Grilling Tips & Recipes for your Long Weekend
Katelyn Sander

Grilling Tips & Recipes for your Long Weekend

Spice of Life

Are you ready for the long weekend? While things are slowly getting better across the province, we’re getting ready to celebrate the first long weekend of the summer at home with our families! That means lots of grilling, trying new recipes, and relaxing with an incredible cocktail. Cheers to you and your family this long weekend!

Try these recipes below (and all of those we’ve collected over the last year in our Spice of Life Recipe Book) and email us your favourite photos. Success stories, epic fails, and everything in between are welcome!

Preparing your Grill for Summer

Whether you cook with gas or prefer that charcoal flavour, we’ve got the scoop on how to get your grill ready for summer. So, roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get dirty and get that grill clean – inside and out!

Click here to learn more.

And if you’re looking for the tips to grilling you the perfect steak, scroll down to the bottom and check out our recommendations!

Carrot, Sweet Potato, & Feta Fritters

Enjoy this versatile vegetarian fritter recipe as a snack or for lunch. Or, you can serve it with a green salad, with yogurt and lime wedges as a light dinner. These fritters offer up a perfect bite to enjoy in the late spring (and a wonderful afternoon snack this long weekend)! Recipe from Delicious Magazine.

Click here to download the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 800g carrots
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 600g sweet potatoes
  • 5 medium free-range eggs
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • 6 tbsp wholemeal flour
  • 25g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 300ml vegetable oil
  • Green salad, lime wedges, and yogurt, to serve
Instructions:
  • Peel and grate the carrots, potatoes, onion, and sweet potatoes. Put in a colander over the sink with a big pinch of salt to drain for 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the eggs, feta, flour, coriander, and cumin seeds, then beat with a fork until mixed.
  • Squeeze as much liquid from the veg as you can, pressing down hard into the colander for 1-2 minutes, then add to the egg mixture. Stir to combine and season well. Heat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan to 180°C or until a cube of bread sizzles. Put a small handful of the mix in a slotted spoon and lower into the oil. Cook 2-3 at a time. Fry for 1-2 minutes, then turn and repeat until golden. Put on a plate and keep warm in a low oven.

Cucumber Soup with Yogurt & Dill

As the weather heats up, we’re always looking for something a little lighter to serve for lunch and dinner. This tangy and creamy Greek yogurt soup with fresh herbs is a refreshing option for those hot, hot days. Recipe from Food & Wine.

Click here to download the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 2 large European cucumbers (2 1/4 lbs), halved and seeded; 1/2 cup finely diced, the rest coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed dill
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp loosely packed tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground white pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Instructions:
  • In a blender, combine the chopped cucumber with the yogurt, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, dill, parsley, tarragon, and the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Season the soup again just before serving. Pour the soup into bowls. Garnish with the finely diced cucumber, red onion, and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Mustard & Dill Salmon with Potatoes & Asparagus

Sometimes, simplicity really is best. And this classic spring combination of salmon, asparagus, and new potatoes is a perfect example. Make this dish as a seasonal midweek meal in spring, or to spoil your loved ones over the long weekend. Recipe from Delicious Magazine.

Click here to download the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 750g jersey royal or new potatoes, halved if large
  • 200g asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
  • 200ml sour cream
  • Small bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 sustainable salmon fillets, skin on
Instructions:
  • Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Fill a large pan with boiling water and put a steamer with a lid on top. Steam the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until tender, adding the asparagus for the last 5 minutes (less time if the stalks are particularly thin).
  • Meanwhile, mix the sour cream, dill, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the salmon, skin-side down, for 4 minutes, then gently turn, and cook for 4 minutes more or until cooked through. Set aside and keep warm. Pour the sauce into the pan and gently warm through for a minute – don’t let it boil. Serve the fish with the steamed vegetables, then pour the sauce over the fish.

Tequila Mockingbird

Watermelon and jalapeño get muddled together and then joined by tequila, lime juice, and agave syrup in this fresh and fruity variation on the Spicy Margarita, a warm-weather favourite. Recipe from Liquor.com.

Click here to download the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1 slice jalapeño
  • 3 watermelon cubes
  • 2 oz silver tequila
  • 3/4 oz lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 oz agave syrup
Instructions:
  • Muddle the jalapeño slice and watermelon cubes in a shaker to extract the juices.
  • Add tequila, lime juice, agave syrup, and ice, and shake until well-chilled.
  • Fine-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Lemon Mascarpone Parfaits

Parfaits are easy to make, easy to serve, and a perfect spring/summer dessert. These lemon mascarpone parfaits are light and creamy, and oh so refreshing! They’re light enough to serve at brunch or after a filling dinner. You could even eat these for breakfast, they’re so good (it’s a long weekend…we won’t judge)! Recipe from Good Housekeeping.

