepper until smoky but not charred. Cool, then cut pineapple into bite-sized pieces. Cool, de-seed and peel red peppers, then cut into strips. Sauté onion in butter over low heat until caramelized (might take up to 30 minutes). Add grilled pineapple and peppers. Continue to cook over low until softened. In a separate pan, place jalapeños and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until jalapeños begin to caramelize. Add to onion mixture. Combine and cool. Serve with anything as an accompaniment, but tastes best served warm over hamburgers. ½ cup softened butter 1½ tablespoons light brown sugar, packed ª cup pecans, chopped or broken into pieces 1 tablespoon butter 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced small (about 1 cup) 8 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and crumbled 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal ¼ cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk ª cup vegetable oil 1 large egg, slightly beaten For the pecan butter: Beat butter in small bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in brown sugar. Stir in pecan pieces. Set aside. For cornbread: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add apple, and sauté for 5 minutes or until apple is just tender. Set aside. Cook bacon until crisp, drain and crumble. Combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl. In separate bowl, mix together the milk, oil and egg. Add the milk mixture to dry mixture in mixing bowl, and stir until just combined. Batter should be slightly lumpy. Add apples and bacon. Pour into baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm with pecan praline butter. Source: Michelle Galaz, Lakewood HEAT IT Got extra pineapple? Try spicing it up with a little “Baja Spice Rub” and throwing it on the grill. SEE P. 10 FOR RUB RECIPE Source: Debbie Newton, Puyallup Fried Corn YIELD: SERVES 6-8 8-10 ears sweet corn on the cob, roasted 2 teaspoons sugar Salt, to taste 1 tablespoon flour 2 tablespoons butter ¾ cup cream 6 pieces bacon, fried crisp, reserve 1 tablespoon fat Paprika Pepper, to taste Roast corn until you get good brown marks, and let cool. Carefully cut the kernels off the cob, scraping the sides down to get the juice. Meanwhile, fry six pieces of bacon until crispy. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat. To the bacon fat in the pan, add 1 tablespoon of flour and make a roux. Sprinkle in sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and ½ cup of cream, carefully whisking the mixture. Add corn. Cook corn until all kernels are tender (maybe 15 minutes), and add up to ª cup more cream to keep corn moist. Add salt, if needed. Turn up heat, and add remaining tablespoon of butter. Fry the corn until kernels begin to take on a little color. Add crumbled bacon, and sprinkle the mixture with paprika and pepper before serving. Source: Michelle Galaz, Lakewood grillin’&chillin’ DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer ON THE SIDE Thai Sweet-Hot Coleslaw RECIPES From PAGE 17 CHECK THE HEAT The heat level of jalapeños can vary from mild to hot depending on how you slice it. To lower the heat, remove the seeds when dicing. YIELD: SERVES 6-8 3 tablespoons soy sauce ª cup fresh-squeezed lime juice ª cup sugar 1½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (or to taste) 1 to 2 jalapeño chiles, minced (or to taste) 1 head cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced or coarsely shredded (can use half purple, half green) 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped For the dressing: Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, canola oil and lime juice into a small bowl, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add garlic, ginger and jalapeños. (Note: You can use a food processor at this point if you want. I prefer all the “chunks” be whizzed up.) Cover and refrigerate dressing until ready to use. To assemble: About 30 minutes before serving, put the cabbage, carrots and red onion into a large bowl, and mix together. Pour the dressing over, toss again, cover and refrigerate. To serve, toss the cabbage mixture in the dressing, and put on serving platter. Add half the cilantro, toss with tongs and scatter the remaining cilantro on top. Source: Marti Miller Hall, Puyallup Smoky Paprika BBQ Potato Chips 8 SERVINGS Recipes compiled by BONNIE S. BENWICK The Washington Post There’s no grill involved with these chips, so you can make a batch while your charcoal is heating up. Mustard-Aioli-Grilled Potatoes with Fine Herbs Two 10-ounce bags unflavored kettle-style potato chips 2 tablespoons smoked paprika (pimenton) 1 tablespoon plus ß teaspoon garlic powder 1ß teaspoons turbinado sugar ß tablespoon coarse sea salt, preferably sel gris ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid (see note) NOTE: The small amount of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) called for here really brightens the flavor of the spice mixture. It is available in powdered and crystal form at healthfood stores. Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the chips on the baking sheets. Bake about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, sugar, salt and ascorbic acid in a small bowl. As soon as you pull the chips from the oven, pour them into a big bowl. Hold a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl, then pour the spice mixture through the sieve so you can evenly sprinkle the hot chips. Toss gently to coat evenly, trying to avoid breaking the chips. Serve warm or at room temperature. 4 TO 6 SERVINGS This combines flavors from the south of France and California’s Napa Valley. The dish is easy to assemble, and the potatoes look smashing when served just off the grill. ß cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise 2 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon-style mustard 1 heaping tablespoon whole-grain mustard Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 2ß pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon MAKE AHEAD: The aioli needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and up to a day in advance. Whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic and mustards in a medium container; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water by 2 inches and add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of a potato meets some resistance. Drain well and let cool slightly. Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium (350 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them under the cooking area for direct heat. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 4 or 5 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill. Combine the warm potatoes and aioli in a mixing bowl and season lightly with salt; toss to coat evenly. Grill (uncovered) until golden brown on all sides (a little char looks appealing), about 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a platter and sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. NUTRITION PER SERVING: 390 calories, 5 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar NUTRITION PER SERVING (based on 6, using low-fat mayo): 230 calories, 5 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar Adapted from “Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction,” by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson (Clarkson Potter, 2013). DEB LINDSEY/The Washington Post Adapted from “Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire: 125 Recipes for Cooking Outdoors,” by Michael Chiarello with Claudia Sansone and Ann Krueger Spivack (Chronicle Books, 2013). TONI L. SANDYS/The Washington Post Grilled Spiced Olives 4 SERVINGS Here, the olives’ flavor is enhanced by marinating, then grilling, them. The two-step process makes them a dynamic and interesting snack. 2 cups mixed olives (pitted or unpitted) Zest and juice of 1 orange, zest first removed in large strips using a vegetable peeler 1 teaspoon fennel seed 2 sprigs fresh thyme One 3-inch cinnamon stick 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil NOTE: You’ll need a grilling basket, and you’ll need to soak 1 cup of applewood chips in water for an hour. MAKE AHEAD: The olives need to marinate for a day or two at room temperature. Combine the olives, orange zest and juice, fennel seed, thyme sprigs and cinnamon stick in a medium bowl. Cover and marinate for a day or two at room temperature, stirring every now and then to make sure the olives are coated. Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to low (300 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them under the cooking area for direct heat. Drain the applewood chips and distribute them on the coals. You should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 6 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Grease a grill basket with cooking oil spray. Remove the thyme sprigs and cinnamon stick from the olives and reserve them. Spread the olives in the grill basket. Cook for about 5 minutes; they will sizzle and begin to caramelize. Move the basket away from direct heat just far enough to add the cinnamon stick and thyme sprigs to the fire, then return the basket to its original spot. Close the grill lid and let the olives smoke for about 5 minutes. Transfer the olives to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the oil; serve right away. NUTRITION PER SERVING: 110 calories, 0 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 590 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar Adapted from “Where There’s Smoke: Simple, Sustainable, Delicious Grilling,” by Barton Seaver (Sterling Epicure, 2013). grillin’&chillin’ COOKING HOW-TO less is more For a better burger, WHEN GRILLING GROUND BEEF, MIXING LEAN AND FATTY CUTS IS A SIMPLE WAY TO GET GREAT FLAVOR BY ELIZABETH KARMEL | The Associated Press hen the weather turns warm, I find myself craving the smell and taste of a great homemade burger off the grill. So what makes a great burger? There are a few simple rules. But if you remember just one of them, it should be that less really is more. Which is to say, the less you add to your ground beef, the less you handle the meat when mixing it, and the less you flip it while grilling, the better burger you get in the end. The foundation of my backyard burger is a 50-50 combination of sirloin and chuck. I love mixing the leaner and cleaner ground sirloin with the rich beefiness of ground chuck. A patty that is 100 percent sirloin is too lean, and 100 percent chuck is too fatty. If I am close to a good butcher, I also love to make a custom grind. You can ask the butcher to grind the odd pieces of brisket, short rib, skirt and hanger steak, and add it to a lean and clean base of sirloin for a top-notch burger. The key is a mix of lean and fatty meat, freshly ground. Beyond the meat itself, you don’t want to add too many other ingredients, particularly wet ones. You don’t want to compete with the flavor of the beef, or leave it too watery. I limit myself to a sprinkle of salt and pepper, plus just a bit of dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce. The last two amp the savory flavors of the burger without competing with it. Once the meat is seasoned, I lightly mix everything together and divide it into equal portions. I generally use 2 pounds of meat to make six burgers. This step can be done up to a day in advance. If prepping in ahead, refrigerate the patties and make sure they are well covered to minimize the oxidation (discoloration) of the meat. Before the burgers go on the grill, be sure to press your thumb into the center of each patty, pushing it halfway down. This is the real secret to a perfect backyard burger. This is because as the meat cooks, the fibers expand and they inflate the burger, turning it into a ball. If you make the depression with your thumb, the meat expands to fill the hole, leaving the burger flat. A hot grill also is important to getting a great burger. Be sure to heat it with all burners on high (or wait until the charcoal is covered with a gray ash), then clean the heated cooking grates with a brass bristle brush. Reduce the heat to a medium just before placing the burgers on the grill. You should hear a satisfying sizzle when the meat hits the grates. Cover the grill and flip the burgers just once halfway through the cooking time. The meat initially will stick to the grill grates. But as it cooks, it will naturally release itself. This is true of many foods and all protein, whether you are grilling or sauteing it. This is why it is so important not to flip the burgers more than once, as well as why so many burgers end up falling apart when they are flipped too early. And it also should go without saying that pressing down on the burgers with a spatula is a no-no, too. Club House Burger With Buttered Bun START TO FINISH: 30 MINUTES | SERVINGS: 6 1 pound ground sirloin 1 pound ground chuck 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon Coleman’s dry mustard 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 2 tablespoons extra-virgin Olive oil ¼ cup (½ stick) melted butter 6 kaiser rolls, sliced 6 crisp butter or Boston lettuce leaves 6 slices purple or sweet onion, such as Vidalia 2 large tomatoes, cut into 6 slices 6 slices cooked bacon (optional) Ketchup (optional) Mustard (optional) Mayonnaise (optional) Heat a grill to high. In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin and ground chuck. Mix it together, being careful not to overwork the meat. Add the Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Mix until just combined, then divide the mixture into 6 pieces. Gently shape each piece into a burger about ¾-inch thick. Press your thumb gently into the center of each to form a depression. Brush the patties lightly on both sides with the olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the burgers and grill until the meat no longer is pink, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Meanwhile, brush butter over both sides of the rolls and grill until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the burgers immediately on the buttered rolls with a lettuce leaf, a slice of raw onion, tomato and a slice of bacon, if desired. Serve with traditional condiments on the side. NUTRITION PER SERVING: 550 calories; 260 calories from fat (47 percent of total calories); 30 g fat (12 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 110 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 35 g protein; 760 mg sodium. Cookbooks to guide your grilling QUICK TIP BY BILL DALEY | Chicago Tribune Don’t forget to toast the bun on the grill while cooking your burgers. Grilling books are getting a bit much these days, aren’t they? Either you’re commanded to build a veritable pyre to sear your steak, preferably on a Patagonian plain, or you must search out a whole hog whose bloodlines are bluer than yours, or you have to rassle almost to the death all those barbecue purists trying to slap that jarred sauce out of your hands. It’s enough fuss to make you head back inside to the stove. Three new books refreshingly cut through the hoo-ha to bring home cooks back to the smoke-kissed joys that drew us all to outdoor cooking in the first place. Crack open a cold one — and any of these books — and get grilling. MATTHEW MEAD/The Associated Press “The Grilling Book” “Where There’s Smoke” Edited by Adam Rapoport; Andrews McMeel, $45 (e-book, $16.99) By Barton Seaver; Sterling Epicure, $30 You know how to grill pork chops. You’re always grilling pork chops. Yet you’re tired of the same ol’ pork chops you always grill. How about Yucatan-style, with citrus, allspice, onion and cabbage? Therein lies the beauty of Bon Appetit’s “The Grilling Book”: The depth and breadth of its recipe collection affords you options to last several summers. More than 380 recipes are spread among go-to proteins, like beef, chicken and pork, but also the meats less often chosen: fish, seafood, lamb — you’d be hard-pressed to find 22 lamb recipes in most grilling books. Then there are the vegetables, flatbreads and sides, and nongrilling items, like the 18 boozy drinks. Driving your journey are the beautiful photographs with their deliberate-disarray food styling, achieving brilliantly their job: “That looks delicious, but not so hard,” you will say. “I can make that.” There aren’t big pictures of flaming steaks on this book’s cover. And the word “sustainable” is in its subtitle, which might put off folks who dare to barbecue, say, artichokes not grown within 200 miles of their kettle grill. Yet chef Seaver doesn’t preach. Instead, the National Geographic Fellow and author of the cookbook “For Cod and Country” is a congenial guide for grill vets and novices. In “The Mechanics” of grilling, he weighs in on the charcoal