Recipes: Too Hot in the Kitchen

Here in Pittsburgh we finally got away from the oppressive heatwave that seemed to blast most of the eastern USA.  But that doesn’t mean the temperatures still aren’t hot around these parts.  In fact, it’s been a really great summer for those of us who enjoy warmer temps!  And although I do enjoy warm, tropical weather over frigid and frozen, sometimes putting together a hot meal in the kitchen seems unbearable.  I might have central air conditioning, but when it’s balmy outside the thought of turning on the oven is too much.
So this month at the LadyFingers/First Comes Health dinner Diane designed a menu that can be prepared without turning on the oven.  We used her stovetop and grill for everything, but you’ll soon see that these dishes go beyond burgers and hot dogs.  We’re talking healthy gourmet on the grill! If (like me!) you don’t have a grill, worry not!  Everything can be made using an oven if you choose.
As usual, the meal was stupendous and also as usual we had a blast with our winner, Lisa.  She and her mom, Kathy, joined us for July’s dinner and it was an utter delight having the two of them!

Before we get on to what we ate, let’s take care of a bit of business – the August winner!  Matt B. and a guest will be joining us next month!  Matt correctly answered our question based on the tweets we put out there during this month’s preparation.  Congratulations, Matt!  Diane and I look forward to having you at the table in August!
Let’s get to this month’s menu, shall we?
Grilled Asparagus with Crispy Prosciutto – serves 6
6 slices prosciutto
1 bunch medium-width asparagus
extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash or other multi-herb seasoning blend
Chop prosciutto into ¼-inch pieces.  Place in a small skillet and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until prosciutto is crispy (about 5 minutes).
Transfer prosciutto to paper towels to drain and cool.
Heat grill to medium-low.

Trim woody ends from asparagus and toss with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash and toss to coat evenly.
Place asparagus on grill and grill for 2 minutes.
Using tongs, turn asparagus and grill for another 2 minutes.
If asparagus is soft and has begun to brown, remove from grill.  If not, turn asparagus again and grill for another 2 minutes.
Place grilled asparagus on platter or individual plates and top with prosciutto.

Crab-Encrusted Scallops with Green Pea Puree – serves 6
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
¼ – ½ c chicken broth (preferably homemade!)
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
lemon-infused olive oil
¼ cup lump crab meat
Place peas, ¼ cup chicken broth, chopped shallots, chopped garlic and thyme leaves in a blender.  Blend until smooth, adding more chicken broth until desired consistency is reached.

Place pea puree in a small pan and heat on low.
Heat a skillet over high heat.
Lightly coat scallops with lemon-infused olive oil and place in skillet.
Sear scallops until browned (about 3 minutes) and then turn.
Divide lump crab meat between scallops and pile on top.  Place a lid on skillet and sear scallops for 3 minutes.
Spoon pea puree onto individual plates and top with scallops, taking care not to disturb crab topping.

Spicy Yam “Fries” – serves 6
3 large yams
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
cayenne pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 400 or heat grill to medium.
Peel yams and slice into narrow spears.

Combine coconut oil and seasonings in a large bowl.
Add potato spears to bowl and toss with your hands to thoroughly coat.
Spread potatoes evenly on a large baking sheet.
Place potatoes in oven, or if using grill, place potatoes on TOP rack.
Bake/grill for 10 minutes.
If grilling, keep your eye on the browning process as all grills are different and some grills may brown the potatoes very quickly.  If browning does happen quickly, turn the temperature of the grill down.
Using a wide spatula, turn potatoes and bake/grill for another 10 minutes.

Sausage and Garden Vegetable-Stuffed Peppers – serves 6
3 large bell peppers
4 Italian sausage links (Or any kind of flavorful sausage that you like.  For the Pittsburghers reading this, we used Steve’s Garlic Sausage from the Robinson Market District)
1 small vidalia onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bunch basil leaves, torn
hot sauce (optional)
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat grill to medium.
Cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise through stem.  Remove seeds and ribs.  Set aside.

Squeeze sausage from casings into medium skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Break up sausage with a spoon and stir.  As sausage cooks, use a potato masher to further break up sausage into small pieces.
When sausage is cooked through, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add chopped onions and diced zucchini to skillet and sauté until starting to soften.  Add chopped tomatoes and torn basil and heat through, stirring constantly.
Add hot sauce, to taste, if desired and stir to combine.  Add sausage back into skillet and stir again.
Spoon sausage mixture into bell pepper halves.  Press the stuffing down, packing tightly.  Top with a pinch of freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.

Place the peppers into a lightly greased baking dish.  Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet onto the grill (do not place the baking dish directly onto the grill or the bottoms of the peppers will burn).
Close the grill lid and grill/bake for 20 minutes or until the peppers are crisp-tender.

Alright, who is making these dishes for dinner tonight?  Send me a photo!  Better yet, post it on my Facebook wall.  Maybe there will be a little something in it for you…hmm……
As usual, many thanks to Diane of LadyFingers Private Chef and Catering for the use of her kitchen, garden, and home.  Here are printable versions of this month’s recipes.  Please enjoy!
Grilled Asparagus with Crispy Prosciutto
Crab-Encrusted Scallops with Green Pea Puree
Spicy Yam “Fries”
Sausage and Garden Vegetable-Stuffed Peppers

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