Click here to download the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 16 ladyfinger cookies
  • 1 pint lemon sorbet, melted
  • 1 8oz package mascarpone
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 10oz jar lemon curd (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
  • Raspberries, for serving
Instructions:
  • Arrange 8 ladyfinger cookies (breaking as necessary) in bottoms of 8 short 8- to 10-oz glasses, then drizzle half of melted sorbet over them to evenly coat. Let sit 10 minutes to absorb liquid.
  • Meanwhile, in large bowl, using electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk mascarpone, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until medium-stiff peaks form.
  • In second large bowl, whisk lemon curd until well blended, then gently fold in remaining mascarpone mixture. Spoon some cream mixture over ladyfingers so they fit on top. Hold 1 piece in remaining melted sorbet until soaked and softened and place on top of cream mixture. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers and sorbet, arranging in single layer over cream.
  • Spoon remaining cream mixture over top and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with additional raspberries and lemon zest just before serving, if desired.

Grilling the Perfect Steak

Grilling a delicious steak is easy, as long as you follow a few simple steps. As with anything, a bit of practice always helps, too. Follow our advice, grill a few steaks, and you’ll be serving up perfectly cooked juicy steaks in no time.

Full tips available at The Spruce Eats.

Bring the Steaks to Room Temperature

Too many people take their steaks directly from the chilly fridge to the hot fire. You will not get an evenly cooked steak this way—the outside of the meat will cook faster than the inside. It is best to take the steaks out of the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them; remove the wrapping, place on a plate, and let them come up to room temperature on the kitchen counter.

A good piece of meat doesn't need a lot of seasoning and will be quite delicious with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Once the steaks are at room temperature, sprinkle with salt or another seasoning of your choice.

Clean and Oil Your Grill

No matter what you are grilling, you should always begin with clean grill grates. Not only does this make it easier to flip and remove the food from the grill but it also does not impart any flavors from previous grilled meals, such as barbecued chicken, into the steaks. Make sure to clean your cooking grate using a stiff wire brush. It is best to do this after you've finished grilling while the grates are still warm, but you can also clean the grill while it is preheating if you discover caked on residue. Taking the time to brush off old bits of cooked-on food will pay off handsomely when your steaks release from the cooking grate with ease.

You also want to coat the grates with vegetable or canola oil (or other neutral-flavored oil) before heating the grill. Pour a little bit of oil on a paper towel and rub onto the clean, cold grill grates.

Heat Your Fire

To achieve a crust on the outside while keeping the interior of the steak cooked to your liking, you need to have two different temperatures set on your grill. In order to get those nice grill marks, you need to heat your grill to high heat to essentially sear the steaks. To determine the heat is hot enough, you should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the grill grate for 1 second before it feels too hot and you must pull it away.

You also want a cooler, medium heat area of the grill to move the steaks to once they're seared and crispy on the outside. If you have enough burners and space on your grill, set them to a lower heat; if you don't have enough room, simply turn off the burner. If you are using a charcoal grill, one side should have a hot fire while the other a smaller, cooler flame.

If you are cooking very thin steaks, they will only need a short time over high heat.

Touch the Steaks

Chefs and the cooks who know their way around a kitchen (or a grill) know how meat feels when it's raw and when it's cooked. The only way to learn this is to basically poke the steaks at different stages of cooking. Raw meat is almost squishy, rare meat is quite soft, medium rare meat resists your poking a bit, and medium meat springs back. Once meat feels firm, it's at least well done, if not completely overdone. Gently press a finger onto your steaks—being careful not to burn yourself—to teach yourself the difference.

Don’t Play with the Steaks

Yes, you should touch the steaks to test for doneness, but that doesn't mean that you should be flipping and moving and poking a lot. Steaks should only be flipped once, and only moved once from a higher to a lower heat. And don't poke them with anything but your finger! Put the meat on a hot grill—they should sizzle immediately—and leave them there until they release on their own accord. If you're pulling or struggling with them, they are not seared and not ready to flip. Once ready, flip them once and cook until they feel done. Do not stab them with a fork, which will release their flavourful juices into the flames below. Do not press down on them with a spatula. Just let them cook.

Use a Thermometer and/or a Timer

Whether you are cooking a thick steak or a flat, thin cut of meat will determine whether you need a meat thermometer or not. For steaks that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick, you will want to use a meat thermometer to get an accurate reading. For rare, remove steaks at 120oF to 125oF, medium rare 125oF to 130oF, and medium 130oF to 135oF.

It's nearly impossible to get an accurate temperature read on steaks thinner than 1 1/2 inches so it is best to use a timer instead. For 1-inch-thick steaks cook them 3 minutes each side over high heat for quite rare, 4 minutes each side for medium rare, and 5 minutes for medium.

Try to avoid this if you can, but if you just have to take a peek, remove the steak from the grill and use the tip of a paring knife to make a cut into the center of the steak to see how things are going. Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook as it rests after being removed from the grill. Cutting into the steak is discouraged because it will release the precious juices that help flavour and tenderize the meat.

Always Let the Meat Rest

Perhaps the most important step that most people don't do is allowing the steaks to sit once they are taken off of the grill. The steaks need to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving or cutting them. This gives the juices a chance to redistribute throughout the steak, which both helps it finish cooking evenly and keeps the meat moister and more flavorful. Place the cooked steaks on a cutting board or platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Once rested, either slice or serve the steaks whole.

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