briquette versus lump charcoal debate. In “Techniques,” he tackles a dozen woods, from alder to wine barrel staves, describing their characteristics and smoke. Seaver is no slouch when it comes to providing intriguing recipes, from drinks and starters (smoked peach Manhattan, ember-roasted squash hummus) on through sides, meats and poultry and basics (brines, dry rubs, smoke-dried tomatoes). — Joe Gray, Tribune Newspapers — Judy Hevrdejs, Tribune Newspapers “All Fired Up” By the editors of Southern Living, with Troy Black; Oxmoor, $24.95 (e-book, $9.99 to $10.16) Nothing is hotter than Southern food these days, except perhaps the debate over which section of the South does outdoor cooking best. Southern Living’s editors wisely don’t choose one over the other in this book. They offer all the Southern specialties, from pulled pork with the vinegar sauce used in eastern North Carolina to a Memphis dry rub for ribs to an Alabama smoked chicken with its white sauce to a traditional Texas brisket. Using simple, clear language and bold, nononsense photography, the book teaches you the techniques and explains the top 10 tools you need, to master all sorts of outdoor cooking with confidence. “All Fired Up” contains plenty of traditional recipes, but there are also more modern, more global dishes, including Vietnamese BBQ tacos, grilled sea bass with mango salsa and grilled tomato bruschetta. Look, too, for a variety of sauces, rubs and marinades to jazz up flavor. — Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune grillin’&chillin’ ON THE SWEETER SIDE outside Take it LOCAL EXPERTS DISH ON HOW TO DEAL WITH DESSERTS OUTDOORS BY SUE KIDD | Staff writer Pacific Grill 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-6273535, pacificgrill tacoma.com Celebrity Cake Studio 314 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-6274773, celebrity cakestudio.com Corina Bakery 602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; 253-627-5070, corinabakery.com heesecake, custard and anything with buttercream frosting. Such pretty desserts, but they’re also disastrous for a patio party thanks to the cruel reality of what happens to frosting and cream exposed to hours of direct sunlight. Oh, the horror of gritty rivers of buttercream. Beyond a short shelf life, there’s another problem with serving dessert at an al fresco party — how do you find time to individually plate desserts when you’re stuck playing hostess? Solution: Bitesized desserts made in advance. Store the desserts in the fridge up until the moment of service to avoid the wrath of direct sunlight. We have recipes here for three such desserts with tips for setting up a patio dessert buffet from some of the region’s finest pastry experts — Erin Powell, pastry chef of downtown Tacoma’s Pacific Grill, along with bakery owners Odette D’Aniello, of Celebrity Cake Studio, and Molly Ott, of Corina Bakery. QUESTION: What are the easiest desserts to prepare for a dessert buffet – especially for an outdoor party? Powell: I find some of the easiest desserts to throw together are those that you can make ahead of time, things like brownies, cookies, cup- cakes, etc. Whoopie pies have also become quite popular, and for good reason: They are easy to make, can be made ahead of time and store well in the refrigerator for a few days. Cookies are also a personal favorite of mine. You can make and scoop the dough days, or weeks, ahead of time and bake it off when you need it. Ott: Try mini-cupcakes with multidimensional flavors, like banana cake with peanut butter cream and chocolate ganache, or shortbread cookies drizzled in colorful glazes and sprinkles. D’Aniello: Cupcakes, cake pops, petit fours, tiramisu cups, parfaits and trifles. Brownies, lemon bars, push pops. Q: Can you share your favorite tips and tricks for the display of a dessert buffet? Ott: Make the table accessible on two sides. Vary the heights of the trays or pedestals by hiding boxes and strings of lights underneath table clothes or bolts of fabric. Trays made of lucite, marble or wood can help develop any theme you’re after. Placing fresh, uncut fruits or paper flowers in strategic places can also bring focus to a specific color scheme. Powell: My favorite thing about summer is fruit. So, I love to incorporate fruit into my desserts to give them the “summery” look and taste. Summertime in the Northwest is a wonderful time to incorporate beautiful and colorful produce into your dessert creations. We have an abundance of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries) and stone fruit (peaches, plums, Fruit Crunch YIELD: 8 SERVINGS pluots and apricots) at our disposal. D’Aniello: To assemble a dessert buffet, first start out with your theme, and pick out a linen and backdrop (if against a wall) to match. Then gather cake stands and platters, layering them so that the middle is the tallest with the rest tapering to the sides (like a pyramid). Take all the desserts that you have and arrange so that the middle has the focal point (a decorated cake, for example) and the rest are grouped so the colors balance. For example, chocolate-covered strawberries on one end and red velvet cupcakes on the other end. Q: What kind of serving vessels make for a memorable display? Powell: Any cocktail glass makes for a lovely presentation of desserts, especially layered desserts with contrasting colors. Shot glasses work wonders for mini-dessert presentations. Mason jars are very popular right now and come in a variety of sizes. They can be used for easyto-assemble layered desserts. ... I’ve also seen pies and crisps served in short Mason jars. D’Aniello: I like to collect beautiful things for my displays. I found a silver tea platter and a tea set at an estate sale and it adds a neutral but pretty detail to a display. I also like very rustic and shabby-chic items. I’ve used cabinets to display desserts in too. Combining materials such as wood, metal and glass makes for a very interesting dessert table. Pretty labels are a must. Q: Which desserts should be avoided at an outdoor summer party? Powell: For outdoor parties I shy away from cheesecakes, custards, and any items that will lose their integrity by sitting out in the heat. When I use fruit, I keep it inside until dessert time or serve it in a dish that has a cover to keep bugs away. Ott: I’d avoid anything that is a cream-based dessert that can’t be held to a temperature of 39 degrees or below. D’Aniello: If outside, chocolate quickly melts, and so does buttercream. Fruits attract flies, so best to keep them covered. SEE P. 26 FOR THE RECIPES FOR A PINEAPPLE CHIFFON CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND FRESH STRAWBERRIES, AND THESE LEMONRASPBERRY COOKIE SANDWICHES FOR THE CRUNCH: ½ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup oats ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped ½ cup brown sugar ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon kosher salt 4 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces FOR THE FILLING: 2 pounds mixed fruit (we used mixed berries in the TNT test kitchen) ½ cup to 1 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (if desired) FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM: 2 cups heavy cream 1 tablespoon granulated sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract Crunch Topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine everything but the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Mix for 30 seconds. Add cold butter and mix until butter is incorporated. Spread mixture onto parchment-lined tray and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix the topping around and break up any large clumps (don’t panic if it’s spread into a giant cookie; it’s easy to break up — just give it a solid stir). Cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, checking every few minutes, until mixture begins to brown and dry out. Let come to room temperature before using. Stores well in an airtight container for a few days. Fruit Filling: Clean and prep any fruit being used (hull, peel, pit) and place in a large bowl. Add half a cup of sugar and remaining ingredients. Let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, stir the fruit and add more sugar if desired. Set aside while the whipped cream is prepared. Whipped Cream: In the clean bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand or with a hand-held blender), whip the cream, sugar and vanilla to medium peaks. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Assembly: Divide fruit between 8 bowls, top with a heaping scoop of crunch topping and whipped cream. Will keep in the fridge for a few hours. Alternately, plate the fruit and crumble, and set out for guests. Then, present a bowl of whipped-cream topping and extra crumble just before serving. Beware of too much sun, this dessert will deflate. Source: Erin Powell, Pacific Grill pastry chef Photos by DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer grillin’&chillin’ ON THE SWEETER SIDE RECIPES From PAGE 25 Pineapple Chiffon Cake with Whipped Cream and Fresh Strawberries YIELD: MAKES ONE LAYERED CAKE, OR ABOUT 30 CUPCAKES 1¾ cups cake flour 1½ cups ultrafine sugar ½ teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 8 eggs, separated ª cup pineapple juice ¼ cup canola oil ½ teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1½ cups heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons sugar Fresh strawberries Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 9-inch pans with parchment. Beat egg yolks, pineapple juice, canola oil and vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Sift flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking soda and salt. Sift three additional times. Make a well and pour in egg yolk mixture until smooth. In a large bowl whip egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy. Slowly add half a cup of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Take a quarter of the egg white mixture and fold into the egg yolk batter. Fold in the rest of the batter slowly and carefully to keep the volume. Divide into 3 pans and tap the filled pans to get rid of air bubbles. Bake for 16 minutes or when toothpick comes out clean. Let cool upside down on a covered wire rack. In a cold mixing bowl, whip heavy cream and sugar to stiff peak. Place cakes on serving tray. Spread with whipped cream and top with fresh strawberries. For a dessert buffet: Make the cake in cupcake pans and spread individual desserts with frosting. Cupcakes can be pulled from the fridge just before serving. Source: Odette D’Aniello, Celebrity Cake Studio owner DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer Lemon-Raspberry Cookie Sandwiches YIELD: 28 SANDWICHES FOR THE COOKIES: 4 ounces butter, softened 3 ounces cream cheese, softened ¾ cups granulated sugar 1 lemon, zested 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon salt 2 egg yolks 2 cups all purpose flour FOR THE SUGAR: 1 cup sugar 1 lemon, zested FOR THE FILLING: ¾ cup raspberry jam Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream butter, ¾ cup sugar, cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Cream until smooth. Scrape down the mix, add the egg yolks and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until just combined. For the sugar: You will roll the raw cookie dough in this sugar mixture. In a food processor (or a medium-sized bowl), process one cup of sugar and the zest of 1 lemon until well-combined. To prep the cookies: Scoop cookie dough with a small (half an ounce) ice cream scoop. Roll the cookies around in the sugar mixture until evenly coated and then place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly, if desired. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are set and they feel firm in the middle. Once the cookies are cool, match up 28 pairs of cookies and top each cookie with raspberry jam, sandwich together and serve. Note: If you don’t use all of the dough, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Leave out for 30 minutes to soften before scooping. Source: Erin Powell, Pacific Grill pastry chef TEXAS-SIZED RULES Photos by BILL O’LEARY/The Washington Post Saddle up, cowboy, we’re doing barbecue Texas-style BY TIM CARMAN | The Washington Post he problem lies with the word “barbecue” and the public’s many associations with it. All too often, this all-American noun implies languid July afternoons, a Weber kettle smoldering through a bag or two of charcoal as mindlessly as I might plow through a tub of popcorn during a summer blockbuster. The party might have an actual arrival hour, but it can last well into the night, as long as there are still briquettes to burn, ground beef to press into patties and cold beer to swill. Time holds no sway over a backyard barbecue. Those basic truths, however, do not apply when you affix a complicated adjective — “Central Texas-style” — to barbecue. Like many who have lived in the Lone Star State, I became a fervent member of the Church of Central Texas Barbecue, whose tenets are simple: You COOKING slow-cook brisket, ribs and sausage over TECHNIQUE indirect heat and smoke, using seasoned hardwoods and only a select few seasonings. Sauces are viewed skeptically but not shunned completely. Of course, when I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2001, I was a man of faith without a sanctuary in which to worship. I spent a long, smokeless year in Washington before author Robb Walsh, an old Houston colleague and one of the reigning authorities on Texas barbecue, introduced me to Jim Shahin, also a former Texan. Soon enough, I was introduced to Jim’s barbecue, prepared not with a Weber but a cheap offset barrel smoker; the feasts were big, sweaty and meaty homages to the Central Texas smokehouses that had fed us so well for so long. I reveled in Jim’s parties for years before I had the courage to suggest that I try my own hand at it. That is when I was introduced to Jim’s No. 1 rule: I’d first have to learn barbecue the hard way, understanding how to bend fire to my will for hours, before he’d show me any shortcuts. A true Texas pit master does not use a Big Green Egg. Over the years, I have discovered a few hard lessons about hosting barbecue parties. I’ve condensed them into the following rules, some of which are dogmatic and easily dismissed by those who don’t bow before the same altar I do. Others are essential and fixed, realized over long, virtually sleepless nights trying to keep a fire burning in order to bring a taste of my beloved style of barbecue to friends and loved ones. Ban the collards and corn bread: I’ve violated this rule countless times, mostly because I love collards and corn bread (the non-cakelike kind), but a true Central Texas barbecue feast includes neither. Those two sides are staples tied to other barbecue regions. Your table should groan under the weight of smoked brisket, spare ribs, beef ribs, beef sausages, coleslaw, potato salad, pinto beans (not baked or refried, thank you), pecan pie and peach cobbler. And don’t forget the side plate of sliced raw onions, pickles, jalapeños and white bread. Yes, white bread. Sauces are optional. Do not consider your barbecue a failure if a guest asks for sauce. Invite punctual partygoers: I once invited a friend who I’ve known since my Kansas City days in the 1980s. Relishing my role as brisket evangelist, I was excited to introduce him to Central Texas barbecue and perhaps get him to renounce his saucy ways. I didn’t hear from him until a few minutes after midnight. He texted, wanting to know whether the party still was going strong. I read the message while lying in bed, the leftovers already tightly wrapped in the fridge. Here’s the takeaway from this anecdote: Texas barbecue is carefully timed. You calculate how many hours it will take to produce perfectly smoked brisket, ribs and sausages, and you invite your guests to arrive a little before that time. Those who miss the dinner bell will suffer inferior meats, plain and simple. This is where barbecue and fine dining intersect: Both are perishable meals that quickly decline once pulled from their heat source. Clean your house the day before you smoke the meats: This is a rule I need to follow myself. It only compounds the fatigue if you have to tend a smoker and clean the bathroom at the same time. Don’t complain: This is another Jim Shahin rule, and it might be the most important one. If you’re committed enough to build a fire, tend it and feed it for hours to cook your brisket and ribs, then you are probably a certified smoked-meats obsessive. You seek nothing less than perfection, sometimes come achingly close to it, and routinely pick apart every flaw of your barbecue when you fall short of it. You need to