Recently, we interviewed award-winning cookbook author and PBS TV show host, Steven Raichlen. He's written more than 30 cookbooks, and his latest book is a foodie novel based on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Steven keeps busy while spending the summer on the Vineyard and his winters in Florida. Today, he shares some grilling tricks and trends for summer 2013.
Steven Raichlen: After coming back from trips to Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, I've seen a spike in grilling with wood. In restaurants, wood-burning grills are becoming the focal point in menus, as well as at home with home cooks.
SR: If you want to recreate wood grilling at home, just head to the hardware store and purchase big chunks of wood (instead of wood chips at gourmet shops), fill your chimney lighter with it, and grill over it. Not only are you getting the smoke for flavor, but you'll benefit from the high heat of the wood fire.
SR: Meatless grilling is also a big trend I've noticed this summer season. Grill fans are wanting to be healthier and thus grilling more fresh vegetables and tofu. But don't just make plain grilled tofu! Treat your tofu as you would a steak and either smoke it or use a spice rub on it. Also, one of my favorite vegetables to grill is local asparagus; when in season, be sure to throw some on the grill! Try Steven's Lemon Sesame Asparagus Rafts recipe.
Steven's quick tip: Whisk together real maple syrup, soy sauce and sesame oil for a New England twist on a classic Asian marinade. Marinate your tofu "steaks" in the marinade and grill alongside local asparagus and corn.
SR: There are two schools of thought for grilling corn, and I'm a fan of stripping the corn off the husk and placing it directly on the grill. The char and caramelization lends great flavor to the fresh corn. The other school of thought is to leave the husk on the corn and grill. This essentially steams the corn inside the husk.
You can find all of Steven's books on Amazon, and you can shop around for cool tools and grilling gadgets. Be sure to check out his website, Barbecue Bible, for all your grilling questions. And if you find yourself on Martha's Vineyard this summer, stop by one of Steven's favorite local farms, Slip Away Farm.
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