July: A month to munch on summer’s pleasures
Friday, July 1, 2016
For those celebrating, July is:
- National Grilling Month
- National Hot Dog Month
- National Horseradish Month
- National Ice Cream Month
When you’re grilling, you don’t want your food to stick to the grill, nor do you want it to taste like the last thing you grilled. Keep it clean with these quick tips from ChefSteps.
That done, let’s get started with a meal that features all of the good things we’re celebrating in July.
“This time of year is the best time. We have all these fresh fruits coming out, all these fresh veggies, we can eat seasonally. It’s a really good time to start exploring fruits and vegetables,” says Dr. Lynn Wagner, an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic in Green Bay.
“Going to the farmer’s market once a week is a really good experience,” Wagner says. “Just seeing the colors and seeing the healthy people and talking, it’s a community thing. It’s just a really good experience.”
First on the grill are Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Skewers, a gluten-free recipe from California food blogger Whitney Bond.
- 4 chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds)
- 5 limes (juiced)
- ½ tablespoon sea salt
- ½ tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground chipotle pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 green bell peppers
- 1 red onion
1. Juice four of the limes into a small mixing bowl.
2. Mix in salt, cumin, chipotle pepper, cilantro and garlic to make the marinade.
3. Chop chicken breasts into cubes and place in a large Ziploc bag or plastic container.
4. Pour the marinade over the chicken.
5. Close and shake well until all of the chicken is covered.
6. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate.
7. While the chicken is marinating, chop the bell peppers and onions.
8. After the chicken is done marinating, skewer the chicken, bell peppers and onions.
9. Place the skewers on the grill over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, then flip and grill for another 5 to 7 minutes.
10. After the chicken is cooked through, remove from the grill, squeeze the last lime over the skewers and serve.
Vegetarians can substitute tofu cubes for chicken. For those on paleo diets, leave out the salt.
Next on the grill is Mexican Grilled Corn from EatingWell magazine. This also is gluten free.
- 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 4 ears corn, husked
- 4 tablespoons finely shredded Cotija or Parmesan cheese
- 1 lime, quartered
1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and chili powder in a small bowl.
3. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until marked and tender, 8 to 12 minutes total. Spread each ear with 1 tablespoon of the sauce and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Cotija or Parmesan cheese. Serve with lime wedges.
What’s Cotija cheese? It’s an aged, firm, crumbly Mexican cheese. It’s also called also called añejo. Look for it in specialty cheese displays or in Mexican, Hispanic or Latino grocery stores.
“It’s always good to use spices before salt,” Wagner says. “You can actually flavor your food a lot with just spices and not have that added salt.”
- ¼ cupapple cider vinegar (or rice wine)
- 1 tbs raw honey
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 slices (2-inch thick each) watermelon
- ½ cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey. Add red onions, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2. Place watermelon slices on a hot grill until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes per side.
3. Remove the watermelon rind and chop the grilled watermelon into bite-sized chunks, then place in a large serving bowl.
4. Pour red onion and vinegar over the watermelon. Sprinkle with Cotija cheese and cilantro.
As for those hot dogs, we’re fairly certain you know how to grill them, even if hot dog makers can’t agree on anything but medium heat. Hebrew National says 5 to 7 minutes; Ball Park says 6 to 8 minutes; Oscar Mayer says 7 to 9 minutes.
Once you drop them into a bun, concentrate on the condiments. Yellow mustard? Come on, folks. Be adventurous. Brown mustard or deli mustard with horseradish is the way to go. Do that, and we have that aspect of July’s foodie celebrations covered.
A Wisconsin company, Silver Spring Foods of Eau Claire, is one of the world’s largest growers and processors of horseradish. Its horseradish mustards have won gold medals in worldwide competitions. Other Wisconsin companies making fine horseradish mustards include Uncle Phil’s, Koops and Johnsonville. You’ll find more from the National Mustard Museum in Middleton.
(By the way, Saturday, Aug. 6, is National Mustard Day at the museum.)
Whew! Does anyone have room for ice cream? We thought so.
Everyone has their favorite place, but you can’t always go out for ice cream. So head to the grocery store, where you’ll find an array of frozen concoctions from the simple but solid ice cream sandwich to dozens of varieties of Wisconsin-made ice cream.
Oh, one more thing. Why, yes, we will have a little ice cream with our chocolate syrup.