keep those complaints to yourself. “It’s just bad manners to bring ‘the flaws’ to everyone’s attention,” Jim says. “It just changes the atmosphere of the whole evening.” Serve people yourself: You’ve spent hours on this meal; you should have the honor of slicing the brisket yourself. That way, you can cut off fatty little bites — those buttery pieces from the point side of the brisket, with a thin, lush crust of salt, pepper and smoke — for old friends and special guests. It’s your gift to them. If you’ve done your job well, your friends will express themselves with sounds of sheer, savage delight. And you will feel revived by their words, at least for a little while. grillin’& chillin’ DRINKS sippers Summer SESSION BEERS OFFER LIGHTER IMBIBING WITHOUT LOSING FLAVOR BY CRAIG SAILOR | Staff writer he next time you have an urge for a Bud Light, you might want to try a session beer instead. Session beers are lower alcohol content versions of India pale ales (IPAs), ales, lagers and other standard styles. “It is a really hot category right now with more and more breweries jumping on board each month,” said Barry Watson, owner of Fircrest bar and beer emporium Pint Defiance. He thinks the trend is more pronounced in the Pacific Northwest. The origin of the word “session” is murky, but most explanations agree that it comes from Britain and refers to breaks or drinking “sessions” in which pubgoers would drink lower-alcohol beer — and thus, more of it. “The most basic way to categorize a session beer is a beer that is lower in alcohol that has an appealing yet not overwhelming flavor,” Watson said. To be called a session beer, a brew should have an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of 1 or 2 percent under the standard, which usually works out to less than 5 percent. Fremont Brewing’s 77 Spring Session has an ABV of 4 percent, while a normal IPA would be in the 6 percent to 8 percent range. By comparison, the original Bud Light has an ABV of 4.2 percent, while newer “light” Budweiser introductions have climbed back up the ABV scale: Bud Ice Light is 5 percent, and Bud Light Platinum is 6 percent. The term “session” isn’t widely known among the public, and brewers seem to be mixed on labeling their beers as such. The lower alcohol content can be achieved in several ways. The two primary methods involve using less malted barley and a shorter boil. Though session beers have been around for decades, it’s probably still too soon to tell if the uptick is here to stay or just another trend. “As more and more new (session beers) came out, I started thinking, ‘There’s something to this trend,’ ” said Lionel Espinoza, manager of Olympia’s Gravity Beer Market. Consumers are catching on to the lowercalorie beers — especially outdoor-minded folks, Espinoza said. One customer comes in every day for his session beer after bike riding. “He calls it his training beer,” Espinoza said. So, why not just stick with a Bud Light? “You get much more flavor out of a craft session beer,” Espinoza said. “In the Northwest, people really like their hoppy beers, and these session beers give them that.” DON’T GET SKUNKED > Keep beer out of direct sun. The beverage can be turned sour or “skunky,” as “Drunken Botanist” author Amy Stewart calls it, in just a matter of minutes if struck by too much light. That also goes for beer in clear glass bottles. GET SHOPPING Pint Defiance 2049 Mildred St. W., Fircrest 253-302-4240, pintdefiance.com Gravity Beer Market 1001 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia 360-352-5107, gravitybeermarket.com NOTE: Beer selections vary by season and availability SESSION BEERS AT PINT DEFIANCE: Fremont Seattle Beer Week Pale Ale, 12 ounces, $1.69, ABV: 4.5 percent Silver City Ziggy Zoggy Lager, 22 ounces, $5.35, ABV: 5 percent Airways Oatmeal Pale Session Ale (PSA), 16 ounces, $2.75, ABV: 5 percent Deschutes River Ale, 12 ounces, $1.45, ABV: 4 percent Lagunitas DayTime IPA, 12 ounces, $1.65, ABV: 4.7 percent ON TAP: Boundary Bay Lightner, ABV: 3.7 percent SESSION BEERS AT GRAVITY: Fremont Brewing’s 77 Spring Session IPA, 22 ounces, $4.99, ABV: 4 percent Roslyn Brewing Co.’s dark lager, 22 ounces, $4.99, ABV: 4 percent Avery Brewing Co.’s Joe’s Premium American Pilsner, 12 ounces, $1.99, ABV 4.7 percent ON TAP: Black Diamond Mosaic Session IPA, ABV: 4.7 percent. Sold in 32-ounce ($6.50) and 64-ounce ($12) sizes. Foggy Noggin Bit O’ Beaver English bitter, ABV: 3.4 percent Both are sold in 32-ounce ($5) and 64-ounce ($10) sizes. Summer is a good time for finding beers with a fruity flavor to them. Photos by DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff photographer grillin’& chillin’ DRINKS cocktails Classy FRUIT, DISTILLED OR FRESH, IS THE KEY TO CREATING PERFECT MIXTURES FOR SUMMER BY CRAIG SAILOR | Staff writer ruit, either fresh or distilled, is the theme of cocktails this summer. Jason Alexander, co-owner of Tacoma Cabana and Rum Bar, specializes in fruit cocktails, and he is the first to admit tropical drinks have an image problem. “People think of them as a frozen slushy with whipped cream,” Alexander said. His drinks back off from the sugar and flow like a tropical stream, not a Slurpee. And, for a cocktail, they couldn’t be easier to make. Alexander has 120 rums in his bar but for these drinks he recommends a Dominican or other dry, lighter variety like Plantation 3 Stars. To sweeten his drinks he makes a simple syrup ahead of time (1 part sugar dissolved in 1 part water) and uses only fresh squeezed lime juice at his bar — no limeade, no Rose’s lime juice. GET THIS When it comes to rum, co-owner of Tacoma Cabana and Rum Bar, Jason Alexander, recommends a Dominican or other dry, lighter variety like Plantation 3 Stars. Rum, lime juice and simple syrup are the only ingredients in his daiquiris. And his mojito isn’t much more labor intensive. “I think everybody butchers (mojitos),” Alexander said. “They stab the mint and ice to death. It becomes a mini slushy.” Alexander muddles but does not grind the mint leaves. The goal, he said, is to simply break the veins of the leaves. Bar mojitos often suffer from a cloying sweetness. Homemade mojitos can be adjusted by reducing or increasing the simple syrup. Additionally, the rum in a mojito can be swapped with tequila. Consider it a Cuba-to-Mexico relocation. There are several variations on daiquiris as well. Daiquiri No. 2 adds half an ounce curacao and half an ounce orange juice. While those drinks are fairly simple to make, Alexander’s piña colada takes a little more work. While there’s perhaps no tropical concoction more iconic than the coconut-pineapple beverage, it too suffers from bad PR. Aside from references to that 1970s song by Rupert Holmes, it has the ultimate Slurpee connotation and is quickly you get all that fresh flavor, anytime you want, with a nice smooth texture, which makes the drink making process easier and more 728 Pacific Ave., consistent,” Knutson said. Tacoma. 253-222-4184, Knutson uses liqueurs from the tacomacabana.com French distiller Merlet. They come in strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, SWING WINE BAR peach, pear, melon and cassis (black currant). 825 Columbia Street SW, Knutson uses the liquors in two Olympia. 