Carla Hall’s summer grilling tips
We all know Carla Hall from Top Chef, but she has a new show now, and she's cooking up more delicious dishes. Find out more about The Chew, plus get her summer grilling tips.
Along with Michael Symon, Mario Batali, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz, she cooks, talks food and lifestyle and has a great time doing it. SheKnows caught up with Carla to talk about the show and get her tips on grilling like a pro.
The Chew co-hosts ask their guests a round of quick questions in a segment called Celebrity Egg Timer. We asked Carla to play a round with us.
Chef who inspires you most?
The last thing you cooked?
Fresh black-eyed peas and lima beans
An overrated ingredient?
Truffle oil or truffles
An underrated ingredient?
Dish to impress a first date?
Papillote because you can put everything in a piece of paper and enjoy your date.
Favorite comfort food meal?
Collard greens, macaroni and cheese and cornbread
Chewing the fat
You only need to watch a few minutes of Carla Hall's new talk show, The Chew, to see that she is having a blast with her co-hosts. "The fun starts in the dressing room. It's so much fun… It's like a family," she says. Carla and the other hosts talk about anything and everything, but the show is centered on food-related topics, something she knows well. Although she says that she felt like she struggled a bit when the show first aired, trying to balance a cooking demonstration while telling a personal story, all within minutes, Carla says that she now feels more comfortable and confident in her abilites. She says the other co-hosts know when it step in to help, and there is a lot of trust between them. Now, she's truly enjoying her new role.
Check out this stove-top macaroni and cheese recipe inspired by Carla Hall >>
Life after Top Chef
It's been a few years since Carla Hall competed on Top Chef, but she has wonderful memories of her experiences. She fondly remembers the dancing and singing that went on after competition: "There were times in the Stew Room when I felt like everybody was so stressed that they started to let loose." One of her favorite moments came when she was being judged by celebrated chef Susur Lee. Even though she was in danger of going home, Carla recalls,"Susur Lee was on the judges panel and it was like a mini master class. He went down the line and the way he gave his critique, I felt like I didn't want to be any other place than right there."
Life has changed some for Carla since her last appearance on Top Chef. Her catering company morphed into a petite cookie business, Alchemy by Carla Hall, and she has a cookbook, Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You, being released in November.
Carla's grilling tips
For those of you wanting to tackle the grill but don't have a lot of experience, Carla says, "So often, people are afraid of grilling, especially if they haven't grilled before. But what I want to tell people is that if you think of your grill as an oven, it's a lot less intimidating." She goes on to say that just like with your oven, you sear your food on the hot side, then move it to the cool side to cook through. For fun-and-easy grilled summer desserts, Carla recommends skewering cherries and strawberries. Stone fruits are the obvious fruit to grill, she says, but the smaller fruit is delicious, too.
This summer, become a grill master with these other tips from Carla:
- Spray some nonstick cooking spray on the grilling surface before turning up the heat. It makes flipping your food easier than ever.
- Think outside the bowl! Take your salad out of the bowl and use it to top your grilled burgers. Whether it's a slaw or caprese salad, consider this the adult-version of playing with your food.
- Use the grill to take advantage of summer's wide produce selection. Marinate fresh vegetables in a light salad dressing and grill until tender for a tasty side dish. After the meal, add slices of angel food cake and stone fruit or pineapple to the grill for an easy, crowd-pleasing dessert.
Check out more unique foods for the grill >>
Now that you've learned how to grill like a pro, try this burger recipe that's huge on flavor but won't weigh you down. It's the perfect meal for a summer barbecue.
Carla Hall's black bean burger with peach pico de gallo
- 4 MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or crumbled Cotija cheese
- 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
- Lime wedges
Peach pico de gallo:
- 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 medium peaches, pitted, peeled and finely chopped, or 1-1/4 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices, thawed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2-3 serrano chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- For peach pico de gallo, in medium bowl combine tomatoes, peaches, onion, the one-quarter cup cilantro, chile peppers, lime juice, sugar, salt and garlic. Let stand at room temperature for one hour.
- Meanwhile, spray grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Grill MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers directly over medium-high heat about six minutes or until burgers reach internal temperature of 165 degress F and grill marks form on both sides, turning once. Top burgers with avocado slices and the one-quarter cup cilantro. Sprinkle with cheese. Grill about two minutes more or until cheese melts.
- Serve burgers in buns. Top each burger with about one-quarter cup peach pico de gallo. Place lime wedges alongside of sandwiches on serving plates.