It's summertime, the living is easy and Triangle neighborhoods are sizzling with backyard barbecues. Burgers and hot dogs, charred to perfection, are staples of outdoor dining. But why not kick it up a notch? Next time you fire up the grill, try these tasty recipes from recent cookbooks.



Home and Away
Simple, Delicious Recipes Inspired by the World's Cafés, Bistros, and Diners
By Darcy and Randy Shore
Published by Arsenal Pulp Press




Jerk Chicken with Grilled
Romaine Salad

Nothing says summer like this Caribbean classic. And, hey, as long as the barbecue is on, let's grill the salad while we're at it. Grilled romaine takes on a smoky sweetness, perfectly complemented by our tomato vinaigrette.

4 chicken legs (leg and thigh) or breasts
6 tablespoons canola oil
5 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons minced ginger
3 green onions, roughly chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon oil, for grill

With a sharp knife, score chicken at 1-inch intervals. In a food processor, pulse remainder of ingredients, except oil for grill, until fine. Combine chicken and marinade in a freezer bag. Press out air, seal and refrigerate for 4 hours.


Preheat grill to medium. Brush grill with oil. Place chicken skin side down and grill until skin is brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Turn and cook until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees, about 10–15 minutes..


Makes 4 servings
Note: For greater authenticity and a lot more heat, substitute 1 seeded Scotch bonnet pepper for one of the jalapeños.



Grilled Romaine Salad


2 Romaine hearts, split length-wise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 ground black pepper

Preheat grill to high. Brush romaine on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for about 2 minutes a side. Dress with Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette (recipe follows).



Smoked Tomatoes


3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic wood chips, for smoking

Preheat smoker to 275 degrees. Split tomatoes lengthwise, trim away stem scar and remove seeds. Season cut side with salt, thyme and garlic.


Place tomatoes cut side up on racks and apply 20 minutes of smoke, according to manufacturer's instructions. Cook for 2 hours. Place rack over a baking sheet to catch juices and allow tomatoes to cool slightly, then remove skins with your fingertips.


Makes 3 cups



Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette


1/2 cup smoked tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.


Makes 1 cup

Note: You can substitute roasted red peppers or roasted tomatoes for smoked tomatoes.



Urfa Kebabs with Spiced Yogurt and Sumac Onions
On our last trip to Turkey, we rarely passed up a chance to enjoy charcoal-grilled kebabs. These spicy meat bombs are justifiably famous throughout the country and, for that matter, the world.


1 pound regular ground beef or lamb
1/2 cup finely minced onions
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Ottoman Spice (recipe follows)
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Ottoman Spice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and knead for 1 minute. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Wet hands with cold water and gently form meat mixture onto skewer until it is evenly distributed over about 12 inches. The meat should be evenly grooved like an ergonomic handle with impressions made by your fingers.


Preheat gas or charcoal grill on high. Place skewers over hottest part of grill. Grill, turning every few minutes, until cooked through. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Ottoman Spice.


Makes 4 servings

Note: To approximate the Turkish cooking style, rig it so the skewers are suspended just above the grill. Use two pieces of wood covered with foil placed on each end of the grill to rest the ends of the skewers on.



Spiced Yogurt


1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Ras el Hanout (Moroccan spice mix)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 green onion, chopped

In a bowl, whisk yogurt, lime juice, Ras el Hanout, salt and cilantro. Set aside for 1 hour before serving. Top with green onion.


Makes 1 cup

Note: Stir in 1/8 teaspoon cayenne for a touch of heat.



Sumac Onions


2 red onions
1/2 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Halve onions and slice thinly. In a bowl, toss all ingredients. Set aside for 1 hour.


Makes 2 cups



Ottoman Spice
Here is my stripped-down version of Turkey's most ubiquitous spice blend, used on virtually everything from eggs and meat to the local version of pizza. Feel free to embellish your blend with small amounts of saffron, thyme, black pepper, ginger and cumin.


1/4 cup Aleppo pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sumac
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried mint
2 teaspoons dried oregano

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients.


Makes about 1/3 cups

Note: Aleppo pepper flakes can be found at most spice shops and gourmet groceries. But if you have trouble finding the spice, try sourcing similar whole peppers.






The South's Best Butt

Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection
By Matt Moore
Published by Oxmoor House




Sometimes a name can tell you everything. Take this creation, for example: Sausage, upon sausage, upon sausage, all rolled up in bacon and then smoked to fatty perfection.


Parchment paper
4 pounds ground pork sausage
2 (6-inch) kielbasa links
1 pound hot link sausage, minced 
20 uncooked smoked bacon slices (about 1-3/4 pounds)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the ground pork sausage into a 12-inch square, about 1-inch thick, on the prepared baking sheet.


Place the kielbasa links, end to end, at 1 edge of ground pork sausage square. Gently roll the pork sausage over kielbasa just until kielbasa is completely covered.


Spread the minced sausage over remaining exposed pork sausage. Continue rolling from kielbasa end into a jelly-roll-style log. Chill 30 minutes to 3 hours.


