4 recipes to induce a BBQ guilt trip

By / Food / July 20th, 2015 / 3

I feel guilty if I don’t use the barbecue grill every summer day. This is the residual effect of our long, hard winter, when I stood gazing through the frost-covered patio door swearing that if Mother Nature would just thaw my frozen world, I would never ever take summer for granted, would never ever complain about the blistering heat, would never ever begrudge the wildly growing weeds and would never ever sing “Let It Go” again.

As summer begins, I roll out the barbecue with great fanfare. But as the season progresses, I grow weary of char-grilled steaks and kebabs. There is a dreadful sameness to these offerings that ruffles my easily ruffled feathers. I feel the need to move the whole operation indoors, to forget, at least for a day or two, about the scary poof when I light the burners, the dreary scraping away of the charred debris, the requisite cold beer and the long-handled tongs that have somehow moulded themselves to my hands.

When that restlessness takes over, these are the recipes I fall back on.

pork fried rice

serve 3 to 4

Save some of the leftover meat from barbecued ribs or pork tenderloin to make this dish. Start with cold rice; it will remain separate and firm while stir-frying. You can cook the eggs right in the wok, but I like them better when cooked separately and added to the top of each serving. This recipe isn’t an exact science. Add whatever veggies you have on hand and if you like things hot, add some Sriracha, sambal oelek or chili garlic sauce.

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced white or shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup leftover pork, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 3 cups cold, cooked rice
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a wok or skillet, in hot canola oil, sauté onion and mushrooms until softened. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute longer. Stir in rice and soy sauce mixture.  Add pork, peas and carrots. Cook until heated through.

Coat a small non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Cook eggs until set, occasionally lifting edge of eggs with a spatula and tilting skillet so uncooked portion runs to the bottom of hot skillet. Slice eggs in strips and serve on top of each serving.

Match: Enjoy a Gewürztraminer with the fried rice.

teriyaki wings

serves 4

Yes, you can make wings on the grill but when it’s raining, try this oven technique. I find parchment paper sticks to the baking pan best if you cover the pan with cooking spray before fitting in the parchment paper. Mirin is a type of low-alcohol rice wine that can be found at most grocery stores. Watch the wings after you add the teriyaki sauce — it burns easily. Make extra teriyaki sauce to pass at the table, if you’d like. The sauce is also great on hamburgers, chicken breast fillets or flank steak.

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 lb chicken wings

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Make teriyaki sauce: In a saucepan, bring soy sauce, mirin and sugar to a boil. Mix cornstarch with water. Whisk into soy sauce mixture. Cook until thickened. Set aside.

Cover baking pan with cooking spray, then parchment paper. Spread wings in pan and bake 30 minutes, uncovered. With tongs, turn wings and bake 20 minutes longer. Brush with teriyaki sauce and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until wings are glazed.

Match: Excellent with a Sauvignon Blanc.

chipotle-style chicken and black bean bowl

serves 4

The Chipotle Mexican Grill makes a fine chicken bowl that I wouldn’t dream of duplicating. But I do like the concept, so occasionally when the spirit moves me, I make my own Chipotle-inspired version. If you like a little heat, go for the poblano pepper and add some hot sauce. Use crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack or, frankly, whatever cheese you have on hand. In fact, this recipe is just a starting point — use your imagination and add whatever you’d like.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 green bell pepper or poblano pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 boneless chicken breast fillets, cut in bite-sized strips
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, minced cilantro

In large skillet in hot oil, sauté peppers and onions until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in chili powder to coat. Cook 1 minute. Remove pepper mixture from skillet and set aside. (I keep mixture warm in oven.)

In same skillet, add a bit more oil and sauté chicken until cooked through. Stir in pepper mixture, tomato sauce, beans and corn. Cook until heated through. Serve over rice, topped with sour cream, tomatoes, shredded cheese and cilantro.

Match: Margaritas, stat!

shrimp cocktail with remoulade sauce

serves 4

Sometimes, on a hot summer evening, all you really want is a cold dish. In that case, nothing is better than chilled shrimp. I boil peeled and deveined shrimp for just a few minutes. When the shrimp turn pink and curl, they’re ready. Drain, rinse and chill. You’ll have leftover Creole seasoning — mix into mayonnaise and spread on fish or chicken before roasting.

  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp sweet pickle juice
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 2 lb shrimp, cooked and chilled

Make Creole seasoning: In a small bowl, mix 2 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp white pepper, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste. Store in air-tight jar up to 3 months.

Make remoulade: In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard, Creole seasoning, horseradish, pickle juice, Tabasco and garlic. Chill in refrigerator 2 hours. Serve with shrimp.

Match: Champagne is a lovely accompaniment.


Quench Food Editor, Nancy Johnson, minced, sliced, chopped, sautéed and sipped her way through George Brown College’s culinary program with a focus on food writing and wine. Nancy cooks by the code her Italian grandmother taught her: For the best results, always use the freshest, best ingredients. She writes for Ohio-based Wine Buzz Magazine and recently published a short story in Woman’s World Magazine. She is always on a diet.

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