360-357-9464, classic cocktails: the kir royale and swingwinebar.com that staple of the Sunday brunch, the mimosa. “Everyone loves a mimosa DISTILLED FRUIT on a Sunday afternoon. Adding a half-ounce of At Olympia’s Swing wine bar, head bartender your favorite fresh fruit liquor gives the drink Bradford Knutson is using fresh fruit liqueurs a refreshing, personal touch. My favorite is a rather than fresh fruit itself. strawberry, gin spiked,” Knutson said. “Everyone loves the idea of fresh fruit cocktails The classic kir royale is made with crème de but the downside is getting the fruit you want cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and champagne. when you want it and when it is fresh,” Knutson But Knutson said any fresh fruit liquor can be said. Another downside, he said, is having a substituted, “to give you a whole rainbow of fresh cocktail full of pulp and seeds. fruit sparkling drinks.” “The advantage of a fresh fruit liqueur is that email@example.com dismissed by serious drinkers. Alexander disagrees. “I think a well-made piña colada is an amazing drink,” Alexander said. His key ingredient: fresh pineapple. While the piña colada is a more substantial drink than a daiquiri or mojito Alexander said his recipe “avoids the sickeningly sweet, too thick piña colada of yore.” TACOMA CABANA AND RUM BAR Daiquiri 2 ounces rum ½ ounce simple syrup ¾ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice Serve over ice and garnish with lime twist. Mojito 2 ounces rum ½ ounce simple syrup ¾ ounce lime juice 2 ounces seltzer water Place six to eight mint leaves in bottom of tall glass and muddle. Add rum, syrup and lime juice and shake. Add seltzer, then ice. SUMMER TRADITIONS Quench your thirst, refresh your palate BY SHARON K. GHAG | The Modesto Bee A soda is just a beverage, but one sip of a homemade soda and your eyes will pop out of their sockets and your mouth will get “WOW” big. That’s how good it is. Ripe cherries in the back yard inspired this version, but a soda made with blackberry, peach or strawberry syrup will have you dreaming of putting summer’s fruits to good use. Fix and stash a batch or two in the freezer. The sugar content keeps the syrup from freezing hard, so it’s always ready to mix with seltzer. And there’s no better way to end an evening than with an ice cold egg cream. Sour Cherry Syrup MAKES 2 CUPS 2 quarts fresh sour cherries, pitted 2 cups sugar Juice of ½ lemon In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the cherries, sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the fruit solids. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Pour over ice cream or stir into milk. Piña Colada 4 1-inch chunks of fresh pineapple 1 ounce coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez) ¾ ounce lime juice 2 ounces light dry rum 1 cup ice Put all ingredients in a blender and run for about 12 seconds. Pour into glass and use tropical garnish (pineapple slice, umbrella, etc.) Kir Royal Pour 1 ounce of crème de cassis (or other fresh fruit liqueur) in a 6 ounce champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Mimosa DEAN J. KOEPFLER/Staff phototographer In a white wine glass add: ½ ounce strawberry liqueur 1 ounce gin 2 ounces orange juice 3 ounces Prosecco sparkling wine Cherry soda: Fill tall glass with ice. Add 3 tablespoons syrup and add a few dashes citric acid solution or acid phosphate. Top with seltzer and mix gently. Cherry lassi: Add 3 tablespoons yogurt to a pint glass. Stir until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons cherry syrup and stir until syrup and yogurt are incorporated. Fill three-quarters full with water, stir and top with ice. Bourbon and cherry chocolate: Add 1¾ ounces bourbon, 1 tablespoon cherry syrup and dash of chocolate bitters to a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice cubes or into a rocks glass, or serve neat in a martini glass. Source: “Make Your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for AllNatural Pops, Floats, Cocktails and More,” by Anton Nocito (Clarkson Potter, $14.99). Traditional Chocolate Egg Cream SERVES 1 ‚ cup (3 ounces) whole milk About ¾ cup (6 ounces) very cold seltzer 3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) chocolate syrup Straight pretzel rod for garnish Pour the milk into a 12-ounce glass and add the seltzer. Using a long spoon, stir vigorously for a few seconds. Gently pour the chocolate syrup into the glass, then stir again, taking care to stir mostly at the bottom of the glass to incorporate. Garnish with a straight pretzel rod. Source: “New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights,” by Susan Pear Meisel (Rizzoli International, $29.95). grillin’&chillin’ AROUND THE HOME Keys to hosting a perfect party ENTERTAINING EXPERT OFFERS IDEAS AND INSPIRATION BY JURA KONCIUS | The Washington Post Entertaining expert Susan Spungen’s favorite outdoor party venue is by the water. “We meet at the beach, bring potluck and end the evening with a bonfire under the stars making s’mores,” Spungen says. But most outdoor gatherings end up being in her backyard, where Spungen, the founding food editor at Martha Stewart Living and an accomplished cook and culinary consultant, will light a row of citronella tiki torches and prepare a savory paella on her grill. Spungen’s new book, “What’s a Hostess to Do? 313 Ideas and Inspirations for Effortless Entertaining,” has a chapter on al fresco dining, including advice on the most stylish unbreakable plates and how to master a charcoal chimney. Spungen, whose work as a food stylist can be seen in films such as “Julie & Julia” and “Eat, Pray, Love,” says the best hosts are the ones who make everything look easy, knowing how to plan ahead and spoil their guests. We spoke to her recently as she was starting a kitchen renovation on her new beach house in Amagansett, N.Y., which includes a large deck for parties. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation. If you are not into smoking meat, skip the Big Green Egg and try a Weber Spirit two-burner gas grill available at Lowe’s. QUESTION: How do you survive throwing an outdoor party? Answer: The biggest challenge is to be organized in advance so you can get everything outdoors and minimize the running back and forth into the house. I like to have a bar set up outside and a table to bring all the supplies out on trays. I also make lists. Even if you don’t read the list later, the simple act of writing everything down will make you memorize what you need to buy and do. Q: What are the basic things you need? A: A good grill you enjoy using. We actually love the Big Green Egg, and my husband is a big smoking and barbecue aficionado. I think for the new house, we will have both charcoal and gas grills as well. You should have tableware you are comfortable using outside. I think melamine is perfect and I like the Coastal Melamine Plates from Williams-Sonoma. I like using real glasses, not plastic. Q: What about lighting? A: I love fabulous hurricane lamps that don’t blow out. I also am a big fan of tiki torches, such as the South Seas bamboo ones from Kmart. They can add a lot of drama, mood and light. Q: Paper or cloth napkins? A: It depends on what you are serving. If it’s barbecue, it could ruin your cloth napkins, so use paper. If you’re having a nice dinner with grilled fish and salad, use cloth. I love the napkins from Francoise Paviot. Also I like MYdrap, tear-off disposable cotton napkins you can find at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Q: What jobs can you delegate when entertaining outside? A: I am always frantic at the last minute. Get someone to be a bartender. They can set up the bar with ice and give everyone a drink when they walk in. Then you can have the rest of the evening be self-service. Have someone arrange the flowers: hydrangeas in a jar or sunflowers or cosmos from a farm stand. Q: What do you do with the beer and wine? A: You can put beer and wine in galvanized buckets you pick up at a hardware store. Sears has good ones, so cheap and so chic. If a guest brings me a bottle of wine, which in the summer tends to be rose, I stick it right in the bucket. Q: Do you use tablecloths or placemats? A: I do not usually use a tablecloth. I’m a fan of the Chilewich basketweave placemats that are so easy to clean. They are totally flat and come in great colors. I’m partial to green, as it connects with the outdoors and flatters food nicely. Q: What are the biggest challenges? A: Bugs and weather. Mosquitoes come out at dusk. So if you are going to be outside, have repellent handy so people can spray their ankles. In the summer, you need to have Plan B. Figure out how you can do everything inside if you need to. If you invite a lot of people and you can’t accommodate them all indoors, have a rain date on the invitation. Remember, you can’t get too fixated on having a perfect day. You have to be able to roll with the punches. It may not be what you dreamt of, but people will still have a good time if you are relaxed about it. Rather than a tablecloth, Susan Spungen sets her outdoor table with casual Chilewich placemats. If you want to dress up your patio, a colorful choice is Restoration Hardware’s Corsica outdoor pillow collection, which is made of fabric that will weather the elements. Photo courtesy of Susan Spungen Nothing sets atmosphere at an outdoor party like lighting; here, ribbed teal tabletop lanterns by World Market. Galvanized metal such as Pottery Barn’s tiered stand is a popular look for outdoor entertaining