Preheat gas grill to low (about 275 degrees) on one side, or push hot coals to one side of a charcoal grill.


Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices in a woven lattice design, with 10 vertical slices and 10 horizontal slices about 1/4 inch apart, on a prepared baking sheet.


Place the chilled sausage log at 1 edge of bacon lattice, and carefully roll up to wrap sausage log in bacon lattice. Fold bacon ends toward the bottom seam. If the bacon does not cover the entire log, fill in with extra pieces as needed.


Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Place the log, seam side down, on oiled grates over the unlit side of the grill. Grill, covered with grill lid, until a meat thermometer inserted in sausage log registers 165 degrees, about 2 hours.


Remove from grill, and let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 2-inch slices, and serve.


Serves 6-8



Vinegar BBQ Sauce
North Carolina is a state that has the battle lines firmly drawn when it comes to barbecue, not to mention barbecue sauces. If you were in eastern North Carolina, this sauce would be almost translucent (void of all tomatoes) and accompany a whole hog feast. If you found yourself in western North Carolina, your pork shoulder would arrive with a ruby red sauce that packs a vinegar punch. We've combined the best of both worlds for a veritable North Carolina "finishing sauce" that pairs well with pulled or chopped pork.


3/4 cup (6 ounces) apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste or ketchup
1-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper


Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl; cover and chill 1 hour.


Makes about 1-1/2 cups




The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook
The Official Cookbook from America's Camping Authority
By Coleman
Published by Oxmoor House






Toasted Couscous and
Vegetable Salad With
Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing

You can serve this colorful, toasty salad either hot or cold.

3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped
fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped
fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup uncooked pearl couscous
Two (3x1-inch) lemon peel strips
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small red onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Prepare the dressing
Stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill up to 2 days.


Prepare the couscous
Heat a camping stove or grill to medium (about 350 to 375 degrees). Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous and lemon peel strips; cook, stirring often, until golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the water and salt; bring to a boil.


Cover and reduce heat to medium-low (about 300 to 325 degrees); simmer until barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and discard lemon peel strips.


Prepare the vegetables
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium (about 350 to 375 degrees). Add the asparagus, bell peppers, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.


Toss together the couscous, vegetables, and 1/2 cup of the dressing. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad.


Yields 6 servings


Camping Pear, Brie and Arugula Quesadillas

This gourmet quesadilla pairs perfectly with a crisp cider or white wine. You may substitute plain Dijon mustard for the whole-grain version.


1-1/2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Four (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 tablespoon canola oil or cooking spray
10 ounces Brie, rind removed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
8 ounces Bosc pears (about 2 small pears), thinly sliced
2 ounces arugula (about 2 cups)


Heat a camping stove or grill to medium (about 350 to 375 degrees), or fit a grilling grate over the direct heat of glowing embers.


Combine the mustard, honey and pepper in a small bowl. Brush one side of tortillas with the oil or spray with the cooking spray; spread the second side of each tortilla with 1-1/2 teaspoons of the mustard mixture.


Place each tortilla, oiled side down, on the camping stove or grilling grate directly over the heat source. Arrange 1/4 of the cheese slices evenly on half of each tortilla; grill until the cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute. Arrange the pears and arugula evenly over the cheese.


Using a spatula, fold each tortilla in half to cover the filling, pressing gently to adhere. Grill until the arugula wilts, the tortillas are browned and crisp, and the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Cut each quesadilla into 2 wedges.


Yields 4 servings


Rhubarb Tart
Spring rhubarb is wonderfully pink and tender, so you can dispense with the poaching step and put it straight into a pastry case (shell) with a little brown sugar before baking. The sugar caramelizes to give an almost toffee-like flavor. Make it the day before so that the flavors have a chance to soak into the pastry, or eat it immediately. Either way, it goes well with cream, custard or ice cream.


Butter, for greasing
1 chilled sweet shortcrust pastry (basic sweet pie dough)
Flour, for dusting
2-1/4-pound rhubarb, chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons demerara (turbinado) sugar
1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, placing an oven rack in the lower part of it. Butter a 10-inch loose-bottom tart pan.


Roll out the pastry (dough) thinly on a lightly floured work surface and use to line the prepared pan.


If using spring rhubarb, arrange it in the pastry case (shell) and sprinkle with the demerara (turbinado) sugar. If not using spring rhubarb, put the caster (superfine) sugar and ¾ cup water into a pan and stir together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil, then add the chopped rhubarb and simmer for 1 minute – you don't want it to lose its shape. Drain the rhubarb, then arrange inside the pastry case.


Place the filled case on a baking sheet and bake on a low oven rack for 40 minutes. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully slip off the outer ring, leaving the tart sitting on the base. Return to the oven on the baking sheet for another 5–10 minutes so that the sides get really crisp.


Slide the tart onto a plate and sprinkle with caster sugar, if desired. Let cool to room temperature before serving.


Yields 8 servings