Monday, June 9, 2008

Father's Day Menu: Thrill of the Grill

Thanks to everyone who came out in support of the Life Chef class last weekend honoring fathers, and all men as June is Men's Health Awareness Month. As always it was a pleasure to be at Saint Philip AME, along with my official Sous Chef Mr. Patterson, who is a wealth of information.

We had a great time as we prepared marinades, dry rubs and no-cook side dishes/salads that all celebrate the thrill of the grill (a non-fat cooking method, by the way).

Grilling has received some negative press with the association of certain carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) to grilled meats. But keep in mind that those carcinogens arise during flare ups, when the fat from the meat drips down onto the coals and the arising steam and fumes lace the grilling meat with toxins. Sounds pretty scary, but one of the tenets of good grilling is to control flare ups in the first place, so as you learn to master the grill you can cook with confidence knowing you're making healthful, flavorful food and using an ancient cooking technique that is considered by many to be an art form.

Our June class featured a wet Jerk-BBQ marinade for Chicken that supplies plenty of flavor in as little as 10 minutes, and a Dry Spice Rub for Pork that include diabetic friendly cinnamon, and heart-healthy cayenne pepper and garlic, as well as the anti-cancer properties found in cumin, turmeric and ginger. The quick Asian Inspired Marinade for Salmon ensured great taste with the cardiovascular soy benefits of Miso Tamari (similar to low sodium soy sauce but with more flavor and body), the anti-inflamatory properties of fresh ginger and the kick of stimulating crushed red pepper and vitamin C rich citrus juices.

For sides and salads we opted to leave the cooking to the grill, and created a succulent Strawberry and Grapefruit Salad loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants and the cooling properties of fresh mint. The Sweet Corn and Aduki Bean Salad was easily digestible, full of heart-healthy fiber and bursting with the fresh flavors of lime, cilantro and fresh spring onions. Our third salad/side dish was a light and crisp Cabbage, Apple, Fennel Slaw made with antioxidant rich purple cabbage, arthritis fighting crisp and tart Granny Smith apples and fennel (which according to the World's Healthiest Foods site has really interesting and potent anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Read more here) topped with curry spiced pecans and an apple cider vinaigrette.

The next class at Saint Philip AME will be July 19, (the 3rd Saturday in July) from 10 a.m. to noon. We will focus on SUN-sational Produce, the gorgeous vegetables and fruits available during this time of year that some of us might even be growing in our home lots and planters. Well we'll take these familiar favorites and develop exciting flavor profiles so that you can get the most out of your fabulous summer produce.

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