in the warm weather. A ceramic beverage tub from Ballard Designs (at right) wlll keep your drinks cool, and drink dispensers with lids from Pottery Barn keep the bugs out. It’s easy to add color to an outdoor table with the Trellis collection dinnerware from Pier 1. Napoleon Travel Q grill in orange is a good choice for the urban griller. Courtesy images Pottery Barn’s flatware caddy has three mangowood coffers. French Bull Melamine salad servers come in a variety of bright patterns such as Multidot. grillin’&chillin’ AROUND THE HOME OLYMPIA STONE MASON BUILT AN OVEN THAT KEEPS Pizza HIS FAMILY TOGETHER CREATING PIE VARIETIES that delivers BY CRAIG SAILOR | Staff writer ost people, when they decide they want a pizza, hunt down the number for their local pizza joint. – preferably one that delivers. When Bill Lenker wants to enjoy a pizza with his family at their Griffin Peninsula farm in Thurston County, he just builds a fire in his outdoor pizza oven. Lenker created the oven — a job made a little easier because he’s a stone mason. It’s Lenker’s wife, Erica, who usually is in the kitchen whipping up the dough and covering the pizzas with meat and produce from her garden. The couple’s three daughters — Sena, 16, Emma, 10, and Sadie, 6 — are the enthusiastic testers. “Most mistakes are edible,” Lenker said. After getting the firewood to burn to coals, Lenker pushes them into a horseshoe shape against the oven’s walls. By then, the inside temperature is about 800 degrees. It takes only three minutes for the 12-inch pizzas to cook — faster than some microwave meals. In front of the oven spreads a wide stone patio with outdoor furniture. The egg-shaped, 12-by-20-foot entertaining area uses sand-set quartzite. Behind the oven is Erica’s garden. Bill soon will install 18 tons of New York City street cobblestone for a new driveway. A grassy area holds a hammock, tire swing, trampoline and Adirondack chairs. A farm with sheep and chickens surrounds the family’s outdoor living space. “We have three kids, so the focus is more on Bill Lenker places a pizza into his outdoor oven. family,” Lenker said of the family’s lifestyle. “But the hope is that the kids will bring their friends here.” It seems to be working. Eldest daughter Sena said the pizza oven and the pizzas are a hit with her set. “I think it’s fun for everyone to make their own (pizzas),” Sena said. Youngest daughter Sadie agrees: “I could live off pesto pizza made in that oven.” “It’s fun for the kids’ guests to make them,” Erica said. Bill Lenker and his crew from Lenkerbrook Stoneworks built the oven last December, and it has been in regular use since then. Owning the company meant Lenker could go all out. For a client, Lenker would charge from $3,500 to $10,000 based on materials, size and accessories. Lenker’s oven has stone arches and uses ledgestone as its veneer and includes pebble mosaics. He started with a waist-high cinderblock hearth reinforced with rebar. Then he built a 36-inch-wide, igloo-shaped dome above it, using fire brick and fire-resistant mortar. Below, a nook holds firewood. Above, a double-walled chimney rises from a slate roof. The pizza oven isn’t a one-trick pony. The family uses it to bake bread and other items. “I’m from Philadelphia,” Lenker said, “so I have to have some of my old culinary habits.” They include stromboli, calzone and pork chops. Lenker’s upbringing in Pennsylvania, with its many stone walls, also influences his craft. “It takes care of homesickness, and it’s a way for me to do art and make a living,” he said. Lenker recently completed a 300-ton granite project at Tumwater Falls Park. But most of the work he does is for private clients. His favorite type of work involves building sanctuaries. “This fits in with that,” he said. “If you build a place for people within the landscape, it fosters conversation. People tend to interact more genuinely.” Sadie’s kindergarten classmates and their parents recently visited and used the oven. That’s when the Lenkers learned one more trick for their pizza oven. “We made the best s’mores in the world,” Erica said. Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541 firstname.lastname@example.org The Lenker family enjoys pizza on their stone patio. Their outdoor pizza oven is to the right. Photos by CRAIG SAILOR/Staff writer As Bill Lenker cooks pizzas in his outdoor pizza oven, his daughter Emma samples the early arrivals. Lenker Family Pizza Dough 3 tablespoons water 3 tablespoons milk 1½ teaspoons yeast ¼ teaspoon salt Pinch of sugar ø cups white flour 3 tablespoons wheat flour 1 tablespoon olive oil Mix warm water and milk and heat to about 100 degrees. Add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Let sit until yeast begins to foam (see package for precise directions). Add wheat flour, olive oil and salt, and mix. Slowly mix in white flour (add more flour if dough is too sticky), and knead for five minutes. Put in oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Top then bake. Recipe courtesy Erica Lenker grillin’&chillin’ AROUND THE HOME Bill and Gina Lee of Gig Harbor chose a backyard deck with Azek brand PVC decking. Jason Russell of Dr. Decks designed the deck with curved boards for a distinctive look. Photos by PETER HALEY/ Staff photographer curve Throwing a GIG HARBOR COUPLE CREATE A SECLUDED ENTERTAINMENT-THEMED BACKYARD WITH CURVACEOUS DECK BY CRAIG SAILOR | Staff writer hen Bill and Gina Lee bought their Gig Harbor home a little over a year ago, they knew the deck had to go. The small wood platform had been added on to over the years giving it a hodgepodge kind of appearance. And it was a safety hazard. “It was shot when I pulled it out,” Bill Lee said. One year and $31,000 later they now have a 750-square-foot rot-proof deck. It’s the latest, but perhaps not last piece, of a backyard remodel the couple has embarked on — part of a master plan to turn their property, with its forest backdrop, into an entertainment retreat. Along with the old deck, out came a dog kennel. In went a fire pit. The hot tub is staying put. Soon to come is an outdoor kitchen. Maybe. “You are limited by your funds and your imagination. In my case, funds,” Lee said. He estimates a kitchen with stainless steel cabinetry, a stove and sink would cost $15,000-$20,000. The couple are still deciding on whether to add it or not. But the centerpiece of the remodel is the new expansive deck. Recently Jason Russell, owner of Tacoma-based Dr. Decks, was putting the final touches on the Lees’ deck. The decking is made from polyvinyl chloride — the same plastic material that water pipes are made of — by AZEK Building Products. It’s marketed as being stain-, scratch-, split- and mold-resistant. “It will probably outlast me,” Lee, 50, said. Russell has built curving benches, steps and borders in the deck. The borders cut in to the deck and become accent features. It’s a far cry from the days of plain, square deck construction. “(Curves are) becoming an extremely hot, trendy thing to do,” Russell said. “I spent the first half of my career taking curved boards and trying to make them straight. I’ll spend the last half of my career taking straight boards and making them curved.” But the curved boards add a lot of labor — and cost — to a project. Russell needs extra time to bend the boards at just the right angle. They also require their own support system. “It took us two days just to do the framing,” Russell said. The Lees relocated to Gig Harbor from San Diego after Bill retired from a military career. The couple, who have friends and family in the area, like to entertain outdoors and their enhanced backyard will help them achieve that. Their new deck has an extensive LED lighting system that provides both safety and accent lighting. It’s another popular trend, Russell said. Russell also built the Lees a covered pergola to shield their charcoal-fired barbecue. Now, Bill has only one item left on his demolition list: a small fish pond. “That’s going away. That thing is a pain in the ass.” Grilling season starts with cleaning BY ELIZABETH KARMEL | The Associated Press Whether you’ve just bought a shiny new grill or pulled your old one out of winter hibernation, step No. 1 before embracing grilling season is to clean and season it. Grills are like cast-iron skillets; the more you use them, the better they cook. That’s because food cooks on the grill, the fats and juices are instantly vaporized by the heating elements or charcoal briquettes. The vapor creates the smoke that flavors the food with that legendary grilled taste. The smoke that isn’t absorbed by the food accumulates on the inside of the grill, and so the grill gets “seasoned.” So let’s start with the cleaning. If you’ve had your grill for a while and use it a lot, you may notice that the lid of the grill looks like peeling paint. It isn’t. This is simply the accumulation of layers of smoke. Warm soapy water, a scrub brush and a little elbow grease will take the excess bits of black smoke off the inside of the grill lid with little trouble. And you’ll only need to do this once a year. Next, burn and scrape off any food bits stuck to the grates. Turn all the burners on high for a gas grill with the lid down. For a charcoal grill, burn a chimney starter of charcoal with the lid closed. Let the flames burn until any residue has turned into a white colored ash. Brush gently with either a brass bristle brush or my makeshift foil cleaning brush. A brass bristle brush is soft enough to bend and not break off like steel brushes. They are the only kind that I would use. The harder, more brittle brushes can also damage the finish on your cooking grates. If you don’t have a grill brush or don’t want to use one, try this. Crumble heavy-duty foil into a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Hold the ball in a pair of sturdy 12-inch locking chef tongs and brush away! Remember to use heavy-duty foil or the ball will disintegrate. GRILL CLEANING Follow this checklist and grill maintenance will never be a big job Preheat the grill on high every time you use it. ■ After pre-heating, use crumpled foil to loosen and clean away any gray ash or leftover residue on the cooking grates. ■ After removing the food from the cooking grate, turn burners back to high and burn any stuck-on food off for 10 to 15 minutes. ■ After each use, use a brass-bristle grill brush or crumpled foil to loosen and clean residue on the cooking grate. ■ Remove accumulated ashes from charcoal grills frequently. ■ Clean both the inner and the outer drip pan of a gas grill frequently. ■ Once a year, clean the inside of the grill with warm, soapy water. ■ GRILL SAFETY Always read the owner’s manual before using a new gas or charcoal grill. ■ Do not lean over a barbecue grill when igniting. ■ When lighting a gas grill, the lid should always be open. ■ grillin’& chillin’ NEED TO KNOW FOURTH OF JULY EVENTS Fireworks Spectacular Auburn’s 4th of July Festival 2 P.M. JULY 3, come early for the races, face painters, airbrush face painter, glitter tattoos, caricaturist and bounce house, fireworks start 20 minutes after the final race. Emerald Downs, 2300 Emerald Downs Drive, Auburn. $7 admission, reservations recommended. emeralddowns.com 11 A.M.-4 P.M. JULY 4, Les Gove Park, 1102 Auburn Way S., Auburn. Free, wristband for $5 for unlimited activities. 253-931-3043, auburnwa. gov/events. Lacey Fireworks Spectacular 10:15 P.M. JULY 3, William A. Bush Park, 4400 Chardonnay Drive SE, Lacey. ci.lacey.wa.us Tacoma Freedom Fair 10 A.M.-11 P.M. JULY 4, Airshow, food, vendors, exhibits, rides and events plus firework show. Ruston Way, Tacoma. Suggested donation $2-$15, freedomfair.com. Fourth of July Splash NOON-11 P.M JULY 4, family friendly activities, food, vendors and fireworks, Lake Meridian Park, 14800 SE 272nd St., Kent. kentwa.gov Independence Day in Steilacoom 10 A.M. JULY 4, Town Hall of Steilacoom, 1717 Lafayette St., Steilacoom. Free. 253-582-5838. townofsteilacoom.com Independence Day 5K 8 A.M. JULY 4, Vassault Park, North 37th Street and North Vassault Drive, Tacoma. 253-301-1321, tacomacity runningclub.com Miles for Meso July 4th Run/ Walk 9 A.M. JULY 4, Federal Way Community Center, 876 S. 333rd St., Federal Way. milesformeso wamemorial5k.weebly. com Tumwater’s 26th Annual Independence Day Parade 11 A.M. JULY 4, Tumwater City Hall, 555 Israel Road SW, Tumwater. Free. 360-754-4160, ci.tumwater.wa.us. Tumwater Artesian Festival & Fireworks Show 6-11 P.M. JULY 4, Tumwater Valley Municipal Golf Course, 4611 Tumwater Valley Drive SE, Olympia. Free, $10 event parking. 360-754-4160, ci.tumwater.wa.us. Wings & Wheels car show 11 A.M.-5 P.M. JULY 6. Aircraft on static display, fly overs, bi-plane and helicopter rides and the Smoke ’N’ Thunder Jet Dragster will make 300 mph runs down the runway racing an airplane, Tacoma Narrows Airport, 1700 26th Ave. W., Gig Harbor. $4.95-$15, show clix.com/event/3755648. STEVEN M. HERPPICH/Staff photographer, file 1. Read or reread the owner’s manual for your grill, says Leslie Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, a trade association based in Arlington, Va. Pay particular attention to the manufacturer’s safety hints. 2. Give the grill a thorough inspection and cleaning. “Make sure the legs are sturdy, that things haven’t rusted out, the vents are working properly and the burners are clean,” Wheeler says. With gas grills, make sure there are no holes or leaks in any hoses, that the hoses are hooked up correctly and all connections work properly. 3. Use care in positioning the grill. “Lots of people put the grill outside the back door but, really, is that the best place?” Wheeler asks. Grills need to be out of high-traffic areas so children and pets won’t bump into them. Ideally, the grill should be at least 10 feet away from the house to reduce fire risk. If you live in a condominium or apartment building, make sure grilling is permitted and know what type of grills are allowed. 4. Pay attention lighting the grill. Open the hood before igniting a gas grill to vent any fumes that might be gathering there, Wheeler says. Don’t pour additional lighter fluid on coals after they’re lit; you risk a big flare-up. 5. Watch chicken especially. “People are terrified the chicken will be undercooked, so they leave it on too long or on too high a flame,” says Cheryl Jamison, coauthor with her husband, Bill, of “100 Grilling Recipes You Can’t Live Without” (Harvard Common Press, $16.95). “You get a charred surface and chicken sushi inside.” Chicken should be grilled over medium heat, Bill adds. 6. Stay focused: “We get frustrated when we see people not sticking with the food,” Bill Jamison says. “They’re going away, getting a beer, drinking a beer, while the food cooks without them paying any attention to the time or the temperature.” 7. Don’t move the food about. Put it on the grill, let it get a good sear on both sides, then move the food to more moderate heat to cook through, say the Jamisons, who live in Tesuque, N.M., just outside Santa Fe. Searing eliminates the risk of food sticking to the grill, Cheryl Jamison says. 8. Don’t squash the burgers onto the grill. “All the juices will run out,” Cheryl Jamison says. Your grilling season CHECKLIST BY BILL DALEY | Chicago Tribune As summer gets underway, millions of Americans will rush outdoors to light up a grill in celebration. Take simple steps before, during and after the party to minimize any hangover, gastronomic or otherwise. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts from experts who know how to prevent the most common grilling mishaps. 9. Never sauce too soon. “Most sauces on the market are ketchup based, and there’s sugar in them,” says Myron Mixon, author of “Everyday Barbecue” (Ballantine, $24) and a judge on the reality television series “BBQ Pitmasters.” “The sugars caramelize and start burning.” He recommends applying sauce to food at the end of the grilling time or serving the sauce in a bowl at the table. If you want to dab something on the food as it cooks, Mixon, who lives in Unadilla, Ga., recommends an old Southern trick, a mop made of vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes. “Use it for basting, for flavor and for keeping the food from burning,” he says. 10. Practice, practice, practice. Mixon says you should try out any unfamiliar grill recipe a few times before adding it to your party lineup. 11. Clean the grill while it’s still hot. The work will go faster, Wheeler says. Use a sturdy brush to get any food residue off the grill rack. Check the grill after brushing for any stray wires from the brush. Make sure the gas is turned off before closing the grill lid. Close the grill vents so a charcoal fire dies out quickly; you should be able to reuse some of the coals next time, she says.